. Interchanging Idioms: March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First Annual New Music Bake Sale and Concert in Brooklyn

Performances by So Percussion, Lisa Moore & Martin Bresnick, Lukas Ligeti, Newspeak, ACME, JACK Quartet, Dither, loadbang ensemble, & Ensemble de Sade

On Friday, April 17, 2009 from 7 pm to midnight, the First Annual New Music Bake Sale, presented by Newspeak and Ensemble de Sade, will take over the First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights (124 Henry Street at Clark Street). This delicious event is a fundraiser and showcase for music organizations of all kinds, with each group supplying and staffing their own table of bountiful baked goods, CDs, buttons, T-shirts, bags, stickers, silent auction items, and other exclusive merchandise.

The evening will feature musical performances by So Percussion, Lisa Moore and Martin Bresnick, Lukas Ligeti, Newspeak, ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble), JACK Quartet, Dither, loadbang ensemble, and Ensemble de Sade. Other organizations participating in the Bake Sale but not performing include New Amsterdam Records, AME (American Modern Ensemble), TRANSIT, Talea Ensemble, Wet Ink, Hotel St. George Press, MATA Festival, and more.

This event is intended not only to raise funds, but to build community and camaraderie within the diverse New York new music culture, and is run by a committee of composers and performers from Newspeak and Ensemble de Sade.

Co-organizer Mellissa Hughes explains, “The New Music Bake Sale takes its inspiration from the days when every Rice Krispie treat sold in the high school cafeteria brought you one step closer to those über sexy marching band uniforms. We also recognize that in times like the present, profits are measured not only in monetary terms, but in the continual building of community. That is the spirit in which we seek to bring together what is an incredibly diverse new music culture in this city – from classical chamber ensemble to rock band.”

The New Music Bake Sale will include (in addition to plenty of revelry, plus a “New Music Purity Test” administered by Ensemble de Sade) the US premiere of Jeff Myers’ dopamine by the JACK Quartet; the world premieres of a new work by Alex Temple and Matt Marks’ The Exaltation of Grace Budd performed by Ensemble de Sade; So Percussion in selections from their ongoing project City Music, an exploration of urban environments and sonic meditations; selections from Kurt Schwitters’ Ur Sonate featuring Lisa Moore and Martin Bresnick; the world premieres of Dmitri Tymoczko’s Let The Bodies Hit The Floor and William Brittelle’s Pegasis in Alcatraz performed by Newspeak; loadbang ensemble in David Lang’s Waitin’ for My Man and works by John Cage; Dither in Lainie Fefferman’s Tongue of Thorns, Jascha Narveson’s Vectors, and Mark Stewart’s Speedy Feety; and ACME in the New York premiere of Caleb Burhans’ Trio.

Yuja Wang: Sonatas & Etudes - precision perfect

Yuja Wang, the twenty-two year old, Chinese born, virtuoso pianist is due to release her first album with Deutsche Grammophon: Sonatas & Etudes. It is a wonderful mixture of Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin and Ligeti. My initial thoughts, prior to listening to the CD, was that Ligeti might seem a bit jarring with Chopin, Liszt & Scriabin, but Ms Wang pulls them together by providing flawless work on the keyboard.

Sonatas & Etudes starts with Chopin’s Piano Sonata no. 2 in B flat minor op. 35. In the opening movement there is a subtlety of the repetitive figures that builds the tension in preparation of the slower section and the emotional release giving the piece a rich poignant flow. The Scherzo flowed from light to heavy and back again, giving the listener a chance to enjoy the subtlety of the waltz. Ms Wang chose to give the movement more rubato than might be danceable, but in terms of performance it is precisely what is called for.

Perhaps the most recognizable movement of the Chopin, the Marche funèbre starts distant and somber, but slowly builds to the heavy doom. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite get heavy enough prior to the lighter middle section to really create the stark contrast this movement needs. Of the entire CD, I felt this particular piece didn’t fair as well as the heavy sections lacked a depth in the lower register that I wanted to hear.

The move into the Presto gives us a chance to marvel at Yuja Wang’s command of the keyboard. The piece flies across the keyboard bringing the piano sonata to a breathless close.

Ligeti’s Etude 4 is a wonderful piece and in many respects different than the Chopin with jarring harmonies and minimalistic repetitive figures. Written in 1985, nearly 150 years after Chopin’s Piano Sonata no. 2 and yet, the flow from the Finale: Presto movement of the Piano Sonata into Ligeti’s Etude 4 is seamless. The rapid figures and flow along the keyboard is a perfect match and Yuja Wang plays both flawlessly.

Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in G sharp minor op. 19 follows Etude 4 to shift the mood to more contemplative. The Andante is lyrical and soft, with Ms Wang allowing her emotion to drift over the keys in a very romantic style. The original composition completed in 1897, was Scriabin’s final composition. Midway between the Chopin and the Ligeti, it fills the gap beautifully providing both a sense of melody and lyricism, with harmonic shifts that set the stage of the atonality of Ligeti’s music.

Like the Presto of Chopin’s piano sonata and Ligeti’s Etude, the Presto of Scriabin’s piano sonata has a rapid series of flowing notes Ms Wang seems to effortlessly caress the music from the piano. Each note meticulously performed and yet so fluently fit into to the flow, the piano seems to float through the piece.

If the first Ligeti track was amazing with its rapid figures, Ligeti’s Etude 10: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is even more so. Same note repetitions deftly display Yuja Wang’s command of the keyboard. Not only can she handle the flow up and down the keyboard, but her fingers maintain the same authority when needing to rapidly strike the same note. This track left me near breathless, unable to exhale until it was finished – sheer magic.

The final piece on Sonatas & Etudes is the only piano sonata written by Liszt, Piano Sonata in B minor in 1854. This piece draws the rest of the music together with the grand figures and rapid flowing movement of the previous pieces into the first movement. Where the 3rd movement of Chopin’s may not have had the power I’d hoped, in Liszt’s piano sonata Ms Wang exceeds all expectations. The shift between the dramatic to the soft and pensive is handled beautifully. There is no lack of emotion from either end of the spectrum.

One of the amazing aspects of Liszt is his ability to place the melody between accompaniments above and below. In the fugal figure in the final movement of the piano sonata, Yuja Wang is able to stress the melody wrapped between the upper and lower parts so the melody is clearly heard and not masked by the other lines of the music. Her ability to pull out the melody as it moves from one hand to the next, as it flies from one register to another is simply amazing. Many much older (more experienced) pianists struggle with this and yet, Ms Wang seems to perform this piece and the nuances of it with ease.

Often, when listening to a solo piano performance, whether in the concert hall or on a recording, there is generally so much reverb the precision of the performer is lost. This doesn't make the performer less remarkable, or even the performance. But, when you get a chance to hear the precision performance of someone like Yuja Wang, her perfection is taken to a new level. She is only twenty-two years old, making her debut CD all the more incredible.

Helmut Burk did an outstanding job as the Recording Engineer to allow us a chance to hear every note from the most subtle, to the demanding aggressive passages pounded on the keyboard. It was most noticeable in the second movement, Scherzo of the Chopin piano sonata which would go from the extremes in a matter of a few bars. Mr Burk could have perhaps accentuated the lower register in the 3rd movement of the Chopin to beef up the piece, but overall an excellent job of allowing us to really hear the ability of Yuja Wang.

“To listen to her in action is to re-examine whatever assumptions you may have had about how well the piano can actually be played.” - San Francisco Chronical

Yuja Wang's debut CD, Sonatas & Etudes is all that and more, because you can revel in her ability over and over again. The more you listen to it the more stunning her performance becomes; these amazing pieces become absolutely breath-taking. Yuja Wang is young, and typically we could expect her to improve in the years to come. I am not sure how that’s possible.

Cleveland Orchestra to Premiere new work by Jörg Widmann

German composer Jörg Widmann (pictured) is the Orchestra’s sixth Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow, serving for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Mr. Widmann is a winner of the Claudio Abbado Composition Award of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy. He has been composer-in-residence at the Salzburg Festival, and his music has been performed by the Vienna Philharmonic.

During a two-year relationship with the Orchestra, the Lewis Fellow composes a new piece for the Orchestra. He is in residence for two weeks, participating in rehearsals, master classes, and educational activities. The Young Composers Endowment Fund was established in 1997 by a $1 million gift from Jan R. and Daniel R. Lewis, who reside in Florida . Mr. Lewis is the Chair of the Musical Arts Association of Miami.

Franz Welser-Möst will conduct the Cleveland premiere of Mr. Widmann’s Chor (for orchestra) at Severance Hall in October 2009, and guest conductor Jonathan Nott will lead the United States premiere of Mr. Widmann’s Con brio (Concert Overture for Orchestra) in November 2009.

A new work by Mr. Widmann will be given its world premiere under Franz Welser-Möst’s direction during the 2010-11 season. The work has been commissioned by The Cleveland Orchestra through the Young Composers Fund, endowed by Jan R. and Daniel R. Lewis.

