Longmont Symphony schedules chamber orchestra concerts at Stewart Auditorium

Moore: Classical works will “further the orchestra’s artistic achievement”

By Peter Alexander Oct. 18 at 8:40 p.m.

Elliott Moore, conductor of the Longmont Symphony, wants the orchestra to play more music from the Classical era.

Elliot Moore with the Longmont Symphony_preview

Conductor Elliot Moore with the Longmont Symphony.  Smiling Elk Photography.

The standard works of the 19th-century Romantic era have been staples of the orchestra for many years, but the LSO has not played much Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven. To remedy the imbalance, they have started scheduling chamber orchestra concerts in the intimate Stewart Auditorium of the Longmont Museum. Last year there was one; this year there will be two, at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoons Oct. 21 (sold out) and April 14. Similar concerts are planned for future seasons as well.

The orchestra will perform three works Oct. 21: Lacrimae Beati by American composer Richard Danielpour, which is derived from the last notes Mozart wrote before his death; Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major with soloist Alice Yoo; and Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C major, known as the “Jupiter” Symphony. The April 14 concert will feature Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont, the Chamber Symphony, op. 110a, by Shostakovich; and Beethoven Symphony No. 2 in D major, performed as part of a multi-year Beethoven cycle that will include all nine symphonies.

Elliott.Moore.2

Eliot Moore

The programming of Classical-era pieces, as well as contemporary works for smaller orchestra, accomplishes two things, Moore says. “Haydn and Mozart are not composers that have been performed a great deal in Longmont,” he explains. “It still has a feeling of being fresh here, and it’s important that the Longmont Symphony bring this to our audiences.”

The second thing it accomplishes is more important, Moore believes. “One of the aspects of what a music director does is to further the orchestra’s artistic achievement,” he says. “You use the repertoire to further that artistic achievement.

“For example, our performance of Mozart’s final symphony, the ‘Jupiter’ Symphony, will influence how we perform our Beethoven Second Symphony, and how we perform our Beethoven Second Symphony will influence how we perform Brahms. This music all goes together, and for us to jump to Brahms without having a background in the performance of Mozart and early Beethoven, and then of late Beethoven—we are missing some steps.”

richard-danielpour

Richard Danielpour

Of the works on the sold-out Oct. 21 concert, Moore is especially excited about Danielpour’s Lacrimae Beati. “I’m thrilled that Longmont will see the Colorado premiere of this fantastic work,” he says. “To me that’s very exciting, that we are able to bring [that] to our audience.

“What’s important is that Danielpour quotes Mozart’s Lachrymosa from his Requiem. It’s a direct quote, and the piece is based on the last eight notes that Mozart wrote. I wrote to Dr. Danielpour, and he is very honored that his piece is on the same program with Mozart’s final symphony.”

The April concert features music by two composers, Beethoven and Shostakovich. “These two composers go together so well, because while they lived in different times, they both are revolutionary composers,” Moore says. “Beethoven was doing so many new, exciting things, and it packs a punch in what he’s delivering. Shostakovich does the same thing in a different way.

“What is compelling about the program is the old and the new and how it relates.”

Of the works on the program, the Shostakovich Chamber Symphony is a string orchestra arrangement of the composer’s Eighth String Quartet, one of his most emotionally powerful pieces. In contrast to the sometimes anguished Shostakovich score, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 is one of the composer’s sunniest work. Its programming represents a continuation of the Beethoven cycle that began last year with the First Symphony.

# # # # #

Longmont Symphony at the Stewart Auditorium

IMG_0633

Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum. Photo by Peter Alexander.

Haydn & Mozart
4 .m. Sunday, Oc.t 21, 2018
Longmont Museum Stewart Auditorium
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Alice Yoo, cello

Richard Danielpour: Lacrimae Beati
Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major (“Jupiter”)

SOLD OUT

Beethoven Cycle
4 p.m. Sunday, April 14, 2019
Longmont Museum Stewart Auditorium
Elliot Moore, conductor

Beethoven: Overture to Egmont
Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony, op. 110a
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D major

Tickets

Advertisements

Grace Note: Boulder International Chamber Music Competition Announces Winners

gracenote4 blue

By Peter Alexander Oct. 14, 2018, at 3:20 p.m.

