Deborah Lewis, an exceptional and highly regarded arts administrator with three decades of experience, has been appointed Executive Director of the renowned Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) following a nationwide search, it was announced by LACC Board Chair Jennifer Terry. Lewis previously served as Executive Director of Angels Gate Cultural Center, the acclaimed visual and performing arts organization located San Pedro heralded for its broad reach throughout Southern California and beyond. Prior to that she was the executive director of the Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation, for which she administered its national grant and scholarship programs and also provided arts organizations with key technical assistance in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“We are very excited to welcome Deborah to the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus,” says Terry. “She has an outstanding track record of more than 30 years in arts administration as an engaging team builder with wide-ranging community ties who brings people together, a proven fundraiser with an enviable record, and an extremely effective management style praised by artists, donors, community partners and staff alike. Her strong skills and deep passion for music will help propel the Los Angeles Children’s to a new level of growth and esteem as it heads into its third decade.”

“It is an honor to serve in this vital leadership capacity with the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus,” states Lewis. “A musical jewel, the chorus has a superlative reputation for its exceptional artistry, highly developed training program for young singers and successful community partnerships. I look forward to working with all of LACC’s constituents to ensure that the chorus reaches new heights artistically and administratively.”

During Lewis’s tenure at Angels Gate Cultural Center, she oversaw 50 studio artists who participate in multi-year on-site studio residencies, four art galleries that present exhibitions by local and international artists, as well as an extensive array of community arts classes and in-depth visual and performing arts classroom residency programs throughout the harbor region. She was also responsible for the planning and implementation of the center’s short-term programs and long-term planning while successfully leading expanded fundraising efforts.

In her previous post with the Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation (ELA), Lewis provided ADA consultancies to the Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Art Museum, Pasadena Playhouse, Rubicon Theatre and LA Stage Alliance, among other organizations. Additionally, she has provided audio description training and consultation to the Los Angeles Radio Reading Service for the Rose Parade, the Center Theatre Group, the Yale Repertory Theatre and the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disabilities conference through the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is a founding member of the Audio Description Coalition and the California Audio Describers Alliance. Lewis joined the ELA Foundation after 15 years of work at Special Audiences in Atlanta, Georgia, where she brought the arts to over 100,000 disabled and disadvantaged people annually. As senior writer with Audio Description Solutions, she has also provided audio description for the Visitors Centers of such National Parks as Mesa Verde, Mammoth Cave, James Garfield, Keneewaw, New River Gorge and Pinnacles as well as the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Lewis earned a BA from Otterbein University in Ohio and has completed the Nonprofit Leadership Institute at Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership and the Annenberg Foundation’s “Alchemy” leadership programs. Lewis, who lives in Altadena, California with her husband, Boyd, has been a singer since the age of 10 and currently sings in Canterbury Choir at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena.

LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS – lauded as “one of the world’s foremost children’s choirs” (Pasadena Star News), and described by critics as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), “astonishingly polished” (Performances Magazine), “extraordinary in its abilities” (Culture Spot LA), and “one heck of a talented group of kids” (LA Weekly) – is recognized throughout the country for its exceptional artistic quality and technical ability. Founded in 1986 and led by Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson since 1995, LACC’s roster includes more than 400 children ages 6 to 18 from more than 50 communities across Los Angeles in six choirs and First Experiences in Singing program. LACC has toured North and South America, Africa, China, Australia and Europe. It appears on the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s critically acclaimed Decca recording A Good Understanding, and Plácido Domingo’s Deutsche Grammophon recording Amore Infinito (“Infinite Love”). The subject of a trilogy of documentaries by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, LACC is featured in the Academy Award-nominated Sing!, about a year in the life of the choir; Sing Opera!, documenting the production of LACC’s commissioned family opera Keepers of the Night; and Sing China!, chronicling its groundbreaking tour to China just prior to the Beijing Olympics. LACC has performed with John Mayer on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and was featured on Public Radio International’s nationally syndicated show “From the Top,” among other credits.

For more information on Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, please call (626) 793-4231 or visit www.lachildrenschorus.org.

