. Interchanging Idioms: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whim's Sickle Waltz - a macabre orchestral dance

I've decided to start posting some of my musical scores up here on the blog. For those that think I'm giving away the farm, posting costs me nothing and I doubt anyone is going to try and perform these works as they'd have to create their own parts. AND, if someone sees something they like and what's to talk to me about getting parts, I'm ahead of the game.

Whim’s Sickle Waltz is a delightful, if slightly macabre, romp through the world of someone who really loves his job –the grim reaper. The main theme is a waltz, but each episode takes it somewhere new and slightly off rhythm, as if death has a set rhythm to it.

Yet, even with the slight off nature of the music, there is a beauty. Does Whim find love in his dark waltz of death? Or is it just glimpses of beauty along his journey. Regardless of what he finds, there is always a return to the main theme and his waltzing through life (or death as the case may be).

I'd love to have a artist create some images to go along with the music, or perhaps create an animation to the music. Unfortunately, that is not my talent. So, here's the music with a score to follow along. IF, you belong to an orchestra and would like to perform this piece... find me on Twitter - ChipMichael.

Yuja Wang's Fantasia out on Deutsche Grammophon April 10th

Grammy-nominated pianist’s fourth album for DG full of musical miniatures that are short, sweet and huge on impact

On April 10th, Deutsche Grammophon releases pianist Yuja Wang’s fourth album, a release featuring small, solo works and encores. Fantasia follows her Grammy-nominated Rachmaninov album with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The album is a stunning variety of works by Scriabin, Schubert/Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Albéniz, Saint-Saëns/Horowitz, Strauss/Cziffra, Dukas/Staub/Wang, Prokofiev, Scarlatti, Rachmaninov, Chopin and Art Tatum.

After the heavier Transformation album (with works by Stravinsky, Scarlatti, Brahms and Ravel) and acclaimed Rachmaninov recordings, Yuja and Deutsche Grammophon agreed on this program of miniatures, a project of a radically different nature. “I love all the pieces here,” Yuja explains. “With these miniatures, I hope I can capture a mood or a scent – a hint of atmosphere. That’s all you can do with small pieces, create a vignette of a memory, or a hope. It’s like a haiku…People assume that an encore is something showy, but, for me, it’s a little moment of tenderness from the heart.”

Yuja Wang has performed the repertoire on this album on stages around the world, but her current concert season sees her taking to the stage with larger concerto performances. This April, Yuja will appear with the New York Philharmonic performing Prokofiev and will make her debut with the Atlanta Symphony with Rachmaninov's Concerto No. 3. In June, she appears with the San Francisco Symphony, again presenting Rachmaninov.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pacific Symphony Welcomes Argentina's World-Renowned Concert Organist, Hector Olivera, to Showcase the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ

Power, passion and melodious music fill the concert hall when dynamic virtuoso Hector Olivera performs the final organ recital of Pacific Symphony’s 2011-12 “Pedals and Pipes” series showcasing the majestic 4,322-piped William J. Gillespie Concert Organ. The Times Reporter describes an evening with Olivera as: “An event, a happening, a joyful celebration of the sheer power and pressure that a true virtuoso like Hector Olivera can unleash in a concert hall.” Born in Buenos Aires, Olivera began playing the pipe organ at age 3, and at age 5 played for the legendary Eva Perón. Since attending The Juilliard School of Music, his passionate and personal interpretations of both classical and popular music have earned him standing ovations around the world. Taking full advantage of the organ’s versatility, Olivera performs works by Bach, Clarke/Purcell, Franck, Liszt, a little improvisation and more for a one-night-only concert, Sunday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets are $15-59; for more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

“Olivera swept the audience with absolute Olympic virtuosity, and that still doesn’t say it… Hector Olivera is in a class by himself,” wrote the Atlanta Journal Constitution after a solo performance he gave in celebration of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

“Here is a man with phenomenal technique and musicianship who moves from one genre to another with ease… He continues to grow, evolve, and entertain; he envisions himself as a total orchestra.”—The American Organist.

To begin the recital, Olivera unleashes the lush composition and dramatic intensity of Meyerbeer’s Coronation March from “The Prophet,” a moment of high
operatic spectacle. Then, the mood shifts to the poetic and gentle interlacing of melodies by Bach in his Choral Prelude from Cantata, BWV 147, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” originally written for four-part chorus and small instrumental ensemble. The joyous and festive celebration of Clarke/Purcell’s Trumpet Tune, Air and Voluntary in D precedes Franck’s Prelude, Fugue and Variation, and French prodigy Daquin’s Noël No. 8 delights in its Galant style. Finishing up the first half is Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E-flat major, BWV 552, called “one of the most noble and eloquent utterances among [Bach’s] many organ compositions,” by music historian Michael Jameson.

After intermission, Liszt takes Bach’s name and turns it into a Fantasy and Fugue, and Bossi’s version of the familiar hymn Ave Maria comes alive through the organ’s many voices. Olivera concludes the concert by improvising on a submitted theme.

One of today’s most sought-after concert organists, Olivera has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and around the world in Australia, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Belgium and more. A child prodigy, he entered the Buenos Aires Conservatory at age 6 and at age 12 was the youngest student to attend the University of Buenos Aires. In 2000, he performed a solo memorial concert in New York City’s St. Paul the Apostle as a tribute to his hero and role model, organist Virgil Fox and a subsequent memorial concert at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in 2004.

The co-star of the evening is the 30-ton, four-stories tall, $3.1 million William J. Gillespie Concert Organ built from steel, tin, oak, poplar, maple, lead and carbon fiber. The organ premiered at the first concert of Pacific Symphony’s 2008-09 season, after three years and 42,000 hours of direct labor by a team at organ builder, C.B. Fisk. This concert is generously sponsored by Valerie and Barry Hon.

This Week's Top Ticket in Denver: Mariachi Cobre

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year in classical fashion with the Colorado Symphony & Mariachi Cobre!

The dashing 12-piece Mariachi band is Walt Disney World’s great export, sporting three guitarists, two trumpet players and seven violinists who combine to deliver the warm, rich rhythms of Mexican folkloric music that will sweep your entire family into a spirit of celebration. Originally formed in 1971, they’ve shared the stage with such luminaries as Linda Ronstadt, Julio Iglesias and Carlos Santana. Tickets start at $19!


New Album dedicated to Schubert and Minimalism, featuring two Schubert symphonies paired with music by Erik Satie, Morton Feldman and Philip Glass to be released as an iTunes Exclusive on February 28, 2012, with SACD/CD Hybrid to Follow on April 3, 2012

"Talent For Punctuating Classics With Surprises...this ensemble has a formula, it is based on balancing new and unusual works with the most basic canonic classics." The New York Times

“Few ensembles are as adept at mixing old music with new as this dynamic young Brooklyn orchestra.”
New Yorker

This spring, celebrated ensemble The Knights under the direction of Eric Jacobsen present “A Second of Silence,” a new album juxtaposing the works of Schubert with examples of minimalism from Satie, Feldman and Glass. The album will be released as an iTunes digital exclusive on February 28, 2012, with a wide release to all retailers on April 3, 2012. This release marks the ensemble’s second appearance on the Ancalagon label. Their first, a release of Mozart concerti with Lara and Scott St. John, won the 2011 Juno Award for Best Classical Album (Soloist with Large Ensemble).

In April, The Knights will embark on their first American tour. This eight-concert event will feature Copland's Appalachian Spring together with music of Ives, Dvorak, Golijov and Gaby Frank. The appearances take the ensemble to Troy, NY; Akron, OH; Granville, OH; Sewanee, TN; Columbus, GA; Athens, GA; Amherst, MA; and Rockville Centre, NY

Pianists Inna Faliks, Tanya Gabrielian, and Emma Tahmiziàn Celebrate rare and magnificent piano music of Franz Liszt

Celebrating Franz Liszt: Solo and Seldom Heard Four Hand Music will take place on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 7:30 PM at Yamaha Piano Salon, 689 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, in New York City. This concert, featuring pianists Inna Faliks, Tanya Gabrielian, and Emma Tahmiziàn, is co-hosted by Pro Musicis and Yamaha Artist Services and will include Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes, transcriptions of symphonic poems, and the Dante Sonata. Tickets are $25 at the door for the concert and a post show reception. Reservations can be made by contacting Pro Musicis at 212-787-0993 or yasi@yamaha.com. This concert will be webcast live at www.yamaha.com.

Called “adventurous” and “passionate” by The New Yorker and “poetic” by Time Out New York, Ukrainian-born pianist, Inna Faliks (www.innafaliks.com), has established herself as one of the most committed, exciting and poetic artists of her generation. “Sound of Verse,” her MSR Classics release of Boris Pasternak, Rachmaninoff and Ravel, garnered rave reviews. Winner of the 2005 Pro Musicis International Award, Ms. Faliks is also a Yamaha artist.

