The first few months of 2011 prove an exciting time in the orchestral arena. World and US premieres abound with subjects as varied as Frida Kahlo and a soldier in King David's army. The following is a highlighted list of premieres:
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw and guest conductor Joana Carniero gives the world premiere of Gabriela Lena Frank’s La Centinela y la Paloma (The Keeper and the Dove) February 17 – 19. Frank worked with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz as librettist to re-imagine Frida Kahlo’s return to life as a spirit from the underworld during the annual Día de los Muertos festival in Mexico in order to see her beloved Diego Rivera once again.
The young German based talent Søren Nils Eichberg – newly appointed Composer in Residence for the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has no time to sit back and relax these days. On 10 February his second symphony is premiered in Copenhagen by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph Poppen. Only five days later Eichberg’s concerto for two celli and orchestra, House of Mirrors, is premiered by Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie. The two cellists Jens-Peter Maintz, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, and conductor Eugene Tzigane gives the double concerto no less than six performances in February, starting in Detmold, Germany. The US premiere and more performances of Into the Bright Lights by Nathaniel Stookey take place in San Francisco 4-9 March. Frederica von Stade is the mezzo-soprano soloist with the Philharmonia Baroque, conducted by Nicholas McGegan Premiere: September 18 2009 Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra Edwin Outwater, conductor Centre In The Square, Kitchener, ON, Canada A digital perusal score of Into the Bright Lights is available from SchirmerOnDemand
Review from the premiere: But the surprise hit of the evening was Into the Bright Lights, a cycle of three songs by U.S. composer Nathaniel Stookey, to lyrics by von Stade, in which the singer reflects with gentle, often wry honesty on singing and aging. It was a touching farewell, and I loved both music and text. In the first song, "S'io," Stookey deftly fused baroque and waltz elements, and added a dash of Phillip Glass. "The Golden Thread" poignantly turns to the things that truly matter in life — in this case, von Stade's love for her daughter. The cycle closes with a light-hearted, musically lurching look at a day in an opera singer's life. Tamara Bernstein, The Globe and Mail, 22/09/2009
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