Deborah Lewis

Deborah Lewis

Comments Comments Off

Natasha Paremski

Natasha Paremski


Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) Music Director Jeffrey Kahane conducts the world premiere of This Ease by composer Hannah Lash as well as the LACO debut of Natasha Paremski, proclaimed a “spectacular pianist” (American Record Guide), performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, on Saturday, April 26, 8 pm, at Glendale’s Alex Theatre, and Sunday, April 27, 2014, 7 pm, at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Also on the program is Haydn’s buoyant Symphony No. 102 in B-flat major. USC Thornton School of Music violin performance major Kenneth Liao, winner of the annual LACO-Thornton Strings Mentorship Audition, joins LACO’s violin section for these concerts.

Lash, whose work is hailed as “striking” and “handsomely brooding” (The New York Times), says, “This Ease is meant to suggest the feeling of familiarity with what we are hearing, yet invoke the underlying unease that allows for the piece’s forward motion and unique fingerprint. The musical material at its most elemental is comprised of major and minor thirds chained and stacked together in various ways, which gradually mutate to highlight different harmonic colors and create the piece’s dramatic formal shape.”

This Ease is presented as part of the LACO’s unique “Sound Investment” commissioning program, initiated 13 years ago to engage audiences in developing new works. The program gives members the rare opportunity to create a legacy in music and to observe first-hand the development of a new work from the composer’s earliest ideas to the finished composition. Participants invest $150 or more for a membership, which includes intimate salons throughout the season featuring in-depth discussions with the composer about his or her creative process and previews of the final work.

Paremski, praised for her “beautifully atmospheric interpretations” (The New York Times) is a 26-year-old Russian-born virtuoso who made her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut at age 15. Critics have hailed dynamic performances and flawless technique.

As part of the LACO-Thornton Strings Mentorship Program in a 2013 mock orchestral audition for strings, Thornton School strings undergraduate Kenneth Liao, a violinist, won the opportunity to play alongside LACO veterans at LACO’s April concerts. He will perform as part of LACO’s first violin section and is being mentored for this opportunity by LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer. The program, a unique collaboration now in its fourth year between USC’s Thornton School of Music and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, underscores the importance of preparedness of strings students for professional auditions. Liao competed against violists, cellists, double bass players and fellow violinists before an esteemed panel of judges including LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, LACO Principal Viola Roland Kato and LACO Associate Principal Cello Armen Ksajikian.

Concert Preludes, pre-concert talks held one hour before curtain and free for ticket holders, provide insights into the music and artists with Kahane interviewing Lash about her new piece.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is considered one of the world’s premier chamber orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions. Its 2013-14 season, the Orchestra’s 45th, features a compelling mix of beloved masterpieces and genre-defying premieres from firmly established as well as notable up-and-coming composers programmed by Jeffrey Kahane, one of the world’s foremost conductors and pianists, who marks his 17th season as LACO’s music director.

Tickets, starting at $25, are on sale now and may be purchased online at laco.org, by calling LACO at 213 622 7001. Discounted tickets are also available by phone for seniors 65 years of age and older and groups of 12 or more. College students may purchase student rush tickets ($10), based on availability, at the box office the day of the concert. Also available for college students is the $25 “Campus to Concert Hall All Access Pass” – good for all seven of LACO’s Orchestral series concerts, Discover Beethoven’s Eroica and three Westside Connections concerts.

Comments Comments Off

Pianist Haskell Small will perform his The Rothko Room: Journeys in Silence and other works on Sunday, April 13 – 6:00 PM at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 4090 Delaware in Beaumont, Texas, as part of his Journeys in Silence concert tour.

Small will perform his own composition for solo piano, The Rothko Room: Journeys in Silence. This work loosely parallels the four paintings in the Phillips Collection’s Rothko Room while offering a musical narrative of the painter’s life journey. The piece has been recorded for MSR Classics (CD 1497) – http://www.msrcd.com/catalog/cd/MS1497. Mr. Small will also present several works by Alan Hovhaness, inspired by the spiritual power of mountains.

More about his Journeys in Silence project at http://www.haskellsmall.com/journeys-in-silence.

For more information about the concert, call 409-892-4227 or visit http://www.ststephensbmt.org/index.html.

 

Comments Comments Off

New York City Master Chorale presents “An A Cappella Renaissance” featuring a cappella works by 16th and 17th century composers, including Palestrina, Monteverdi, Gesualdo, Allegri, Gibbons and Lotti.  Thea Kano, conductor.