Hailed by the London Times as “a pianist of powerful physical and imaginative muscle,” Tanya Gabrielian combines emotional vulnerability with thoughtful artistry, captivating audiences with her gripping performances. Winner of the 2008 Pro Musicis International Award, Ms. Gabrielian was awarded the 2011 McGraw-Hill Robert Sherman Award for Music Education and Community Outreach. www.tanyagabrielian.com

Iestyn Davies Debuts at Lyric Feb 29; Sings Solo in Three Chicago Venues in March

“A winning actor ... a beautiful musician”- Classical Review

On the heels of his critically acclaimed debuts last fall at the Met (in Rodelinda) and at Carnegie Hall, British countertenor Iestyn Davies – named 2010’s Royal Philharmonic Young Artist of the Year – makes his Lyric Opera debut in Chicago on February 29 in a new production of Handel’s Rinaldo. The Baroque master’s depiction of the First Crusade will be conducted by Harry Bicket and directed by Francisco Negrin. Davies, a rising star on the international music scene, and “One of the most glorious countertenor voices in the world today” (Independent, UK), sings the role of Eustazio.

While in Chicago, Davies headlines three concerts, singing Handel with the Baroque Band under the direction of Harry Bicket. The concerts, on March 9, 10, and 14, are each at different venues. The Handel arias include “O Lord Whose Mercies,” “Their Land Brought Forth Frogs,” “Up the Dreadful Steep Ascending,” and “Sento amor” from Partenope.

Davies’ resplendent fall 2011 season saw the release of his most recent recording, Porpora Cantatas – a solo album on the Hyperion label that was already a sensation in Europe when it was released in the States, and which led the UK’s Observer to praise his “awesome technique and flawless tone.” In Davies’ Met debut in Rodelinda, he brought a “potent and beautifully balanced voice to Unulfo” (New Yorker), and Classical Review applauded him for “negotiating the never-ending runs in Sono I colpi della sorte and the tricky intervals in Fra tempeste funeste with both precision and a delectable lilt.” At Carnegie Hall on December 15, he performed a program of works by Britten, Purcell, and Bach, as well as the world premiere of folksong arrangements by composer Nico Muhly, securing Davies’ soaring reputation as “Today’s most exciting British countertenor” (Observer, UK).

Luca Pisaroni Makes Lyric Opera of Chicago Debut in Handel's Rinaldo (Feb 29)

"Smashing singing.” — The Independent on Pisaroni’s Argante at Glyndebourne

Luca Pisaroni will make his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Argante in a new production of Handel’s Rinaldo (Feb 29-March 24), reprising a role that he played to acclaim at the UK’s Glyndebourne Festival last summer. In just his first performance as the treacherous Saracen king, the Telegraph declared that Pisaroni was “at the top of his game.” On March 10, the Italian bass-baritone will join his father-in-law, star-baritone Thomas Hampson, in a private performance benefiting Classical Action; it will be their first US appearance together. Pisaroni will also sing Schubert and Brahms in a recital as part of Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Song” series on March 25, appearing alongside tenor Michael Schade (and substituting for Thomas Quastoff, who recently announced his retirement from the concert stage). Pisaroni will join Schade for a similar program at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall on March 30.

Pisaroni is coming off a string of hit performances at the Metropolitan Opera. His Leporello in this fall’s new Don Giovanni was judged “charismatic and compulsively watchable” by the New York Observer, while his turn alongside Plácido Domingo and Joyce DiDonato in The Enchanted Island – the Met’s Shakespearean tableau with music by Handel, Vivaldi, and Rameau – was praised for its “dark-edged pathos” by Martin Bernheimer in the Financial Times and for its “sheer vocal charisma” by David Patrick Stearns in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Huffington Post said Pisaroni’s blend of dramatic characterization and vocal bravura was “nothing less than astounding.” And the Associated Press singled out a key episode Pisaroni shared with DiDonato: “Part of what makes that scene so moving is the amazing performance by Pisaroni as Caliban. Although he sings up a storm elsewhere in the opera, here, without uttering a word but using facial expression and body movement, he indelibly conveys his character's grief, anger and, finally, acceptance."

As for Pisaroni’s Windy City performances in Handel’s Rinaldo, the singer says: "I am thrilled to make my Chicago Lyric debut as Argante – it is one of the most vocally challenging bass-baritone roles in the entire Baroque repertoire. The famous entrance aria `Sibilar gli angui' contains an incredible – almost disturbing – number of high notes. And the second aria, `Vieni, o cara' – which happens almost immediately after the first – forces the singer to show both sides of Argante’s personality: a warrior and king in one moment, a passionate and almost insecure lover in the next."

Around the time of his Glyndebourne performances as Argante, Pisaroni revealed to the UK press that he prepared for the "come-from-nowhere, 100 miles an hour in two seconds" virtuosity demanded in the "Sibilar" aria by playing soccer with the stagehands right before making his entrance. "It's an aria of fury!” he exclaimed, “You must have the whole body warmed up, not just the voice." The results proved the method right, as The Independent declared that Pisaroni's performances in Rinaldo made for "smashing singing." And Opera Today said: "Argante can be a relatively small part, but Luca Pisaroni made it central, by the sheer force of personality in his singing... This Argante is more than a match for Armida."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thomas Hampson Makes Metropolitan Opera Role Debut as Verdi’s Macbeth Mar 15

When Thomas Hampson made his American role debut as Verdi’s Macbeth in 2007, the San Francisco Chronicle pronounced his portrayal an “unqualified triumph,” marveling: “Just when there seemed to be no way for Thomas Hampson’s performance in the title role of Verdi’s Macbeth to get any more majestic or wrenching, it did.” Now for the first time the baritone brings this signature role to the Metropolitan Opera, giving the first of six performances on March 15, when the company revives Adrian Noble’s “stylistically eclectic, grimly effective and, at times, intriguingly playful production” (New York Times).

Noble’s innovative staging, which sets Macbeth’s action in the years after the Second World War, is complemented by Mark Thompson’s set and costume design, with acclaimed Italian maestro Gianandrea Noseda on the podium. Joining Hampson on stage is German soprano Nadja Michael as Lady Macbeth, who sang the same role opposite him at Chicago’s Lyric Opera; the New York Review of Books confessed to never having seen a “better performed version than this, with the thunder-voiced Hampson and the sexy Michael at the top of their game.” Austrian bass Günther Groissböck sings Banquo, and tenor Dimitri Pittas reprises Macduff, the role in which he impressed the New York Times with his “melting sound and dramatic urgency” at the production’s opening run.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Live on the Web, medici.tv Presents Dutilleux’s Tree of Dreams (Today, Feb 24) and Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos with Renée Fleming (Feb 25)

“The hits keep coming at medici.tv.” — Alex Ross (The Rest Is Noise)

This weekend, medici.tv offers two more must-see musical events live on the web. This afternoon, Friday February 24 at 2 pm, violinist Renaud Capuçon performs Henri Dutilleux’s gorgeous L’Arbre des songes (The Tree of Dreams), with conductor Tugan Sokhiev and the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. The Toulouse program also presents Tchaikovsky’s great “Pathétique” Symphony. On February 25 at 2:15 pm, medici.tv is especially proud to present the opera Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss, starring soprano Renée Fleming and conducted by Christian Thielemann, in a production from Baden-Baden, Germany.

Premiered in the 1980s by the eminent violinist Isaac Stern (who commissioned the work), Dutilleux’s L'Arbre des songes is a rare classic among contemporary concertos. Scored for a large orchestra that includes a piano, cimbalom, and five percussionists, the work is a wonder of the imagination: from the color-rich instrumentation to the exotic melodies and harmony, brought from dream to life by the French composer. Soloist Renaud Capuçon won a Diapason d’Or for his 2002 recording of Dutilleux’s piece on Virgin Classics. The program’s second half features Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique.” Since Tugan Sokhiev has been music director of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, the ensemble has been acclaimed for its performances of Russian music – from Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky to Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. The orchestra’s recordings of Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 on the Naïve label have earned just praise for their idiomatic flair.

Those who had the pleasure of witnessing the production of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier at the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus still talk about the joys of that rare theatrical experience. The driving forces behind that lauded Rosenkavalier – soprano Renée Fleming and conductor Christian Thielemann – have teamed again for Ariadne auf Naxos, the 1916 follow-up to Der Rosenkavalier by Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Ariadne auf Naxos showed once again that Strauss was a lover of the female voice in all its lyrical refinement and emotional beauty. The young Cavalier to Fleming’s Marschallin in the Baden-Baden Rosenkavalier was Sophie Koch, who also returns to co-star as the Composer to Fleming’s Ariadne. The stage director and set designer of the Festspielhaus production is Philippe Arlaud. In 2011 medici.tv also broadcast a Strauss program featuring Renée Fleming and Christian Thielemann live from the prestigious Salzburg Festival.

Live in February at medici.tv

Feb 24, 2 pm EST
Renaud Capuçon and Tugan Sokhiev in Dutilleux and Tchaikovsky
Renaud Capuçon, violin; Tugan Sokhiev, conductor; Orchestre National du Capitole

Feb 25, 2:15 pm EST
Renée Fleming and Christian Thielemann in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos
Renée Fleming (Ariadne/Prima Donna); Sophie Koch (The Composer); Christian Thielemann, conductor; Staatskapelle Dresden

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Genus Cumulonimbus: 1st Movement of Atmospheres a new string quartet

A friend of mine, J.M. Gerraughty recently posted his completed string quartet on his blog: j.m. gerraughty, composer. I so liked the idea, I followed suit, with my recent foray into the genre.

