MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Tippett Rise on Tour

The Spring Festival Tippet Rise on Tour from April 16 to 18 will premiere 10 short films featuring eclectic music performances, readings of poetry, and live discussions with musicians. Highlights of the Spring Festival include flutist Claire Chase giving the world premiere of a new work by Bora Yoon, an homage to Surrealism by pianist Pedja Mužijević, and performances by violinists Benjamin BeilmanKatie Hyun, and Tessa Lark, cellist Gabriel Cabezas, pianists Richard Goode, and Baritone Tyler Duncan. The performances were filmed in sculptor Joel Shapiro’s studio and in the DiMenna Center for the Arts in New York City.

The three-day event will also feature Canadian cellist Arlen Hlusko, who was recently appointed cellist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Arlen put an ask out on social media during lockdown to see if any composers would be interested in writing miniatures for solo cello that would be premiered on her Instagram in September 2020. This resulted in exhilarating collaborations with numerous composers and four of the works were subsequently filmed by Tippet Rise and will be offered during the Festival.

Each night of the Spring Festival will begin at 5:30PM MDT with a live backstage Zoom discussion before the evening’s performances.

Filed under: music news, Tippet Rise

Charpentier Program from Les Arts Florissants

Les Arts Florissants recorded its concert program Charpentier, Grands Motets at the Royal Chapel at Versailles on 28 February following cancellation of two public performances (at Versailles and La Rochelle) due to the pandemic. The film will be available on Qwest TV starting on April 9

From the press release:

Les Arts Florissants collaborates for the very first time with Qwest TV, a global video platform, to offer the exclusive broadcast of the film Charpentier, Grands Motets recorded at Versailles’ Royal Chapel.

Digital Concert – public premiere
Musical Direction: William Christie
Choir and Ensemble: Les Arts Florissants
Royal Chapel – Versailles
Filmed on 28 February 20212 without a live audience

Coproduction Les Arts Florissants and Château de Versailles Spectacles

Qwest TV recently launched a “Classical” category on their premium SVOD platform, across which Charpentier, Grand Motets will be released.

SVOD broadcast (access by subscription, with 7 days free trial)
For more details on how viewers can stream the film on Qwest, click here.

See also Les Arts Florissants’ film of Haydn’s Paris Symphony no. 87, released on 11 January 2021.

Filed under: early music, Les Arts Florissants, music news

Bach Passions

If you haven’t yet experienced the Peter Sellars staging of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, I can’t recommend it highly enough — and the Berliner Philharmoniker production with Simon Rattle is currently available to view for free (until Monday) at the Digital Concert Hall.

Meanwhile, Bach’s St. John Passion will be performed by John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir, and the English Baroque Soloists. It can be viewed for a fee of 9.90 Euros on a Deutsche Grammophon Stage stream from the historic Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, starting at 3pm CET on Good Friday, 2 April.

Remarks Gardiner: “I look forward to this performance for DG Stage of Bach’s St John Passion. “I recorded the piece for the first time for Archiv Produktion back in 1986 and it remains truly special to me. Bach conceived the piece as much as an act of worship as a work of religious art. Almost 300 years after it was heard for the first time, it continues to move listeners of all faiths and none.”

And here’s a performance from 2019 of the 1725 version of the St. John Passion (available for the next 48 hours) from Solomon’s Knot: recorded live at the Nikolaikirche, Bachfest Leipzig, on 19 June 2019. Dramatization by John La Bouchardière.

Filed under: Bach, music news

Voices of Silicon Valley: On Stockhausen’s Stimmung

Sunday at 5PM PST, the Voices of Silicon Valley present a discussion of Stockhausen’s landmark work Stimmung.

Distinguished African American composer and media artist Pamela Z and Voices of Silicon Valley (VOSV) Artistic Director Cyril Deaconoff will discuss its cultural context, Stockhausen’s influence on the French spectral school (Gerard Grisey in particular), and the learning process and technique used by VOSV.

This discussion will be presented on VOSV’s Youtube channel here.

The 17-minute presentation was originally recorded for the digital Gala/ Orpheus album release party on 15 November 2020. After the re-broadcast this Sunday, it will stay on Youtube and may be viewed later. Stockhausen’s Stimmung appears on VOSV’s album Voices of Our Time, which features the first recording of this work by an American group.

Filed under: choral music, Karlheinz Stockhausen, music news

Tribute to Clara Schumann

On Sunday 28 March at 5pm PST, Port Angeles’s Music on the Strait — the Strait of Juan de Fuca, that is — presents Tribute to Clara Schumann from the shores of Lake Sutherland. The performers include co-artistic director James Garlick (violin), Saeunn Thorsteindottir (cello), Orion Weiss (piano), and Nathan Hughes (oboe). Violist and Music on the Strait co-artistic director Richard O’Neill, who just won the Best Classical Instrumental Solo Performance Grammy Award, will introduce.  The concert can be accessed for free here.

