Browsing: Contemporary

Modern composers, when they die, go into limbo for about a decade before their reputation settles. It has been five years since Henze left us and I miss bumping into his music, on the radio, at festivals, anywhere. It has all gone rather quiet. Which may account for my excessive pleasure at encountering these otherworldly pieces, rich in references to a forgotten age and its leisurely pace. The Kammermusik, for tenor, guitar and eight instruments, is dedicated to Benjamin Britten in thanks for introducing Henze to the guitarist Julian Bream. But although Henze quotes a Britten phrase and dabbles wistfully…

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Montreal, August 23, 2017 – Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) is pleased to announce that the jury has selected the winners of its biennial composition contest: Sophie Dupuis (N.-B., Ont.), Patrick Giguère (Qc/UK), James O’Callaghan (B.-C./Qc) and Thierry Tidrow (Ont./ DE) will take part in the Generation2018 adventure starting next February. With more than 60 high-level applications from Canadian composers, aged 35 and under from all over the country, the final choice has proved quite challenging for the jury comprising renowned professionals from the Canadian new music community: Gabriel Dharmoo (Composer and Performer, Montreal), Gordon Fitzell (Composer and Professor at University…

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The US composer Bunita Marcus worked for seven years with Morton Feldman and subsequently accused him, after his death, of sexual abuse. Feldman wrote this piece as an act of homage to Marcus. It begins with what appears to be a visit by an extremely unhurried piano tuner and proceeds by its own logic into a sound world where time and motion lose all meaning. It lasts for 72 minutes and 38 seconds and unless it has succeeded in transcending such mundane measurements the experience will probably feel like eternity. The pianist Marc-André Hamelin reports that “the first time I…

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-A free, all-ages opera for the community, weekends in September-  TORONTO, ON: Canada’s leading contemporary opera company, Tapestry Opera, in conjunction with the Toronto Arts Council and the Todmorden Mills Heritage Site, is pleased to announce the world premiere of Bandits in the Valley. Set in 1860s Toronto, Bandits in the Valley tells the story of a local bandit group, aided by a troupe of travelling Gilbert & Sullivan players, who attempt to steal a mysterious object from a wealthy citizen’s home in the Don Valley. Six performers will make their way through the site singing and playing a variety…

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In the June 2017 issue of La Scena Musicale, we reported on a collaboration between Odawa composer Barbara Croall and the Highlands Opera Studio (read here). The project, entitled Wiikondiwin (meaning feasting or feast) was commissioned by general director Valerie Kuinka in partnership with the Atelier Lyrique de L’Opera de Montreal. It was set to be premiered on August 19 at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavillion in Haliburton, Ontario. Unfortunately, Barbara Croall withdrew Wiikondiwin on July 10, citing “ongoing and increasingly critical family health issues,” which have restricted her ability to complete the opera on time. “After receiving this…

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This stunning new opera in Spanish, a co-commission with San Diego Opera, the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, and DePauw University, will celebrate the life and immortal artistry of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. FORT WORTH, TX – On August 24, 2017, Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) will formally announce the 2020 world premiere of The Last Dream of Frida and Diego, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz and Latin Grammy winner, pianist, and classical composer Gabriela Lena Frank. The creative process is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and service organization OPERA America’s Opera Grants for…

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July 31, 2017 (New York) — OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation’s leading champion for American opera, is pleased to announce the latest recipients of Commissioning Grants from the Opera Grants for Female Composers program, made possible through the generosity of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. A total of $100,000 was awarded to the following companies in support of six projects: Houston Grand Opera for Home of My Ancestors by Nkeiru Okoye; Minnesota Opera (Minneapolis, MN) for The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Paola Prestini; Opera Parallèle (San Francisco, CA) for Today It Rains by Laura Kaminsky; Sarasota Opera for Rootabaga Country by Rachel J. Peters; Seattle Opera for A Thousand Splendid Suns by Sheila Silver; and Washington National Opera (Washington,…

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If you go out and buy the Minnesota Orchestra’s Bis recording of Mahler’s fifth symphony, rest assured that you need never buy another. It’s resoundingly well played in every department, devoid of the bravado that impairs some American performances, and discreetly shaped by the music director Osmo Vänskä, who finds organic solutions for some of the more abrupt shifts in the score. Vänskä’s approach is coolly objective. He plays what is in the score and allows the listener to find his or her own level of emotional engagement. The Adagietto, at twelve and a half minutes, is slower than is…

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Imagine attending an entire year of recitals at Carnegie Hall or Der Musikverein. At either concert hall you will no doubt encounter the pianists András Schiff, Barry Douglas, Richard Goode, Evgeny Kissin, Yefim Bronfman, Daniil Trifonov or Yuja Wang. Your listening path would also include at least one of the leading violin virtuosi of our time, perhaps Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos or Janine Jansen. You may also add to your annual subscription the experience of hearing Pablo Ferrandez, George Li, or Daniel Lozakovich, three rising stars of their generation. And, as an opera lover your radar will meet Esa-Pekka Salonen…

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Any new recording of the Walton concerto will always be measured against Jascha Heifetz, who commissioned the work in 1935, edited the solo part and gave the first performances, throwing down a challenge to all others to do it better, or different. Ida Haendel and Yehudi Menuhin were able to soften the granitic contours but few others have suggested that there is more to the piece than the mighty Heifetz mined out of it. Now along comes Anthony Marwood and turns our ears around. From first utterance, he finds an expansive, Elgarian colour to the piece, a breadth of phrase…

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