This is the 1st movement of the string quartet "Atmospheres." While the cloud forms have a seemingly regular form to them, they are anything but a regular shape. So, using the time signature 19/16, I allow the quartet to move through a variety of different ways of breaking up this irregular time into semi-regular beats creating a sense of movement, while propelling the
listener forward.

Genus Cumulonimbus Clouds of the genus cumulonimbus are generally dark grey near the bottom with a flat base. They also rise with extremely high tops. Developing frm Cumulus cloud formations, they occur when the airmass is unstable. Cumulonimbus clouds tend to produce thrunderstorms and are accompanied with strong winds at ground level. The piece is written entirely in 19/16 creating a sense of the instability of their namesake cloud formations. By shifting the way the 16th notes are beamed together, the "pulse" shifts throughout the piece giving the illusion of a regular pattern without ever staying in one place for very long.

I've included a pdf of the score so you can follow along!

Meeting Commission Deadlines - Why do Orchestras Accept This?

There is a lot of furor over Golijov using music by Philip Glass in a commission for the Chicago Symphony. One of the comments suggests he struggles to meet commission deadlines. In a blog post defending Golijov, Glass Notes said, "other composers regularly don't meet deadlines on high profile commissions."


Dallas Symphony recently gave a concert of James Newton Howard. Mr Howard was commissioned to write a new piece for the concert but other deadlines got in the way.

While I appreciate a concert of Mr Howard's music has more audience appeal than my own. Mr Golijov also has name recognition that I do not. But I have NEVER missed a deadline --and I never intended on ever missing one.

If I'm contracted for a piece, I consider that contract to be an obligation on my part. Just as much as I hate when an ensemble decides to not play one of my pieces at the last minute, not providing the music for a commission is just as frustrating.

Last year, I was commissioned by the Boulder Symphony to provide a piece for their concert "Heroism Reborn" --which they just gave last Friday. Over the course of the year, the commission was changed from an orchestral piece with solo performer, to an orchestral piece, then to a brass and percussion piece and ultimately brass and timpani music. The last change was only a slight modification from the score I had already provided, but the switch from orchestral to brass and percussion meant I went back to the drawing board to write something completely new.

Composers out there might cringe at the thought of having to write a completely new work for the same commission. But I feel it is my role as composer to give the ensemble what they need for their performance.

I may not have the audience appeal YET - but I will. AND when an orchestra requests a piece of music, they know they will get it.

For those composers out there who can't seem to make their deadlines? How about sharing the wealth? There are a lot of composers like me who would gladly take over any commissions you don't seem to have time for.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

David Lang's new CD: this was written by hand

The composer's new album features a cycle of memorial pieces

Composer David Lang returns with a new recording of two separate works for solo piano: the title piece and a cycle of memorial works written for his friends titled memory pieces, both performed by Andrew Zolinsky.

this was written by hand was a piece Lang had written after realizing he had not physically written a piece with pencil since purchasing a home computer in 1993. Lang had said in his liner notes that he wondered if "the means of writing had any effect on the writing itself", and to these ears, it did indeed. The piece's stark but colorful passages sound as if they are created with a more ragged, handwritten craftsmanship than a piece that one would expect to be put through any level of a new technology. Very high-ended, mostly childlike phrases are continued until the 7-minute mark when they are intervened by low-end chords that bring the piece to a much darker place and leave it there.

The sequencing and contrasts of the movements of memory pieces invoke those of Carnival of the Animals (Very slow, followed by fast, followed by thudding, etc.), but in the presentation of something far more dramatic than that work, starting with "Cage" (written for John Cage).

The concept of the cycle, which was suggested by one of its dedicatees, pianist Yvar Mikhashoff, is a series of snapshots of each friend embodied in musical thoughts. The movements convey very brilliantly an aspect of each person's character through Lang's eyes.

From "Spartan Arcs" (Mikhashoff's tribute that invokes Philip Glass) to "Grind" (Jacob Druckman's tribute) to "Wed", written for installation artist Kate Ericson, the pieces are all a segment of these people that Lang has always had with him and has now forever made them public with this cycle of works.

The combination of the stark but sonorous recording and Zolinsky's brilliant technique and familiar identity with the pieces provides a very humble and beautiful set of music. Without compromising his contemporary style, Lang has definitely made a great gesture towards rekindling a classical sensibility with this recording, and has simultaneously made a fitting set of memorials for fellow artists that left some wonderful impressions on him.

London Symphony Orchestra’s LSO Live label releases sixteen albums mastered specifically for iTunes

The London Symphony Orchestra’s LSO Live label is thrilled to release sixteen albums mastered specifically with iTunes in mind, delivering the music to listeners exactly the way the artists and recording engineers intended. The albums include Valery Gergiev’s new recording of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, Sir Colin Davis conducting Holst’s The Planets, Bernard Haitink’s acclaimed Beethoven Symphony cycle and some of the best known titles in the LSO Live catalogue. These new recordings, Mastered for iTunes, use high-resolution sourced audio to provide fans with an incredibly rich listening experience.

James Mallinson, producer for LSO Live states, ‘Mastered for iTunes is a clever way to use modern production techniques and technology to improve the experience for listeners. Bypassing the inadequacies of CD-quality masters and focusing on the way people listen to music today allows us to produce recordings which are far more natural.’

The pursuit of the best sound quality has always been as important to LSO Live as reaching wider audiences. The label’s recordings are made over several live performances using the very latest technology. They are then edited together to produce masters that combine the refinement of studio recordings with the vitality and excitement of live music making. Mastered for iTunes allows music to retain more of the dynamic range and energy of live performance, together with the transparency of modern high-resolution recording.

LSO Live was the first classical label to make its entire catalogue available on iTunes. The label, which was launched in 2000 and is wholly owned by the London Symphony Orchestra, also releases new recordings in the Super Audio CD format. LSO Live records extensively with the LSO’s Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev as well as Sir Colin Davis and Bernard Haitink. It won its first Grammy Awards in 2002 and has since collected numerous international prizes including Gramophone Awards, Classical Brits and BBC Music Magazine Awards.

This Week's Top Ticket in Denver: Tchaikovsky 4

Colorado Symphony's MASTERWORKS SERIES

Tchaikovsky 4

FRI 4/13 - 7:30 p.m.
SAT 4/14 - 7:30 p.m.
Boettcher Concert Hall

Andrew Litton, conductor
Pascal Rogé, piano

Tickets Start at $19

BRAHMS / Academic Festival Overture
MOZART / Piano Concerto No. 21
TCHAIKOVSKY / Symphony No. 4

Opening this Litton conducted performance is Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, described by Brahms as “a very boisterous potpourri of student songs.” Pianist Pascal Rogé is highlighted on Mozart’s famous piano concerto No. 21, featured in the 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan. The concert concludes with one of the most revered works in the repertoire, Tchaikovsky's 4th.

Anne Akiko Meyers AIR – The Bach Album Debuts at #1 on Billboard Classical Chart

Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 and Double Concerto featuring Meyers on both parts

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers’ newest eOne recording, Air – The Bach Album, debuted this week at #1 on the Billboard Classical Charts. Released on Valentine’s Day, AIR has already proven a popular new release with critics and radio stations across the country. It has been prominently featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, an hour long SiriusXM Satellite Radio Symphony Hall show called “Be My Bach, Valentine”, in BBC Music Magazine, and has been chosen as a featured new release for WFMT Chicago and American Public Media among other outlets.

AIR features the English Chamber Orchestra with Steven Mercurio conducting. The album includes Bach’s Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, the Double Concerto for Two Violins, and arrangements of Bach’s “Air”, “Largo” from the Harpsichord Concerto in f minor, and the Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria.” With this recording, Meyers became the first violinist to record both solo parts of the Double Concerto on two different violins.

AIR is Anne Akiko Meyers’ third release on eOne and follows Seasons…Dreams, a chart-topping CD from fall of 2010 and Smile, released in 2009. Both Seasons…dreams and Smile were widely praised by MSNBC, Huffington Post, NPR, Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine and WQXR among others outlets.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thomas Hampson to Sing at Groundbreaking Ceremony for Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on Feb 22

President Barack Obama Will Deliver Remarks

On Wednesday, February 22, Thomas Hampson will sing at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama will deliver remarks at the event, which celebrates the beginning of construction of the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history, and culture. Scheduled to open in 2015, the museum, designed by the Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup, will also be the first green building on the national mall.

Thomas Hampson comments: "What a privilege it is to be singing for the groundbreaking of the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. Exploring every facet of our complex cultural history, which gives us a deeper understanding of civil rights in all of its manifestations, is both an honor and a responsibility. This museum will be a great national resource."

Hampson will sing two songs at the groundbreaking: “Grief,” by African American composer William Grant Still and poet LeRoy V. Brant, followed by Aaron Copland’s “Simple Gifts.” Hampson has performed these and many other American songs in recitals at home and abroad as part of his ongoing “Song of America” project. Initially developed by Hampson in collaboration with the Library of Congress in 2005, and now a program of the Hampsong Foundation, the project reflects Hampson’s passionate, career-long advocacy of American song. As Hampson has noted, “These songs – our songs – say everything, through the eyes of our poets and the ears of our composers, about the culture we call American.”

