Classical Music News of the Week, October 4, 2015
This November, violinist Stefan Jackiw will tour Charles Ives's rarely-performed violin sonatas, in collaboration with pianist Jeremy Denk. The tour will include stops at Ridgewood, New Jersey with the Parlance Chamber Concerts series (November 15), Bowdoin College in Maine (November 18) and Philadelphia's Kimmel Center with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (November 19), before finishing at New York City's 92nd Street Y (November 21). The NYC and Philadelphia performances will also feature guest vocal groups interspersing the performance with the American songs and hymns which inspired Ives' music writing, and quotations of which can be found throughout the sonatas.
Says Jackiw of the rarely-performed sonatas: "At first listen, the four Ives violin & piano sonatas are most striking for their dense, thorny textures and complex rhythmic and tonal properties. But, I think that to focus on the complexity of the music is ultimately to miss what is most magical about these pieces. At their core, I think these sonatas are about nostalgia, wistful longing, and the quiet beauty that sometimes sneaks, often unnoticed, into the chaos of our lives."
Jackiw continues: "In each of the four sonatas, Ives incorporates snippets of hymns, folk tunes, nursery rhymes, and other American folk music. In some cases, these quotations are preceded by a passage of increasing complexity and intensity, and so the arrival of the hymn, sometimes played together in simple unison between the two instruments, comes as a breathtaking shock of beauty that wipes out the preceding chaos. Other times, Ives weaves the folk melody into the fabric of the music, sometimes so deftly that it takes some doing to tease out the hymn or tune. For me, this is even more profoundly beautiful. It serves as a musical reminder than even in the commotion of our lives, there are often germs of beauty and comfort hidden in our midst."
For more information, visit http://www.stefanjackiw.com/en/schedule
--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media
Piatigorsky International Cello Festival Tickets on Sale
Friday, May 13 - Sunday, May 22, 2016, Los Angeles, California
Ticket packages are now on sale for the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival through the University of Southern California Ticket Office (http://fbs.usc.edu/depts/ticketoffice/) or by calling 213-740-4672. Individual tickets will go on sale in early 2016. Tickets to festival events with the LA Phil may be purchased separately through the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office (http://www.laphil.com/tickets).
In honor of the legendary cellist, Gregor Piatigorsky, the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, presented by the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil in partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, brings together masters of the cello and young cellists from around the world for an unparalleled celebration of the cello, its music and its musicians. The Festival takes place in Los Angeles, California from May 13-22, 2016 showcasing 26 international artists representing 15 countries and 4 continents, and unveiling several premieres during the course of this outstanding 10-day event. The Festival's roster includes some of the world's most celebrated cellists – Yo-Yo Ma, Mischa Maisky, Truls Mørk, Jean-Guihen Queyras, David Geringas, Frans Helmerson, Colin Carr, Sol Gabetta, Giovanni Sollima, Raphael Wallfisch and Artistic Director Ralph Kirshbaum, among others - some of whom directly studied under Gregor Piatigorsky.
Bringing together three prestigious Los Angeles musical organizations—USC Thornton School of Music, the LA Phil and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra—the 2016 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival aims to highlight the cello against the backdrop of one of the most culturally innovative metropolitan areas in the United States.
For more information, visit piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu
Andre Rieu in Over 200 U.S. Cinemas Nationwide - October 20
CinemaLive, in cooperation with André Rieu Productions, Fathom Events and Universal Music Enterprises, is proud to present André Rieu's 2015 Maastricht Concert, a spectacular cinematic music event with the world's leading pop classical artist.
Set amongst the breathtaking setting of Rieu's hometown of Maastricht in The Netherlands, this magical concert event provides an unforgettable evening full of humor, grand emotion, and glorious music for every age. The 2015 Maastricht Concert, which has already broken box office records in the UK, The Netherlands, Denmark and Australia, will be screened in more than 200 cinemas across the U.S. for one night on Tuesday, October 20 at 7 p.m. (local time).
