Classical Music News of the Week, June 17, 2012

Sonoma State
University’s Inaugural Season for Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Lawn and
Commons at the Donald & Maureen Green Music Center Begins September 29,

Located on the picturesque Sonoma State University campus
in the heart of California’s Sonoma wine region, Weill Hall officially opens
Saturday, September 29 with an Opening Night concert featuring Lang Lang
followed on Sunday with a Choral Sunrise Concert, a concert with Bruno
Ferrandis and the Santa Rosa Symphony, and a special evening performance with
Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas.

A focal point for music in the region, the Inaugural
Season in Weill Hall features an array of internationally acclaimed performers
including vocalists Stephanie Blythe, Eli-na Garanca, Joyce DiDonato and
Barbara Cook; celebrated classical soloists Yo-Yo Ma, Vadim Repin, Wynton
Marsalis and Anne-Sophie Mutter; acclaimed early music ensembles Philharmonia
Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, Tallis Scholars and Il Complesso Barocco; and
Latin jazz greats Chucho Valdés and Buika. The Santa Rosa Symphony, Resident
Orchestra, offers a full season of programming at the Green Music Center and
the San Francisco Symphony will perform four concerts.

Beginning in June 2013, Sonoma State University and New
York’s Carnegie Hall will launch a new partnership to include a year-long
residency at SSU by young professional musicians, all alumni of The Academy,
the prestigious program created by Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the
Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of
Education. As Visiting Artists in Residence, a small number of
specially-selected Academy alumni will reside on the SSU campus for a year,
fully engaging musically with the SSU community: presenting performances,
offering lessons, chamber music coachings, and workshops; participating in
community outreach to K-12 schools and other community partners; mentoring
students; and coordinating audience development and concert preparation
activities in residence halls for on-campus performances, among many other
duties. This marks the first time that Academy alumni will create such an
extended residency, working in a university setting.

Complementing this new Visiting Artists in Residence
program, a partnership with the Santa Rosa Symphony will bring Carnegie Hall’s
Link Up National program for grade school students to Sonoma County. Link Up
will join other educational programs currently offered by the Symphony – Music
For Our Schools and Training Young Musicians – as the orchestra creates an El
Sistema based program for local students. The Symphony’s five-year pilot
program, Simply Strings, will provide
daily after-school instruction on violin or viola to first through fifth grade
students, culminating each spring in a live performance in Weill Hall with the
Santa Rosa Symphony. Students will also have the opportunity to learn pieces of
music on the recorder, enabling them to take part in a joint performance –
children and the Symphony – at the Green Music Center.

Created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, Link Up
National is an interactive and engaging music education program that currently
connects more than 30 orchestras across the country with schools in their local
communities. As part of the partnership, Carnegie Hall will provide free music
education curriculum materials for use in Sonoma County schools as well as
complimentary resources to support the culminating concert for students in
Spring 2013.

--Karen Ames Communications

Announces 2012-2013 Season

Storied Strings: The Violin in America: Exploration of the
versatile string instrument and its impact on American music, featuring
performances by Mark O’Connor, Alasdair Fraser, and Natalie MacMaster.

Founding of the Strathmore Children’s Chorus: Choral music
explored, preserved, and brought to more young ears through New Initiative.

Theatrical Productions Fully Maximize Adaptability of
Music Center Concert Hall: Tap Dogs, VOCA PEOPLE, and Luma Theater.

Strathmore speakers, social commentators, poets, satirists
take the mic for one week before the Presidential election: David Sedaris, Mary
Oliver, Billy Collins, Fran Lebowitz, and Frank Rich.

Renowned Entertainers and Artists Patti LuPone; Kathleen
Battle; Marvin Hamlisch, Angélique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright in “Sing
the Truth,” Mannheim Steamroller; Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

D.C. Debuts and Premieres: Jennifer Koh’s “Bach and Beyond
Series”; Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; Casey Driessen’s “Singularity
Tour”; Carpe Diem String Quartet; Chelsey Green World Premiere Strathmore

Solo Piano: Maurizio Pollini; George Li; and George

Intimate Concerts with Inspired Emerging Artists: Kristin
Lee; Julie Fowlis; Mak Grgic; Mattias Jacobsson; Aaron Weinstein Trio; and the
Tia Fuller Quartet.