The 2009-10 season will also include a special free concert at Severance Hall on June 5, 2010 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow program. The program will be conducted by Matthias Pintscher and includes Concertate il suono by Marc-Andre Dalbavié; with lilies white by Matthias Pintscher; Translucence, by Susan Botti; a work by Julian Anderson, to be announced; and On Comparative Meteorology, by Johannes Maria Staud. The concert is free and open to the public as part of the Orchestra’s new Community Music Initiative.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Cleveland Orchestra announces 2009-10 Severance Hall season

Staged opera at Severance Hall continues with Franz Welser-Möst conducting Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the second of three Mozart/Da Ponte productions from the Zurich Opera

The Cleveland Orchestra has announced its 2009-10 season at Severance Hall. During his eighth season as Music Director, Franz Welser-Möst will conduct a wide range of works, including staged performances of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. The 2009-10 season will open with the launch of the Orchestra’s new Community Music Initiative, a series of programs aimed at expanding the Orchestra’s efforts to share music with the people of Cleveland . The week-long celebration of the Community Music Initiative includes The Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst performing in-school and family concerts plus a benefit performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The season also includes several new programs aimed at reaching new audiences, including a series of early Friday evening concerts with post-concert chamber music and entertainment, a baroque/classical series, a new Musically Speaking Sundays series featuring commentary about a single major symphonic work, and more.

Music Director Franz Welser-Möst’s Program Highlights

Cleveland Orchestra subscription concerts begin October 1 with Franz Welser-Möst conducting a program featuring Haydn’s Symphony No. 85 (“La Reine”) and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Additional major works featured in Mr. Welser-Möst’s concerts during the subscription season include Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 3 (“Eroica”) and 5, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8, staged performances of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Richard Strauss’s Don Juan, and a program featuring the music of Richard Wagner, to be recorded for release on CD by Deutsche Grammophon.

Throughout the season, Mr. Welser-Möst’s concerts will include works new to or rarely performed by The Cleveland Orchestra, including the Adès Violin Concerto, Berg’s Symphonic Suite from Lulu, Liszt’s A Faust Symphony, and Mozart’s “Haffner” Serenade.

Mozart’s Così fan tutte

Staged opera continues at Severance Hall as Franz Welser-Möst will conduct the Orchestra’s first performances of Mozart’s Così fan tutte on March 2, 4, 6, and 8, 2010. Like the Orchestra’s acclaimed performances of The Marriage of Figaro in March 2009, these performances will be staged using Severance Hall’s orchestra pit together with sets and costumes from the Zurich Opera. The cast for Così fan tutte will include soprano Malin Hartelius (Fiordiligi), soprano Anna Bonitatibus (Dorabella), soprano Martina Janková (Despina), tenor Javier Camarena (Ferrando), baritone Ruben Drole (Guglielmo), and bass Oliver Widmer (Don Alfonso). The Orchestra will perform Don Giovanni (also from the Franz Welser-Möst/Zurich Opera collaboration) in the 2010-11 season to complete its three-season cycle of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas.

Cleveland Orchestra Premieres

Franz Welser-Möst will conduct the Cleveland Orchestra premieres of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, John Adams’s Son of Chamber Symphony, Thomas Adès’s Violin Concerto with Leila Josefowicz as soloist, Richard Wagner’s Overture to Das Liebesverbot, and Jörg Widmann’s Chor (for orchestra). Other Cleveland Orchestra premieres include John Adams’s Doctor Atomic Symphony conducted by David Robertson; Osvaldo Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, with Principal Clarinet Franklin Cohen as soloist, led by Tito Muñoz; Johann Baptist Georg Neruda’s Trumpet Concerto with Principal Trumpet Michael Sachs as soloist, conducted by Bernard Labadie; Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Suite from Dardanus led by Mr. Labadie, and Johann Wagenaar’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” Overture conducted by Jaap van Zweden.

Distinguished Guest Artist Appearances

Several conductors and soloists long associated with The Cleveland Orchestra will appear with the Orchestra during the 2009-10 season. Conductor Pierre Boulez returns to Severance Hall for two weeks of concerts in February 2010, following a two-year absence. Mr. Boulez has conducted The Cleveland Orchestra in more than 145 concerts since making his debut with the ensemble in 1965. He served as musical advisor of the Orchestra from 1970 to 1972. The program for his first week of concerts includes music by Debussy and Messiaen as well as Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist. The second week features Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, with soprano Magdalena Kožená, in her Cleveland Orchestra debut, and baritone Christian Gerhaher.

Vladimir Ashkenazy, who made his Cleveland Orchestra debut as piano soloist in August 1968 and has since appeared with the Orchestra in over 175 concerts, served as the Orchestra’s principal guest conductor from 1987 to 1994, having conducted the ensemble on a regular basis since his Severance Hall podium debut in 1983. His most recent appearances with The Cleveland Orchestra were in September 2007, when he conducted the Orchestra in performances of the complete incidental music to Grieg’s Peer Gynt. In March 2010, he will lead the Orchestra in concerts featuring his own orchestral transcription of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet as soloist.

Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard made his Cleveland Orchestra debut in 1996 and has performed with the Orchestra in nine different works in more than 25 concerts, including tour performances. Mr. Aimard served as Artist-in-Residence with The Cleveland Orchestra for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. The position is supported by the Malcolm E. Kenney Artist-in-Residence Endowment Fund. Mr. Aimard’s most recent performances with the Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst were in the world premiere of George Benjamin’s Duet for piano and orchestra, premiered at the 2008 Lucerne Festival and given subsequent performances at Severance Hall in Cleveland and Carnegie Hall in New York.

Soprano Measha Brueggergosman made her Cleveland Orchestra debut in July 2006, and has returned to sing with the ensemble each season since that time. She appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which was recorded live at Severance Hall concerts in January 2007 and subsequently released on the Deutsche Grammophon label; she also performed in the work in the opening subscription concerts of the Orchestra’s Miami Residency that month. Ms. Brueggergosman’s other appearances with the Orchestra include Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass (also presented in Carnegie Hall). Her performances in Wagner’s Wesendonck Songs in February 2010 are to be recorded live for future release on Deutsche Grammophon.

Soprano Malin Hartelius has appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra on a regular basis since making her debut with the Orchestra in September 2002, as a soloist in Haydn’s The Creation in the opening concerts of Franz Welser-Möst’s first season as music director. Her appearances in Mozart’s Così fan tutte in March 2010 will mark her fourth operatic engagement with the Orchestra. Ms. Hartelius’s other Cleveland Orchestra performances have included leading roles in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, and she has appeared as soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (including performances in Carnegie Hall and at the Musikverein in Vienna), and Mozart’s Mass in C minor.

Cellist Truls Mørk will serve as the 2009-10 Artist-in-Residence with The Cleveland Orchestra, a position supported by the Malcolm E. Kenney Artist-in-Residence Endowment Fund. Mr. Mørk has performed as soloist with the Orchestra in over a dozen concerts since making his Cleveland Orchestra debut in April 1997 with Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major. He also performed a recital in Severance Hall’s Reinberger Chamber Hall in December 2002. His most recent appearances with the Orchestra were in March 2005, in the Schumann Cello Concerto. He will perform the Dvořák Cello Concerto with the Orchestra in November 2009.

Mitsuko Uchida will appear with the Orchestra in two subscription weeks during the 2009-10 season: in October 2009 performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst and in April 2010 performing Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 27, conducting from the keyboard. Ms. Uchida, who made her Cleveland Orchestra debut as piano soloist in 1990 and her conducting debut with the Orchestra in March 1998, has appeared with the Orchestra in more than 70 performances, including concerts at Carnegie Hall and on tour in Europe and Japan. From 2002 to 2007, she served as Artist-in-Residence with the Orchestra, a position made possible by the Malcolm E. Kenney Artist-in-Residence Endowment Fund. She completed her five-year project to perform all of Mozart’s piano concertos with the Orchestra in May 2007. Ms. Uchida’s most recent appearances with the Orchestra, in December 2008, were in Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 23 and 24, recorded for future release on the Decca label. In April 2009, she will be soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25, under the direction of Sir Colin Davis.

Much more is in store for Cleveland. Call the Ticket Office at (216) 231-1111 or 1-800-686-1141 or visit their site online at www.clevelandorchestra.com.

2009 Grand Teton Music Festival Provides Matchless Scenery as Backdrop to Unrivaled Music-Making

Guest Musicians and Top Festival Orchestra Led by World-Renowned Conductors

Music Director Donald Runnicles; Guest Artists Christine Brewer, Michelle DeYoung, Thomas Hampson, Lynn Harrell, Frank Lopardo, and Eric Owens; Guest Conductors Osmo Vänskä and Nicholas McGegan; and Other Artists Will Participate in Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s Exciting Seven-Week Festival as It Continues to Grow to New Heights; Program Highlights Include World Premiere of New Work By Stephen Paulus

Wyoming’s 48th Grand Teton Music Festival opens officially on Wednesday, July 1 with a spotlight concert by the genre-busting trio “Time For Three”, followed by two evenings of concerts featuring the Festival Orchestra with guest conductor Thomas Wilkins and violinist Cho-Liang Lin. The festivities really kick off on Saturday, July 4 with the 13th annual free outdoor Independence Day concert, tagged “Music in the Hole”. A picnic and other fun events precede a concert by VIP Grand Teton guest and powerhouse soprano Christine Brewer, who has programmed patriotic songs with the Festival Orchestra under Maestro Wilkins.