The concert features André Rieu's famous 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra, his sopranos, tenors, and some very special guests. Highlights include Australian soprano Mirusia Louwerse, whom André calls the 'Angel of Australia,' powerful trio The Platin Tenors, and enchanting music, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," the stirring "This Land is Mine" from Exodus, and, of course, André's signature waltz, The Blue Danube. Also seen on screen are Rieu's legions of fans, who have gathered from around the world to experience the concert in person.
The event boasts extra features specifically for cinema audiences including an exclusive interview with André moments after he steps off stage, conducted by British TV presenter and CinemaLive host Charlotte Hawkins.
To view the official trailer, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNNLdfU30S4&feature=youtu.be
Tickets on sale now. For participating cinemas and to book tickets, visit www.FathomEvents.com.
--Shira Gilbert PR
Young People's Chorus and VisionintoArt Present Epiphany: The Cycle of Life
Epiphany: The Cycle of Life, a co-production of the Young People's Chorus of New York City and VisionIntoArt (VIA), is a multidisciplinary and immersive performance experience created by filmmaker and "visual poet" Ali Hossaini to be presented by BAM during the 2015 Next Wave Festival. Based on Mr. Hossaini's original video installations "Epiphany" and "Ouroboros," Epiphany: The Cycle of Life comprises world premiere choral compositions by Paola Prestini, Zimbabwe's Netsayi, and Sarah Kirkland Snider; librettos by Niloufar Talebi and Nathaniel Bellow; theatrical concepts and stage direction by Michael McQuilken; scenic and lighting design by Maruti Evans; projection design by Brad Peterson; and costume design by Nicholas K.
Epiphany will premiere in four one-hour performances, taking place from Wednesday, November 4 through Saturday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fishman Space inside BAM Fisher at 321 Ashland Place in Brooklyn, NY. Remaining tickets are $25 and available online at www.bam.org or by calling (718) 636-4100.
--Schumann Associates News
Mirror Visions Ensemble 2015-16 Season
Music provides a new dimension to poetry and prose with the Mirror Visions Ensemble's 2015-2016 season performances and projects, led by Artistic Director Tobé Malawista. This season's schedule is an ideal example of the mission of Mirror Visions Ensemble: the commissioning, performing and recording of vocal chamber music. What began as programs built around individual poets and a fascination with multiple settings of the same text -- a "mirror vision" -- has expanded to include the commissioning of over 80 works from 24 composers. Ms. Malawista, along with the musicians, curates each concert; composers, poets and historical figures are illustrated through music and explored not only through their published works, but also through correspondence and other anecdotes.
The ensemble showcases two new programs this season: Flights of Fantasy and Holidays Around the Globe with Mirror Visions.
Flights of Fantasy: January 23, 24 & 30, 2016
Journeys: October 9 & 11, 2015; March 18, 2016
Holdays Around the Globe with Mirror Visions: December 19, 2015
For more information, visit http://www.mirrorvisions.org/
--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates
California Symphony Musicians, Donato Cabrera Sign New Three-Year Contracts
The California Symphony Orchestra and Musicians Union Local 6 of the American Federation of Musicians have announced the ratification of a new, three-year musicians' contract. California Symphony Music Director Donato Cabrera has also signed a new three-year contract with the orchestra. Both agreements are retroactive to August 1, 2015 and run through July 31, 2018.
The musicians' agreement calls for a wage freeze in the 2015-16 season, a 1.4 percent increase in the musicians' base wages beginning in the 2016-17 season, and no increase in the 2017-18 season.
"I'm grateful to the Players' Committee for their willingness to have honest conversations about both the history and present state of the organization," said California Symphony Executive Director Aubrey Bergauer. "Together, we were able to work toward the right decisions necessary to continue delivering incredibly high quality music while also appropriately planning for current budget needs."
"I've been through a number of contract negotiations for several different orchestras, and this was probably the most collaborative and friendly one that I have ever been involved with. I really feel like we're all heading in the same direction and have a good agreement," said Robert Hoexter, cellist with the orchestra and chair of the Players' Committee. "I think Aubrey has brought some fresh air into our orchestra by opening new doors for us, and I'm looking forward to where we can go from here with her combination of enthusiastic and yet responsible management. I think it's just what we need right now."