Strathmore announces its 2012-2013 season, September 27,
2012 - May 18, 2013, marked with the sweeping, season-long “Storied Strings:
The Violin in America,: an 11-concert series that explores this most versatile
of the string instruments and its influence on iconic forms of American music.
Exposing young people to music is an unwavering initiative at Strathmore—to
advance this goal, the arts center launches the Strathmore Children’s Chorus in
its new season. Twelve artists are making their debut on the Music Center
stage, including the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, eccentric organist
Cameron Carpenter and local favorite Pat McGee, with return engagements from
high-caliber performers such as Patti LuPone, Kathleen Battle, Ladysmith Black
Mambazo and Keb’ Mo’. Season highlights in the Music Center include Sing the
Truth, bringing together Angélique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves and Lizz Wright for the
first time together on Strathmore’s stage to pay homage to legendary black
women in music. Renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Frasier will premiere a new
program of traditional American music at Strathmore with fellow strings players
Natalie Haas, Jay Ungar, Molly Mason and Dirk Powell. Performances by iconic
pianists Marvin Hamlisch, Cyrus Chestnut (with Kathleen Battle), George Winston
and Maurizio Pollini show a strengthened commitment to utilize the acoustic
properties of the Music Center for piano.

A hallmark of Strathmore is its student concerts, which
introduce more than 20,000 elementary school children to orchestral music each
year—now it will touch even more young lives through music by founding the new
Strathmore Children’s Chorus. This is the first time in Strathmore’s 33 year
history that it has lent its name to a performing ensemble, and also the first
time that it has pioneered the creation of an ensemble for promising young
musicians. At its start, the group will consist of about 50 members ages 8-16.
Chorus members will receive exemplary instruction under Artistic Director
Christopher G. Guerra and will perform in the Mansion and the Music Center at

“By establishing the Strathmore Children’s Chorus, we hope
to provide a professional children’s chorus experience in Montgomery County
that celebrates the diverse musical traditions of our residents, engages
talented youth in joy-filled and uplifting music-making, and provides
Strathmore with a living, breathing, singing presence in our community,” said
Strathmore President Monica Jeffries Hazangeles.

Strathmore continues to assert the versatility of the
Music Center stage by presenting technically challenging and elaborate theater
and dance productions. The 2012-2013 season features the high-energy, athletic
theater experience Tap Dogs; off-Broadway sensation VOCA PEOPLE; the
gravity-defying acrobatics of Cirque Ziva; and the light marvels of Luma
Theater. Strathmore will also present complementary performances of
Spanish-influenced dance by Ballet Folklórico De México and Flamenco
Vivo/Carlota Santana.

“This season, Strathmore stretches the boundaries of our
stage into a full-scale theatrical venue filled with torrid dance, new
spectacles of light and sound, and thrilling cirque choreography that will
redefine audiences’ concept of our Concert Hall,” said Strathmore founder and
CEO Eliot Pfanstiehl. “From the onset, the Hall was conceived as a flexible
space that could accommodate a range of art forms, and as we mature as an arts presenter,
it’s exciting that we can grow to fully utilize the space for all its
potential. We're not just for music anymore.”

Salon-style Mansion concerts continue to incubate
remarkable emerging talents, many making their Strathmore debut in the early
stages of already impressive careers, including George Li, piano; Mattias
Jacobsson and Mak Grgic, guitar; Kristin Lee, violin; Aaron Weinstein Trio;
Aviv Quartet; Duo Amaral; Guido’s Ear; and the Tia Fuller Quartet. Highlights
in the Mansion including the Washington, D.C. premiere of violinist Jennifer
Koh’s Bach and Beyond Series, the Washington-area premiere of Korine Fujiwara’s
Fiddle Suite Montana performed by Carpe Diem Quartet and a world premiere
Strathmore commissioned work by composer Robert Miller, performed by violinist
and former Strathmore Artist in Residence Chelsey Green. Also among the
Mansion’s standout programs are the premiere of fiddler Casey Driessen’s
Singularity Tour and Celtic vocalist Julie Fowlis, gaining notoriety for her
work on the soundtrack to Pixar’s new film, Brave.

Additional world premiere performances will be offered by
Strathmore’s six new Artists in Residence, emerging musicians cultivated and
educated by Strathmore staff and mentors to make the arts a sustaining career.

Tickets for the 2012-2013 season go on sale to Strathmore
Stars on June 5, 2012 and to the general public on June 28, 2012. Ticket prices
listed represent single, not “Strathmore Stars,” prices. “Strathmore Stars”
receive a 10 percent discount on all listed prices.

