Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Orchestral, Social, And Sonic Envelopes: Two Free Concerts Celebrate Classical Music In Time Of Multiculturalism And Audience-Friendly Conservatism


The University of Maryland School of Music National Orchestral Institute is offering a free concert on Thursday June 25, and the opposing National Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with Classical WETA-FM, is offering a free audience-choice preview to their new season on Tuesday, June 30, at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. (Do not try to write in Gustav Mahler or Guillaume Connesson or your vote will not be counted.)

Here is the intro provided by the National Orchestra Institute for the NOI "New Lights" Inaugural Concert:

"How can contemporary music come alive in a concert setting? New Lights celebrates the universe of possibilities in an event inspired by the young musicians of NOI themselves, who shared their ideas with NOI Artistic Director James Ross as well as composer and expert consultant on the future of classical music [sic], Greg Sandow. As the program flows from the Gildenhorn Concert Hall to the Grand Pavilion, the sights, sounds and immediacy of the live concert experience will converge in unexpected ways, offering new visual and acoustic perspectives.

The evening opens with John Adams’s Chamber Symphony (1992), which Adams said was partially inspired by the frenetic energy shared by both the Schoenberg Chamber Symphony and Hanna Barbera cartoon music. A collage of ‘50s cartoons projected on LCD screens on both sides of the stage will provide a visual counterpoint to Adams’s music. Leon Kirchner’s String Quartet #4 (2006) will follow, briefly prefaced by a video chronicling the challenges and joys of preparing this piece with the New Lights players.

Audiences will then find a place in the Grand Pavilion to experience Christopher Rouse’s 1976 work Ogoun Badagris. Inspired by Haitian drumming patterns, the work sets five percussionists loose to navigate through propulsive, explosive grooves on their way to the shouted climax. In the performance that follows, Elliott Carter’s Eight Etudes and a Fantasy for woodwind quartet (1949) will be interwoven with pop songs by artists like Stevie Wonder, Simon and Garfunkel and others, in an arrangement created by NOI participants. The evening will conclude with a collaborative improvisation drawing inspiration from musical and verbal excerpts suggested by NOI audiences, mixing words, musical gestures and the rhythm of language."


New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini on Feeding Those Young and Curious Listeners


Header credit: The National Symphony Orchestra will perform music by young French composer Guillaume Connesson next season, but it won't let you sample it this month.

(c) Marion Kalter 2009. Via musique nouvelle en liberté. Merci.


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