Friday, April 25, 8 pm

Holy Trinity Catholic Church

213 West 82nd Street, New York

Tickets: www.nycmasterchorale.org/boxoffice

 1977370_10152293406948769_1166233618_n

  

Comments Comments Off

rfot

Five Boroughs Music Festival
presents Roomful of Teeth
Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Galapagos Art Space
16 Main Street, Brooklyn NY 11201

5BMF is thrilled to welcome the groundbreaking vocal octet Roomful of Teeth to our roster this season! Fresh off their 2014 Grammy™ win for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, this genre-bending group will join us for a program of vocal works which showcase the ensemble’s wide vocabulary of singing techniques.

The program will feature works by Elliot Cole, Judd Greenstein, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Missy Mazzoli, as well as a selection from Caroline Shaw’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning ‘Partita.’

Performers:
Cameron Beauchamp, Steven Bradshaw, Martha Cluver, Estelí Gomez, Avery Griffin, Neil Netherly, Caroline Shaw, Virginia Warnken, vocalists
Brad Wells, director

Program:
ELLIOT COLE: Hanuman’s Leap
MISSY MAZZOLI: Vesper Sparrow
SARAH KIRKLAND SNIDER: The Guest
CAROLINE SHAW: Allemande (from Partita)
JUDD GREENSTEIN: Montmartre
WILLIAM BRITTELLE: High Done No Why To
MERRILL GARBUS: Quizassa

Please note that tickets for this program are available via TicketWeb or at the door.

Advance Tickets:
VIP Front Island Seating $40 ($45 at the door)
Premium Rear Island Seating $35 ($40 at the door)
General Admission $22.50 ($25 at the door)

About the Venue:
Galapagos Art Space, located in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, ranks as one of NYC’s premiere nightspots and entertainment venues, hosting an eclectic mix of art, music, dance, and theater performances throughout the year.
Please note that Galapagos Art Space is a 21+ venue. Please bring ID.

For more information about Five Boroughs Music Festival, please visit www.5bmf.org

Comments Comments Off

Guy Barash by Shimpei Takeda

Guy Barash by Shimpei Takeda

In celebration of Guy Barash’s debut album, Facts About Water on the Innova label, Roulette presents a retrospective of this intriguing composer’s recent works.  The pieces programmed represent highlights of Barash’s past three years of activity and projects currently in progress. As with those on the album, this evening’s works are drawn from many areas of Barash’s œuvre, including operatic, vocal, electronic, chamber, and multimedia with each exploring his central interests of music in time and space, such as the abstract phenomena of simultaneity, synchronicity, and geometry as manifested in different contexts and idioms.

A prose poem-like passage in Nick Flynn’s second memoir, The Ticking is the Bomb, provides the title for Barash’s debut release. This album represents Barash’s musical journey that started with them meeting one evening in a Brooklyn café in the fall of 2008 and which has evolved into a fruitful collaboration.

Facts About Water was produced by internationally renowned composer and producer Elliott Sharp.

Program:

David Bloom, conductor

Kathleen Supové, piano

Tom Chiu, violin

Rachel Golub, violin

Stephanie Griffin, viola

Meaghan Burke, cello

Megan Schubert, soprano

Blythe Gaissert, mezzo soprano

Seth Gilman, baritone

Aram Tchobanian, tenor

Kayleigh Butcher, mezzo soprano

Javier Ortiz, bass

Nadav Lev, guitar

Vasko Dukovski, clarinet

Amy Garapic, marimba

Jen Baker, trombone

TalkBack IV for piano and computer (2010, revised 2012)

This piece is the fourth in a series of compositions for acoustic instruments and interactive computer processing. With Talkback, Barash explores new playing techniques, enhanced timbre, and other sonic features that are characteristic of the instrument by magnifying and amplifying otherwise subtle nuances of the instrument and bringing them to foreground prominence.