Hampson’s “Song of America” project reached an even wider national audience this season with the introduction of the 13-week “Song of America” radio series, co-produced by the Hampsong Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network of Chicago, and syndicated by the network to public radio stations nationwide. Hosted by Hampson, and already being aired in more than 220 markets across the country since its introduction in October 2011, the series reveals classic American song – poetry set to music by American composers – as a vibrant diary of the American experience. Each hour-long program focuses on a particular topic that sheds light on a larger theme in American history. The experience of minorities in America is explored in various installments of the series, especially in such programs as “Many Are the Voices,” “There Is No Gender In Music,” and “Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance.”

Family Musical Mornings Kicks Off Pacific Symphony's New Opera Initiative with Humperdinck's Opera Hansel and Gretel

Concert features professional singers; talented students from Chapman University; plus costumes, props and projected scenery

The captivating fairy tale opera, “Hansel and Gretel,” comes to life in full orchestral and vocal color for Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings’ unique production of Humperdinck’s beloved opera, created just for kids. Kicking off the Symphony’s new opera-vocal initiative—which includes a production of Puccini’s “La Bohème” this April and “Tosca” in February 2013—this 45-minute performance includes original narration and dialogue to introduce children to the beautiful and powerful instrument, the voice. Led by Assistant Conductor Maxim Eshkenazy, the orchestra and singers tell the familiar Brothers Grimm story of two siblings who venture into a magical forest to find a gingerbread house made of candy. But, beware! A wicked witch wants to turn them into a snack! Staged with costumes, props and scenery projected on the big screen. Presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank and underwritten by the Honorable H. Warren and Janet Siegel, “Hansel and Gretel” takes place Saturday, March 3, at 10 and 11:30 a.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Tickets are $19-36 and include a Musical Carnival before or after the show (more below). For more information or to purchase tickets call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

Found Waves: Live music in Surround Sound

Friday, February 24th the Lamont Flute Ensemble will perform a collection of new works at Hamilton Hall in the Newman Center, Denver. One of these works, Found Waves is my composition written specifically for this performance and this hall.

Found Waves is for five flutists positioned about the hall, one on stage with the other four in the four corners of the room. The parts played in the four corners are elements that function as a single line flowing around the room, while the center flute plays a melody. Yet, there are also times when the music slowly shifts from one side (or front to back) and the center flute adds to the slow panning of the sound.

The concept of the piece wasn't difficult. I took a page from electro-acoustic music and the placement of sound in the room. However, creating musical lines that were playable was something else entirely. On page 7 of the score (mm 22) accent occur in the parts, but not at the same time for the various players. This creates a sense of motion while the 16th notes fill the room, the accented notes create the motion.

By the time we get to page 9 (mm29) not only the accents are moving about the room, but so is the musical line. While the placement of the 16th notes in the Forward Right(FR) and Rear Left(RL) parts are not particularly difficult on their own, consider they will be hearing their fellow musicians slightly delayed. They can't rely on their ears to place their notes in time. According to the musicians they actually need to play almost a full 16th note ahead of where they feel they should.

However, they can't just ignore the other flutes either. In the beginning of the piece and later on at Page 11 (rehearsal mark C) the flutes have quarter tones creating the feeling of the music slowly sliding upwards. The ability to be in tune with each other is critical, so listening to their fellow musicians must be done.

The result is a piece of music that forces the musicians to focus on their part and the conductor and yet also be highly focused on the other players in the ensemble.

Here is the video of the ensemble rehearsing the piece.

I've included the score and a midi realization which somewhat captures the stereo effect of the music so you can listen and follow along.

London Symphony Orchestra and BMW Announce Major New Partnership: BMW LSO Open Air Classics


BMW and the London Symphony Orchestra announce today a new long-term partnership, BMW LSO OPEN AIR CLASSICS, which will bring outstanding music performed in the open air – free for everyone in an informal atmosphere. The first in a groundbreaking series of annual concerts will be conducted in Trafalgar Square by Principal Conductor of the LSO, Valery Gergiev, on Saturday 12 May at 6.30 pm. Large screens will be mounted on either side of the stage to allow the audience to witness the concert close up. The programme will feature works by Igor Stravinsky including the highly popular Firebird Suite and The Rite of Spring. 100 young musicians from LSO Discovery, the Orchestra’s award-winning music education and community programme, will play alongside the LSO players and perform The Lite of Spring, an interpretation of Stravinsky’s work by Gareth Glyn. LSO animateur Paul Rissmann will present the concert and guide the audience through the repertoire.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Classical Music Online Courses and Webcasts Presented by The New York Times Knowledge Network

Continued Learning for people in all stages of their life

Building on The Times’s decades of active involvement in education, The New York Times Knowledge Network offers a wide range of distinctive adult and continuing education opportunities, including online courses, programs and Webcasts. Some of our programs are offered directly by The Times, while others are presented in collaboration with universities, colleges and other educational institutions.

Students in our online continuing education classes benefit from the expertise and experience provided by the faculty of renowned educational institutions, and from the full resources of The New York Times. Some courses are supplemented by The Times’ articles and multimedia. Others have The New York Times’ editors or reporters as guest speakers or instructors, sharing their timely insights and informed perspectives.

In areas ranging from art to business, writing to politics, journalism to science, online programs from The New York Times Knowledge Network are as rich and varied as The New York Times itself.

How to Listen to Classical Music – March 1-21, 2012 - For those who want to discover classical music or who enjoy it but aren’t sure why, this delightful three-week course is designed to help students recognize elements unique to classical music and identify favorite musicians and composers. Not a music theory course, not a music history course, this is a joyful listening tour led by The New York Times’ classical music reporter Daniel J. Wakin.

In addition to the daily self-paced lessons, online discussion forums and resources, there will be scheduled live online sessions with the instructor. Conductor James Conlon will join the March 19th session. Live sessions will be archived for future viewing.

Wagner’s Ring Cycle 101 (USC) – March 19, 2012 - As the Metropolitan Opera prepares to mount the first complete performances of a new Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle conducted by Music Director James Levine and Director Robert Lepage in April and May 2012, participants in this webcast will have the opportunity to delve into the significance of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in 20th-century history, philosophy, culture, and even film with one of USC’s most distinguished faculty members.

This webcast is part of The USC and New York Times Knowledge Network online continuing education program (www.nytimes.com/usc), which offers students tailored, practical programs to enhance their professional paths, and the flexibility of online courses for both working and non-working adults.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NEH-Funded Education Project "Dvořák and America" Provides Context behind Music


Thanks to a generous (and rare) grant from the National Endowment of Humanities (NEH), Pacific Symphony is about to dive into an exciting new education initiative—“Dvořák and America”—led by Music Director Carl St.Clair and developed by New York-based author/scholar and Pacific Symphony artistic advisor, Joseph Horowitz. The project links symphonic performance with humanities content to provide in-depth exploration to deepen students’ understanding and connection to Dvořák’s “New World Symphony.” The project is also an extension of the Symphony’s innovative “Music Unwound” series, which endeavors to contextualize music to provide deeper emotional and intellectual engagement of the audience. While “Music Unwound,” now in its third year, has previously targeted adults, this latest incarnation targets for the first time a younger segment and includes Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO), plus hundreds of Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) students and faculty (including Alderwood Basics Plus Elementary and orchestra students from the district’s four high schools (Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge).

“It’s an honor to be one of the few orchestras to receive funding from the NEH,” says St.Clair. “To our knowledge this is a nationally unprecedented initiative, combining a multi-media thematic youth orchestra concert with an educational exercise not only for the audience, and for area schools, but for the youth orchestra musicians themselves. Through the series of activities the students will participate in prior to the concert, we hope they will gain a broader understanding of Dvořák and, we hope, a strong appreciation and bond to this special piece of music.

“We know that a well-rounded music education is not about simply learning to play the notes,” St.Clair adds. “It is equally important to develop the capacity to listen and respond to music.”

The project looks at how Dvořák, in coming to America, became an “American composer”; that his American accent in such works as the “New World Symphony” and American Suite is not a superficial overlay, but a distinct American style different from the more chromatic and texturally dense style of his European works. The Dvořák story exemplifies the importance of the arts in pedagogy and in human life, as well as how culture can help individuals or communities better understand themselves. “Dvořák and America” focuses on issues of race and national identity catalyzed by urbanization and immigration a century ago—issues which remain crucial to the American experience today.

“Music Unwound,” at its core, is a concerted effort to correlate language, literature, culture, philosophy and visual arts with music, while forging new alliances between and among orchestras, museums and universities in each host city. A consortium of four orchestras led by Pacific Symphony, including the Buffalo Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony and Louisville Orchestra, became the joint recipient of a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—a multi-year commitment to “Music Unwound,” integrating humanities content with live concert performances. This is the first NEH public programs grant to go to an orchestra in a decade. The NEH National Education Project supported the creation of Horowitz’ young readers book, Dvořák in America, and the Robert Winter/Peter Bogdanoff companion interactive DVD.