For more information, visit http://www.californiasymphony.org/
--Jean Shirk Media
Nicholas McGegan: 30 Years and Counting with Philharmonia Baroque
Thirty years ago, the founder of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, early music crusader and harpsichordist Laurette Goldberg tapped Nicholas McGegan to become Philharmonia's music director. Under "Nic's" leadership, a five-year-old ensemble previously run by four ensemble musicians who conducted orchestra business in a spare bedroom in the back of soprano Judith Nelson's house was transformed into one of the world's most captivating period ensembles.
Now, in addition to local concerts, Philharmonia also frequently tours here and abroad. And when the group is not performing and/or recording, McGegan travels the globe teaching, studying, and conducting major orchestras.
The challenge when interviewing Nic about his 30-year tenure is that he's so witty, so enjoyable, and so filled with delicious, occasionally naughty insights into everything under the sun that it's quite possible to lose one's critical perspective entirely, hand him the reins, and go along for the ride. That, of course, is what so many of us do when we attend Philharmonia concerts and find ourselves lost in the splendid melodies, vivid colors, and multi-dimensional explorations that Nic and the orchestra eagerly share with us.
For more information on Nic McGegan, visit https://philharmonia.org/
--Jason Victor Serinus, via Schwalbe and Partners
More Philharmonia Baroque News
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra is pleased to present Prelude Lectures. These informal discussions take place forty-five minutes before each concert performance. They are free to all ticket-holders and are designed to enrich the concert experience with thoughtful insights from Nic McGegan, guest artists, musicians, scholars and speakers from the world of classical music. We invite all ticket-holders to join us for our Prelude Lectures throughout the season.
Join us at our upcoming season opener, Scarlatti's "The Glory of Spring":
October 4, 6:45 pm
First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Musicologist and Alessandro Scarlatti scholar Benedikt Poensgen will join Philharmonia Board President Ross Armstrong on stage to discuss his discovery of "The Glory of Spring" and the challenges and rewards involved in presenting this masterwork today.
October 7, 6:45 pm
Bing Concert Hall, Palo Alto
Rachael Myrow, KQED Silicon Valley correspondent, will speak with Nic about his 30th anniversary and the significance of performing "The Glory of Spring" during this milestone in his career.
October 9, 7:15 pm
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Bill Lueth, president of listener-supported KDFC radio, will talk with Nic McGegan about his 30 year career at the Philharmonia podium, the return to Herbst Theater and the historic debut of "The Glory of Spring."
October 10, 7:15 pm
First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Bruce Lamott, Philharmonia Chorale Director and Scholar-in-Residence, will share insights about the history of Scarlatti's lost masterpiece, why it was written and how it was forgotten - until today.
--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Mahler Chamber Orchestra Newsletter
Michael Adick new Managing Director: As of 1st October 2015, Michael Adick (pictured) takes up the role of Managing Director of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Outgoing Chief Executive Ole Bækhøj is leaving the MCO to take on a new position in Berlin.
Feel the Music in Macao: As part of the tour to Asia with Esa-Pekka Salonen, the MCO brings the education project Feel the Music to Macao. Feel the Music invites deaf children to discover the world of music with all their senses.
Latest tour diaries: Violinist Henja Semmler reports on the Musikfest Berlin 2015, bassoonist Chiara Santi writes about open air chamber music in the Dolomites, and violinist Kirsty Hilton reflects on the "Written on Skin" performances at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.
British filmmaker Phil Grabsky accompanied Leif Ove Andsnes and the MCO on their Beethoven Journey 2012–2015. Listen here to an excerpt from Grabsky's "Concerto – A Beethoven Journey": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX3JWYzVUcg
For full information, visit http://mahlerchamber.com/
--Sonja Koller, Mahler Chamber Orchestra
William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer
Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.
The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.