Blind Huber (2011)

Blind Huber, for soprano, tenor, clarinet, violin, trombone, guitar, piano, and marimba, is an audio/visual rendering of poems from Nick Flynn’s eponymous collection. In his book, Flynn invites us to consider the intricate geometry of the beehive. Barash derived his structural/textural pallet for this piece from the geometry of the beehive and the sonic environment within and around it. Jared Handelsman has designed the video projections for Blind Huber. He says:

“On an autumn afternoon, worker bees methodically seal a wooden seam of their hive with propolis. After a winter storm bees lie strewn in snowdrifts, the keeper explains that bees venture out in the storm to defecate and don’t make it back. During a dry spell in late spring bees gathering water from a source near their hives buzz over the water and create waves of turbulence with their wings on the surface as it reflects the sky. In late summer two swarms hang in the canopy of a maple tree. The keeper climbs the tree with a cardboard box in an attempt to capture the queens. Over a yearlong cycle of visiting the hives of a nearby beekeeper I gathered these and other images for Blind Huber.  To get close to the hives without getting stung I wore two layers of clothes, leather gloves and a hat with netting and tucked my pants into my socks. Guard bees attack anything coming close to their hive resulting in remarkable close up, abstracted images of the guards attacking the camera lens.”

Wrong Ocean for string quartet (2012)

1. Brack

2. Rush

3. High water

4. Torrent

5. Dissolve

6. Stream

7. Counterstreams

8. Feed

9. Low water

10. Source

In his recently completed string quartet, Guy Barash explores simultaneity and synchronicity as musical phenomena within the context of a psychologically disorienting microtonal environment. The world of electronic music inspired his original sound palette. By preserving sonic features idiomatic to the live, acoustic ensemble, alongside concepts appropriated from electronic composition, Barash exploits characteristics latent in, but less commonly associated with quartet writing, and leads the listener to a fresh, new sound world. The piece was commissioned by CBD Music, Inc.

TalkBack III for guitar and computer (2010, revised 2013)

Reading: Nick Flynn reads from Blind Huber, Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins, along with new poems from his forthcoming book.

Excerpts from Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins – opera (2013, work in progress)

In this opera based on text by Nick Flynn, four strangers meet on a New York City sidewalk during a black out.  Unable to make sense of their predicament, let alone alter it, the four float aimlessly in and out of seeming reality only to find themselves even more lost when electricity comes back on. Incorporating music for traditional instruments and voices, a rock-band, and real-time digital signal processing, the work will depict the absurd in the play with a relevant sound.

Guy Barash is a composer of contemporary classical music. His opus includes orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic compositions, as well as music for theater. He has written an extensive body of work that incorporates text in various settings and arrangements.

Guy Barash’s collaboration with American author Nick Flynn on Proteus, a musical rendering of selected texts and excerpts from Flynn’s second memoir, The Ticking Is The Bomb, had its world premiere at Galapagos Art Space in February 2010. A commission from the Jerome Foundation, as part of his 2011 composer‐residency at Electronic Music Foundation, provided Barash the resources to compose and produce Blind Huber, based on 7 poems from the eponymous book by Flynn, alongside video projections by Jared Handelsman. It was premiered fall 2011 in Greenwich House.

In 2012 Guy Barash was a composer-­in­‐residence at Turtle Bay Music School, as recipient of Exploring the Metropolis’ Con Edison Composition Award. Currently he is a fellow composer in the American Opera Projects’ Composers & the Voice program. Barash is also the curator of the new music series, Eavesdropping, at Spectrum.

Premiered last November at La MaMa, and to be expanded this May at St. Ann’s Warehouse, the multimedia theater piece Hildegard (Vision Cycle), conceived of in concert with the Pioneers Go East Collective, tells obliquely the story of Hildegard of Bingen, the Medieval mystic and composer, an important pioneer in both metaphysical writing and the theory of music. It unfolds over four scenes modeled after the stages of migraine attacks. This aesthetic is closely linked to Barash’s multi-layered, non-linear compositional structure -  a spatial composition that unfolds, just like the play, not only over a time axis in the traditional way, but also utilizing the venue space as a collective “hearing device” that leads the audience through constantly developing sonic transformations.