The Boulder International Chamber Music Competition: The Art of the Duo concluded its competitive rounds Saturday (Oct. 13).  The winners were announced that evening, and the winners concert was held Sunday afternoon, Oct. 14, in the Gordon Gamm Theater of the Dairy Arts Center.

The winners are:

First Prize: Iwo Jedynecki (Poland) & Aleksander Krzyżanowski (Poland), accordion and piano
Best Performance of Commissioned Piece, “True Green” by Tomasz Golka
Audience Favorite Award
Second prize winners (tie): YuEun Kim (South Korea) & Sung Chang (South Korea), violin and piano; and
Matthew Cohen (U.S.) & Zhenni Li (China), viola and piano
No third prize was awarded.

Infinite Space: Boulder Phil plays music about stars and astronomers and planets

New video by artist Gary Kelley will accompany The Planets by Gustav Holst

By Peter Alexander

The Boulder Philharmonic calls their 2018–19 season “Open Space,” and they will begin their classical programming Saturday (Oct. 13) focusing on the openest space of all. Under the title “Infinite Space,” they will perform music about stars and astronomers and planets.

the-planets-artwork-square-01

Artwork by Gary Kelley for The New Live, from “The Planets Re-imagined”

You might guess one of the pieces: The Planets by Gustav Holst, one of the best loved and most programmed pieces for orchestra. The other two are completely new to Boulder audiences, having both been written in this century: Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst and James Stephenson’s Celestial Suite.

“To take something well loved and surround it with music that is a discovery for people—that is the formula we have followed for a while,” Michael Butterman, the Boulder Phil’s music director says.

Holst’s Planets will be accompanied by a video, “The Planets Re-imagined,” created by artist Gary Kelley, who is known for his posters and illustrations, and The New Live, a company specializing in multimedia productions for the concert stage.

Kelley created more than 25 separate images, from large oil paintings to small illustrations, that are combined in video imagery. The subject of the images is World War I and the time after the war, rather than the physical planets themselves.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

# # # # #

umZdmeWA

 

“Infinite Space”
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Butterman, conductor

Jessie Montgomery: Starburst
James Stephenson: Celestial Suite
Gustav Holst: The Planets

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13
Macky Auditorium, Boulder

2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14
Pinnacle Performing Arts Center, Denver (without video projections for The Planets)

Tickets

Related events:

“Meet the Planets” Musical Hike
Dave Sutherland, leader
7:15 p.m. Oct. 11 CANCELED (weather)
7:15 p.m. Oct. 12 and Monday, Oct. 15 (weather permitting; clear skies are forecast))
Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead
Free

Free Pre-Concert Talk
Hosted by CPR’s Marilyn Cooley with Michael Butterman, astronomer Kyle KremerandDavid Brainof CU’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13
Macky Auditorium

 

Boulder International Chamber Music Competition presents duos from around the world

Live rounds and winners concert will be open to the public, Thursday–Sunday

By Peter Alexander Oct. 9 at 4:10 p.m.

Twenty classical music duos are arriving in Boulder this week from all over the world.

04-Dairy_Center_for_the_Arts

Dairy Arts Center, location of the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition, “The Art of the Duo”

They are coming for the second Boulder International Chamber Music Competition, “The Art of the Duo,” which will unfold in the Gordon Gamm Theater of the Dairy Arts Center Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 11–14. The duos (listed here) include standard duo pairings, including violin and piano, cello and piano; other common pairings, including flute and piano, clarinet and piano, trumpet and piano; and one surprising pair, accordion and piano.

They are arriving from many parts of the globe. There are contestants from South Korea, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, France, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and Poland, as well as the U.S. and Canada.

