MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Sibelius: Kullervo

Today’s listening, preparing for this weekend’s Seattle Symphony program.

Filed under: Seattle Symphony, Sibelius

The Einstein Theory of Relativity 1923 SD

Filed under: miscellaneous

Joana Carneiro to Step Down

carneiro

From Berkeley Symphony comes this news:

Joana Carneiro announces her intent to step down as Music Director of Berkeley Symphony after nine seasons.

Joana Carneiro, whose adventurous artistic vision and leadership has garnered both critical acclaim and audience praise, has announced that she will step down as Berkeley Symphony’s music director as of the end of the 2017-2018 season and after nine seasons at its artistic helm. Carneiro will stay on as Music Director Emerita.

A committee has been formed to seek the next Music Director and to determine the best approach for the future of Berkeley Symphony.

Guest conductors Ming Luke, Jonathon Heyward, Christopher Rountree, and Christian Reif have been scheduled to conduct the four symphonic concerts planned for the 2018-2019 season. Full 2018-2019 season details will be forthcoming.

Under Carneiro’s baton, Berkeley Symphony has commissioned a total of 13 new works and co-commissioned three since 2009. As part of the subscription series, Carneiro has led 14 world premieres with the Symphony, as well as one United States premiere, and 10 West Coast premieres. Through the Symphony’s Under Construction—a new music workshopping program—she has led 41 additional world premieres, solidifying hers and the Symphony’s commitment to supporting the work of living composers and broadening the symphonic repertoire.

During her tenure, Berkeley Symphony’s programmatic offerings grew to include not just mainstage performances and Under Construction—now Berkeley Sounds Composer Fellows—but the launch and growth of the Berkeley Symphony and Friends Chamber Series, and the creation of partnerships with Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) and San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). In addition, Music in the Schools expanded both in scope and engagement under her oversight, with increases in the number of programs, number of participating schools, and number of students engaged annually.

“We are grateful to Joana for her ability to connect and establish both trust and curiosity from our musicians and our community,” said Symphony Board Chair S. Shariq Yosufzai. “As the Symphony looks ahead to its 50th anniversary season in in 2020-2021, we know that our future is bright because Joana has made an indelible mark.”

Joana Carneiro said: “I love this orchestra and the Berkeley community. I am so proud of what I have been able to accomplish together with this extraordinary organization over the past nine years and look forward to returning to Berkeley soon.”

“Joana has been an inspirational presence on the podium and off,” said Berkeley Symphony Executive Director René Mandel. “Speaking for myself and the entire Berkeley Symphony community, we will miss her dearly, but she will be back, and we so look forward to her return to Berkeley.”

Filed under: conductors, music news

RIP Philip Roth (1933-2018)

Philip Roth has always been such a constant in my literary landscape.

From Charles McGrath’s NY Times obituary:

And yet, almost against his will sometimes, he was drawn again and again to writing about themes of Jewish identity, anti-Semitism and the Jewish experience in America. He returned often, especially in his later work, to the Weequahic neighborhood of Newark, where he had grown up and which became in his writing a kind of vanished Eden: a place of middle-class pride, frugality, diligence and aspiration.

Jason Diamond in Rolling Stone:

“What the Marx Brothers and Mad magazine were to comedy or the Ramones were to rock music, Roth was for American literature. He was a sly smile and smartass remark aimed at the establishment, rather than a middle finger or brick through its window.”

Here’s Roth’s own list (from 2016) of “the fifteen works of fiction he considers most significant to his life”:

“Citizen Tom Paine” by Howard Fast, first read at age 14
“Finnley Wren” by Philip Wylie, first read at age 16
“Look Homeward Angel” by Thomas Wolfe, first read at age 17
“Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, first read at age 20
“The Adventures of Augie March” by Saul Bellow, first read at age 21
“A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway, first read at age 23
“The Assistant” by Bernard Malamud, first read at age 24
“Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert, first read at age 25
“The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner, first read at age 25
“The Trial” by Franz Kafka, first read at age 27
“The Fall” by Albert Camus, first read at age 30
“Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, first read at age 35
“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy, first read at age 37
“Cheri” by Colette, first read at age 40
“Street of Crocodiles” by Bruno Schulz, first read at age 41

Filed under: American literature

Sheku Kanneh-Mason Coming to Seattle

Sheku Kanneh-Mason moved countless viewers around the world playing “Sicilienne” (attributed to*) Maria Theresia von Paradis (a contemporary of Mozart), Fauré’s “Après un rêve,” and Schubert’s “Ave Maria” at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Because of the engagement, Kanneh-Mason had to forego what would have been his U.S. orchestral debut in LA (with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra).