So Percussion celebrates Cage w/ "Bootleg Series" album and tour


No leading ensemble better embodies the fearless, trailblazing spirit of John Cage than Sō Percussion. In honor of Cage’s centenary year, Sō Percussion is touring a program titled We Are All Going in Different Directions to Cambridge (MA), Toronto, and Austin, culminating in an appearance at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Monday, March 26 (7:30 pm), as part of the American Mavericks series. Along with classic Cage scores like Credo in Us, Imaginary Landscape #1, and Third Construction, We Are All Going in Different Directions features original compositions by the group, plus contributions by electronic artists Matmos, Cenk Ergün, and Dan Deacon. Matmos, Ergün, and violist Beth Meyers (janus trio and QQQ) will perform with the quartet. Program details and tour dates follow.

Given Cage’s use of indeterminacy in this program, every concert will be different. Fittingly, Sō Percussion is documenting these tour performances with a specially-packaged, limited-edition album, Cage 100: The Bootleg Series, released Tuesday, March 27 on Cantaloupe. Only 300 copies are being made. Each is numbered and includes a unique, handmade cover; a blank LP (in a nod to Cage’s 4’33”); a I Ching-inspired 64-minute CD sampler, with tracks chosen by chance operations; and a download card giving access to complete shows. Along with the hybrid physical product being created for The Bootleg Series, Cantaloupe will be releasing unique mixes of material from these concerts as iTunes and eMusic Exclusives, also on March 27.

Sō Percussion consists of Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinksi, and Jason Treuting. Speaking for the group, Sliwinski said, “John Cage’s artistic legacy is formidable. His innovations and accomplishments are truly staggering: He wrote some the first electric/acoustic hybrid music, the first significant body of percussion music, the first music for turntables, invented the prepared piano, and had a huge impact in the fields of dance, visual art, theater, and critical theory.

“Somehow Cage’s prolific output seems not to stifle, but rather to spur creativity in others. He certainly deserves surveys, tributes, and concert portraits during the centenary of his birth. But Sō Percussion wanted to do him honor by allowing his work and spirit to infuse our own.

“We have chosen some of our favorite Cage pieces to present on this celebration concert. We believe that although they are historical in fact, each is stunningly present and even prophetic. The pieces are woven in with new music: some by our close friends, and some of our own creation.” The tour for We Are All Going in Different Directions began in Cambridge on February 9, and continues to the following cities:

March 2: The Royal Conservatory, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

March 6 + 7: The McCullough Theatre, University of Texas, Austin

March 26: Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall, NYC

In addition, So Percussion will perform Cage’s Third Construction in programs at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (Feb. 28), and Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin (March 10). For further information, visit sopercussion.com.

Pianist Lara Downes Launches New Blog Featuring #PianoConvos

Critically acclaimed Steinway Concert Artist Lara Downes is redefining the solo recital format with visionary, cutting-edge performances at prestigious concert venues worldwide. Lauded by NPR as "a delightful artist with a unique blend of musicianship and showmanship" and praised by the Washington Post for her stunning performances "rendered with drama and nuance," Lara presents the piano repertoire - from iconic favorites to newly commissioned works - in new ways that bridge musical tastes, genres and audiences.

Lara's recent forays into social media and connecting with audiences include a Twitter feed, streaming her most recent album on Facebook, and now a blog discussing the passions, projects, plans and issues that are intrinsically unique to the lives of professional pianists. Inaugural interviews with Simone Dinnerstein, jazz pianist Dan Tepfer and critic Tim Page set the stage for a continuing series of intimate conversations with her friends and colleagues.

ON THE BENCH opens with a three-part series called Looking at the Goldbergs, inspired by her recent album 13 WAYS of Looking at the Goldberg: Bach Reimagined.

Following Boulez’s Withdrawal, Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s Repertoire at Cleveland Orchestra Now Comprises Mozart and Schoenberg (Feb 16–18)

Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s upcoming appearances with the orchestras of Cleveland and Chicago were originally scheduled to be directed by Pierre Boulez. However, the conductor has been obliged to withdraw for medical reasons, and Aimard’s repertoire at the Cleveland Orchestra (Feb 16–18) has been changed accordingly. He will now lead the orchestra from the keyboard in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat (K. 456), as well as performing Schoenberg’s Op. 11 pieces for solo piano.

At the Chicago Symphony, Aimard’s programs will remain as originally announced. He will perform the Schoenberg Piano Concerto with his frequent collaborator, Jonathan Nott (March 1–4), and Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire with Romanian conductor Cristian Macelaru (Feb 24–28).

Cellist Joshua Roman and Schubert's "Great" at the Boulder Phil on Feb. 25

Joshua Roman, Cello
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Butterman, Music Director

Saturday, Feb. 25 - 7:30 PM
Macky Auditorium, CU Campus
Sunday, Feb. 26 - 3 PM
St. Luke's Methodist Church, Highlands Ranch*

Jazz Suite No. 1

Cello Concerto

Symphony No. 9, "The Great"

*The Feb. 26 concert in Highlands Ranch will feature pianist Peter Mathys, winner of our Young Artists Concerto Competition, performing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, 1st movement, in place of soloist Joshua Roman.

6:30 PM - FREE Pre-Concert Talk - Cellist Joshua Roman will be interviewed by Keith Waters, CU Associate Professor of Music Theory specializing in jazz history and improvisation

Tickets start at $13; Students $5! You can also order by phone: 303-449-1343, ext. 2 (generally M-F, 10-6).

The Art of Orchestration for Film and TV - Live Courses

Taught by Veteran Hollywood Orchestrator Scott Smalley
Los Angeles - May 12-13, 2012

Learn the exact orchestration techniques that top film composers like Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman and others use to get the biggest, best sound from live orchestras with these live courses from veteran Hollywood orchestrator Scott Smalley.
I have taken this course and HIGHLY recommend it for any composers interested in writing for larger voices.
If you're a composer who writes for live orchestra, you need to know what Scott Smalley has taught over 2,500 film and television composers from across the world. Through the intense, detailed study of the music of Jerry Goldsmith and others, top Hollywood film music orchestrator Scott Smalley ("Batman," "Mission: Impossible," "The Insider") demonstrates why some Hollywood scores sound so good, and what you as a composer can do to make your scores sound bigger and better.

Enroll in these live courses if you:
* are a composer who writes music for strings, brass and orchestra instruments
* are interested in a full-time or part-time career as an orchestrator
* have a basic knowledge of reading music and writing for sampled or live orchestra

About These Courses
These courses are the live presentations of the industry's most popular and longest running orchestration course taught to Hollywood composers by Scott Smalley for over 20 years.

This intensive look at the specific orchestration techniques of master film composers including Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman, Basil Poledouris, Alan Silvestri, David Newman and others will show you how these master composers achieve the richest, strongest and most effective sound from live orchestras.

Through the use of audio examples and over 350 pages of detailed scores and sketches from top films that course participants are provided, Scott Smalley explains and demonstrates specific orchestration techniques and shows you how and why they work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The MET: Live in HD Presents Verdi's Ernani


SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25 at 12:55 p.m. ET/9:55 a.m. PT
Running time: Approximately 210 minutes, including two intermissions
Host: Joyce DiDonato
For more information: metopera.org/hdlive

Four extraordinary singers star in Verdi’s Ernani. American soprano Angela Meade, whose victory in the Met’s National Council Auditions was chronicled in the 2008 documentary film The Audition, takes the role of the noblewoman Elvira in her first Live in HD appearance. Marcello Giordani, star of the Live in HD transmissions of Manon Lescaut, La Damnation de Faust, Madama Butterfly, Turandot, Simon Boccanegra, and La Fanciulla del West, sings the title role of the noble bandit who loves Elvira. Dmitri Hvorostovsky adds a new role to his distinguished repertory as Don Carlo, a royal suitor for Elvira’s hand, and Ferruccio Furlanetto is da Silva, a wealthy relative with his own designs on Elvira. Marco Armiliato, who led the Met premiere performances of Anna Bolena earlier this season, conducts Verdi’s thrilling drama of passion, power, and honor, seen in Pier Luigi Samaritani’s lavish production. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato hosts the transmission.

Broadway Meets the Silver Screen as the Colorado Symphony Presents "Steppin' Out."

Escape into the world of classic Hollywood movies and Broadway legends; enjoy celebrated songs from musicals such as "Shall We Dance," "Top Hat," "West Side Story," "Babes in Arms" and "Music in the Air"

Artists: Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Scott O’Neil, resident conductor
Joan Hess and Kirby Ward

Performance: Friday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: On sale now

On a night that would make Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers proud, the Colorado Symphony Pops Series presents Steppin' Out, a salute to the music that made Hollywood and Broadway legends. On Friday, February 24, Steppin' Out takes concertgoers on a journey back in time to the Golden Age of the Hollywood musical, then forward in time to the Great White Way and the Big Band Era as dancers and singers accompany the Colorado Symphony. Led by resident conductor Scott O'Neil and featuring Broadway's Joan Hess (Mamma Mia) and Olivier Award nominee Kirby Ward (Crazy For You), Steppin' Out showcases music by legendary composers and songwriters such as George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Leonard Bernstein, and Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Highlights of this fabulous evening include "Mambo" from West Side Story, "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "Slap that Bass" from the 1937 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film Shall We Dance, and the jazz standard "I Got Rhythm" from the 1934 musical Girl Crazy (which film buffs may remember from the 1943 film starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland). Audiences will adore Colorado Symphony performances of "Cheek to Cheek" from the 1935 screwball comedy Top Hat (another Astaire/Rogers smash hit), "Someone to Watch Over Me" from the 1926 musical Oh, Kay!, and "The Song Is You" from the 1932 musical Music is in the Air. Plus, concertgoers will experience a proper Big Band live orchestra experience with Glenn Miller hits including "In the Mood," "A String of Pearls" and "Chattanooga Choo Choo." Tickets are on sale now.