The Festival continues for seven weeks, playing its indoor concerts in the acoustically renowned Walk Festival Hall, which reopened in 2007 after a renovation costing nearly $5 million. Since 2006, Donald Runnicles has served the Festival as Music Director, leading the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra – made up of top musicians from orchestras all over the U.S, Canada , and Europe – in Friday and Saturday evening concerts. This year’s guest stars include singers Ms. Brewer, Michelle DeYoung, Thomas Hampson, Frank Lopardo, and Eric Owens; instrumental soloists Mr. Lin, Lynn Harrell, Yevgeny Sudbin, Paolo Bordignon, and Norman Krieger; and conductors Osmo Vänskä and Nicholas McGegan.

“The virtuosity and power of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra are as breathtaking as the splendor of the Tetons themselves,” comments Music Director Donald Runnicles. “The Grand Teton Music Festival deserves to be a compulsory stop on any music lover’s summer itinerary.” Not least because of the region’s stunning beauty, the Grand Teton Music Festival attracts musicians to its Festival Orchestra from top orchestras in the United States, Canada, and abroad.

The San Francisco Festival Chorale joins the orchestra and a quartet of soloists – soprano Twyla Robinson, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, tenor Frank Lopardo, and bass Eric Owens – for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 under Maestro Runnicles in the first of his four pairs of concerts (July 17 & 18). He and the orchestra support pianist Norman Krieger for the great Piano Concerto No. 2 by Johannes Brahms, programmed with John Adams’s delightful Harmonielehre for his second weekend (July 24 & 25); and then, in his third week, the Spotlight Artist is Thomas Hampson, who performs Adams’s moving Wound Dresser, to words by Walt Whitman, on a program with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and Aaron Jay Kernis’s heavenly Musica Celestis for strings (Aug 7 & 8). Midweek, on Wednesday, August 5, Mr. Runnicles will be the evening’s pianist with Mr. Hampson and cellist Lynn Harrell, for a program to be announced later. For the season’s grand finale, Maestro Runnicles conducts the world premiere of a new concertante work for cello and orchestra by Stephen Paulus – commissioned by the Grand Teton Music Festival – with Lynn Harrell as soloist. The world premiere is preceded by Smetana’s flowing portrait of his homeland’s famous river, “The Moldau”, and the final work is Richard Strauss’s dramatic “portrait of an alp” – the Alpine Symphony – a poetic mirroring of the grandeur surrounding the beautiful Grand Teton Music Festival (Aug 14 & 15).

On Tuesday evenings, members of the Festival Orchestra form smaller groups for Chamber Music Concerts, and on Wednesdays a wide variety of lighter fare is offered, from New Orleans Jazz to The Gypsies, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and Time for Three. There are also free community and family concerts on weekdays.

The complete GTMF schedule is available at www.gtmf.org.

Tickets are available for purchase through the Grand Teton Music Festival Ticket Office by phone at (307) 733-1128 or online www.gtmf.org. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges are permitted. All programs, artists, and dates are subject to change.

Friday, March 27, 2009

YouTube Symphony Orchestra Debuts Live at Carnegie Hall on April 15 at 7:30pm

Guest Artists Include Gil Shaham, Measha Brueggergosman, Mason Bates, Joshua Roman, Yuja Wang, and Students of Lang Lang, with Video Appearances by Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Artistic Advisor and Conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, and presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall, debuts live on Wednesday, April 15 at 7:30pm. The event will feature soloists, chamber groups, chamber orchestra, larger orchestra, and electronica. A visual journey will accompany the music; multi-media projections mapped to the historical Carnegie Hall architecture will transform Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage into an immersive video experience.

The program will sample diverse periods and styles of classical music, including works by Gabrieli, Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Villa-Lobos, and John Cage. There will be a sneak preview excerpt from The B-Sides, a new piece by Mason Bates, due to be premiered in May by the San Francisco Symphony. Selected video entries featuring Tan Dun’s Internet Symphony No. 1 “Eroica”, written especially for this occasion, are being mashed together to create an ensemble video piece. The work will be performed at Carnegie Hall and the video will subsequently be posted on YouTube.com.

“The YouTube Symphony Orchestra project has given us an online window into the skills, lives, and passions of thousands of musicians around the world,” says Michael Tilson Thomas. “Now we’re looking forward to the excitement of meeting in person and putting together an eclectic playlist of electronic, solo, orchestral, improvisatory, and chamber music, all celebrating the amazing range of the music we share.” Headlining the roster of guest artists are violinist Gil Shaham, soprano Measha Brueggergosman, composer/DJ Mason Bates, cellist Joshua Roman, and pianist Yuja Wang. Three young piano students from the Intern ational Foundation of the first YouTube Symphony Orchestra Global Ambassador, Lang Lang, will also perform: Anna Larsen, Charlie Liu, and Derek Wang.

Ed Sanders, Product Marketing Manager of YouTube:

“We are eagerly anticipating the first real-world meeting of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. It will be a truly global experience, with the more than 90 musicians coming from over 30 countries to learn from each other, to perform with each other, and to bring some of their own culture with them to share with New York .”

Meet the artists

Michael Tilson Thomas, Artistic Advisor and Conductor of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, is Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Artistic Director of the New World Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Over the course of his career, he has been committed to bringing classical music to a wider audience. He was the director of the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts for CBS, founded the Discovery Series with the LSO, and in 1987 founded the New World Symphony, an academy for training the next generation of orchestral musicians. Over 800 graduates of the NWS have gone on to major positions in orchestras and ensembles worldwide. Mr. Tilson Thomas’s “Keeping Score” program with the San Francisco Symphony is a multi-platform educational concept. It includes a series of videos that air on PBS, companion websites, and educational programs for schools around the country. His educational radio series, The MTT Files, won a Peabody Award in 2008, and he has won seven Grammys for his recordings.

Awarded both a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome and an American Academy in Berlin Prize, composer and DJ Mason Bates moves effortlessly between the worlds of electronica and orchestral music. Recent appearances include performing on electronic drumpad and laptop with the National Symphony Orchestra, in his Liquid Interface at Carnegie Hall; creating an evening of concert music and electronica with members of the Berlin Philharmonic; performing his concerto for synthesizer with the Atlanta and Phoenix Symphonies; and appearing as a DJ of trip-hop and electronica in San Francisco . His upcoming premieres include The B-Sides with the San Francisco Symphony and Sirens with Chanticleer. Mr. Mason is on the Young Concert Artists management roster.

Critically acclaimed for her innate musicianship and for a sovereign stage presence far beyond her years, soprano Measha Brueggergosman is one of today’s most magnificent performers and vibrant personalities. She is an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, whose performances this season take her from New York and Toronto to Paris and Munich . Beyond the great concert halls of the world, she offers her voice, passion, and energy as a Canadian goodwill ambassador for three international organizations: African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF); Learning Through the Arts; and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Dubbed a “Classical Rock Star” by the press, cellist Joshua Roman has earned a reputation for performing a wide range of repertoire with a commitment to communicating the essence of the music at its most organic level. By the age of 22, he was appointed Principal chair in the cello section of the Seattle Symphony and had become a favorite among Seattle music lovers, with sold-out solo and chamber performances throughout the city. His fearless pursuit of new challenges has since led him to expand his horizons and embark full-time on his growing solo classical career. Homeschooled until the age of 16, Mr. Roman received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

This season, violinist Gil Shaham performs with nearly 20 international orchestras; celebrates Pablo de Sarasate’s centenary in New York , on television, and in Spain ; and plays chamber music concerts at home and abroad. His recordings, now numbering nearly 30, have earned international awards, and he has produced several CDs for his own label, Canary Classics. Mr. Shaham was born in the U.S. and raised in Israel , where he began violin studies at the age of seven. Soon afterward he began studying with Dorothy DeLay, and in 1982 became her pupil at the Juilliard School . A recipient of the prestigious 2008 Avery Fisher Award, he lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony.

Pianist Yuja Wang has been praised for her authority over the most complex technical demands of the keyboard repertoire, the depth of her musical insight, fresh interpretations, and charismatic stage presence. Her playing combines the fearless imagination of youth with the discipline and precision of a mature artist. Ms. Wang is a recipient of the 2006 Gilmore Young Artist Award and has performed with orchestras, in recital, and at festivals throughout the world. Born in Beijing , she moved to the U.S. at the age of 15 to study at the Curtis Institute, where she graduated in 2008. Her debut CD, Sonatas & Etudes, will be released by Deutsche Grammophon in April 2009.

Carnegie Hall event information:
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 7:30pm

Michael Tilson Thomas, Artistic Advisor and Conductor
(Presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall)

Carnegie Hall: Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
57th Street & Seventh Avenue , New York , NY 10019

Tickets ($25-$50, $20 for students) are on sale now through Carnegie Charge at (212) 247-7800 and www.carnegiehall.org.