All live portions of the competition are open to the public, with semi-final rounds Thursday and Friday, Oct. 11-12, the final round on Saturday, Oct. 13, and the winners’ concert Saturday, Oct. 14 (see schedule below). All performances will be in the Gordon Gamm Theater. Tickets for the four-day event, or for each individual day of the competition, are available through the Dairy Web page.

Mina+Gajić+vertical copy

Mina Gajić

The competition is the brainchild of its artistic director, pianist Mina Gajić, who put together the first competition in 2016. Like many music contests, it will be held every two years.

“With each new iteration of the competition we’ll be able to continue promoting this kind of competition [for duos], which is pretty rare in the classical music world,” Gajić says. “At the same time we’re promoting Boulder as an arts destination and bringing even more visibility to our cultural life that is already rich.”

Gajić has assembled a jury of three accomplished musicians to judge the live rounds, representing three different instrument families represented in the competition:

  • lowres-jkp- Tara McMullen.125

    Jon Kimura Parker. Photo by Tara McMullen

    Pianist Jon Kimura Parker, an internationally recognized performer and director of the Honens International Piano Competition and Festival in Calgary;

  • Violinist Ani Kavafian, professor in the practice of violin at Yale University who has performed as soloist and chamber musician with leading ensembles around the world; and
  • Clarinetist Richie Hawley, who teaches at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and appeared with the Boulder Bach Festival in Longmont in 2017.
Ani-Kavafian

Ani Kavafian

“Our judges are some of my favorite musicians,” Gajić says. “They are world-class performers and teachers, equally as soloists and chamber musicians.”

The application process for the competition began last summer. The deadline was in July, after which a four-person panel—Gajić, Zachary Carrettin of the Boulder Bach Festival, plus the 2016 winning duo of cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki—heard to and watched more than 100 online application videos. After an intensive two-week period, the semi-finalists who would come to Boulder were announced Aug. 1.

Hawley.57ae0f29e5750

Richie Hawley

“I listened several times to all the videos,” Gajić says.“It’s a really big responsibility to be the one who says this duo can enter can enter, and this duo cannot, but that’s just the nature of a competition.”

Even narrowed down to the 20 semifinalists, two full days is a lot of music by duos. “Those are long days, but our audience is really devoted to this event,” Gajić says. “I was amazed how many people stayed the whole time in 2016. Audience members develop a relationship with the performers and want them to advance to the finals, to win a prize!”

As in 2016, the competition has commissioned a work to be performed by all contestants in the semifinal round. This year’s piece, “True Green,” is by Tomasz Golka, director of the Riverside (Calif.) Philharmonic and an accomplished violinist. It is an interesting challenge for the composer to write a piece that can be played by duos with differing instruments and sonic capabilities.

The challenge for the performers is to come up with their own interpretation of a piece they have never heard or seen before, and make it fit the individual character of their instrument. “It’s really great to hear the same piece performed 20 different ways, in 20 different instrumentations, 20 different interpretations,” Gajić says.

Like most musical organizations in U.S., the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition is supported by a combination of grants and individual gifts. “I have great support from the Boulder Bach Festival, who serves as the fiscal agent, so that is extremely helpful,” Gajić says. “And we get really great support from the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau, who have supported us in many different ways, because we bring valuable arts tourism to Boulder.

“We’re promoting the classical music scene here, and we’re also attracting contestants ages 18–35 who are discovering Boulder. This is an event where (young artists) can gain experience, see a beautiful town in the United States, win some substantial cash prizes, and get other performance opportunities.

“I would encourage anybody to come and experience this live, because it’s something really special, and it’s happening right her in Boulder.”

# # # # #

The Art of Duo
Boulder International Chamber Music Competition

bicmc2018logo

Semifinal rounds:
2–5 and 6:30–9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11
3–5:30 and 6:30–9 p.m. Friday, Oc.t 12
See the full list of participating duos here.