Tickets: Tickets are on sale now at www.coloradosymphony.org, the Colorado Symphony Box Office: (303) 623-7876 or (877) 292-7979 or in-person in the lobby of Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

LA Chamber Orchestra's Feb 16 Baroque Conversations w guest John Schneiderman


LACO Principal Keyboard Patricia Mabee Hosts the Program,
Which Features John Schneiderman, Baroque Guitar;
Baroque Dancers Linda Tomko and Jill Chardoff;
Tereza Stanislav, Violin; Sarah Thornblade, Violin; Roland Kato, Viola;
Victoria Miskolczy, Viola; Armen Ksajikian, Cello

Thursday, February 16, 7 pm, at Zipper Concert Hall, Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) trips the light fantastic at the season’s second “Baroque Conversations” concert, which explores the art of Baroque dance, its links to the court of Louis XIV and its intriguing social and political implications, on Thursday, February 16, 7 pm, at Zipper Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. LACO Principal Keyboard Patricia Mabee, who celebrates 35 years with LACO this season, hosts the evening, featuring renowned baroque guitar John Schneiderman and Baroque dancers/historians Linda Tomko and Jill Chardoff. Also featured are LACO principals Tereza Stanislav, assistant concertmaster; Sarah Thornblade, associate principal violin II; Roland Kato, principal viola; Victoria Miskolczy, associate principal viola; and Armen Ksajikian, associate principal cello. In signature LACO style, the artists share their insights into the music and dances from the stage and invite questions from the audience about the program, which includes Vivaldi’s Trio Sonata in D minor, RV 63, Op. 1, No. 12, “La folia” (“Madness”); Sanz’s Pavanas and Canarios from Instrucción de Musica Sobre la Guitarra Española; Ganspeck’s Overture in A major for Viola d’Amore and Violin; Soler’s Fandango in D minor, S. 146; and selections from Campra’s Les fêtes vénitiennes (“The Venetian Festivals”) and L’Europe galante (“Galant Europe”), as well as from Lully’s Atys and Rameau’s Dardanus. A pre-concert reception, beginning at 6 pm, is free to all ticket holders.

LACO's “Baroque Conversations” series explores the genesis of orchestral repertoire from early Baroque schools through the pre-classical period.

Tickets ($50) are on sale now and may be purchased online at laco.org, by calling LACO at 213 622 7001, or at the venue box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. Student rush tickets ($10), based on availability, may be purchased at the box office the day of the concert.

World Premiere by LA Children's Chorus & American Youth Symphony 3/4 @ Disney Hall


Sunday, March 4, 2012, 7:30 PM
at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Other Featured Works Include Willcocks’ The Glories of Shakespeare and
Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet

The LA Phil’s prestigious Sounds About Town series continues with a Shakespeare-themed program featuring renowned conductor James Conlon conducting two of the country’s leading youth ensembles – the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) and the American Youth Symphony (AYS) – in the world premiere of The isle is full of noises… by Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and co-commissioned by LACC and AYS on Sunday, March 4, 2012, 7:30 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The ensembles also perform Sir David Willcocks’ The Glories of Shakespeare, which draws on texts from The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Cymbeline and Two Gentlemen of Verona and alternates between spirited syncopated rhythms and slower, richly harmonic elements. Additionally, the chorus and orchestra each perform separately with LACC Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson conducting a compilation of inventive settings of Shakespearean texts for treble voices, including Benjamin Britten’s Francie and Douglas Beam’s Spirits, and AYS Music Director Alexander Treger conducting a suite from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, described by National Public Radio as “one of the most beautiful scores of the 20th century.”

A pre-concert talk with Bjarnason hosted by Chad Smith, Director of Artistic Planning for the LA Phi, is open to ticket holders at 6:30 pm.

“We are honored to be a part of the esteemed Sounds About Town series and are extremely grateful to Mr. Conlon for conducting this highly anticipated premiere, which is reflective of his deep commitment to mentoring young artists,” says Tomlinson.

Adds Treger, “In what promises to be a diverse and illuminating program, we particularly look forward to presenting a new piece by Daníel Bjarnason, who is considered to be one of the world’s most intriguing composers writing for artists ranging from the London Sinfonietta to the post-rock group Sigur Rós.”

Mirroring the plot of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Bjarnason’s The isle is full of noises… begins with Miranda’s compassionate plea to Prospero, her father – with whom she is stranded on an island along with Caliban, a monster who has taught them how to survive there – to have mercy on the souls sailing by the island on dangerously stormy seas. The choral writing divides the singers into 12 different parts with clustered harmonic chords serving to heighten her concern and despair. It then condenses in scope, drawing into three parts as she speaks of how she would have “sunk the seas within the earth.” The second movement finds a lyric melody artfully representing Caliban’s calming words over a pulsating major seventh chord that reflects the unusual sounds on the island upon which they are marooned. The composer employs glissandi (vocal slides) and humming to highlight the evocative island sounds. The movement ends gently as Caliban reflects upon his dream of gaining riches and his hope “to dream again.” The concluding movement highlights the dramatic words of Prospero’s “all shall dissolve” soliloquy by beginning with gentle harmonies that crescendo into the upper treble range, finally folding into one another to close in a single vocal octave.

Tune in to www.dso.org/live this Friday, February 17 at 10:35 am EST, for a FREE live webcast of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra


Program Information

Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Emanuel Ax, piano

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 22
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

RELEASED TODAY: American Composers Orchestra's Second Digital Album featuring 5 World Premieres

American Composers Orchestra’s Second Digital Download Album Emerging Composers Series: Vol. 1

World Premiere Recordings by Kati Agócs, Michael Gatonska, Fang Man, Clint Needham, and Gregory Spears
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) announces the February 14 release of its second digital download album, Emerging Composers Series: Vol. 1. Following the March 2011 release of the orchestra’s inaugural digital album (Playing It UNsafe), this new album features world premiere recordings of music by rising-star composers performed between 2006 and 2009 as part of Orchestra Underground, ACO’s cutting-edge orchestral series at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. By making available never-before-recorded orchestral music, ACO goes beyond the concert hall, reaching new listeners and gaining greater exposure and visibility for the young composers it showcases in this series. ACO will release two additional digital albums this spring – an album of new works for extended instruments with the orchestra, and an album of multimedia works.

Emerging Composers Series: Vol. 1 includes music by Kati Agócs, Michael Gatonska, Fang Man, Clint Needham, and Gregory Spears. Gregory Spears’s Finishing was first developed as part of ACO’s Readings and Lab at University of Pennsylvania in 2007 – a sublime work that uses dog whistles (which are audible) and tape recorders within the orchestra. Kati Agócs deftly strings together a series of exquisite, intimate sonorities in her ACO-commissioned Pearls. Clint Needham’s Chamber Symphony explores themes of personal and universal transformation; the composition was the result of his winning ACO’s prestigious Underwood commission. Fang Man, also an alumna of the Underwood program, combines clarinet soloist (ACO’s own Creative Advisor, virtuoso clarinetist Derek Bermel) and electronic techniques (performed by the composer and Alexis Baskind) with melodies from Chinese opera in Resurrection. Michael Gatonska, another Underwood commissionee, uses the ever-shifting configurations of birds in flight as the organizing principal behind his After the Wings of Migratory Birds, creating music that migrates through space with dynamic energy. Four of the five works on this album are ACO commissions.

Creating opportunities for emerging composers is central to the mission of American Composers Orchestra, which seeks to be the leading research and development laboratory for American composers, orchestras and the wider cultural community. All too often it is the case that up-and-coming composers are excluded from professional orchestra programs, as better-known music is programmed. Yet, writing for orchestra remains one of the supreme challenges and rewards for most composers. The instrumental possibilities, the timbral nuances, the dynamic range, and the raw energy of dozens of talented instrumentalists unified in their musical execution is still, even in the 21st century, a singular and powerful sound experience. It is what has drawn these fine young composers to the orchestra, and it is the opportunity to see and hear what these composers might do with these possibilities that has drawn ACO to them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

British Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor Decca Debut out February 28

Major American recital tour this March with dates in Miami, Washington, Detroit, Cincinnati and New York

“Stunning debut….Grosvenor’s playing exudes joy and spontaneity, seeming to release rather than to interpret the music…At 19, Grosvenor is already a pianist of uncommon distinction.” BBC Music Magazine
On February 28, 2012, the Decca debut album from Benjamin Grosvenor will be released. Grosvenor is the first British pianist to sign to Decca Classics since Moura Lympany and Clifford Curzon over half century ago. The self-titled album is a personal choice of virtuoso solo piano music, built around Chopin’s four Scherzi and Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, and including Chopin Nocturnes and shorter pieces by Liszt – sequenced to trace the development of pianistic virtuosity through these three great masters.