Celebrated Guitarist Sharon Isbin’s Debut Sony Masterworks Album

Stars Legendary Folksinger Joan Baez and Violin Virtuoso Mark O’Connor,
Featuring the World Premiere of Joan Baez Suite, Opus 144

Recognized as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time” (The Boston Globe) and “the Monet of the classical guitar” (Atlanta Journal Constitution), Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin makes her Sony Masterworks debut with Journey to the New World, to be released March 24, 2009. The extraordinary recording follows a musical progression from 16th century England, Ireland, and Scotland to the shores of America, with the music of the New World represented by Joan Baez -- Isbin’s first music hero -- and violin virtuoso/composer Mark O’Connor.

“This ‘journey,’” explains Isbin, “brings together my passion for Renaissance lute music with the country fiddle virtuosity of Mark O’Connor, a lifelong love of folk music inspired by my parents who taught folk dancing, and with Joan Baez, whose magical voice has moved me to tears for as long as I can remember.”

Journey to the New World begins with four English Renaissance lute duets (Drewrie’s accordes, John Dowland’s Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home, Rossignol, and John Johnson’s variations on Greensleeves), with Isbin performing both duet parts. Next, two songs from the British Isles (Irish sea shanty Drunken Sailor, originating in the late 16th/early 17th century, and Scottish Wild Mountain Thyme, from the 18th century). Fellow American guitarist/composer Andrew York’s haunting Andecy perfectly bridges the folk music of the British Isles with that of the New World.

The seven-movement Joan Baez Suite, which the late English composer John Duarte wrote for Isbin in 2002, represents his reactions to the spirit and texts of classic Baez folk songs. When Baez, who celebrates the 50th anniversary of her career this season, heard Isbin perform the suite, she offered to sing on the recording. She joins Isbin in heartfelt renditions of Wayfaring Stranger and John Jacob Niles’ Go Way from My Window.

Sharon's exquisite playing allowed me to revisit and fall in love with these songs all over again.” - Joan Baez

Mark O’Connor’s 13-movement Strings & Threads Suite traces the composer’s own ancestral roots in Ireland down to the 13 original American colonies, followed by the eventual migration to the American West. The work effectively brings Isbin’s Journey to a conclusion, while musically depicting how the varied folk music styles—reels, waltzes, blues, spirituals, swing, and bebop—are interconnected. Originally written for solo violin, O’Connor adapted the suite for violin and guitar, where it receives its world premiere recording.

Journey to the New World follows Isbin’s focus on albums conceived around a central theme. Her catalog of over 25 recordings shows her remarkable range and versatility, and features theme-specific titles that include Journey to the Amazon and Baroque Favorites for Guitar. Her Dreams of a World, which showcased music from Appalachia, Ireland, Greece, Israel, Spain, Cuba, Venezuela, and Brazil, brought her the 2001 Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance,” making her the first classical guitarist to receive a Grammy in 28 years.

Isbin’s recordings have been characterized by the noteworthy contributions of renowned composers and collaborators. Her world premiere recording of concerti written for her by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun, received both a 2002 Grammy Award and Germany’s prestigious Echo Klassik Award for “Best Concert Recording.” Her Latin Grammy-nominated recording with the New York Philharmonic of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and concerti by Mexican composer Manuel Ponce and Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos marked the Philharmonic’s first-ever recording with guitar, and followed its Avery Fisher Hall performances with Isbin as its first guitar soloist in 26 years.

Among the many other major composers who have written for Isbin are Lukas Foss, John Corigliano, Joseph Schwanter, Joan Tower, David Diamond, Aaron Jay Kernis, Leo Brouwer, Howard Shore (she is featured on his Grammy-nominated movie soundtrack for The Departed), and Ned Rorem (she appears in the 2008 documentary Ned Rorem: Word and Music). Key collaborators have included Antonio Carlos Jobim, Larry Coryell, Laurindo Almeida, Steve Vai, and Rosalyn Tureck, with whom she published landmark editions of the Bach lute suites.

But Journey to the New World stands out, says Isbin: “It’s one of the most unusual and creative albums I’ve ever done. It’s been percolating subconsciously for many years, because folk music was my introduction to guitar and I have been touched so powerfully by the music and voice of Joan Baez. Somehow this collaboration was meant to be—though I could never have imagined it back then!”

A soloist with over 160 orchestras, Isbin is an international concert star who tours the world constantly. Upcoming highlights include New York’s Kaufmann Concert Hall May 2, and with O’Connor in Aspen on August 15 during her participation at the Aspen Music Festival, where she has directed a guitar program for the last 16 years.

Sony Masterwords Re-Releases Terry Riley's Pioneering "IN C"

The first ever re-mastering of the original session master tapes

In Anticipation of Carnegie Hall’s Performance of In C on April 24th

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of Terry Riley’s collaborative music piece In C — a landmark work that gave birth to the minimalist movement in the 1960s — Sony Masterworks is releasing the first ever re-mastering of the original session master tapes. The re-mastering lends an enhanced clarity and transparency to the piece’s joyful polyphony of overlapping musical motives.

This reissue package features both the original material and new liner notes transcribed from recent interviews with Terry Riley; David Behrman, the project’s original session producer; and several of the performers from the original studio sessions. The new essay by Jackson Braider conveys the feeling of excitement, innovation, and camaraderie that must have hung in the air in the recording studio in 1968, four years after In C was first performed. The score of 53 motifs is reproduced in the packaging — a simple blueprint for a strangely powerful work.

It is hard to overestimate the impact that Terry Riley’s In C has had on music of the twentieth century, from psychedelic pop rock to the minimalism of Philip Glass, John Adams, and Steve Reich. It was a watershed moment in music history: Riley employed the cellular compositional style of surrealism, which had so alienated classical music from the mainstream, and created his own musical language that spoke in a popular, tonal idiom. No less a cultural figure than Pete Townsend, of the classic rock band The Who, paid tribute to Riley’s influence with the song “Baba O’Riley.”

The score of In C consists of 53 phrases, which range from a single repeated note to a series of running sixteenth notes. It was written for any number of instruments, with each player freely repeating a phrase as many times as desired before proceeding to the next. As a consequence, unpredictable layers of the same and successive motifs occur, creating elaborate textures and polyrhythms. The piece ends when all of the instruments have reached the last motif. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half to complete, though some performances have lasted for hours. Despite the controlled, euphoric mayhem, the tonal center of the piece always stays comfortably close to C.

About the Carnegie Hall Presents series:
The re-release of this historic recording of In C is part of an ongoing collaboration between Carnegie Hall and Sony Masterworks entitled Carnegie Hall Presents. The first release in this collection, The Original Jacket Collection: Bernstein Conducts Bernstein, was issued in fall 2008 and was followed by Lift Every Voice, Honoring The African American Musical Legacy in February 2009. This series of CD releases celebrates special concert events with meaningful companion recordings.

Apr. 24 Carnegie Hall/Stern Auditorium One night only

Tickets from $21 - $72 available at www.carnegiehall.org.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chicago Opera Vanguard makes Opera during Economic Crisis - By Taking it to the People

How does a young theater company produce a punk opera during an economic recession? Graffiti! by visiting www.chicagovanguard.org, anyone can become an opera patron – and defile an opera set at the same time.

For as little as $1, COV invites anyone and everyone to tag the GREEK Graffiti Wall. Each dollar purchases a 4x4 pixel on the virtual wall, each pixel can be filled with any upload-able image, and every image on the wall will be incorporated the final backdrop and video display of the production. Plus, every dollar contributed to Chicago Opera Vanguard’s production of GREEK constitutes a chance to win an exclusive VIP opening night package, including hotel, dinner and admission to the production.

Chicago Opera Vanguard - the city’s new home for cutting edge musical theater – continues its inaugural Season Ø with the Chicago premier of GREEK by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Mead Composer in Residence Mark-Anthony Turnage.

GREEK sets the ancient Oedipus myth in the economically depressed Britain of the 1980’s, where becoming a violent punk is a working class kid’s means of survival. Thatcher’s London is afflicted by a plague of racism, violence and mass unemployment. The city is overrun with violent policemen, old drunks and football hooligans. Based on Steven Berkoff’s play by the same title, GREEK was an immediate success at its 1988 Munich Biennale premiere.

GREEK performs 8PM Tuesday May 26 [preview], Thursday May 28, Saturday May 30, Wednesday June 3, Friday June 5 and Saturday June 6, at the AV-Aerie, 2000 W. Fulton St. Admission is by reservation only. Suggested General Admission is a donation of $35 Wednesday & Thursday; $40 Friday & Saturday; $20 preview. Suggested Student Admission is a donation of $10 Thursday & Sunday; $15 Friday & Saturday; $5 preview. Tickets are available online at www.chicagovanguard.org.

Joyce DiDonato’s Handel CD Furore Resounds in Europe, Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo Conquers Paris Opéra

She also stars in Handel Biopic on German TV

The American Mezzo Will Return to New York in May to Sing the World Premiere of Peter Lieberson's New Song Cycle, The World in Flower, with the New York Philharmonic Led by Alan Gilbert

Ecstatic reviews in the U.S. for Joyce DiDonato’s Furore CD – 14 emotion-laden Handel arias – have apparently created a spike in European attention, while more rave reviews for her Paris Opéra performance in Mozart’s Idomeneo roll in from France, Germany, and England. And a German media campaign emphasizes her role in a Handel biopic shot on authentic locations by Germany ’s top ARD TV network for the anniversary of the composer’s death 250 years ago. It’s being shown all over Europe this spring, commemorating Handel’s death in April 1759.

