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Christian Carey

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Reich, Holt, Bridge and Holst at the Proms

On Wednesday August 10, the Proms celebrated the upcoming 75th birthday of Steve Reich with a late night concert of his music performed by Ensemble Modern, Synergy Vocals, Mats Bergström, and Reich himself. In its early days, when it was first getting to be known, minimalism was perceived (and, often, presented) in negatives: it was […]

Birtwistle and Schuller Concertos

There was a certain amount of preliminary drama in the few days before the first performances of Harrison Birtwistle’s Violin Concerto by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, on March 3 through 5, during the course of which James Levine, who has been plagued by a series of health problems for several years and who had canceled the […]

Finnissy in Boston

Over the last two weeks I’ve been intensely involved in the final stages of preparations for the annual New England Conservatory Preparatory School Contemporary Music Festival, other known as Today’s Youth Perform Today’s Music, which happens this coming Saturday and Sunday. My friend and colleague John Ziarko and I started the festival almost twenty years […]

More Proms–Olivero, Schnelzer, Sørensen

Apart from the usual nightly or more Proms concerts that happen in the Albert Hall, there were two subsidiary series which the BBC presented under the auspices of the Proms at Cadogan Hall in Sloane Square, a chamber music series on Monday afternoons and a Saturday Matinee series. The installment of the latter which happened […]

The Proms–Mosolov, Watkins, Cage, Cardew, Skempton, Feldman

The Prom concert on August 20, by The Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, began with The Foundry (1927) by Alexander Mosolov. This is a four minute bit of Russian avant-garde constructivism, portraying in the most realistic way possible with an orchestra…well, a foundry. It was first performed in Lenningrad in 1927 at a concert celebrating […]

Pärt on the Proms

Among the events being commemorated in this year’s Proms season, is the 75th birthday of Arvo Pärt. This celebration kicked off on August 17 with a concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner, which began with Pärt’s Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, and which followed Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes. […]

James Dillon at the Proms

On Thursday night The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins, performed La navette by James Dillon, giving the work its first UK performance.   Born in 1950, Dillon could be described as a ‘New Complexity” composer, along with Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Finnissy, Richard Barrett, among others.   He has written lots of music, a lot of […]

The First of My Slice of the Proms

The slice of the Proms which I’m getting this summer seems less of full of twentieth and twenty-first century music than usual. Works of Gunther Schuller, Simon Holt, Harrison Birtwistle, Stockhausen, Colin Matthews, Luke Bedford, Brett Dean, Oliver Knussen, (late) Stravinsky, George Benjamin, Stephen Montague, Takamitsu, and Julian Anderson were done before I got here […]

Schnittke, Shostakovich and Nyman at the Proms

The Prom concert on August 24, by the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Valery Gergiev, opened with Nagasaki by Alfred Schnittke, his graduation piece from the Moscow Conservatory. In this piece for chorus, solo mezzo-soprano, and large orchestra (including a theremin), Schnittke set texts reflecting on the devastation of the Japanese city by […]

Two More Proms–Andriessen/Glanert et al

In celebration of Louis Andriessen’s seventieth birthday, the first UK performance of his The Hague Hacking was scheduled for the Prom concert on August 17.  The piece was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and first performed with that orchestra by the pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque and Esa-Pekka Salonen, who were the performers for […]