The 19 year-old Grosvenor first rose to prominence when he won the piano section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2004 at the age of just 11 – the youngest ever finalist in the competition. Shortly afterwards he made his debuts at the Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall and has continued to develop an international presence in Europe, Asia, and the USA, working with some of the world’s finest orchestras and conductors, including Vladimir Jurowski and fellow Decca artist Vladimir Ashkenazy. He is also a member of the prestigious BBC New Generation Artists program.

Grosvenor’s debut was released in the UK in summer of 2011 to coincide with his televised appearance as the youngest First Night soloist the Proms had ever seen. The album was described by Gramophone as “not just fine performances for a youngster. They are fine performances, full stop.” The Times concurred, “Decca didn’t make any mistake in signing Benjamin Grosvenor.”

Kirill Gerstein Triumphs in Houston Symphony’s “RachFest”, Playing All Four Rachmaninoff Concertos

Last month, Gilmore Artist Kirill Gerstein wowed audiences and critics alike with multiple performances of all four Rachmaninoff piano concertos, as artist-in-residence of the Houston Symphony’s “RachFest” – a special three-week celebration of the composer’s music. Of this extraordinary musical feat the Houston Chronicle reported, “Gerstein scored a knockout,” and the Houston Culture Map confirmed, “Piano god Kirill Gerstein rocked the Rachs.” As for festival-goers, the Chronicle described the “five-minute ovation” that greeted Gerstein’s final program, a response that the Culture Map considered not merely “Southern hospitality,” but something “different, genuine, and heartfelt.”

Rachmaninoff has long been a signature composer for the Russian-born pianist. “I usually don't admit to having a favorite composer,” he told the Chronicle, “but in the case of Rachmaninoff, I must say that I truly enjoy playing his music. I have loved it since childhood. It’s a part of my Russian heritage that embedded itself in me early on.”

In a series of blog posts accompanying the festival, Gerstein called Rachmaninoff’s four piano concertos “some of the most gratifying pieces written for the piano.” He added, “Playing and hearing the four concertos in three consecutive weeks offers a special opportunity to hear the essence of Rachmaninoff’s voice while observing the changes and growth of his style.” Undertaking three accounts each of the four concertos was an ambitious project, not least for the piano soloist. In a little over three weeks (Jan 5-22), Gerstein offered three performances of the third with British conductor Edward Gardner, as well as three each of the first, second, and fourth under Houston Symphony Music Director Hans Graf.

The pianist characterizes the challenge posed to modern interpreters of works as popular and familiar as Piano Concerto No. 2 as one of “trying to get back to the source of the pieces, peeling away the listening habits and clichés, and taking the pieces seriously, as they were taken, before becoming ‘warhorses’ of the repertoire.”

Sir Antonio Pappano Conducts the London Symphony Orchestra with Violinist Leonidas Kavakos

Sir Antonio Pappano conducts the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 February in Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. Composed in 1943, the work consists of five movements, with the fourth movement Intermezzo parodying the march theme from Shostakovich’s Seventh (‘Leningrad’) Symphony.
The concert opens with Rachmaninov’s symphonic poem Isle of the Dead, inspired by a painting of a coffin crossing dark waters by Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin. Violinist Leonidas Kavakos joins the orchestra to perform Korngold’s Violin Concerto, composed using themes from Korngold’s Hollywood film scores.

There will be a free pre-concert performance of Rachmaninov’s Preludes Op 23 by Guildhall School pianist Ashley Fripp.

Wednesday 15 February 7.30pm, Barbican Hall
RACHMANINOV Isle of the Dead
KORNGOLD Violin Concerto
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra

Sir Antonio Pappano conductor
Leonidas Kavakos violin
London Symphony Orchestra
Tickets: £10-£35

Friday, February 10, 2012

Opera Colorado presents the Rocky Mountain Regional Premiere of Daniel Catán's masterpiece Florencia en el Amazonas

Four performances:
Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Where: All performances take place at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis Streets in downtown Denver.

Tickets: $20, $50, $70, $95, $150
Tickets available online at OperaColorado.org or by phone at 800.982.ARTS
Special discounts for groups of 10 or more: 303.468.2030

Opera Colorado announces the Rocky Mountain regional premiere Florencia en el Amazonas, the first Spanish language opera in the company's history. The opera was created in homage to the work of Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia-Márquez and tells of an opera singer's epic journey on the Amazon River to find her lost love. The company has scheduled four performances at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, March 24 through April 1. The opera will be performed in Spanish with English and Spanish electronic subtitles at every seat.

"Florencia undertakes a journey that will bring her back to her origins," said composer Daniel Catán of the central character in his opera. "It is, I believe, the story of the return journey that we all undertake at a certain point in our lives...the moment when we look back at what we once dreamed of becoming, and then confront what we have now become."

The story concerns the great opera singer Florencia Grimaldi who embarks on a journey down the Amazon to the opera house in Manaus where she hopes to meet Cristóbal, the lover she left behind long ago. As Cristóbal searches for the rare butterfly known as the Emerald Muse, Florencia searches for the meaning in her life- a life filled with the glamour of the stage, but empty at its core. Through the arduous journey down the exotic river, Florencia seeks to achieve a mystical reunion with her former lover.

Inspired by literary works of Gabriel Garcia-Márquez and other great Latin American writers, the opera is colored by musical influences from the great European opera composers. Florencia en el Amazonas was a hit when it debuted at Houston Grand Opera in 1996. It has subsequently enchanted audiences across the country, including performances at Los Angeles and Seattle operas. Opera Colorado's all new production of the work will be a dramatic re-imagining by director José Maria Condemi and designer Phillip Lienau. The setting will be highly influenced by the lush tropical landscape of the Amazon and by the magic realism Latin American literature is known for. Video projections by designer Aaron Rhyne will enhance the magical setting of the opera.

"This will be a very special opera for our audiences and for Colorado," said opera General Director Greg Carpenter. "Not only is this Opera Colorado's first Spanish language opera, it signals the next step in my artistic vision that includes both the beloved standards and new masterpieces."

A Night of Invigorating Virtuosity And Serene Beauty, When Vadim Gluzman Performs Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Pacific Symphony

Plus, two premieres by Grammy-winning composer Michael Daugherty (one featuring Grammy-winning organist Paul Jacobs) and Barber’s “Adagio for Strings

Passion, premieres and the pursuit of perfection entwine as Pacific Symphony welcomes remarkable Israeli virtuoso Vadim Gluzman for Tchaikovsky’s heartrending Violin Concerto. Gluzman, “one of the world’s top violinists” according to The Morning Call, delivers the rich beauty, graceful lyricism and show-stopping cadenzas of the concerto on the 1680 “ex-Leopold Auer” Stradivarius, the same violin that inspired its creation. Led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, the concert opens with the world premiere of award-winning composer Michael Daugherty’s “The Gospel According to Sister Aimee,” written for organ, brass and percussion and performed on the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ by world-renowned organist and Symphony favorite Paul Jacobs, who also performs a postlude.

Following Daugherty’s new work is one of the most popular and frequently performed pieces, Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” hopeful and heartfelt in its distinctly American sound. And concluding the first half is the U.S. premiere of Daugherty’s “Radio City,” written for orchestra, a musical fantasy on Arturo Toscanni, who conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra in radio broadcasts at Rockefeller Center in New York City during World War II. The concert takes place Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 23-25, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall; a preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$110; for more information or to purchase tickets call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

Bach's MAGNIFICAT - Jeffrey Kahane Leads LA Chamber Orch at Ambassador Aud - Feb 25

Music Director Jeffrey Kahane serves as musical “tour guide” for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's annual “Discover” concert on Saturday, February 25, 2012, 8 pm, at Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, which this season features a special one-night-only exploration of Bach’s Magnificat, a pinnacle of choral literature. Performing with the Orchestra are The University of Southern California Thornton Chamber Singers, the school’s premier choir, directed by Jo-Michael Scheibe, and five exceptional young soloists: Charlotte Dobbs, soprano, Zanaida Robles, soprano, Janelle DeStefano, mezzo soprano, Ben Bliss, tenor, and Daniel Armstrong, baritone. Providing the audience with a deeper understanding and appreciation of this seminal masterwork, Kahane begins the evening by illustrating the intricacies of Bach's first oratorio and how the composition illuminates the text, which is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke. After intermission, the Orchestra, soloists and chorus perform the full work. The purpose of the discussion component for the annual “Discover” concert is to help audiences hear major works with new “ears.”

Bach’s Magnificat also holds special meaning for Kahane, who is currently celebrating his 15th annviersary with LACO, since it is one of the pieces that initially drew him to a conducting career. In addition, the concert highlights LACO’s ongoing commitment to collaborate with LA-based cultural institutions by featuring rising singers from LA Opera Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program as well as the talented chorus of the USC Thornton School of Music, both among the nation’s top training programs for musical artists.

Tickets ($25-$110) are on sale now and may be purchased online at laco.org, by calling LACO at 213 622 7001, or at the venue box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. Student rush tickets ($10), based on availability, may be purchased at the box office the day of the concert.


