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News - Prolonging Summer Festival Season

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

With August at our backs, we are delighted to share some highlights from this summer's American festival programming. From Tanglewood to the Hollywood Bowl, great performances of compositions from the G. Schirmer catalog abounded in celebrating milestone birthdays, newly restored performance materials, and all-around talent from home and abroad.

As Music Director of the 2018 Ojai Music Festival, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja cast a deserving spotlight on the music of Galina Ustvolskaya. An afternoon marathon of Ustvolsaya's duets and piano sonatas (with the formidable Markus Hinterhäuser at the keyboard) served as an unforgettable portrait of her singular vision.

Conductor Tito Muñoz and members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra cast a spell over the Libbey Bowl with a shimmering, sublime performance of Hans Abrahamsen's Schnee, a 21st-century masterpiece.

Abrahamsen was one of many living composers featured at the Aspen Music Festival this year, where the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble performed his Lied in Fall and Helen Grime's Clarinet Concerto, in addition to John Corigliano's Poem in October and John Harbison's Mirabai Songs, honoring both composers' 80th-birthday year. Works by Jacques Ibert and Joseph Cantaloube contributed to Aspen's 2018 'Paris, City of Light' theme, and Gabriela Lena Frank was present for a performance of her La Centinela y la Paloma, with soprano Jessica Rivera and Federico Cortese leading the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra. Nilo Cruz' original text foreshadows an upcoming collaboration on Frank's first opera, The Last Dream of Frida and Diego.

Frank's Walkabout: Concerto for Orchestra, her most daring orchestral essay to date, received its West Coast premiere at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, under the baton of Cristian Măcelaru in his first season as Music Director. A performance of John Corigliano's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with soloist Philip Fisher marked the 50th anniversary of its composition, as well as the composer's 80th-birthday year. And, the festival's closing concert featured the West Coast Premiere of Nico Muhly's Impossible Things (featuring tenor Nicholas Phan and violinist Justin Bruns) and Missy Mazzoli's Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres).

In Portland, Chamber Music Northwest presented the West Coast Premiere of Bright Sheng's chamber opera The Silver River, the composer's first-ever collaboration with Pulitzer-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (who would go on to write the libretto for Sheng's 2016 grand opera Dream of the Red Chamber). In a new production by Robert Longbottom featuring brilliant video projections by Ian Anderson-Priddy, this integrated fable of East and West finds new resonance in 2018. Tan Dun's Ghost Opera rounded out a thrilling weekend of programming, aptly titled Beyond the Cultural Revolution.

Back in New York at Bard SummerScape, a collaborative staging of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets by Pam Tanowitz, Brice Marden, and Kaija Saariaho, was praised by The New York Times as 'dance theater of the highest caliber…the most sublime new dance since Merce Cunningham's Biped (1999)'. At Mostly Mozart in New York City, John Adams' Grand Pianola Music kicked off a weeklong series of concerts by the International Contemporary Ensemble, while the Festival Orchestra delighted audiences with a nuanced reading of Adams' The Chairman Dances.

At Tanglewood, the Festival of Contemporary Music featured Per Nørgård's Voyage Into the Golden Screen, an early stroke of brilliance that employs the infinity series, Nørgård's most enduring musical discovery. Thomas Adès led the Tanglewood Music Center in a thunderous, unforgettable performance of Witold Lutosławski's Symphony No. 3. Other pieces heard throughout the summer include Rolf Wallin's percussion classic Stonewave, and Judith Weir's Wake your wild voice, after a poem by Sir Walter Scott.

The Red Violin, featuring John Corigliano's OSCAR-winning score live to film, was presented at Festival Napa Valley, the Chautauqua Institution, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and the Ravinia Festival, all featuring Joshua Bell as the soloist. (Bell brings his talents to David Geffen Hall this October 16-20, for Red Violin with the New York Philharmonic.) The Pink Panther had its West Coast Premiere as part of the Hollywood Bowl's Jazz Under the Stars summer series, and articles in Variety and the LA Times chronicled the restoration and 'homecoming' of Henry Mancini's iconic score.

For more information, please contact Andrew Stein-Zeller – andrew.stein-zeller@schirmer.com / 212.254.2100.


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