Program:

Clara Schumann: Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op 22 

Robert Schumann: Three Romances for Oboe and Piano, Op 94 

Johannes Brahms: Wiegenlied and Liebestreu arr. for Cello and Piano

Clara Schumann: Piano Trio, Op 17

My story for the New York Times on Clara Schumann’s 200th birthday can be read here.

Filed under: chamber music, music news

Remembering Paul Taub (1952-2021)

Some thoughts on the wonderful and irreplaceable Paul Taub. May his memory be a blessing.

An internationally acclaimed flutist and pioneer of Seattle’s new music community, Paul Taub died at his home in Seattle on March 13 after a heart attack. He was 68.

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Paul Taub’s last performances were with the organist Joseph Adam, on 26 February 2021 as well as in the video shown above, which premiered online on 28 February but was prerecorded for a program titled Solo Flute Spectacular. For the latter program, he played from Barang I (1974) by Barbara Benary (1946-2019) and the Air in G Minor (1947) by Lou Harrison (1917–2003).

His very last live performance took place on 26 February at Seattle’s St. James Cathedral. For this live concert stream, titled A Musical Prayer, Paul and Joseph Adam performed the following program:

Jehan Alain, arr. Marie-Claire Alain: Trois Mouvements for flute and organ
Alan Hovhaness: Sonata for Ryūteki and Shō, or Flute and Organ
Julie Mandel: Every Monday for flute alone (world premiere)
Anna Bon di Venezia: Sonata No. 1 in C major, Op. 1, No. 1 for flute and organ

Filed under: music news, new music, Seattle Chamber Players

Emerald City Music’s Spring Online Offerings

Emerald City Music has announced a series of concerts and musical events through May. Every month features a new cast of musicians who perform, share about their craft, and provide insights into the music they perform. The series is filmed in collaboration with two New York City-based filmmakers, Tristan Cook and Zac Nicholson, who bring their own artistic merits to this unique experience of chamber music. 

All concerts will be available on Emerald City Music’s website and Vimeo platform for one month;  at which point the next performance premieres. Listeners have a choice of how to gain access: pay for each performance for $20 (which supports future listening experiences) or share it on social media to gain free access. 

Currently in rotation: The Calidore String Quartet pairs two quartets recently recorded for their newest album, Babel. These two works by Robert Schumann and Dmitri Shostakovich stem from bleak periods when each composer suffered, and overcame, depression. Their music transmits what occurs when music substitutes for language. In the case of Shostakovich, words aren’t enough to fill the void of forbidden speech. Schumann uses music to sing the name of his wife, Clara.

Filed under: chamber music, music news

Stringing and Singing

Attention choral music fans: on Saturday evening 20 February at 5pm PST Seattle Pro Musica, led by Karen Thomas, will inaugurate the series Choral Tapas: Bite-Size Concerts online at youtube.com/seattlepromusica. Broadcasts available for free, donations welcome. No registration required.
Each episode features two choral works (one old, one new), an appetizer demo by Erica Weisman (both a very fine SPM alto and the chef and co-owner of Seattle Cucina Cooking School), and a cocktail recipe by SPM Executive Director and cocktail aficionado Katie Skovholt. Recipes are available here so you can “play along”: Patas Bravas snackRestless Amadeus cocktail
The inaugural event on February 20th features music by Marques Garrett and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

And the Orchestra Now, directed by James Bagwell, will offer a free livestreamed concert on Sunday, 21 Feb. (2pm EST). This program of works for strings includes the world premiere of Falling Together by composer Sarah Hennies, who was recently profiled in The New York Times; and the 2005 piece Popcorn Superhet Receiver by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, which was used in the film There Will Be Blood. The program also includes Grieg’s Holberg Suite and Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams.

Access: RSVP at theorchestranow.org starting on January 27 to receive a direct link to the livestream on the day of the concert. This concert will be available for delayed streaming on STAY TŌNED starting on February 25.

AND

On Sunday February 21 at 7pm PST, Byron Schenkman & Friends presents Piano Songs and Fantasies: music by Mozart, Teresa Carreño, Florence Price, Johannes Brahms, Margaret Bonds, Water Hale Smith, and Franz Schubert. William Chapman Nyaho, Joseph Williams, and Byron Schenkman will perform.

Filed under: Byron Schenkman, music news, Seattle Pro Musica

Will Liverman: Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers

The American baritone Will Liverman’s new recital album Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers releases on 12 February.