Music Director Jeffrey Kahane Serves as Performance's Musical “Tour Guide,”
Offering Insights into Text and Score of Bach’s Choral Masterwork

Guest Artists Include USC Thornton Chamber Singers,
Sopranos Charlotte Dobbs and Zanaida Robles, Mezzo Soprano Janelle DeStefano,
Tenor Ben Bliss and Baritone Daniel Armstrong

Saturday, February 25, 8 pm, at Ambassador Auditorium

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Baroque Dance Spotlighted at LA Chamber Orch Baroque Conversations Concert Feb 16

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) trips the light fantastic at the season’s second “Baroque Conversations” concert, which explores the art of Baroque dance, its links to the court of Louis XIV and its intriguing social and political implications, on Thursday, February 16, 7 pm, at Zipper Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. LACO Principal Keyboard Patricia Mabee, who celebrates 35 years with LACO this season, hosts the evening, featuring renowned baroque guitar John Schneiderman and Baroque dancers/historians Linda Tomko and Jill Chardoff. Also featured are LACO principals Tereza Stanislav, assistant concertmaster; Sarah Thornblade, associate principal violin II; Roland Kato, principal viola; Victoria Miskolczy, associate principal viola; and Armen Ksajikian, associate principal cello. In signature LACO style, the artists share their insights into the music and dances from the stage and invite questions from the audience about the program, which includes Vivaldi’s Trio Sonata in D minor, RV 63, Op. 1, No. 12, “La folia” (“Madness”); Sanz’s Pavanas and Canarios from Instrucción de Musica Sobre la Guitarra Española; Ganspeck’s Overture in A major for Viola d’Amore and Violin; Soler’s Fandango in D minor, S. 146; and selections from Campra’s Les fêtes vénitiennes (“The Venetian Festivals”) and L’Europe galante (“Galant Europe”), as well as from Lully’s Atys and Rameau’s Dardanus. A pre-concert reception, beginning at 6 pm, is free to all ticket holders.

LACO's “Baroque Conversations” series explores the genesis of orchestral repertoire from early Baroque schools through the pre-classical period.

Tickets ($50) are on sale now and may be purchased online at laco.org, by calling LACO at 213 622 7001, or at the venue box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. Student rush tickets ($10), based on availability, may be purchased at the box office the day of the concert.

LACO Principal Keyboard Patricia Mabee
photo by: Michael Miller


LACO Principal Keyboard Patricia Mabee Hosts the Program,
Which Features John Schneiderman, Baroque Guitar;
Baroque Dancers Linda Tomko and Jill Chardoff;
Tereza Stanislav, Violin; Sarah Thornblade, Violin; Roland Kato, Viola;
Victoria Miskolczy, Viola; Armen Ksajikian, Cello

Thursday, February 16, 7 pm, at Zipper Concert Hall, Downtown Los Angeles

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Violinist Leila Josefowicz and Pianist John Novacek Kick Off Classical Action’s 2012 Michael Palm Series of House Concerts in NYC on February 10

Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS opens its 2012 Michael Palm Series of intimate house concerts on Friday, February 10, presenting violinist and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Leila Josefowicz in recital with pianist John Novacek. Held in the Tribeca loft apartment of supporters Simon Yates and Kevin Roon, who have generously hosted the Michael Palm Series since 2010, the concert marks the duo’s fourth collaboration for Classical Action as well as its debut as part of the New York City-based salon series named after the charity’s late benefactor. Music making begins at 7:30pm, with wine and hors d’oeuvres served starting at 6:30pm. Tickets for all concerts in the Michael Palm Series can be purchased online at www.classicalaction.org or by calling Classical Action at (212) 997-7717.

Josefowicz comes to the Michael Palm series hot off a string of stellar performances of violin concertos by living composers: Steven Mackey’s Beautiful Passing – written for Josefowicz in 2008 - with the National Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Adès’s Violin Concerto with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Grawemeyer Award-winning Violin Concerto with the Filarmonica della Scala, conducted by the composer. The Washington Post lauded her recent performance of Mackey’s Beautiful Passing, declaring, “The radiant Josefowicz…presented a small-scale intimacy so intense that it pulled the energy of the whole orchestra into her orbit.”

Novacek, in addition to being a renowned soloist and recitalist, is also a world-class collaborative pianist. Of a recent recital with Josefowicz, the Los Angeles Times remarked, “Novacek’s contributions cannot be exaggerated. His partnering is at once brilliant and unobtrusive; without slighting any musical values, he underplays handsomely while accomplishing technical feats many pianists can’t even consider: varieties of touch, a huge dynamic range, nuances of statement and the bold use of all his pianistic resources within the parameters imposed by the genre.”

Later this season, the 2012 Michael Palm Series continues with two additional concerts by world-class performers. First, on March 10 the award-winning baritone Thomas Hampson is joined by his son-in-law, rising star bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, in their first US appearance together, with pianist Carrie-Ann Matheson. On May 17, Christine Brewer, recently named among the BBC’s top 20 sopranos of the 20th century, performs with pianist Craig Rutenberg.

LA Master Chorale Bruckner/Stravinsky concert Feb. 12 at Disney Hall

Los Angeles Master Chorale continues the season with Bruckner’s full-scale choral masterpiece Mass in E minor on Sunday, February 12, 2012, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The concert marks the first time any of Bruckner’s major choral works have been performed in Disney Hall. To complement the expressive and poignant masterwork, Music Director Grant Gershon also conducts Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, a contrasting but equally compelling piece filled with both ritual and fireworks, and Brucker’s motet Os Justi.

Bruckner, born to Austrian peasants and a musical protégé from an early age, completed the Mass in E minor for eight-part chorus and wind orchestra in 1866. It is a work that illustrates more than any of his others the composer’s unique style – a mix of romantic fully Brucknerian harmony with blending and contrasting vocal and instrumental textures, and the restrained and austere power of Renaissance polyphony.

“It is one of my favorite Bruckner pieces and is such an important part of the choral literature,” Gershon says. “I’m very pleased to be the first person to conduct this seminal work in Disney Hall.”

Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms was commissioned by the Boston Symphony on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary in 1930. The composer eschewed the traditional 19th Century symphonic structure common at the time, using as the root of the piece a pair of interlocked thirds that forms the base of an opening chord so unusual and striking that it is recognizable from the first sound. The work, whose mighty choruses and stunning softness create a cathedral of sound, “celebrates that most ancient form of communal music making -- one with a healing, even redemptive overtone” (Los Angeles Times). Esa-Pekka Salonen tapped the Los Angeles Master Chorale to perform Symphony of Psalms with the LA Philharmonic for his emotional farewell program in April 2009 to conclude his 17-year tenure with the orchestra, the longest of any music director in the organization’s history.

Tickets range from $19 - $134. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, please call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org. (Tickets cannot be purchased at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office except on concert days starting 2 hours prior to the performance.) The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue at First Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ray Chen Records the Two Works with which he Conquered both the Menuhin and the Queen Elisabeth Competitions - Available Feb 7th


Sony Classical is pleased to announce the release of Ray Chen’s first concerto recording on the label with the two Romantic masterpieces that have played a significant role in the young artist’s career to date. His interpretation of the Mendelssohn E minor Violin Concerto led to his triumph at the 2008 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists. The following year the violinist’s insightful performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto secured him first prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. For his second Sony release available on February 7, Ray Chen is joined by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of its musical director Daniel Harding.

Ray Chen brings a fresh interpretation to these cornerstones of the violin repertoire and he finds kindred spirits in Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. “Music is teamwork,” says Ray Chen, and he explains his choice of these works for the new release on Sony Classical: “I won with Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky. Maybe I bring something new and fresh to them. In any event, I would never take on something that I didn’t feel ready for.” Alongside his technical mastery, it is precisely the maturity of his playing which has impressed many critics. In the words of the Chicago Tribune: “He is an exceptional talent.”

His debut album, Virtuoso, was released worldwide by Sony Classical in early 2011 to great critical acclaim. “This is a hugely exciting debut album, “stated BBC Music Magazine, and the Financial Times observed that “Chen’s artistry blazes.” The album also received the German ECHO Klassik Award 2011 and the French Classica Magazine’s Choc de Classica award.

St Louis Symphony Celebrates Black History Month

Special performances scheduled at Powell Hall February 8 and February 10

The first takes place Wednesday, February 8 at 7pm. The free On Stage at Powell event highlights traces the story of music from Africa to North America. The performance is a MetLife Music Without Boundaries event, and received additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Symphony’s annual Lift Every Voice concert takes place Friday, February 10 at 7pm. The performance features the orchestra, the Symphony’s IN UNISON® Chorus and St. Louis’s own Jenifer Lewis as featured vocal soloist. Lewis, whose vast career includes appearances in The Preacher’s Wife, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and Broadway’s Hairspray, is from Kinloch and a graduate of Webster University. The evening will be a celebration of African-American culture and tradition which has enriched the lives of people here in St. Louis, across our country and around the world.

Tickets still remain for the Lift Every Voice concert and may be purchased by calling 314-234-1700 or on-line at the all-new www.stlsymphony.org.

This Week's TOP TICKET in Denver: Renée Fleming

One of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, soprano Renée Fleming will perform an unforgettable One-Night-Only with The Colorado Symphony!

Renée Fleming captivates audiences with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry and compelling stage presence. Known as ‘the people’s diva’ and named the number one female singer in 2010, she continues to grace the world’s greatest opera stages and concert halls, now extending her reach to include other musical forms and media. Over the past few seasons, Ms. Fleming has hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series in movie theaters and Live From Lincoln Center on PBS.

Tickets available online.