http://www.guybarash.info

Nick Flynn’s most recent book, The Reenactments, which Kirkus calls “a truly insightful, original work,” completes a trilogy begun with Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004). His previous book, The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands (2011), was a collection of poems linked to the second book of the trilogy, The Ticking is the Bomb (2010), which the Los Angeles Times called a “disquieting masterpiece.” Another Bullshit Night in Suck City won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, was shortlisted for France’s Prix Femina, and has been translated into fifteen languages. He is also the author of a play, Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins (2008), as well as two other books of poetry, Some Ether (2000), and Blind Huber (2002), for which he received fellowships from, among other organizations, The Guggenheim Foundation and The Library of Congress. Some of the venues his poems, essays and non-fiction have appeared in include The New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio’s This American Life, and The New York Times Book Review. His film credits include artistic collaborator and “field poet” on the film Darwin’s Nightmare (nominated for an Academy Award for best feature documentary in 2006), as well as executive producer and artistic collaborator on Being Flynn, the film version of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2012, Focus Features, directed by Paul Weitz, starring Robert De Niro, Paul Dano, Julianne Moore, and Lili Taylor). A professor in the creative writing program at the University of Houston, where he teaches each spring, he then spends the rest of the year in (or near) Brooklyn.

http://www.nickflynn.org

Jared Handelsman is a sculptor, photographer and videographer. Handelsman has had solo exhibitions at South Gallery, Rutgers University, NJ; Art Awareness, Lexington, NY; Hudson D. Walker Gallery, Provincetown, MA; School House Center, Provincetown, MA; Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY; Rockland County Museum, Nyack, NY; The Center For Photography, Woodstock, NY; Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington, MA. Handelsman holds a BA from Vassar College, a MFA from Rutgers University and received fellowships from Vassar, Yaddo, MacDowell and The Fine Arts Work Center. Jared lives in Catskill NY with the artist Portia Munson and their two children where he is cultivating the ongoing living artwork Blueberry Spiral.

Comments Comments Off

The World Premiere performances of Steven R. Gerber’s Spirituals in its string quartet version will be given by the Carpe Diem Quartet on Saturday, April 12 at 8 PM and Sunday, April 13 at 4 PM at Harrison Park Community Center, 575 W. 1st Ave. in Columbus, Ohio. This is part of The Randolph A. Foster Concert Series.

The composer writes about the piece, “Spirituals exists in several versions: string orchestra, clarinet and string quartet, and finally string quartet alone. This version is dedicated to the Carpe Diem Quartet, who are premiering it on these concerts in Columbus, Ohio.  The Spirituals are original pieces based on some aspect of the original Negro spirituals – a phrase, a rhythm, a contour, etc.” Other composers on the concerts are Smetana and Beethoven.

Tickets are $30, $25 for seniors. For tickets or more information, visit http://www.cdsq.org/store/page17.html.

The Carpe Diem String Quartet performed over 90 concerts in 33 states across the USA in the 2011-12 season, most recently playing for an audience of over 4000 at the Redlands Bowl in southern California. Their programs include Gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock, and jazz-inspired music alongside the traditional string quartet repertoire. Visit them at http://www.cdsq.org/.

Steven Gerber’s chamber music is represented on Steven R. Gerber – Chamber Music, (Naxos 8.559618), featuring nine of his finest works in the genre, recorded by violinists Kurt Nikkanen, Cho-Liang Lin and Cyrus Beroukhim, cellist Brinton Smith and pianist Sara Davis Buechner. His most recent release is the Albany Records CD (Mostly) Piano Music (Troy 1416). Visit his website at http://www.stevengerber.com.

Comments Comments Off

Pianist Haskell Small will perform his The Rothko Room: Journeys in Silence and other works on Friday, April 11 – 7:00 PM at Rothko Chapel, 3900 Yupon Street in Houston, Texas, as part of his Journeys in Silence concert tour.

Small will perform his own composition for solo piano, The Rothko Room: Journeys in Silence. This work loosely parallels the four paintings in the Phillips Collection’s Rothko Room while offering a musical narrative of the painter’s life journey. The piece has been recorded for MSR Classics (CD 1497) – http://www.msrcd.com/catalog/cd/MS1497. Mr. Small will also present several works by Alan Hovhaness, inspired by the spiritual power of mountains.

More about his Journeys in Silence project at http://www.haskellsmall.com/journeys-in-silence.

Suggested donation is $10. To RSVP or for more information, call 713-524-9839 or visit http://www.rothkochapel.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=292:mark-rothko-a-musical-response&catid=1:public-programs&Itemid=43.