Finalist rounds and announcement of winners
1–9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13

Final concert: Three prize-winning duos
2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14

All performances in the Gordon Gamm Theater, Dairy ArtsCenter
Tickets available through the Dairy Arts Center Web page

 

“Sacred Jazz” takes Ars Nova into new territory

Oct. 5 and 6 concert features composer Will Todd’s “Mass in Blue”

By Peter Alexander Oct. 4 at 12 noon

Ars Nova, Boulder’s a capella choir that specializes in Renaissance and contemporary concert music, is venturing into new territory.

“It is a bit of a departure for us,” says Thomas Edward Morgan, artistic director of Ars Nova, talking about a program of “Sacred Jazz.” That program, performed by Ars Nova and guest artists, will open their season Oct. 5 in Boulder and Oct. 6 in Cherry Hills Village.

arsnova_007

Thomas Edward Morgan (center) and the Ars Nova Singers

It was the main piece on the program, Will Todd’s Mass in Blue, that initially got Morgan’s attention “This piece has been on my radar screen for a while now, partly because the choral writing in it is really excellent,” he says. “You don’t find a lot of extended contemporary pieces that have this level of choral writing.”

The six-movement Mass will be performed with a jazz trio comprising Scott Martin, piano; Mark Diamond, bass; and Russ Meissner, drums. Soprano Kathryn Radakovich will appear as soloist for the Mass.

The Mass in Blue takes about 40 minutes, Morgan says. The concert will open with a separate 20-minute set of a capella pieces. The entire program, with about 60 minutes of music, will be performed without intermission.

Morgan.mtntop.cropped

Thomas Edward Morgan

Opening the season with the Mass in Blue “was an opportunity for us to perform a piece with this level of choral writing, and also to reach a new crowd, with the jazz influence and the spectacular players that we have,” Morgan says. “We hope that we reach new people right at the beginning of the season who will then be interested in what we do and come back through the rest of the season.”

The composer, Will Todd, is a British jazz pianist who brings both his jazz experience and his knowledge of the English choral tradition to the composition of the Mass in Blue. The piece is an adventure for both the choir and for the jazz trio, in that it is deeply rooted in the Blues tradition, but also almost entirely written out.

Compared to most jazz combo work, Morgan says, “this has considerably more structure, which is interesting for the audience as well as for the choir, and I think interesting for the trio because it‘s certainly more composed than what they usually do. They pretty much have to play from a part because there’s a lot of time signature changes. It requires jazz musicians who can read and know where the changes happen.”

In fact, Morgan says, the piece is almost “over-composed,” in that the jazz trio has parts that could be played straight through as written, without improvisation. That way it can be performed by players who prefer to read it straight, but it can also be done with more freedom by proficient jazz artists.

“The way we approach it is we have the trio play in the style and not be note-specific to what the composer wrote,” Morgan explains. “The choir is really specifically notated, and they’ll do exactly what’s printed. It’s what’s underneath and around that, that gets a little bit freer, so it certainly has the jazz feel to it.”

Radakovich.1

Kathryn Radakovich

A particular challenge, Morgan says, was finding a soprano soloist who can handle the demands of the part Todd has written. “The part for the soprano soloist is very virtuosic,” Morgan says. “We went through a couple of sopranos to find the right one to make it work, because it’s challenging. It’s high and very virtuosic. It takes the energy of the choir just one level further.”

The soloist Morgan found, Radakovich, is an extraordinarily versatile artist. She teaches vocal jazz at Metropolitan State University in Denver and has performed in Denver’s major jazz venues, but she also performs with early music groups including the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado and the Denver Early Music Consort. As an early music singer she has appeared at the Montana Early Music Festival, and the Victoria Bach Festival, among others.

The opening set will showcase the versatility of Ars Nova, Morgan says. It will include a Renaissance piece by English composer John Shepperd, a new piece by Eric Banks that includes text in Middle Persian, a spiritual arrangement, and Duke Ellington’s classic “Come Sunday.”