Performing Mozart in Paris , as reported in the London Times, “DiDonato made [her] arias sound more glorious than they really are … the American mezzo approached the sublime. This Idomeneo was worth catching for her alone.” WebThea.com states unequivocally: “Ultimately the real joy for Mozart – and us – in this staging is the beautiful American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who has it all … . She is the light illuminating the inky night of this production.” And Germany’s Neue Musik-Zeitung declares: “Personifying Idamante in body and voice is Joyce DiDonato, with her lovely, noble mezzo ideally suited to Mozart, as the bringer of peace between Crete and Troy.”

Opera, Britain’s top international opera periodical, declared Furore its “Disc of the Month” in no uncertain terms:

“Joyce DiDonato is a mezzo who seemingly can do no wrong … . Though her singing is unquestionably the main thing here, praise is also in order for her selections, a group of arias expressing rage and other emotions of characters in distress. From Serse, for instance, we get … the fulminations of ‘Crude furie degl’ orridi abissi’, which, with its vivid declamation, flawless coloratura, and riveting intensity, sets the tone for the stunning vocalism to come.

“I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a solo Handel disc this much.”

The one-hour TV bio of George Frideric Handel, by award-winning German filmmaker Ralf Pleger, is titled Handel: The Film and argues that the German-born composer who conquered London was one of the most popular musicians in history. Being shown all over Europe in mid-April, it stars DiDonato at recording sessions for Handel’s 1735 London hit Alcina (to be released this spring by Deutsche Grammophon) and in recreated historical scenes. In one of these, DiDonato portrays Francesca Cuzzoni, a favorite prima donna of Handel, who tries to throw her out of a window after she refuses to sing an aria he’s playing on the harpsichord. Not incidentally, the film’s narrator is the popular author of Venice-based detective novels, Donna Leon – a self-confessed “Handel freak” who dedicates her non-writing time and hard-earned book royalties to promoting and recording the 45 operas by her favorite composer (“a god”).

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Joshua Kosman says of DiDonato’s Furore: “This new recital disc of Handel arias finds mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato singing with the technical bravura and expressive lucidity of a great interpreter.” And the Absolute Sound, the super-critical “golden ears” magazine, raves:

“The recent surge in Handel aria discs ... has a flip side: many of the releases offer nothing special. This one does. Joyce DiDonato’s voice is gorgeous, her technique copes with killer coloratura, and her dramatic sense is superb. ... Her stage appearances in comic bel canto roles didn’t prepare me for the fiery personality she unleashes on this aptly titled disc. ... DiDonato is not afraid of taking risks. Her snarls in an aria from Teseo chill; her slow trills in an aria from Hercules are laden with pathos. And virtually every selection includes melodic fireworks delivered with expressiveness and purity of pitch. ... A don’t-miss disc.”

DiDonato has been a French favorite since her international breakthrough in Paris as Rossini’s Rosina at the Paris Opéra Garnier, followed by her performances with William Christie in a tour-de-force performance as Handel’s Dejanira in Hercules – both available on DVD. The encyclopedic French website ForumOpéra.com delivered a rhapsodic review of Furore:

“With her customary generosity Joyce presents a bountiful program centered around the ‘aria di furore’, but balanced with plenty of more intimate moments. … This recording ranks high in the imposing discography of Handel recitals. It will enchant aficionados from the first note, but will also appeal to others who want to acquaint themselves not only with the personality but also with the expressivity of this singer. … She is in great vocal form, with healthy resonance at every level, and with exemplary control of Handelian style and syntax.”

In a leap from the 18th and 19th centuries to the 21st, DiDonato returns to New York in May to sing the world premiere of Peter Lieberson’s cantata The World in Flower with the New York Philharmonic and its Music Director-Designate, Alan Gilbert (May 7, 8, & 9).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

René Pape’s Eagerly-Awaited Carnegie Hall Recital Debut on April 25

Closing out Met Season, German Bass Sings Two “Ring” Roles in April and May

A Rich and Exemplary Selection of Beloved German Songs

René Pape, a Metropolitan Opera regular for 14 seasons, has yet to indulge New York audiences with a solo recital, but the wait is nearly over: on Saturday, April 25, he gives his Carnegie Hall recital debut, partnered by pianist Brian Zeger, with a classic program of Romantic songs by Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf.

For his long-anticipated Carnegie Hall recital debut, René Pape has chosen a classic program of great German Lieder, including many of the most popular of Franz Schubert’s enormous catalogue; Hugo Wolf’s rarer trio of Michelangelo Lieder; and Robert Schumann’s complete Dichterliebe – and, if the audience is lucky, a few surprise encores. Each of the programmed songs is a major work in itself: as many recitalists confirm, a single song often presents a challenge as great as any full-length operatic role.

René Pape will try out selections from his Carnegie Hall program in a more private setting a few evenings earlier, at a fundraiser for Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS in its stylish Michael Palm Series. On both occasions Brian Zeger is Mr. Pape’s superb piano partner. Information is available at www.classicalaction.org or by phone at 212-997-7717.

Pape has been very busy in Europe this season. Among his engagements was the first new production staged especially for him in his hometown of Dresden: his Boris Godunov at the Semperoper earned outstanding reviews all over Europe . He also performed his first Méphistophélès in Germany in a new production of Gounod’s Faust at the Berlin State Opera. In this role, which he had previously played only at the Met, Pape gave a performance described by one critic as “phenomenal … at the top of his form” (Frankfurter Rundschau), and according to Neues Deutschland, Pape’s “powerful, grainy, and rounded voice was delicious. He made an almost charming Méphistophélès, revealing his fundamental evil only in occasional blinding flashes.”

While the opera world waits intently for him to take on the role of Wotan, Wagner’s top god, Pape is wisely biding his time: not yet 45, the “black-diamond bass” (Opera News) still has his best years ahead, despite having performed at least 20 roles in the first 15 years of his phenomenal international career. Meanwhile he remains true to his roots at the Met, alternating between two other “Ring” characters – Fasolt and Hunding – in late April and early May during the company’s farewell to the historic Otto Schenk production, which was introduced with an opening night Walküre back in 1986. Another individual fells each of Pape’s two characters: the giant Fasolt is murdered by Fafner, his own brother, in a squabble near the end of Das Rheingold (and Fafner himself is done in by Siegfried two operas later). And the thoroughly unpleasant and homicidal Hunding is brought down by mighty Wotan’s spear – or perhaps by a bolt of lightening Wotan hurls in contravention of the agreement he’s made with his wife, Fricka, NOT to interfere in the affairs of mere mortals.

Paavo Järvi Conducts Curtis Symphony Orchestra in All-Russian Program at Carnegie Hall

Carter Brey, Principal Cellist of New York Philharmonic, Performs Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante

Paavo Järvi (pictured), music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Curtis alumnus, conducts the Curtis Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, April 28 at 8pm in Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. The all-Russian program features Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1947) and two works by Prokofiev: Suite No. 1 from Romeo and Juliet and Sinfonia concertante with cello soloist Carter Brey.

The Curtis Symphony Orchestra has been called “an orchestra that any city would be lucky to have as its professional ensemble” (Philadelphia Inquirer) and has been praised for its “otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication” (New York Times). Recent visiting conductors include Charles Dutoit, Alan Gilbert, Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya. This real-world training has enabled Curtis alumni to assume prominent positions in major orchestras across the United States , Canada , and abroad. Sixteen percent of the principal chairs in America ’s top 25 orchestras are held by Curtis-trained musicians.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world’s leading music schools, Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its 162 students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on artistic promise. A Curtis education is uniquely tailored to the individual student, with personalized attention from a celebrated faculty and unusually frequent performance opportunities. This distinctive “learn by doing” approach to musical training has produced an impressive number of notable artists, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Leila Josefowicz, Jennifer Higdon, and Lang Lang.

Paavo Järvi, one of the most sought-after conductors of his generation, became music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2001 and recently extended his contract through the 2011-12 season. In 2004, Mr. Järvi became artistic director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen , one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras, and he also serves as music director of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. He will become the seventh music director of the Orchestre de Paris beginning in the 2010-11 season.

Mr. Järvi’s demand as a guest conductor has led to engagements with the world’s major orchestras including the Berlin, St. Petersburg, and Vienna Philharmonics. In North America , he regularly conducts the Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and Chicago Symphony. He previously held the post of principal guest conductor with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Estonia , he studied percussion and conducting at the Tallinn Music High School . His studies continued in the United States at the Curtis Institute under Otto-Werner Mueller and Max Rudolf, former music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, as well as at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute with Leonard Bernstein.

Principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic, Carter Brey joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2008. “I’m very excited about the opportunity to kick off my relationship with the school through this pair of concerts” said Mr. Brey. “It will be a nice way for the students to get to know me a little better and vice versa.” The 100 young musicians between the ages of 14 and 25 who make up the Curtis Symphony Orchestra will perform Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante with Mr. Brey. “I think it’s one of Prokofiev’s best large-scale works,” he said. “The melodic invention is fantastic. Because he wrote it in concert for Mstislav Rostropovich, it’s very idiomatic for the instrument. It’s a challenge, but very rewarding.”

Carter Brey rose to international attention in 1981 as a prizewinner in the Rostropovich Intern ational Cello Competition. He was appointed principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic in 1996 and has performed numerous times as a soloist with the orchestra under the batons of Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, and Alan Gilbert. The first musician to win the Arts Council of America’s Performing Arts Prize, Mr. Brey has also won the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Prize, Avery Fisher Career Grant, and Young Concert Artists’ Michaels Award.

As a chamber musician, Mr. Brey has made regular appearances with the Tokyo and Emerson String Quartets, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival in the United States and Italy, and the Santa Fe and La Jolla chamber music festivals, among others. His discography includes Chopin’s complete works for cello and piano with Garrick Ohlsson (Arabesque), and The Latin American Album (Helicon Records), featuring compositions from South America and Mexico with Christopher O’Riley. Mr. Brey studied with Laurence Lesser and Stephen Kates at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and with Aldo Parisot at Yale University.

Tuesday, April 28 at 8pm
Curtis Symphony Orchestra
Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts

Perelman Stage, Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and 7th Avenue , New York

STRAVINSKY: Petrushka (1947)
PROKOFIEV: Sinfonia concertante (Carter Brey, cello)
PROKOFIEV: Suite No. 1 from Romeo and Juliet

Tickets are $16, $30, and $50 and are available at the Carnegie Ticket Office at (212) 247-7800 or www.carnegiehall.org. Pre-concert gala tickets are available through the Curtis Development Office at (215) 893-5279 or development@curtis.edu.

Marin Alsop leads the Baltimore Symphony in Copland's Symphony No. 3

Music Director Marin Alsop will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, April 16 and Friday, April 17, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Copland’s Symphony No. 3. The concert opens with Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn and will feature BSO concertmaster Jonathan Carney in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. A shortened program will be performed as part of the Casual Series on Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

American composer Aaron Copland was recognized for creating music more quintessentially American than that of any of his peers. A witness to the effects of the Great Depression, Copland decided to address his music not to the elite few but to all music-lovers, while simultaneously refusing to compromise his own fierce integrity. His first large-scale symphony was Symphony No. 3, an end-of-war piece intended to reflect the euphoric spirit of the country at the conclusion of World War II. Divided into three separate movements, the piece commences with simplicity and gentleness, and ends with Copland's signature nostalgic-Americana style.

Max Bruch, one of the most prolific and respected German composers of the second half of the 19th century, began composing Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor when he was a teenager. Written for and first performed by Joseph Joachim, Bruch’s concerto immediately took its place in the core repertoire of virtuoso violinists. It is said that the piece was perfectly written for the violin and allows the instrument to be exploited in the hands of a master. Violin Concerto No. 1 greatly emphasizes Bruch’s talent for writing haunting, deeply expressive melodies.

Johannes Brahms, viewed as the 19th century’s greatest writer of variations, had not written a purely orchestral work in nearly 15 years before composing Variations on a Theme by Haydn. The theme, discovered to have actually originated as a pilgrims’ hymn from an earlier era, was what Brahms needed to set his imagination on fire. All eight variations and the finale range from the very soft and mysterious, to the strong and lively.

Jonathan Carney, violin
Concertmaster Jonathan Carney begins his seventh season with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra after twelve seasons in the same position with London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also held the concertmaster post with the Basque National Orchestra in Spain. Born in New Jersey, Jonathan Carney hails from a musical family with all six members of his family having graduated from the Juilliard School in New York. After completing his studies with Ivan Galamian and Christine Dethier, he was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship to continue his studies in London at the Royal College of Music. After enjoying critically acclaimed international tours as both concertmaster and soloist with numerous ensembles, Mr. Carney was invited by Vladimir Ashkenazy to become concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1991. He was also appointed concertmaster of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1994.

COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Classical Concert Series: Copland’s Symphony No. 3
Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Friday, April 17, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Casual Concert: Bruch Violin Concerto
Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Hall

Marin Alsop, conductor
Jonathan Carney, violin

Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn
Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1
Copland: Symphony No. 3

Tickets for these concerts range from $20 to $68, and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or www.BSOmusic.org.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Baltimore Symphony Associates’ 33rd Annual Decorators’ Showhouse

Sunday, April 26, 2009 through Sunday, May 17, 2009--1121 S. Rolling Rd., Catonsville, MD 21228
Hours: Tu, W, F, Sat: 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.; Th: 10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. ; Sun: 12:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.

Featuring Maryland’s leading interior designers, the Show House is an annual fundraiser to benefit the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s education programs. Baltimore architect William F. Stone, Jr. designed the “Arden House” in 1927 using stucco and stone exteriors with half-timbering, numerous Tudor arches and leaded glass elements combine to make it a fine example of Tudor Revival design.

Tickets are $20 in advance and are available through the BSO Box office 410.783.8000, BSOmusic.org or the following ticket outlets: Graul’s Market, Bill’s Music House, Plymouth Wallpaper, Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, Obects Found, Catonsville Hair Co. and Hair-M Family Hair Care. Tickets are $25 at the door.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Countertenor David Daniels Performs Bach and Handel on Five-City North American Tour

Program Includes Music by Handel, Alongside Sacred Arias and Cantatas by Bach as Featured on Daniels’s Recent Recording for Virgin Classics

The most electrifying singer of the present day … . A voice of matchless beauty at the service of the finest musical sensibility.” – BBC Music magazine

Following his recorded excursions into repertoire rarely sung by countertenors (Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été, also available on Virgin Classics), superstar countertenor David Daniels has been heard most recently on a stunning all-Bach recital with the English Concert and conductor Harry Bicket that features the composer’s incomparably sublime sacred arias and cantatas. The album was released in the fall at the time Daniels and the English Concert began a highly successful European tour. Now, Daniels and his disc-mates come to North America for a five-city tour that will feature works by the composer with whom Daniels is most closely associated – George Frideric Handel – alongside the music by Bach that is showcased on his Virgin Classics album. Concerts will take place at the Chan Centre in Vancouver (Mar 22), Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A. (Mar 24), Herbst Theatre in San Francisco (Mar 26), Harris Theater in Chicago (Mar 29), and New York’s Carnegie Hall (Apr 1).

After a performance by the artists in London in October, the Guardian reported:

“In the ever-deepening countertenor pond, David Daniels remains the biggest fish. This Bach and Handel program with the English Concert was a relatively subdued one for a singer who has even batted his lashes at Broadway. But on this occasion, it was when the music was least razzle-dazzle that he captivated most. Gymnastic ability has never really been the point of Daniels’s voice; instead, it’s his sound that is unmistakable, vibrant and vibrato-rich when many of his colleagues offer cleaner, duller tones.”

MusicWeb International added:

“Last night’s concert by David Daniels and the English Concert under the direction of Harry Bicket at London ’s Queen Elizabeth Hall … was an object lesson in matching music to vocal resources at the peak of their powers. Anyone who has followed the American countertenor’s illustrious career over the past 15 years or so would not have been surprised by either the apparent effortlessness of execution or sheer musicality of expression throughout the evening. However, what might have taken them aback is the fact that this is the first time Daniels has essayed seriously the world of J. S. Bach in both concert form and with his recently released CD of Bach Arias and Cantatas on EMI/Virgin. Some might also quite reasonably have questioned if this was the right repertoire for him, particularly those only acquainted with his work in opera.

“Renowned for his interpretations of Handel’s great alto castrato roles, the countertenor has taken the voice type to new heights on the opera stage and, inevitably, has swept a whole new generation of young singers up in his wake – to both follow and inevitably challenge. With this new repertoire, he answers those young pretenders in no uncertain style … . It was Daniels’s night, and if it’s taken him a while to bring us his Bach as well as his Handel, the waiting was worth it.”

In the conversation that follows, David Daniels discusses his long association with Bach’s music and looks ahead to some of his upcoming engagements, including his debut at Milan ’s La Scala.

    How has your season been going thus far?

    Doing Handel’s Partenope recently in Vienna was wonderful. It’s my favorite role and it was great to finally sing it in Europe . The Bach tour that I did with Harry Bicket and the English Concert in Europe was also very successful and I’m looking forward to continuing it in five really wonderful cities in North America .

    Tell us about the tour program.

    I sing more on this program than I’ve ever sung in a concert. I begin with four Bach arias from the disc, and then sing four Handel arias in the second half of the program – arias that I’ve not performed in the U.S. So this is all new repertoire, both for me and for the audience.

    Why did you decide to sing both Bach and Handel on this program?

    Although I think the Bach arias out of context work well as a CD, I wasn’t convinced it would make an entire program. So I thought it was best to combine the two and add more variety for a concert tour.

    How do the demands each composer makes on the performer differ in the case of Bach and Handel?