With pianist Paul Sánchez, Liverman sings his first full-length recording for Cedille — “a passion project,” in his words, that gathers art songs by Black composers spanning from the early 20th century’s Henry Burleigh through Margaret Bonds, Thomas Kerr, and Robert Owens to such contemporary composers as Leslie Adams, Damien Sneed, and Shawn E. Okpebholo (in the world premiere recording of Two Black Churches, which Liverman commissioned).

Liverman also plays piano in his own arrangement of Richard Fariña’s Birmingham Sunday. The album includes two booklets: a 20-page booklet with extensive program notes and a booklet with the complete song texts.

Filed under: music news, recommended listening

Inaugural Piazzolla Music Competition

This year marks Astor Piazzolla‘s centenary: he was born on 11 March 1921 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The Fundación Astor Piazzolla and PARMA Recordings are honoring the occasion by collaborating to establish the Piazzolla Music Competition. This virtual competition, which will accept submissions until 18 April 18 2021, is open to all musicians, professional and otherwise, soloist or ensemble, instrumentalist or singer, who have an affinity for works of this trailblazing 20th-century composer.

The jury includes Pablo Ziegler, Héctor del Curto, David Binelli, Cesere Chiacchiaretta, Arthur Gottschalk, Walther Castro, Pablo Petrocelli, and Sandra Rumolino as well as performing arts executives and arts managers. They will award the grand prize winners (solo and ensemble) with a cash prize, a recording deal with PARMA Recordings, and a performance tour through China, organized and funded by the Competition. Additional special prizes will be awarded, including concerts in the 2022-2023 season with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Grosseto Symphony Orchestra, or Athens Philharmonia Orchestra to be scheduled, booked, and funded by the orchestras. 

The finalists will be announced in May, and the winners will be announced on 15 June 2021.

More on the inaugural Piazzolla Music Competition:

The Piazzolla Music Competition seeks to continue Piazzolla’s legacy as the single most influential
figure in the history of tango, by identifying and celebrating highly talented musicians of any
instrument or voice type with an affinity for the inimitable style and virtuosity of Astor Piazzolla’s
compositions
• The esteemed individuals comprising the jury include: Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer
Pablo Ziegler (President of the Jury); Grammy Award-winning bandoneonist Héctor del Curto;
bandoneonist /composer David Binelli; Daniel Villaflor Piazzolla, grandson of Astor Piazzolla and vice
president of Fundación Astor Piazzolla; tango singer, actress, and dancer Sandra Rumolino;
accordionist, bandoneonist, and composer Cesere Chiacchiaretta; Professor of Music Composition at
Rice University, Arthur Gottschalk; Walther Castro, bandoneonist, composer and arranger; performing
arts manager Pablo Petrocelli; Croatian Music Institute President Romana Matanovac Vučković,
Institution Management owner and arts consultant Masae Shiwa; and Jia Rui, Vice President of
JoyTitan Entertainment
• Judged through video submissions sent in by applicants, the competition winners will be announced
on 15 June 2021
• Inclusive of all pre-professional and professional soloists and ensembles of 6 or fewer of any
nationality, state, or country of residence, any contestant over the age of 13 (at the time of video
submission) is eligible to apply
• The Piazzolla Competition offers the highly coveted grand prize, in both the solo and ensemble
divisions, of a cash prize ($1500 USD for soloist, $3500 USD for ensemble), a recording and release
deal with PARMA Recordings’s Navona Records, as well as a concert tour throughout China arranged
and funded by PARMA
• Second and Third Prize winners receive Silver or Bronze medallions, respectively, to mark their
outstanding talent and potential
• Special Prizes include the Pablo Ziegler Award, a masterclass for the soloist or ensemble recipient
and Maestro Pablo Ziegler, facilitated by PARMA Recordings; or an invitation to perform with the
Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Grosseto Symphony Orchestra, or Athens Philharmonia Orchestra in the 2022-23 season, with concerts scheduled, booked, and funded by the respective acclaimed
ensembles
• The application process, designed with inclusivity of resource availability at the forefront, requires
musicians to submit by video at least two pieces totaling a minimum of six minutes, performing only
music of Astor Piazzolla, from any time between 18 April 2011 and the application deadline of 18 April
2021. Submission videos must show the musicians with hands and faces fully visible in one,
unedited take. In order to comply with COVID-19 precautions, new ensemble videos may be recorded
“frame-in-frame” in one unedited take, and must date to January 1, 2020 or later
• Applications are open from today
• Finalists will be listed publicly on May 18, 2021, and the Winners Announcement will take place on
15 June 2021

Filed under: Astor Piazzolla, competitions, music news

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