Strathmore Venues:

Mansion at Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD 20852; 10701
Rockville Pike

Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North
Bethesda, MD 20852

Tickets and Information: (301) 581-5100 or

--Michael Fila, Strathmore

Jeff Myers Wins the
'In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores' Online Contest; 10 Honorable Mentions Chosen

Winner: Jeff Myers: "The Angry Birds of Kauai"

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order):

Philip Brownlee: "Pariwhero"

Nikolet Burzyn'ska: "Orna-mention"

Tristan D'Agosta: "Piece for Violin and Piano"

Mark Gresham: "Café Cortadito"

George Kontogiorgos: "Before the Rain Starts"

Marius Felix Lange: "Nutcracker's Nightmare"

Garth Neustadter: "Volitation"

Aaron Severini: "Catch"

Rani Sharone: "Tick"

Octavio Vazquez: "NGC 6611"

Since its inception, “In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn
Encores” has aimed not only to expand the violin repertoire, but to engage new
fans and break down barriers between artists and audiences. In addition to
commissioning 26 composers to write short-form pieces for acoustic violin and
piano, Hilary Hahn put out an open call for submissions on her website. Over
400 composers of diverse ages and nationalities submitted works. Each entry was
made completely anonymously. As Hahn says, "Reviewing the pieces, I was
glad that everything about the scores and audio files was anonymous. All I had
to go on was the music itself: no identifying titles, handwriting, or names. I
was eager to open the files as they arrived. It was interesting to see how
different composers interpreted the encore as a musical form." For every
encore that was received, $2 has been donated to the music programs of Dramatic

Today, Hahn is delighted to announce the winner: Jeff
Myers. Due to an overwhelming number of wonderful encores, Hahn has also
selected the works of Philip Brownlee, Nikolet Burzyn'ska, Tristan D'Agosta,
Mark Gresham, George Kontogiorgos, Marius Felix Lange, Garth Neustadter, Aaron
Severini, Rani Sharone, and Octavio Vazquez as Honorable Mentions.

Jeff Myers's work, "The Angry Birds of Kauai,"
will be performed on Hahn's 2012-13 recital program with 13 other previously
commissioned works for the project and will be recorded for release during the
2013-14 concert season. The loudness and power of the native birds in Kauai,
near his home in Honolulu, inspired Myers's encore. Of the new piece, Hahn
writes, "It is smartly and efficiently structured, with soul and humor in
the notes. The instruments are equals, and the violin's capabilities are
exercised. There is tons to experiment with interpretively: the way the piano
and violin trade ideas is something I had been curious to try in upcoming
repertoire. I had been looking for a work like this outside of the contest
without fully realizing it, and suddenly it dawned on me that that piece was
right in front of me. It fits my technique really well. But not just mine: each
musician who takes it on in the future will be able to put his or her stamp on
it. And this encore was satisfying to work through in my head. It showed its
character to me before I played even a phrase."

The music of Jeff Myers draws on preexisting musical
works, styles and genres, as well as visual art and natural phenomena. Filipino
kulintang music, works by M.C. Escher, overtone music, folk music, and animals
have been a source for inspiration. Currently, Myers is working on an opera
about 17th Century Norwegian witch trials (Maren of Vardø) with librettist
Royce Vavrek for Center City Opera in Philadelphia, PA. Myers is also composing
a one-act opera version of Edgar Allan Poe's "Premature Burial"
(Buried Alive) with playwright Quincy Long for American Lyric Theater's
"Poe" trilogy. Myers's music has been played by ensembles such as
L’Orchestre National de Lorraine, American Composers Orchestra, New York Youth
Symphony, New World Symphony, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, PRISM Saxophone
Quartet, JACK Quartet and by violinist Yuki Numata. He has received awards from
The American Academy of Arts and Letters, BMI, as well as fellowships from the
Aspen Festival, Tanglewood, Festival Acanthes, and commissioning grants from
institutions such as the Jerome Foundation, The Fromm Foundation and NYSCA. His
music has been heard at Carnegie Hall, The Library of Congress, The Kimmel Center,
Darmstadt, Gaudeamus, Symphony Space, and (le) poisson rouge. Myers holds
degrees from San José State University, the Eastman School of Music and the
University of Michigan. His Web site is

Honorable Mentions were awarded to 10 additional pieces
that Hahn found compelling. These Honorable Mentions will be premiered by Hahn
before the end of 2015. Hahn explains, "When I built the contest, I had
intended for the Honorable Mentions to be listed on my site so that readers
could look up the composers' work and keep their eyes out for those specific
pieces once they might be available to the public. As I got to know these ten
over the course of deciding the results, however, I discovered that they were
such varied and appealing compositions that when it came to making my
decisions, I didn't want to part with them! So, I have now committed to
performing all of the Honorable Mentions by the end of 2015. How in the world I
am going to learn so much music, I have no idea, but I can’t wait to get