    Stylistically it’s very different, but technically and vocally and interpretatively I think it’s much the same.

    So, after these concerts, have people been asking you which of these two composers you prefer to sing?

    I certainly wouldn’t ever pick a favorite – they are very different types of geniuses. And I’m never going to choose anybody over Handel – that composer has been very good to me!

    Does it make you proud to think that your performances of Handel’s music have really helped to revitalize his reputation on stage?

    If I sit down and think about it, I know I played a part in bringing this music to people’s attention, especially in the U.S. , but I don’t concern myself with that kind of thing. It’s great to know that I am part of how this has evolved – it’s certainly a nice reward for all the hard work.

    What’s it like working with Harry Bicket and the English Concert?

    I know many of the players from other orchestras, but what’s exciting for me is that Harry deservedly got this position a year or so ago and it’s nice to collaborate with his new orchestra so quickly and for them to be a part of this new disc and of the two tours. People really seem to love the disc!

    Tell us more about the recording.

    What’s great about this disc – and especially rewarding – is that all of it is music I’ve performed in concert in the complete works. I think you can tell that this music has been performed and lived with for years.

    What’s up for you music-wise in the near future?

    I’m making my La Scala debut in June in Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. It will be my very first time in the building! I’ll be working with Sir Andrew Davis. I’m really looking forward to the summer too – I’ll have three months off! In September I’m doing a project called “Handel Revisited” at the Barbican [in London ]. September 18 is the opening of the season there and I’ll be singing with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields . The first half features Handel arias, and the second half features six composers alive today [including John Tavener, Nico Muhly, Jocelyn Pook, and Craig Armstrong], each doing their own twist on other Handel arias. I think it’s going to be great fun and I’m looking forward to it.

David Daniels with the English Concert / Harry Bicket – North American tour dates

March 22 Chan Centre ( Vancouver , Canada )
March 24 Walt Disney Concert Hall ( Los Angeles , CA )
March 26 Herbst Theatre ( Pittsburgh , PA )
March 29 Harris Theater ( Chicago , IL )
April 1 Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall ( New York , NY )

Thursday, March 19, 2009

35 Americans from 15 States Join Musicians from 29 Countries in the YouTube Symphony

The World’s First Online Collaborative Orchestra Will Perform at Carnegie Hall on April 15, 2009

35 Americans are among the 96 members selected to participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, the world’s first orchestra formed entirely through online auditions. Ranging in age from 17 to 37, the Americans include students, professionals, and talented amateur musicians from 15 different states, from Nevada to New York and Maryland to Mississippi. They were selected by the global YouTube community and Artistic Advisor Michael Tilson Thomas from a list of 200 finalists.

Violist Alissa A. Seavey of Wayne , Pennsylvania won the audition with a video entry she made using her home computer camera and a good-quality microphone. The 28 year-old violist got her master’s degree at Yale, and is now being coached by Philadelphia Orchestra violist Rachel Ku while she auditions for orchestra jobs.

Kurt Hinterbichler heard about the YouTube Symphony Orchestra from his father, who is a professional musician and a regular YouTube user. The 27 year-old native of Albuquerque , New Mexico began studying the bass in sixth grade and is now a theoretical physicist studying at New York ’s Columbia University.

California surgeon Calvin Lee, 37, has barely picked up his violin for 15 years, but dazzled online viewers playing Bach for his audition, despite all but quitting violin before going to medical school. In a Reuters interview he said he recently took up music again to help his general dexterity as a surgeon.

Nina Perlove, an Adjunct Professor at Northern Kentucky University , offers flute instruction on YouTube and had had over 3 million views of her video performances and tutorials. The former Fulbright scholar compares her experience to conducting virtual world tours from her home in Cincinnati where she has two very young children.

These four are among the 96 musicians in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra who will travel to New York City for a classical music summit on April 12-15. The summit concludes with a concert at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Mr. Tilson Thomas, who is also Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Following is a list of the U.S. participants by current state of residence:

California:
Jonathan J. Brummel, trombone - San Francisco
Michelle Kwon, cello - Fremont
Calvin Lee, violin - Modesto
Hannah Tarley, violin - Cupertino

Illinois:
Andrew Chester, tuba - Chicago
Colin Oldberg, trumpet - Evanston

Indiana:
Daniel Stein, flute - Bloomington

Massachusetts:
Samantha Gillogly, viola - West Brookfield
Nicholas Fitton, piccolo - Cotuit
Tien-Hsuan Lee, violin - Allston
Michal Shein, cello - Boston

Maryland:
Rachel Hsieh, cello - Baltimore

Michigan:
Andrea Christine Jarret, violin - Saline

Mississippi:
Ana Catalina Ramirez C., clarinet - Jackson

Nevada:
George Durham, cello - Reno

New York:
Benjamin Chan, violin - Albany
Kurt Hinterbichler, bass - New York
Marc Levine, violin - Islip
Hanah Stuart , violin - New York

Ohio:
Karla Donahew Perez, violin Cleveland
Alexandra Early, violin - Cleveland
David Z. George, bass - Cleveland
Hyungtag Lee, bass - Cincinnati
Joel K. Negus, bass - Cleveland
Ben Odhner, violin - Cleveland
Nina Perlove, flute - Cincinnati

Pennsylvania:
Devin Howell, bass - Harrisburg
Alisa A. Seavey, viola - Wayne

South Carolina:
Patrick Chapman, snare drum/brake drum - Clover

Texas:
Wade Coufal, bassoon - Pearland
Renee Noel Gilliland, viola - El Paso
Jacqueline Morant, violin - Keller
Dawson White, viola - Waco

Virginia:
Elliott G. Burris, slapstick/chimes/bass drum - Charlottesville

Washington:
Eric D. Moe, trumpet - Spokane

Tickets are on sale now through Carnegie Charge at (212) 247-7800 at www.carnegiehall.org.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Announces $1.3 Million in Cost-Saving Measures

Executive and Artistic Leadership, Administration, and Orchestra Musicians Take Steps To Counter Tough Economy

Measures To Include Administration Pay Cuts, Furloughs, and A Hiring Freeze
Say it isn't so... I applied for their webmaster position...

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s executive and artistic leadership, administration, and Orchestra musicians have taken steps to counter the tough economy. The ASO has announced pay cuts, furloughs, and a hiring freeze in the 2009 fiscal year, beginning with President and CEO Allison Vulgamore, who will take a minimum of 7% compensation reduction. Vice Presidents will take a 6% pay cut, and all other employees will take a 5% pay cut. These cuts will be effective beginning with the April 3, 2009 pay period, and will extend through May 31, 2009 — the end of the 2009 fiscal year. These reductions, combined with previous cost-cutting measures, will result in $1.3 million in savings for the 2009 fiscal year, and will enable the ASO to continue to provide the highest level of artistic quality for all concerts and presentations.

Beginning June 1, 2009, and extending through May 31, 2010 (fiscal year 2010), salaries will be fully reinstated, but employees will take unpaid furloughs — Ms. Vulgamore will take 18 days, Vice Presidents will take 15 days, and all other employees will take 13 days. Music Director Robert Spano and the entire ASO artistic conducting staff join in the cost-saving measures through compensation reductions. In total, these ASO compensation reductions and unpaid furloughs will save the Atlanta Symphony over $750,000 in the 2010 fiscal year.

The Orchestra’s musicians and the Atlanta Federation of Musicians are also in discussions with ASO management to assist the institution in weathering the current financial environment. Daniel Laufer, president of the ASO Players’ Association (ASOPA) said, “While we are currently in the second year of a four-year collective bargaining agreement, the musicians have maintained a consistent, high-quality dialogue with Allison Vulgamore and her staff, and are sensitive to finding appropriate ways to play a part in helping the bottom line.”

“We take seriously the fiscal health of the ASO,” said Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “Certainly, we are experiencing, together with our donors, patrons, board members, and employees, the tremendous challenges of these shared national concerns. We have great admiration for our ASO employees who have, through these compensation contributions, now become stakeholders and investors in the ASO’s mission during these extraordinary economic times. We are also tremendously grateful to our loyal patrons who continue to support the ASO through donations and with concert attendance, especially given their inevitable personal circumstances.”

Previous measures taken by the ASO have already reduced the economic impact on its revenue by $1 million in 2009. Earlier this year the decision was made to freeze open positions and delay the hiring of any new staff. Marketing initiatives, such as a recent one-week $25 ticket offer for 2008-09 season concerts, and other special offers to concert-goers, have kept the Classical-series ticket volume equal to what it was last year. In addition, recordings have been, and will continue to be, limited to Atlanta School of Composers projects in 2009.

Looking to fiscal year 2010, the ASO will sustain a lower headcount through the continuation of frozen and unfilled employee positions, and the redistribution of staff responsibilities. There will also be additional benefit savings in Group Health plans and other employee benefits.

