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Contemporary Classical Music Is Where It’s At In LA Next Year

Steve Reich and Music for 18 Musicians comes to Disney Hall on Jan. 17

For the LA Weekly, I compiled a list of what appear to be the best classical music events next year in Los Angeles. (Of course, the 2012-13 seasons haven’t been announced yet, so there will likely be events in the fall that I’ll be crazy about, and REDCAT had not published its Winter/Spring concert schedule by the time I turned my copy into my editors)

Just about all my picks involve 20th/21st century music (there’s lots of pre-20th century music at Ojai, and although Mahler may not seem 20th-century to many classical music mavens, over half of his output was composed after 1901).  Here they are, in order of Most-To-Least Amount of Regret One Will Have For Not Attending The Event:

1) Steve Reich played by the Bang on a Can All-Stars and red fish blue fish, Jan. 17

2) The LA Philharmonic’s Mahler Project, but in particular the rarely performed 8th Symphony

3) The Ojai Festival–lots of new music, but especially the West Coast premiere of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit on June 7

4) Jacaranda’s March 17-18 concerts, featuring the LA premiere of Christopher Rouse’s astounding String Quartet no. 3, played by the group which commissioned it, the Calder Quartet

5) Violinist Shalini Vijayan will perform Cage’s One6 and One10 with musical sculptures by Mineko Grimmer (which Cage approved as appropriate companion works to his music), as the opening concert of Cage 2012

My story, along with lots of links and videos, can be read here.

Some observations and amplifications I couldn’t squeeze into a 500-word story:

  • REDCAT is doing a 2-night Cage Festival, including performances of 103 and Fifty-Eight on the first evening. But from what I can see right now, that and Southwest Chamber Music’s Cage 2012 are the only big birthday celebrations going on for Cage in his native city. Green Umbrella will present Cage’s Concerto for Prepared Piano, performed by Gloria Cheng and conducted by John Adams; the other works scheduled for that program include Stockhausen’s Tierkreis (the “Carnival of Venice” for new music groups) and a new work from Oscar Bettison which is more likely to be in Cage’s spirit than Stockhausen’s goofy Zodiac pieces.
  • The all-Andriessen Green Umbrella concert looks very promising–2 multimedia works, (the lurid Anais Nin and Life) plus the US premiere of La Giro. It’s worth attending just to see the riveting Cristina Zavalloni, who’s become one of Andriessen’s chosen interpreters
  • I feel sorry for all the other composers on the above Jacaranda program (Richard Rodney Bennett, William Schuman, and Leon Kirchner)–memory of their music will be completely obliterated by Rouse’s compositional juggernaut, his Third Quartet. There’s a video of the Calder Quartet ripping it up (the West Coast premiere) here. The Calder will also play Rouse’s Second Quartet, but the ending to that work has always struck me as contrived
  • Jacaranda has 2 other exciting programs coming up: the American premiere of Terry Riley’s Olson III, a work from the time of In C, and a January concert of chamber music by Dutilleux, Takemitsu, Ung, and Saariaho. It was a real coin toss for me to choose between Olson III or Rouse Third Quartet, but I ultimately went with Rouse because the Calder knows the work cold, and a successful performance is certain (unlike Olson III)
  • In addition to Inuksuit, JLA’s Red Arc/Blue Veil and the two-piano-plus-tape version of Dark Waves will be heard at Ojai. Marc-Andre Hamelin, a pianist I would not associate with JLA’s music, will be performing in the latter 2 pieces–I look forward to hearing what he does with the piece. I imagine he’ll get authoritative guidance from Steve Schick, his partner in Red Arc, and from JLA himself. Amusingly, John Adams’ Shaker Loops will be on the same program as Dark Waves. I wonder how many inattentive audience members will think they’re works by the same composer? Much more up Hamelin’s alley: Ives’ Concord Sonata and Berg’s Four Songs, op. 2, and following his performance of Dark Waves with Leif Oves Andsnes, the pianists will play Stravinsky’s 4-hand arrangement of Rite of Spring (done on 2 pianos, because the hand crossings and elbow bumpings are ridiculous)


