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  May 20-27, 2002

John Eaton's
Pocket Opera Players
Debut in New York
John Eaton is Professor of Music Composition at the University of Chicago. His compositions have been recorded by Albany, C.R.I., Indiana University Press, (American) Decca, and Tournabout, and are published by Shawnee Press and G. Schirmer (A.M.P.).
Composer John Eaton’s new opera “…inasmuch” gets  its world premiere on Tuesday and Wednesday night this week when his Pocket Opera Players, formerly the Pocket Opera Company of Chicago, makes its New York debut at Symphony Space with the New York New Music Ensemble. Founded by Eaton, a winner of the MacArthur Genius Award, the Players’ performances also features the first of his Pocket Operas Peer Gynt.

Called “the most interesting opera composer working in America today” by the London Financial Times, Eaton’s works have been performed extensively throughout the world. In the U.S., Eaton’s works have been performed by the San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera and the Cincinnati Symphony. Fesitval performances include Tanglewood, Aspen and Pepsico Summerfare. 

Easton has written more than 15 operas, among the best-known of which are The Cry of Clytaemnestra, which has received great public and critical acclaim at its nearly 20 performances, including those under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Bolshoi Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. The Lion and Androcles, written especially for children, was shown on national television and taken on tour by the Cincinnati Symphony. The Tempest was called a "formidable intellectual as well as musical achievement. . . . an opera of stark beauty" by Michael Walsh of Time Magazine following its premiere by the Santa Fe Opera.

Peer Gynt is an exciting piece that Eaton refers to as “a romp for instrumentalists alone.”  One of his trademarks is his innovation with writing instrumental works that utilize the players in a theatrical fashion; he gives the instrumentalists an active role in telling the story. They will whisper, speak, shout, sing dance and perform gymnastic feats to bring the characters to life. The work features New York New Music Ensemble clarinetist Jean Kopperud in the title role.

The “…inasmuch”  story is based on an idea of Eugene Walter and given life as a whimsical fantasy by librettist Estela Eaton. Written for  three coloratura sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, jazz singer and seven instrumentalists, this opera includes humor, love, villains and missing parrots that speak a lost Aztec language.

The Symphony Space performers include conductor Carmen Tellez and director Nicholas Ruddall for “…inasmuch,”  conductor James Baker and director Mike Phillips for Peer Gynt, the New York New Music Ensemble and singers from the Pocket Opera Players.

Tickets are $20 and $12 (students and seniors)  and can be purchased by calling the Symphony Space Box office at (212) 864-5400, or visit their website at www.symphonyspace.org

Web Resources
American Music Center
Schirmer Bio
University of Chicago

What's New

Lincoln Center Festival

Interview with Gloria Coates

Entering the 21st Century with
Kitty Brazelton
Frank Oteri

Arne Nordheim Rules

Henry Brant's Ice Field
Wins 2002 Pulitizer Prize

RELÂCHE Meets William Duckworth
Deborah Kravetz

Duane Digs HK Gruber

Gorecki Symphony Headlines 

Modern Polish Music Concert
Deborah Kravetz

Julia Wolfe after minimalism

Philip Glass at 65
Jerry Bowles

An Interview with Steven R. Gerber

A New Hall for Philadelphia
Deborah Kravetz

Interview with Poul Ruders

Our writers welcome your comments on their pieces.  Send your witty bon mots to jbowles@sequenza21.com and we might even publish some of them here.  And, don't forget--if you'd like to write for Sequenza21 (understanding that we have no money to pay you), send me a note.  JB

Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for our Editor's Pick's of the month.  Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, NY, NY 10019  Also, feel free to nominate your favorite composer-- even if it's you--for Spotlight of the Week.

Modern Music News
DIGITAL DEBATE: Is digital music downloading a good or bad thing for musicians. There are arguments both ways. "The notion that artists can now circumvent record companies and reach their fans through the net is correct in theory but unlikely in practice. In order to attract fans in really large numbers, bands need a large dollop of hype, which costs enormous sums of money, but record companies are willing to risk this kind of investment in the hope that this or that band will become a cash cow." The Scotsman 05/18/02 

MAKING MUSIC IN THE SHADOW OF THE CITY: Over the last decade, the New Jersey Symphony has become what many believed it could never be: an excellent and well-respected ensemble completely separate from its competitors in nearby New York City, and possessed of a striking combination of marketing savvy and infectious enthusiasm. In an era when many orchestras are struggling for survival, the NJSO has thrived. Now, music director Zdenek Macal, credited with driving much of the orchestra's artistic growth, is stepping down after a decade at the helm. Andante (AP) 05/19/02