“Despite the economy, the Atlanta Symphony has not cut our art. In fact we have performed for more young people this season than any season in our history through the Concerts for Young People,” said Ms. Vulgamore. “Our Symphony Street concerts will close the year with an increased student attendance of 13%, and Discover/Next Generation concerts will close the year with an increased student attendance of 16%. Our Talent Development Program celebrated 15 years this season, during which cellist Khari Joyner won the Junior Division of the Sphinx Competition, the first of our TDP students to do so. In addition, as a result of a $100,000 grant from Humana, in partnership with the Renaissance Learning Center , the ASO recently auditioned nearly 100 young musicians for its Kids with Strings program, a new TDP feeder program with a new partner that didn’t exist last year.”

Ms. Vulgamore says the ASO is committed to providing the community with stimulating art: “The ASO Theater of a Concert staging of John Adams’s opera, Doctor Atomic, and recently Haydn’s The Creation, both had a huge response, and we are looking forward to continuing our art with a performance by Yo-Yo Ma as part of our two-week Musica Ardiente! celebration of Latin America at the end of the season in June. And we are very excited to open our second season at our new summer home, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park .”

The Phoenix Symphony Adds Special Encore to April Concerts

Record-Breaking Crowds Encourage Orchestra to Perform an Audience Favorite Following Each Concert in April

PHOENIX (EVLiving.com) - In appreciation and thanks for the outpouring of community support and loyalty from the Symphony’s new audiences and long time patrons, Michael Christie has announced that during the month of April, the orchestra will perform a special encore selection following each of the Classics concerts.

“We want to embrace the tremendous buzz we are experiencing this spring, so we thought it would be appropriate to kick off the April encores by performing Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Flight of the Bumblebee following the April 2-3 Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances concerts. This is such a beloved, whimsical piece, perfect for spring and provides a great opportunity to showcase the orchestra’s tremendous skill and technical abilities and to celebrate achieving these sales. We will play our hearts out and let our fingers fly to show our immense gratitude to all of the people who come out to our performances to enjoy great music. Let the buzz continue!” - Michael Christie, Virginia G. Piper Music Director. Throughout April, The Phoenix Symphony will follow each April classics concert with a select audience favorite performed as an encore.

Despite the economic slowdown, The Phoenix Symphony is experiencing record attendance at its concerts, with sales for single tickets up nearly 10% over last year. The Symphony is on track to achieve its single ticket sale goals for the year which will exceed last year’s record breaking year. This bucks the trend American orchestras are reporting from all across the country: 76% of orchestras are expecting shortfalls in single ticket sales this year.

The Phoenix Symphony has been enjoying record sales for both its classical and pops concert series, including an all-time high week of ticket sales reached during its Pops concert in March as well as several sold-out classical concerts in February including Stravinsky’s The Firebird and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto.

The Phoenix Symphony’s April classical concerts include Rachmaninoff’s i (April 2-3), Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (April 9 & 11), i (April 23 & 25), Saint-Saën’s Organ Symphony (April 30 & May 2). Tickets range from $22 - $72. In addition, The Phoenix Symphony’s 2009/10 Season has just been announced, with season tickets ranging from $80 “choose your own” packages to subscriptions including the full Symphony season. Tickets are available at www.phoenixsymphony.org or by calling 602-495-1999.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Easter symphonic treat with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra kicks off the Easter weekend with two concerts featuring the Symphonies in C of Stravinsky and Bizet, in Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall (Thursday 9 April) and Glasgow’s City Halls (Friday 10 April). American conductor Andrew Litton (pictured) will direct the concerts and will be joined by leading English soprano Sally Matthews for Britten’s popular song cycle, Les Illuminations.

Sally Matthews is a previous winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award and made her Royal Opera House debut in 2001. She performs regularly as a recitalist and opera singer throughout the world and last year debuted as recitalist at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam . She was also part of the BBC New Generation Artists scheme.

Les Illuminations is based on the fantastical poem of Arthur Rimbaud, to which Britten instantly felt compelled to set music. It is scored for strings and voice and perfectly mirrors the fantasies of the text, complete with magic and monsters.

Composed during the Second World War and a period of personal turmoil, Stravinsky’s symphony is dark and brooding. It is complemented by 17-year-old Bizet’s colourful and lighthearted work, which brings the concerts to a close.

The well respected conductor Andrew Litton has directed some of the world’s leading orchestras. He currently holds the positions of Music Director Emeritus of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Laureate of the Bournemouth Symphony and Music Director of the Bergen Philharmonic. He last conducted the SCO in a programme of Mendelssohn, Britten and Mozart during the 2006/07 Season.

Previous Van Cliburn Winners take the Stage in Dallas

The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is still two months away, but Dallas is already gearing up for the contest with a performance by some of the previous winners last night. The concert was entitled "Gold Fingers."

As reported by Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News:

The players, in various pairs and sometimes all four together, were Olga Kern and Stanislav Ioudenitch (who both took gold medals in 2001), Jon Nakamatsu (1997) and José Feghali (1985). With two big Steinways nestled cheek to tail, there was plenty of musical personality as well as flashy fingerwork.

As Mr Cantrell's article continues it seems the evening was filled with fun and some fabulous piano playing (and several really remarkable gowns). Let's hope they decide to tour the show.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brittish Library makes classical records accessible via the Internet

The British Library is making their classical music recordings available via the web, more than 1,000 titles, many of which are interpretations of well-known movements not generally available. This is all possible through the Archival Sound Recordings project.

While the initial sentiment of such a project should be met with cheers, the recordings, for copyright reasons, will only be available through licensed UK higher and further education institutions or in the British Library reading rooms. Although, it is possible to explore the full audio holdings in the Sound Archive catalogue, include concertos and sinfoniettas from masters such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms and Haydn.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra & Marin Alsop Announce 2009-2010 Season

Season-long theme fosters self-exploration of musical roots and region's ethnic diversity

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Marin Alsop announced today the Orchestra's 2009-2010 season, the third full season under the direction of Maestra Alsop. The 2009-2010 season is a pastiche of musical influences from around the world and from within local communities. In this dramatic season, the concert programs are generated by Marin Alsop's mission to encourage audiences to explore their own musical roots and pay tribute to the diverse heritages found in the Baltimore-Washington area. From a U.S. premiere from Finland, to a discovery of traditional Eastern European music; from a program called España that dances with rhythmic intensity, to an evening with soprano Kathleen Battle that captures the spiritual roots of the African-American experience—the upcoming season is devoted to drawing cultural connections beyond the context of the concert hall.

"I've always been fascinated by what musical elements draw us to a specific composer or music from a specific era or region," comments Marin Alsop. "Clearly there are musical idioms—nationalistic, cultural and generational—that truly resonate with a listener and often that association is because the music is reflective of our own cultural lineage. A particularly Bohemian-sounding passage of music from a Dvorák symphony to a jazz riff that emerges in Gershwin's music—this epitomizes for me the cultural soul contained within so much of the symphonic repertoire. This season, the BSO will celebrate the diverse range of ethnicities found in our programs and in our communities. Our 'roots-inspired' theme will infuse every aspect of the 2009-2010 season, on stage and off."

World premiere of Swensen’s ‘The Fire and the Rose’

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra performs the world premiere of Joseph Swensen’s Symphony for horn and orchestra ‘The Fire and the Rose’ in Glasgow City Halls on Friday 3 April, and Edinburgh Queen’s Hall on Saturday 4 April, conducted by Swensen (pictured) himself and featuring virtuoso horn player Radovan Vlatković, for whom the work was written. The new symphony is programmed alongside Sibelius’ Pelléas and Mélisande and Respighi’s The Birds.

The Fire and the Rose is the largest scale work Swensen has written to date, both in length and instrumentation. Swensen took his inspiration from T.S. Eliot’s poem, Four Quartets, a poem that was written in response to Beethoven’s late string quartets. The two main themes are time and remembering, with many references to déjà vu in Eliot’s poem. Swensen has captured the essence of déjà vu by creating echoes of echoes which reverberate throughout the piece. The symphony features an extensive range of percussion, from cowbells to marimba, as well as samples of other instruments played on synthesizers.

Swensen says of his new work:
“I wrote the Symphony in reverse (the last movement being written first, and so on) and I often felt as if I were trying to remember a dream, from the relative clarity of the ending, backwards toward the nearly forgotten events of the beginning... All the musical material is closely related – the handful of motifs and melodies with which it is built are not, for the most part, developed as in traditional classical symphonies: rather they are repeated in ever varied ways and contexts through the work.”

Joseph Swensen will be talking about his new work at pre-concert talks in both Glasgow and Edinburgh – free to ticket-holders.

Edinburgh audiences can hear horn player Radovan Vlatković perform in a more intimate Sunday afternoon chamber concert at the Queen’s Hall on Sunday 5 April at 2:30pm. Vlatković performs Dohnanyi’s Sextet with an SCO Ensemble, and the Orchestra’s Principal Clarinet, Maximilliano Martín, takes the solo in Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet.

THE FIRE AND THE ROSE
RESPIGHI The Birds
SIBELIUS Pelléas and Mélisande
SWENSEN Symphony for horn and orchestra ‘The Fire and the Rose’ World premiere

Joseph Swensen, conductor
Radovan Vlatković, horn

Friday 3 April, 7:30pm Glasgow City Halls
Saturday 4 April, 7:30pm Edinburgh Queen’s Hall