The composers chosen for Honorable Mentions are a diverse
group, from a conservatory student to an Emmy Award-winner to a former New York
Ballet dancer to a bassist in an avant garde metal band. Their experience with
Hahn's music is as equally diverse, ranging from devotee YouTube video
followers, to sometimes radio listeners, to Carnegie Hall audience members. The
inspirations for their encores, too, are scattered: the composer Ferruccio
Busoni, the writer E.T.A. Hoffmann, the rocky hills of New Zealand, the
economic situation in Greece. The composers hail from Eastern Europe, the
Mediterranean, the Pacific, North America, and the southern hemisphere. What
unites them all is powerful work. As Hahn explains, "An encore has a
complicated job to accomplish in a short period of time. If it is played at the
end of a program, it has to capture an audience's attention after an evening of
engrossing music, create and maintain an alluring aural atmosphere, and prove
as evocative as good story-telling. It has to send people away with the feeling
that they have just heard something extraordinary."

--Amanda Ameer, First Chair Promotion

Birmingham Hosts
England’s Opening Night Concert of the London 2012 Festival

All eyes will be on Birmingham next week as the City of
Birmingham Symphony Orchestra performs the opening concert in England for one
of the largest arts festivals the UK has ever seen – the London 2012 Festival.

On 21 June, the CBSO, conducted by Edward Gardner, will be
joined by the 250 massed-voices of the CBSO Chorus, CBSO Children’s Chorus and
CBSO Youth Chorus, along with actor Samuel West and CBSO Associate Conductor
Michael Seal, in the UK premier of Weltethos. This visionary and dramatic piece
of music was created by one of the world’s greatest living composers, Sutton
Coldfield born Jonathan Harvey.

“Weltethos is a thought-provoking, delicately woven piece
which brings together the world’s great cultures in the search for goodness
through our shared spiritual humanity”, said CBSO chief executive Stephen
Maddock. “Whilst epic in scale, it conveys a tender but powerful message about
moral purpose, through which we hope to bring the London 2012 Festival, in
Birmingham, to life”.

Stephen added: “The CBSO offers an unrivalled diversity of
programme and we are thrilled to be premiering this work by one of the world’s
best contemporary composers. Our concert is just one of four taking place
across Britain on the festival opening night; Derry~Londonderry, Stirling and
Bowness-on-Windermere will also help us to showcase some of the artists that
make our country an exciting hotbed of talent”.

London 2012 Festival Director Ruth Mackenzie said: “Sir
Simon Rattle commissioned this piece and I heard the first ever performance in
Berlin – it is a huge and ambitious piece which lives up to the themes of World
Peace it tackles, and offers the huge orchestral and choral forces a challenge
that is thrilling for them and audiences alike.  I am so proud that it opens the London 2012 Festival and my
thanks to all who have made it possible”

Jonathan Harvey was commissioned by CBSO Chorus Director,
Simon Halsey (and Chief Conductor of the Berlin Radio Choir) and ex-CBSO Music
Director Sir Simon Rattle (Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) to
write a 90 minute piece of music for Choir and Orchestra which was premiered in
Berlin with the Philharmonic Orchestra and Berlin Radio Choir in October 2011.

Founded on texts from six of the world’s greatest
religions: Confucianism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity,
it shares a complex yet heartfelt message of balance and harmony through layers
of German text, (written by theologian Hans Kung) traditional writings and
sounds akin to each of the six religions.

CBSO Chorus Director Simon Halsey said: “The overarching
theme of this new work is world peace, also a major theme of the Olympic
movement, so it is absolutely perfect for this concert. It is a complex work,
in six movements and with two conductors, so will be quite a spectacular
concert. We are looking forward to it immensely. And as Jonathan was born
locally, it is also fitting that the UK premiere of the work will be on his
home turf.”

The London 2012 Festival is a 12-week nationwide
celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the
very best from the UK, opening on Midsummer’s Day, 21 June, and running until 9
September 2012. The spectacular ‘once in a lifetime’ festival features more
than 25,000 artists from all 204 competing Olympic nations. Everyone will be
able to join in the celebration with over 10 million free tickets and
opportunities to take part in 12,000 events and performances at 900 venues all
over the UK, including 130 world premieres and 85 UK premieres. The London 2012
Festival is the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, the largest cultural
celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements,
designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and
inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

Weltethos takes place on 21 June at 7.30pm in Symphony
Hall, Birmingham. Tickets are available from Symphony Hall or Town Hall box
offices in person, by phone: 0121 780 3333, or online:
(Please note a £2.50 transaction fee is charged by THSH Box Office on all
bookings except those made in person)

Green, CBSO

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