“We wanted to give the audience a little bit of a taste of what else we do,” Morgan says. “We mostly do a cappella things, so we’re going to do a 20-minute set a cappella.

“It’s a chance to introduce this audience to a wider selection of what Ars Nova does, so they may be more interested in coming back to hearing us again.”

# # # # #

arsnova_028

Ars Nova Singers

Sacred Jazz!
Ars Nova Singers, Thomas Morgan, conductor
With Kathryn Radakovich, soprano
Scott Martin,piano; Mark Diamond, bass; Russ Meissner, drums

A capella opening set including music by John Sheppard, Eric Banks, Duke Ellington
Will Todd: Mass In Blue

7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Boulder
Tickets

7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6
Bethany Lutheran Church, Cherry Hills
Tickets

 

An orchestra’s VIP

Sometimes a star on stage, the concertmaster is always a worker behind the scenes

By Peter Alexander Oct. 4 at 11:15 a.m.

Glenn_Dicterow_Playing_Violin

Glenn Dicterow was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for 34 years. Photo by Chris Lee in David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

If you have attended a classical orchestra concert, you’ve seen the concertmaster.

He or she enters after the rest of the orchestra is onstage, to polite applause. They ask the oboe to play a note, and the orchestra tunes. Once the music starts, they play any solos that are written in the orchestra score.

But what else do they do?

Quite a bit, it turns out. They serve as leader of the violin section, and by extension all of the strings; they help the conductor achieve his or her interpretation; they facilitate communication between conductor and players; they audition new players; and sometimes they represent the orchestra to the public. All of this work is done behind the scenes, which makes the concertmaster a very important person. It’s also why the conductor shakes the concertmaster’s hand at the end of the concert.

But the devil’s in the details, and to get the details, I talked to four current and former concertmasters. One of them is Glenn Dicterow, retired concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, who was in Boulder the last week of September for CU Bernstein at 100, the ongoing celebration of the Leonard Bernstein Centennial at the CU College of Music.

I also talked to Chas Wetherbee, concertmaster of the Boulder Philharmonic, who held the same role with the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony; Yumi Hwang-Williams, concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra in Santa Cruz, California; and Calin Lupanu, concertmaster of the Colorado Music Festival orchestra in the summer and of the Charlotte (North Carolina) Symphony.

Boulder Phil Stars 3.5.18-3

Chas Wetherbee in the concertmasters chair of the Boulder Philharmonic.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

 

 

 

Elliot Moore finds the Longmont Symphony “fun to drive” going into a new season

Opening program features music by Bernstein, Shostakovich and Mahler

By Peter Alexander Oct. 1 at 10 p.m.

Elliot Moore is energized and inspired as he starts his second year as music director of the Longmont Symphony.

Elliot Moore with the Longmont Symphony 3.smiling_elk

Elliot Moore with the Longmont Symphony

“I often think about conducting an orchestra as like driving a car,” he says, “and the orchestra is really fun to drive right now. How I’m able to do my job as music director has changed in a very positive way, because the level of musicianship continues to ascend.”

For evidence of the change, one need look no further than the recent auditions for places in the LSO, which kept the auditioning committee busy until 1 a.m. “It’s my understanding that we had about a 400% increase in people applying for the Longmont Symphony,” Moore says.

“I think that means that there is excitement about the Symphony, and that people want to take part in it. And it shows that the future of music in Longmont is very, very bright.”

The first concert of the 2018–19 season, a celebration of this year’s Bernstein Centennial, is Saturday (Oct. 6) in Vance Brand Civic Auditorium. Unlike other Bernstein concerts this year, the LSO is not playing any of the well known, popular works that we have heard recently. Instead, they will present one of the great under-appreciated works that Bernstein wrote, the Chichester Psalms.