Comments Comments Off

THE BIRTH OF CINEMA VERISMO

mak_grgic_3-505x336

Hello to all music makers, guitar geeks, and film fanatics and welcome to the “behind the scenes” of how Cinema Verismo came to light!

You must all be wondering, why Cinema Verismo and how does the title relate to the funky cover picture of myself standing in a dusty old opera house? What is the roll of the guitar on the CD and what is the CD all about?

First thing’s first: just like many of you, I’m a young guy trying to figure out my role in music, classical music that is. You might roll your eyes right away when I say “classical music” and I agree, classical music can be to many uninviting, difficult, boring, uptight, for-old-people etc. (ask any person on the street what classical music means to them, and these will be the words popping out the most). Now why is that? Is it because we dress a certain way, because we act a certain way, because we care about things that are important only to us few classical musicians? Perhaps, but here’s probably the more general take on this: classical music is foreign to the majority because it poses something that is unfamiliar and strange to them. Just ask yourselves: what do you do when you go to a pop, rock, country or any concert of a more popular genre, and what do you notice? People singing along. Why? Because they are familiar with the tunes.

So here we have the issue of familiarity. What else? I was talking to a friend recently, about what he enjoys about music (in general) and he bluntly said: “you know… it’s good for the party.” Well, no kidding. I recall going to a concert of a classical pianist (for those who know pianists, it was Alfred Brendel) and it was in Vienna. Check this out: I shouted bravo after he finished and almost got kicked out of the hall for not being “respectful”. COME ON! What was happening 200 years ago at “classical concerts”? People were eating, drinking, having fun, partying, while the music was playing. So, let’s consider the entertainment factor of this. What else?

How can we compare dressing styles in popular music and classical music? Easy, there is no comparison. We, classical musicians dress like we have no idea about wardrobe, and everyone else dress like they know what they are doing. Yes, we are dull and uninspired. What else?

Compare the creative titles of your favorite albums (and even their covers) compared to most classical music albums.  Think about your own favorites.  How about the many top box office hits like Star Wars, ET, Superman, Batman, and many more.  Probably all cinema music is really orchestral music performed in a non-classical medium like film music.  We think Cinema Verismo breaks the classical music trend.  Cinema Verismo (deriving from the style of cinematography that popped out around 1970 – the veristic style – google it.) presents an idea that would counter all the classical music stereotypes, without losing its artsy touch!

What’s the content of the CD, you might ask, and how to cope with the familiarity factor? Easy: we chose tunes from popular movies, that everyone knows, but check this out: these tunes are in majority CLASSICAL tunes – but people know them! Why? Because everyone loves movies!! So, familiarity factor CHECK (interesting trivia: I was playing a concert in New Jersey and the audience started singing along while I was playing West Side Story).

What about the outfit on the cover? Well, what does it remind you of? Something Western, cowboy-like maybe? True! Guess which track is included on the album The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! Why the photo session in an abandoned opera house in the middle of the desert? Again, easy: to create the film of a cinematic setting. For all interested: the place is called Amargosa Opera House and it’s a haunted opera house in Death Valley Junction between Vegas and Los Angeles.

So, this was a project that was forming for a year and a half – we took our sweet time to come up with something that would be totally different than one usually expects in classical music – all you traditionalists out there – listen to the album, the playing is still pretty good, so we didn’t lose track of that! Quality art is important!

Music makers, guitar geeks and film fanatics all around the world, welcome to the world of Cinema Verismo and let me guide you through the creative process of the making of the album. Let this be an inspiration for all to come, so tune in next week for a video of me showing off some cool guitar tricks used during recording.

Mak out!

Listen to the solo CD, ‘Cinema Verismo’ on YouTube.