Comment from Justin
Time: December 27, 2011, 4:35 pm

S21 readers may be interested in the upcoming Monday Evening Concerts. 2012 events include music by some of our most important composers who are rarely heard in these parts: Klaus Lang, Vadim Karassikov, Trond Reinholdtsen, Simon Steen-Andersen, Laurence Crane, Evan Johnson, Peter Ablinger, Stefan Wolpe, Aldo Clementi, Helmut Lachemann and more. Some highlights:

Monday, January 9, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School
Klaus Lang


Klaus Lang: einfalt. stille. (United States Premiere)
preceded by music of the Italian Renaissance

Natalia Pschenitschnikova, soprano
Andrew McIntosh, viola
Jonathan Hepfer, percussion
Alice Teyssier, flute

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School

Alberto Savinio: Le chants de la Mi-Mort
Øyvind Torvund: Neon Forest Spaces (United States Premiere)
Simon Steen-Andersen: on and off and to and fro (United States Premiere)
Laurence Crane: John White in Berlin (United States Premiere)
Trond Reinholdtsen: Unsichtbare Musik (United States Premiere)

Monday, March 26, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School
Jazz Encounters

Stefan Wolpe: Quartet for Trumpet, Tenor Saxophone, Percussion and Piano
Evan Johnson: ground (United States Premiere)
Peter Ablinger: Parker Notch (United States Premiere)
Peter Ablinger: weiss/weisslich 4
Evan Johnson: Supplement (Los Angeles Premiere)
Stefan Wolpe: Piece for Oboe, Cello, Percussion, and Piano

Daniel Rosenboom, trumpet
Eliot Gattegno, saxophone
Nicholas Terry, percussion
Vicki Ray, piano
Gareth Davis, clarinet
Ariana Ghez, oboe
Donald Crockett, conductor

Monday, April 23, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School
A Percussionist’s Art

Helmut Lachenmann: Intérieur I
Kurt Schwitters: Ur Sonata
Aldo Clementi: Madrigale
Aldo Clementi: L’orologio di Arcevia (United States Premiere)

Steven Schick, percussion, voice and conductor
Ross Karre, video design
Shahrokh Yadegar,i electronics
red fish blue fish percussion ensemble

Comment from Christian Hertzog
Time: December 30, 2011, 4:32 am

Klaus Lang is writing beautiful, meditative works, and you are correct, Justin, more people should know about him. The US premiere of einfalt. stille would have made my list of must-see concerts if I had been allowed more recommendations, but I reluctantly had to pare it from my top 5. Lang’s Missa beati pauperes spiritu is one of the loveliest works to come out of Austria in years (I’m not a Rihm fan), and the Col Legno recording is well worth seeking out.

I don’t know about LA, but Lachenmann gets plenty of performances in San Diego (I’d say too many at the expense of other worthwhile German and Austrian composers).

Comment from Paul H. Muller
Time: January 3, 2012, 3:40 pm

Here is an upcoming concert by Kathleen Supové:

Kathleen Supové – Piano Concert

Anna Clyne – On Track (video by Joshue Ott)
Lainie Fefferman – Barnacles
Carolyn Yarnell – The Same Sky (video by Eric Wenger)
Michael Gatonska -A Shaking of the Pumpkin
Neil Rolnick – Digits (video by R. Luke DuBois)

All works on the program are Los Angeles premieres

Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 8:00pm

Zipper Concert Hall
The Colburn School
200 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

For Further Info:

Comment from Nick Norton
Time: January 5, 2012, 8:01 pm

Hey guys, thought you might be interested in the blog I’ve been running to try and cover this stuff in LA. There’s a really massive concert listing there (that’s the part I’m most proud of), but I’ve got some interviews and such too:

I’ve still got to send you some interview questions, Justin! I’ve just been slammed with my own composing lately.

Comment from Christian Hertzog
Time: January 6, 2012, 8:25 pm

Nick, thanks so much for sharing. I’m bookmarking immediately.

Nice to see what you’ve up to since you left San Diego, as well!