Other works on the program are pieces by composers that Bernstein was associated with as conductor: Shostakovich’s aptly named Festive Overture, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.

chichester-psalms-1447933896The Chichester Psalms were composed in 1965 for a choral festival at Chichester Cathedral in England. The Hebrew text comes from several of the Psalms, including Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my Shepherd”). The setting is for a small orchestra of brass, percussion, two harps and strings, with a boy soprano, chorus and soloists.

The boy soprano will be Wade Hartrick of the Boulder Children’s Chorale, Kate Klotz, artistic director. The choral voices will be from the Longmont Chorale, Scott Hamlin, conductor.

The Chichester Psalms were written during the Vietnam War, and their call for unity and peace had both religious and political meanings. “One of the things that I find compelling about (the Chichester Psalms) is the overarching message about unity, and how unity is needed in the world,” Moore says.

“It’s beautiful how Bernstein uses melody and harmony to underscore his message, and the need for peace in the world. I find that to be a compelling message on the one hand, and today in our current political climate.”

King David

King David as a boy, with harp

The second of the three movements distills Bernstein’s message. It opens with a beautiful melody, the boy soprano singing the 23rd Psalm (“The Lord is my Shepherd”) with harp accompaniment. “The role of the harps is critical because the Psalms were written by King David,” Moore explains. “When David was a boy, he played the harp and sang to King Saul. That’s why there’s a boy soprano accompanied by harps at the beginning of the second movement.”

The melody sung by the boy is taken up by the women of the chorus, who are suddenly interrupted by a violent theme in the men’s voices, singing the 2nd Psalm (“Why do the nations rage”). In the end, the women return with the opening theme, and the two different musical ideas—representing peace and war—are juxtaposed until the end of the movement.

The third movement ends with a moment of hopefulness, as the full chorus sings the 133rd Psalm (“Behold how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity”). In a moment of exquisite tone painting, the voices of the choir gently resolve to a single note on the Hebrew word “Yaḥad,” meaning “unity.”

“There’s a lot of tone painting that’s in here,” Moore says. “Its’ a rich, rich score, an absolutely fabulous piece.”

Moore programmed the Shostakovich Festive Overture not only because it is a brilliant concert opener, but because Bernstein programmed and recorded so much of Shostakovich’s music. Shostakovich heard Bernstein performing his Fifth Symphony and other works when the New York Philharmonic toured the Soviet countries in 1959.

Bernstein was known for his flamboyant and exuberant performances, which were not always faithful to the pessimistic side of the Russian composer. “Lenny sometimes did some things in Shostakovich’s music that truly weren’t in the score,” Moore says, “but Shostakovich adored Bernstein.”

LSO Music Director Elliot Moore 2_preview

Elliot Moore

The programming of the Mahler symphony points to parallels between the two composer/conductors. “My intention was to draw the link between Bernstein and Mahler, both of whom were music directors of the New York Philharmonic,” Moore says. “At the same time I think there’s a subtler message, that conductors have a role in bringing great music to their audiences, and Bernstein did that with Mahler.”

Moore also sees a link to the theme of the entire season of the LSO. which is “Musical Journeys.” “Mahler’s First Symphony is absolutely a musical journey,” he says. Even before the First Symphony, Mahler had written his “Songs of a Wayfarer,” which described the loss of an unrequited love.

“He continues that narrative in the First Symphony, describing how he’s able to overcome (the loss),” Moore says. “He describes a whole journey that is a beautiful one to know about, a beautiful one to learn about, a beautiful one to listen to and experience in the concert hall, with this First Symphony.

“So this symphony goes along with what we are about this season, which is taking people on a journey.”

# # # # #

20170927__29AELSO~1

“Happy Birthday, Lenny!”
Longmont Symphony, Elliot Moore, conductor
With Wade Hartrick, boy soprano

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6
Vance Brand Auditorium

Shostakovich: Festive Overture
Bernstein: Chichester Psalms
Mahler: Symphony No. 1

Tickets

NOTE: Corrected Oct. 8 to state that Wade Hartrick is a member of the Boulder Children’s Chorale, not the Colorado Children’s Chorale as was originally written.