Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Wrong, Wrong, Wrong" In The Nation's Capital (... And I'm Not Talking About Politics)

The National Gallery of Art; the Concert Halls of the John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts, the Library of Congress; the Smithsonian Institute's American, Indian, Asian, and African Arts Museums; the French Embassy; the Austrian Embassy; the Swiss Embassy; the National Academy of Sciences; the universities, of course ... Everywhere in the Nation's Capital there is a living classical music culture -- except, of course, on reactionary WETA/WGMS-FM, public radio in the Nation's Capital.

Yesterday, the young Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (POA) visited the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts performing an exciting new classical work by Enrico Chapela [corrected] and a superb classical arrangement of Astor Piazzolla, by Lev Zhurbin.

POA's stated primary mission is to "open doors for young performers and composers from the Americas," and in 2007, it initiated a Young Composers Competition for a short orchestral work. The winner was Martin Capella, born in Mexico in 1981; his composition, Ixbalanqué, is based on a Mayan legend about twin brothers who can revive a man they have killed with a magic spell; the music depicts that life-restoring moment.

Tonight, the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian Insitute celebrates Chinese-born contemporary classical music composer Ge Gan-ru. Don't expect to hear his classical music on public radio in Washington; though you probably can on public radio in the U.S. at large; as well as in Europe, China, Japan, Canada, Latin America, and Australia.

Chinese-born composer Ge Gan-ru's music has been commissioned by the Kronos Quartet and performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. For this unusual concert, Margaret Leng Tan and the ModernWorks ensemble devote an entire evening to his highly original chamber music. ModernWorks performs Ge's first and fourth string quartets and gives the world premiere of the fifth. Margaret Leng Tan delivers the world premiere of Ge's music-melodrama "Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!" a sonic tour-de-force for voice and toy orchestra, inspired by a Song dynasty poem about love denied.

New York City-based pianist and composer Margaret Leng Tan (above) and New York City-based violist and composer Lev Zhurbin (below), through their occasional visits, help try to sustain a living classical music culture in the Nation's Capital, as the Course of Classical Music History shifts eastward and southward.

Photo credits: (c) Justin Bernhaut for the New York Times 2007; and (c) Inna Barmash 2005. All rights reserved. With thanks.


Blogger Lev 'Ljova' said...

Hi Garth, thanks for the exposure!

But we didn't perform a piece by Eduardo Marturet -- it was a piece by Enrico Chapela.

And I don't live in the Nation's Capital - I live in New York!


12:55 PM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

Thanks, Ljova. Important corrections noted. My apology to Enrico Chapela for not remembering his name this noon, and for not having my program at hand.

The perils of blogging!

1:28 PM  

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