The Boston Modern Orchestra Project Presents French Counterpoints; An Evening of All-French Composers


As Part of BMOP’s 10th Anniversary Season

Boston, MA— The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the nation’s only orchestra dedicated to performing, commissioning, and recording new music, devotes the entire evening of Friday, March 9, 2007 @ 8pm, at Boston’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street) to performing new and recent works from three contemporary French composers. With the support of The French-American Fund for Contemporary Music, French Counterpoints includes the world premiere of Jour B (B Day), a BMOP commission by Betsy Jolas, created in honor of BMOP’s Anniversary season and the composer’s 80th birthday; the performance of two works by composer Pascal Dusapin entitled Coda (1992) and Galim (1998), and of Bruno Mantovani’s nine-movement Le Sette Chiese (2002); and the special guest appearance of flutist Alicia DiDonato.

This marks BMOP’s first all-French program. Gil Rose, founding Artistic Director of BMOP, says, “I cannot think of a better program for our first foray into contemporary French repertoire. These composers represent three generations, and three unique voices, that demonstrate France’s long history of contributing important works to the orchestral canon. It is a particular pleasure to welcome Betsy Jolas, an old friend, back to Boston, and to have this opportunity for a joint celebration. That combined with the opportunity to work with Bruno Mantovani, an important new voice, on his extraordinary opus La Sette Chiese makes this program a personal highlight of our 10th season.”

Serving as a dedication to BMOP’s 10th anniversary as well as the composer’s birthday herself, Jour B (B Day) premieres as a 16-minute long, single-movement celebration of sorts. According to composer Betsy Jolas, the audience shouldn’t be surprised to encounter a party-like atmosphere of unordinary sounds. “This is a big Boston birthday celebration; a rather unconventional set of variations on the well known ‘Happy Birthday’ song,” she explains. Known for her fine sense of timbre and early love for the voice, Jolas finds inspiration in the great Renaissance. A Paris native, she studied under the great Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire, and has been teaching there as his successor since 1995.

Also on the program are works by French composers of two later generations. Pascal Dusapin (B. 1955) and Bruno Mantovani (b. 1974), both of whose styles bear the experience of the music of Jolas and her contemporaries. Born in Nancy, France, Pascal Dusapin studied at the Sorbonne and the Schola Cantorum á Paris. Unlike Jolas, Dusapin walked away from Messiaen’s course at the Conservatoire with a strong distaste. Instead, the foundation of his musical career was built on his studies with mentors André Boucourechliev, Franco Donatoni, and Iannis Xenakis. Ranging from solos and orchestral works to big theater pieces, Dunapis has produced a catalog of nearly 100 works. Galim (1998), meaning “wave” in Hebrew, was written for flute and string orchestra, in memory of his stepmother. Like the ebb and flow of a wave, Galim oscillates between two pitches a whole-tone apart. The program’s other Dusapin piece Coda (1992) is quite different in that it’s spiky and exciting with ever-changing textures. As a single movement 13-member chamber ensemble, Coda is often perceived as an offspring of such early modernist large chamber-ensemble works as Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Varèse’s Octandre.

Rounding out the evening is the 37-minute, nine-movement work Le Sette Chiese (2002) by Bruno Mantovani. Translated to “The Seven Churches”, Le Sette Chiese was influenced by the architectural originality, as well as the religious function of the “Seven Churches”- a destination for Christian religious pilgrims in Bologna, Italy. Compartmentalized into nine contrasting movements within four parts, Le Sette Chiese uses space and dimensions to help provide a means of giving rhythm to the form. Four different spatial instrumental groups are positioned throughout the theater in a layout specified in the score. Mantovani describes this extraordinary work as “a vast fresco meant to enlarge his range of expression, like an experimental plot of land in which he could open up new avenues into his work.”

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project has had an outstanding reputation amongst Boston’s most innovative and performing arts organizations for attracting multi-generational audiences and providing thematic, diversified programming, and a national reputation for performing and recording new orchestral music at the highest level. Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Gil Rose, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project strives to illuminate the connections that exist between contemporary music and contemporary society by reuniting composers and audiences in a shared concert experience. In just 10 years, BMOP has received eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Orchestral Music, and at the 2006 American Symphony Orchestra League conference BMOP received the prestigious John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music. BMOP has appeared at the Bank of America Celebrity Series, the Boston Cyberarts Festival, Tanglewood, the Festival of New American Music (Sacramento, CA), and Music on the Edge (Pittsburgh, PA). In Boston BMOP performs at Jordan Hall and Symphony Hall, and has performed in New York at Miller Theater, the Winter Garden, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. BMOP recordings are available from Albany, New World, Naxos, Arsis, Oxingale, and Chandos, and are regularly reviewed by national and international publications including The New York Times (Best CDs of 2003), the Chicago Tribune (Best CDs of 2004), Gramophone, Fanfare, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Out New York (Best CDs of 2004), The Boston Globe (Best CDs of 2003), Paris Transatlantic Monthly, LA Weekly, Opera Now, BBC Music, and American Record Guide. BMOP is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Meet the Composer and other private foundations, and individuals.

Gil Rose, Artistic Director, Founder, and Conductor for BMOP, is recognized as one of a new generation of American conductors shaping the future of classical music. Since 2003, Rose has served as Music Director of Opera Boston, launching the much-celebrated Opera Unlimited, a ten-day contemporary opera festival performed with BMOP. He was recently chosen as the “Best Conductor of 2003″ by Opera Online. The Boston Globe claims he “is some kind of genius; his concerts are wildly entertaining, intellectually rigorous, and meaningful.”

Alicia DiDonato, a native of Stoneham, MA, is the flutist for Boston Musica Viva, Radius Ensemble, NotaRiotous (Boston Microtonal Society’s chamber ensemble), and Prana (a soprano/flute duo with acclaimed singer Jennifer Ashe). She performs with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Opera Boston, and Firebird Ensemble, and has performed repeatedly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops. She gives a “drop-dead performance,” according to The Boston Globe. The New York Times calls her rendering of Boulez “beautiful.” Known for her versatility, vibrancy, and exuberantly fluent playing, DiDonato enjoys a varied career as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician. She is consistently praised for her distinctive takes on modern classics and her command of extended technique.

Ticket Information:
Tickets range from $21 – $42. Special pricing for students $10. Seniors receive a 10% discount. For tickets, call BMOP at 617.363.0396 or visit www.bmop.org. Tickets are also available for sale at the Jordan Hall Box Office three weeks before the concert and at the door, subject to availability.

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