THE LITTLE GENRE THAT TIME FORGOT: Garrison Keillor has written an opera. Well, okay, he hasn't so much written it as thought it up, and had one of his prairie home companions write it. And it isn't so much an original opera as it is a parody of some existing bel canto arias. And it isn't exactly totally finished yet. But it does have Keillor's name on it, and it has a Lake Wobegon feel guaranteed to sell tickets, and it gets its premiere this coming week in (of course) Minnesota. Saint Paul Pioneer Press 05/19/02

THE VIRTUAL VIOLIN: Electronic music is everywhere. But some instruments - for example, the violin - just don't translate well in MIDI. Now an inventor has developed a device "that tells a computer everything about a bow's motion, allowing it to generate a more realistic, emotional sound." The idea is to produce a sound that can compete with that made on a real instrument. New Scientist 05/16/02

FAKE SCORES: Manuscripts said to be newly discovered scores and poetry by Declaration of Independence signer Francis Hopkinson have been withdrawn from sale because they are fakes. "What seemed to be a manuscript for the Revolutionary War oratorio The Temple of Minerva as well as a number of marches, songs and poems by Hopkinson are thought to be the work of an infamous Philadelphia forger, Charles Bates Weisberg, who died in prison in 1945." Philadelphia Inquirer 05/15/02

GLYNDEBOURNE'S DELICATE BALANCE: The Glyndebourne Festival is about to open another season. It sells out and tickets are difficult to get. Therein lies a problem. "On the one hand, opera ranks as an art form that offers the opportunity to dress up and experience something expensively and exceptionally glamorous; on the other hand, in order to avoid the accusations of elitism (that pretentious modern synonym for snobbery) and sustain its moral claim to public subsidy, opera must also present itself as accessible to all." But attracting new audiences that aren't, shall we say, respectful of tradition, is a strain on the old guard... The Telegraph(UK) 05/15/02

OZ LOOKS TO ATTRACT ORCHESTRAS: "It's been a decade since the world's great orchestras stopped touring Australia. A handful of ensembles have come for festivals... But the regular visits that once brought orchestras to three or four Australian cities have stopped." One local arts administrator is looking to reverse the trend. Andante 05/13/02

I KNOW CARNEGIE HALL, AND THIS AIN'T IT: When Philadelphia's Kimmel Center opened, officials crowed - "watch out Carnegie Hall." But the hall wasn't really ready acoustically then. Six months later, one can venture some better judgments. At least one New York critic still isn't sold on the comparison. "The Philadelphia Orchestra might have sounded better to me in its new home had I not just heard the same program in Carnegie Hall, where, true to form, the sound of the Brahms was glowing, warm, clear and present without being overwhelming." The New York Times 05/14/02

SAN JOSE TO FILE BANKRUPTCY? The San Jose Symphony, which shut down earlier this season with a $3.4 million deficit, and which has been trying to reorganize, is considering shutting down and filing for bankruptcy. An orchestra violinist says the board is considering the idea after a meeting last week: "The bottom line of that meeting was a recommendation that we completely go dark, for a period of no less than six months, and probably more realistically of 12 to 18 months." The board's interim chairman denies the plan. San Jose Mercury News 05/13/02

LA SCALA RESTORATION SPARKS CONTROVERSY: "The long-awaited final architectural plan for the restoration of La Scala, which was offically presented to the public and the press at Milan's city hall on 10 May, has aroused a heated debate... In [the] plan, the depth of the stage and backstage in combination will increase from 48 to 70 meters, thus eliminating the Piccola Scala, an auxiliary venue for chamber opera seating 250. A new new stage tower in the shape of a parallelepiped (a kind of modified cube) will rise 40 meters (the current tower is 35 meters) at the building's rear facing." Andante 05/16/02


 Last Week's News
 American Accent will present its second season concert, Romance in the Air on Thursday, May 23, 2002 – 7:30 PM at The Kosciuszko Foundation Recital Hall, 15 E. 65th St. in Manhattan. 

Music to be performed will include Shulamit Ran’s Private Game for clarinet and cello, Bernard Rands’ Memo 7 for female voice, George Antheil’s Sonatina for violin and piano, Augusta Read Thomas’ s Among Dawn Flowers for voice and piano, excerpts from Judith Lang Zaimont’s In the Theatre of Night for soprano and piano and Jennifer Higdon’s Celestial Hymns for violin, viola, cello, clarinet and piano. 

Tickets for the May 23 concert are $20 each. Senior Citizen and Student discount tickets are $12 each. For advance reservations, please call The Kosciuszko Foundation at 212-734-2130 or Jeffrey James Arts Consulting at 516-797-9166 or email them at

Jin Hin Kim Premiere For Zeitgeist at
Walker Art Center
The Korean/American composer JIN HI KIM will world premiere her NORI  composed for the Minneapolis/St.Paul-based new music group Zeitgeist, commissioned by Meet The Composer's Commissioning Music/USA fund, at the Walker Art Center on June 1 at 8pm.  NORI is scored for two percussionists, clarinets and keyboard. On this concert she will also perform solos on the ancient Korean komungo (4th century fretted board zither) and the world's only electric komungo that she has developed.