And so lucky Seattle gets to be the host for the cellist’s actual U.S. debut in the fall: with the Seattle Symphony under conductor Ruth Reinhardt, when he will be the soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations.

He’ll also give a concert in the Debut series at Lucerne Festival on 30 August, with his sister Isaka Kanneh-Mason at the keyboard.

*From the musicologist Michael Beckman (this fascinating update passed along to be by Elena Dubinets): “Can’t help noting that one of the cello pieces played at the royal wedding, the “Sicilienne” supposedly by Mozart’s blind contemporary Maria Theresia von Paradis, is actually a fake by the 20th century violinist and hoaxster, Samuel Dushkin. Pretty piece and perfect for a romantic ceremonial occasion…but also an exotic mashup based partly on a violin sonata by Weber.”

See Schott’s page for this score here:
“According to the latest research findings, ‘Sicilienne’ was not written by Maria Theresia von Paradis, but by Samuel Dushkin.”

Filed under: cello, Lucerne Festival, music news, Seattle Symphony

Ellen Reid: Excavating American Dreams

Here’s the piece I wrote for the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s world premiere of reams of the new word by the team of composer Ellen Reid, librettist Sarah LaBrie, and researcher Sayd Randle.

“In classical and concert music right now, a lot of people are trying to think of how to reflect the world we feel we are living in and the world we want to be living in,” says composer and sound artist Ellen Reid…

more

Filed under: American music, commissions, Los Angeles Master Chorale, new music

Harry Partch Fest at the University of Washington

I was lucky to catch last night’s concert, part of a weekend festival exploring the music and ideas of Harry Partch at the University of Washington.

Here’s a video of curator and professor Charles Corey introducing the Harry Partch instruments collection at UW.

Here’s a video of the final part of Partch’s The Wayward, his collection of hobo-themed pieces set during the Great Depression:

Filed under: American music, Harry Partch

Gaman at Music of Remembrance

Shokichi Tokita.jpgI had the privilege of interviewing Shokichi Tokita for my latest Seattle Times  story. As a boy of 8, he was incarcerated with his entire family at the infamous Minidoka”War Relocation Center” in Idaho soon after Pearl Harbor.

more

Filed under: Music of Remembrance, Seattle Times

Vivo in Te

What a pleasure to get to hear Julia Lezhneva and partner in crime Dmitry Sinkovsky again, just a couple months after the Easter Festival in Lucerne. This time was the soprano’s Seattle debut. A heavenly evening of Vivaldi and Handel, with “Vivo in Te” as their encore.

Filed under: Baroque opera, Dmitry Sinkovsky, Handel, Julia Lezhneva, Vivaldi

ABIAH Sings Nina

a2537234916_16Hat tip to Seth Parker Woods for turning me on to this release by ABIAH, available on Bandcamp.

Here’s the artist on Nina Simone as his inspiration:

Nina Simone inspires me in unimaginable ways. Upon encountering her music as a college student, I was captivated by her voice and artistry. Her prodigious piano playing and unique voice spoke to my soul. When I heard her voice, I could see the text in an almost technicolor way. At that very time, I was studying the vocal art of text painting by composers such as Schubert and Schumann. From the first time I heard Nina, she was in full display in her vocal murals. I was transfixed and sought to do the same in my own music making. The beauty of her art was also congruent to the musicianship I was acquiring. Her aspirations of being a classical pianist were akin to mine as an opera singer of African descent. I believe we both found it daunting but attainable.

Filed under: vocal music

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

RSS Arts & Culture Stories from NPR