Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra to tour North America in April 2012

"Richard Tognetti and his badass classical band, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, don’t play New York nearly often enough. But, on the rare occasion that they do come in from Down Under, they leave an indelible mark on the city’s music scene." Time Out New York

This April, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Artistic Director and Lead Violin Richard Tognetti, will travel to North America for a 10-stop tour. The ensemble will hit major cities in the US and Canada with the final date of the tour culminating at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Joining them will be world-renowned soprano (and recent Ojai collaborator) Dawn Upshaw and baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes.

The program for the tour features the works of modern masters, contemporary composers, arrangements of chamber works for string orchestra and small orchestral pieces. Mahler’s "Adagietto" from Symphony No. 5, a veritable song without words, opens the tour with its haunting beauty and serenity. A featured piece on the tour is Grammy-winning composer Maria Schneider’s "Winter Morning Walks," composed for Upshaw and the ACO. The work saw its US premiere last summer at the Ojai Festival and will be recorded for ArtistShare in New York at the close of the tour. It is inspired by poetry by poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winner Ted Kooser, whose walks in the winter mornings during his cancer treatments led to a series of postcards to a friend in which he transforms common things and daily events into well-timed and expertly sculpted poems.

The ACO also presents the innovative interweaving of four movements of George Crumb’s “Black Angels” with Anton Webern’s “Five Pieces for Orchestra”, a juxtaposition described by the Los Angeles Times as “American angst stood its own against Viennese angst.” String quartets find themselves in string-orchestra form as the orchestra performs Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major in a transcription by Tognetti and Grieg’s String Quartet in G minor. The Grieg is also featured on the ACO's new BIS recording being released on March 27th in time for the tour. Baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes is the featured artist on Richard Rodney Bennett’s “Songs for Sleep,” a work consisting of six poems, all taken from the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. At concerts with Dawn Upshaw, the soprano will perform lieder by Schubert and Schumann.The ensemble also presents works by Elgar, Saxton, an early piece by Shostakovich and Schoenberg’s monumental Transfigured Night.

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