Ms. Kim will also appear on  Meet The Composers Festival at the Southern Theater on June 8.  This concert will feature selected composers who have received Meet The Composer Commissions over the past twenty years.  On June 9 at noon, Kim and invited composers will participate in a panel discussion with Cindy Gehrig (Jerome Foundation), Philip Bither (Walker Art
Center) and George Steel (Miller Theater).

Jin Hi Kim is an extraordinary composer/komungo virtuoso who has brought a deeper appreciation for the historical contributions to world culture by the Koreans.  Her work has been presented on the main stages of significant cultural centers in America, Europe, and Asia including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC), Royal Festival Hall (London), the Next Wave Festival, the Smithsonian Freer Gallery in Washington DC, Musique Action Festival (France), Moers New Jazz Festival (Germany), and the VancouverInternational Jazz Festival among many others.

Kim's Eternal Rock  for Komungo and Orchestra, premiered at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra, has scheduled 7 performances for 2002-03 season.  Her second orchestra commission will be presented with Boston Modern Orchestra Project in 2003. This is in addition to chamber music commissions from the Kronos Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Zeitgeist Ensemble, Xenakis Ensemble (Holland), and others.

Jin Hi Kim has developed a series of 'Living Tones' compositions in which each tone is alive, embodying its own individual shape, sound, and subtext. Josef Woodard of The Los Angeles Times wrote, "This (Living Tones) is new music/world music at its finest, beyond political correctness into the realm of the sublime, where words and cultural postures fall away."

Kim's large cross-cultural music/theatre works Dragon Bond Rite  and the technologically sophisticated Touching The Moons  have been presented to critical acclaim including being  awarded the Wolff Ebermann Prize at the International Music Theater  Conference in Munich, Germany. These works, developed under the auspices of the Kitchen, MassMoca, and the Japan  Society with funds from the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, lead to a new direction incorporating a profound Asian cultural heritage, Shamanism, and ritual with a balance of Eastern and Western aesthetics.

Ms. Kim is one of a New Generation East including composers such as Tan Dun, Chen Yi, Bright Sheng and others who are seamlessly incorporating the historical roots of their ancient traditions with the pulse of a contemporary 21st-century America. Ms. Kim has also recently received the Award for Music Composition for 2001 from the Foundation For Contemporary Performance Art
(NYC) which was created by John Cage and Jasper Johns to support innovative creative work in the arts.

Lincoln Center Festival schedule

Classical Grammy Winners

Previous Interviews/Profiles
Simon Rattle, Michael Gordon,Benjamin Lees, Scott Lindroth, David Felder, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Erkki-Sven Tüür, John Luther Adams, Brett Dean, Judith Lang Zaimont, Meyer Kupferman, Evan Chambers, Poul Ruders, Steven R. Gerber, Gloria Coates

Previous Articles/
Busoni The Visionary
The Composer of the Moment:  Mark-Anthony Turnage
Electronic Music
Voices: Henze at 75
Henze Meets Emenim
On Finding Kurtag
Charles Ruggles:  When Men Were Men
Ballet Mécanique
The Adams Chronicles



Violin and String Quartet
Composer: Morton Feldman
Performer: Christina Fong, Karen Krummel, et al.
Ensemble: Rangzen Quartet
Listening to this epic 2-CD chamber work is like watching a large block of ice melt for nearly two hours--excruciating sameness, tantilizing variation, in equal measures. A labor of love by all involved and the kind of thing that only small, independent labels will do.  Bravo 
OgreOgress Productions

Anake & Other Works
Composer: Lyell Cresswell
Performer: Daniel Bell, William Conway, et al.
Nmc Records - #77 
Compositions for solo instruments (other than the piano) rarely get recorded which is a shame because sometimes--as in this case--the results are spectacular.  New Zealand-born British composer Cresswell's warm and passionate solo turns for the violin, cello, flute, and piano are given convincing readings by members of The Hebrides Ensemble.

Symphony 4 / Overture / Nympholept
Composer: Arnold Bax
Peformers Lloyd-Jones, Royal Scottish Nat'l Orch
Naxos - #8555343 
Not in Vaughn Williams or Arnold's class as a symphonist, Bax nonetheless has a highly invidual voice and offers tremendous pleasures for those who look for less traveled paths.

 Silk Road Journeys
Composer: Michio Mamiya, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, et al.
Performer: Yo-Yo Ma
Ensemble: Silk Road Ensemble
Sony - #89782 
Okay, so the guy is a one-man marketing machine, classical music's equivalent of Sting, but the music is nearly always honest and heartfelt and God knows modern classical music doesn't sell itself. 

