Classical Music News of the Week, December 27, 2015
Organist Cameron Carpenter embarks on massive 34-city North American tour in January 2016, with nearly every engagement featuring a debut for the International Touring Organ. With 27 stops in new cities and/or venues, this marks the biggest tour ever from any organist, let alone one who travels with his own organ.
Since the debut of his brainchild, the revolutionary International Touring Organ, at Lincoln Center in March 2014, which was described by The New York Times as "quite terrific," Cameron Carpenter has continued to break the barriers of traditional organ and classical music with a style, sound and energy that is uniquely his own. The custom-built International Touring Organ dispenses with traditional pipes and instead uses digitalized sounds culled from instruments from across the globe, thus allowing Carpenter's artistry to expand in even more compelling directions. Above and beyond the impressive technical wonders and effects that have become his trademark, Carpenter's music is imbued with deep sensitivity and emotional power, the manifestation of Carpenter's joy at being able to connect with his very own instrument.
For 2016, Carpenter embarks on his most ambitious tour to date. In fact, with 34 cities across 12 states and two countries, it is the largest tour ever by an organist. The vast majority of cities comprising the tour will be debuts for both Carpenter and the International Touring Organ. In addition to solo engagements, Carpenter also embarks on a "tour within a tour" of leading Canadian venues in cities including Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, and Ottawa, and plays a series of concerts in March 2016 with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, featuring Saint-Saëns's Symphony No. 3 "Organ" and Poulenc's Concerto for Organ.
For more information on Cameron Carpenter, the North American tour, or the International Touring Organ, visit www.cameroncarpenter.com.
--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media
Academy Celebrates 10 Years With Concert, Zukerman Master Class
The Music Institute of Chicago celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Academy program, which has educated and prepared gifted pre-college musicians for professional training and music careers, with several public events in 2016. On Saturday, February 6, renowned violinist/violist/conductor Pinchas Zukerman gives a master class for Academy students, free and open to the public, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Principal Clarinetist Stephen Williamson performs chamber music with Academy students. Both events take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.
The Music Institute of Chicago's Academy 10th Anniversary Celebration Concert featuring Stephen Williamson takes place Saturday, February 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students, available at brownpapertickets.com/event/1996616 or 847.905.1500. All programming is subject to change. For more information, visit musicinst.org.
--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications
California Symphony Performs Gershwin, Weill, Bernstein
The California Symphony and Music Director Donato Cabrera perform a program of music inspired by American jazz of the 1920s on Sunday, January 24, with pianist Charlie Albright joining the Orchestra for the original jazz band version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. A suite of songs from Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera, Bernstein's little-heard Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs, Stravinsky's Scherzo à la russe, and Milhaud's Le création du monde complete the "American Roots" program. The concert is at 4 pm at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, with a free pre-concert talk with Cabrera beginning at 3 pm.
The music on the program shares a common inspiration: American jazz. Stravinsky's Scherzo à la russe was originally written as part of a film score for a jazz orchestra, then rewritten and premiered by the San Francisco Symphony, with Stravinsky himself conducting. Milhaud's Le création du monde (The creation of the world) was inspired by the French composer's first exposure to jazz in the early 20s. Kurt Weill's music for The Threepenny Opera was born of a more formal compositional technique, but influenced by the newly popular jazz that was sweeping through Europe. And the now-familiar, fully orchestrated version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue first was written as an arrangement for jazz band. "It was originally written for (1920s and 30s American bandleader) Paul Whiteman," Cabrera explains, "with parts for four violins, four saxophones, banjo – it was conceived for a 1920s-style jazz band."
Tickets for the California Symphony's "American Roots" concert at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek are $42 to $72, and can be purchased through the California Symphony's Web site at www.californiasymphony.org and at 925-943-7469.
--Jean Shirk Media
Music Institute's Free Petting Zoo, Jan. 10
The Music Institute of Chicago invites families to learn about music and options for music lessons and classes by attending a Musical Petting Zoo and Registration Day Sunday, January 10 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at its Winnetka Campus, 300 Green Bay Road. This event is free and open to the public.
Children can try a wide range of instruments at a musical petting zoo as well as enjoy music games and refreshments while parents learn about the Music Institute from faculty and staff. In addition to a raffle drawing for $200 off lessons or classes, all first-time day-of registrants receive a $100 discount.
The Musical Petting Zoo and Registration Day is free and open to the public. For more information, call 847-905-1500, ext. 127. To learn more about lessons and classes at the Music Institute of Chicago, visit musicinst.org/prospective-students.
--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications
PARMA Recordings Announces Completion of First Round of Cuba Recordings
Bob Lord, CEO of PARMA Recordings LLC, has announced the completion of the company's first recording sessions in Cuba. The music will be released in 2016, with PARMA returning to Cuba in the Spring for the next round of sessions.
Lord, who was named in 2015 as one of Musical America's 30 Professionals of the Year: Key Influencers, first visited Cuba in May following President Obama's loosening of restrictions imposed by the 55-year old embargo. Lord returned in November to record works by living composers, all of whom were in attendance, with Cuban musicians.
Lord recently wrote about his experiences on the PARMA BLOG. About the Cuba sessions, Lord says, "It was a profoundly exciting and energizing experience to work with the Cuban musicians. What I heard during my week in the studios and concert halls was a true collaboration, the real ideal of musical and artistic interaction, in which composition and composer and performer and team come together to create something fresh and beautiful."
More information about the release of music and the Spring sessions in Cuba will be announced after the New Year.
Bob Lord is a producer, composer, bassist and CEO of PARMA Recordings, the New Hampshire-based audio production house and parent company of the Navona, Ravello, and Big Round label imprints. As of 2015, he has more than 400 recording and production credits on his resume.
--Bob Lord, PARMA Recordings
Collage New Music Winter Performance: Voices of Now and Tomorrow, January 10
Collage New Music announces the next concert in its 2015-2016 season titled, Voices of Now and Tomorrow. The performance features the talent of world-renowned vocalist soprano, Dominique LaBelle. In the weeks leading up to the performance, highly acclaimed, award-winning composers David Rakowski, Chaya Czernowin, and Yehudi Wyner, as well as, composer and CNM '15-16 Fellow, Talia Amar have each been rehearsing their compositions with Collage New Music. All four composers will be in attendance at the concert. David Hoose will conduct.
Featuring Dominique LaBelle, Talia Amar, David Rakowski, Chaya Czernowin, and Yehudi Wyner.
The concert will be held on January 10, 2016 in Edward Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music at Bard College, 27 Garden St. in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Pre-talk with composers and musicians at 7pm; performance starts at 8pm.
For additional performance information, please visit:
--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, Celesta Marketing and PR
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.