Turandot Suite
Composer: Ferruccio Busoni
Performers:  Wong, Hong Kong Phil Orch
Naxos - #8555373 
Little-known suite that Busoni extracted from his incidental music to Gozzi's play, Turandot. Completed in 1905, and in eight descriptive sections, it is engaging late Romantic with hints of Straussian darkness. The Saraband and Cortege are from Busoni's better-known Doktor Faust.

Compositions for Piano (1920-1952)
Composer: Stefan Wolpe:  Performer: David Holzman, piano BRIDGE 9116
From the nice people at Bridge Records comes an invaluable look at an early and largely forgotten modernist just in time for the Wolpe Centenary (1902-2002)

Pianist Holzman wins the uphill battle with such Wolpe knuckle-busters as the Sonata No. 1 "Stehende Musik" (1925), the aptly named 
Battle Piece (1943-47), 
The Good Spirit of a Right Cause (1942), Adagio. Gesang, weil ich etwas Teures verlassen muss (1920), Tango (1927), 
Waltz for Merle (1952), and 
Zemach Suite (1939)


The Rheingold Curse: A Germanic Saga of Greed and Revenge from the Medieval Icelandic Edda
Ensemble: Sequentia
Marc Aurel Edition - #20016
Wagner's mother lode. Apocalyptic texts, atmospheric performances, bring to shattering life the age of the Vikings and the Valkyries when Gods and mortals jousted for the medieval soul.  Thoughtful music for an age in which evil men once more live in caves and wreak havoc upon their fellow men.

Stephen Hough's English Piano Album
Composer: Alan Rawsthorne, Stephen Reynolds, et al.
Performer: Stephen Hough
Hyperion - #67267
Stephen Hough is among the most talented pianists today and also one of the most adventuresome.  Rather than concentrating on the surefire crowd pleasers, he has followed his own tastes which have taken him  down a less traditional path. His focus on neglected works by less-known composers is never less than rewarding and particularly so in this CD which showcases virtuoso piano pieces from English composers like Alan Rawsthorne and Stephen Reynolds as well as Elgar and Bridge.  A delight from start to finish. 

Speaking Extravagantly
Composer:  David Stock
Performer(s): Cuarteto Latinoamericano 
innova 563 
Stock blends influences from Ives to minimalism, from Bartok to jazz, and from synagogue music to Schoenberg into a fresh and imaginative style of dramatic sweep and lyrical flight.  His close collaboration with Cuarteto Latinoamericano,  one of the world’s outstanding chamber ensembles,  has produced a recording of great emotional power and driving rhythm, with blazing colors and a wide dynamic and expressive range.

The Epic of Gilgamesh
Composer: Bohuslav Martinu
Conductor: Zdenek Kosler
Performer: Ludek Vele, Stefan Margita, et al.
Naxos - #8555138
Gilgamesh was an historical king of Uruk in Babylonia, on the River Euphrates in what is now modern Iraq; he lived about 2700 B.C.  Many stories and myths were written about Gilgamesh, some of which were written down about 2000 B.C. in the Sumerian language on clay tablets in the script known as cuneiform and which still survive,  providing continuing inspiration for writers and poet and musicians.  One of the most inspired of these was Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu, who wrote this magnificent choral masterpiece based on the legend in 1955--only a couple of years before his death.  Like virtually everything Martinu wrote, this one is indispensible.

Concertos for Two Pianos
Composer: Bohuslav Martinu, Alfred Schnittke
Conductor: Eiji Oue
Performer: Kathrin Rabus
Cpo Records - #999804 
An inspired pairing of works for two pianos by two of modern music's real giants.  Martinu's concerto is big, sprawling and filled with musical color; Schnittke's is restrained with tensions that build into moments of momentous relief.  Taken together, a testimony to the power of the imaginative to produce different, yet equally compelling, solutions to the same problems.


Symphony No. 9
Composer: Hans Henze
Performer: NYPhilharmonic
Berlin Radio Choir 
No  record can quite capture the excitement of a live performance, but having been there the night the Henze 9th  was recorded, I can testify that this CD comes very close to capturing the epic, shattering, passionate, heartbreaking pain of this incredible work. The Philharmonic plays magnificently, and the Berlin Radio Choir sings with total commitment this setting of seven harrowing poems by Hans-Ulrich Treichel, based on Anna Seghers's wartime novel "The Seventh Cross," about the re-capture and martyrdom by crucifixion of seven concentration camp escapees. No one who listens to this work will ever forget it.

SEQUENZA21/ is published weekly by Sequenza21/, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019
Publisher:  Duane Harper Grant  (212) 582-4153
Editor:    Jerry Bowles   (212) 582-3791
Contributing Editor: Deborah Kravetz 
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