Tour dates:

April 12 – Solo Recital at Northwest Guitar Festival - Seattle / Spokane, 7:30 pm

April 13 – Masterclass at Northwest Guitar Festival - Seattle / Spokane, 10:00 am

April 16 - Performance w/  USC Thornton Edge Ensemble - Alfred Newman Recital Hall, USC, Los Angeles, 7:30pm

May 2 - Makrotonal Guitar at Microfest - All Saints Beverly Hills, 504 N Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, 8:00 pm

May 9 - Concert with the DC8 - Farmers & Merchants Bank, Downtown Los Angeles, 8:30 pm

Comments No Comments »

largefileMOTSSlogoNow in its 13th concert season, on its April 24th program the Music of the Spheres Society will feature music by several iconoclasts of the early 20th century: Sergei Prokofiev, Bela Bartok, Charles Ives and Camille Saint-Saens – and if you are wondering why we are including Saint-Saens, it is because he was among the first composers to write music for film, in his case “The Assassination of the Duke of Guise” in 1908.  He is also close to our hearts because of his interest and expertise in geology, archaeology, botany, lepidoptery, mathematics, acoustics, occult sciences, Roman theatre decoration, and ancient instruments. Last but not least, as a member of the Astronomical Society of France; Saint-Saens lectured on mirages, designed a telescope and planned concerts to correspond with astronomical events such as solar eclipses!

The concert features the Sonata for violin solo, op. 115 (1947) by Sergei Prokofiev; the Sonata no. 1 for violin and piano (1923) by Bela Bartok; the Largo for clarinet, violin and piano (1901, rev. 1934) by Charles Ives; and the Sonata for clarinet and piano (1921) by Camille Saint-Saens.

Violinist and Artistic Director Stephanie Chase will be joined by pianist Brian Connelly and clarinetist Jon Manasse. The concert will start at approximately 8:15 pm at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, located at 120 West 69th Street in Manhattan.  Tickets are available at the door at $30, $20 student/senior, cash or check only.  Doors open at 7:15 pm.  Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets.

At 7:30 pm, Joseph Sherman will give what promises to be a fascinating talk on “Music Education in New York City Public Schools – 1950 to Now,” which is included in concert admission. Mr. Sherman is the founding principal of the High School for Violin and Dance in the Bronx and an avid saxophonist and violinist.  For more information, please visit www.musicofthespheres.org or call (646) 678-0391.

CRITICAL ACCLAIM

“All the basic virtuoso qualities — intonation, rhythmic accuracy, flawless phrasing, and the like — are to be heard in Jon Manasse’s playing, yet what sets him apart is his exceptionally beautiful sound. Hearing his warmth of tone in all registers is like listening to a top-class vocalist or violist. It’s radiantly gripping.” – San Francisco Classical Voice“(Stephanie Chase is) a supreme musical performer whose complete virtuosity enables her to ennoble everything she plays.” – Byron Belt, Newhouse Newspapers

“Brian Connelly is…a technically masterful and naturally gifted musician (whose) playing contained many moments of beauty and refinement.” - Peninsula Reviews

STEPHANIE CHASE is acclaimed as “one of the violin greats of our era” (Newhouse News) and excels in the virtuoso soloist’s repertoire, period instrument practice, contemporary music, chamber music, and music education. As violin soloist she has appeared with the world’s most illustrious orchestras, among them the Chicago Symphony, London Symphony and New York Philharmonic, and her playing is widely acclaimed for its “elegance, dexterity, rhythmic vitality and great imagination” (Boston Globe). Her recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Romances, the first ever on period instruments, has been declared “one of the twenty most outstanding performances in the work’s recording history” (Beethoven: Violin Concerto, Cambridge University Press) and honored with the highest possible ratings by BBC Music Magazine and Classic CD. Among Ms. Chase’s many awards are a top medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition and the Avery Fisher Career Grant. She co-founded the Music of the Spheres Society in 2001.

Among the most distinguished classical artists of his generation, clarinetist JON MANASSE is internationally recognized for his inspiring artistry, uniquely glorious sound and charismatic performing style. His solo appearances include New York City performances at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts´ Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Hunter College´s Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse, Columbia University, Rockefeller University and The Town Hall, fourteen tours of Japan and Southeast Asia – all with the New York Symphonic Ensemble, debuts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Osaka and acclaimed concerto performances with Gerard Schwarz and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, both at Lincoln Center´s Avery Fisher Hall and at the prestigious Tokyu Bunkamura Festival in Tokyo. Among the orchestras with which he has appeared as soloist are the Academy of St. Martin’s in the Fields, the Augsburg, Alabama, Dayton, Evansville, Indianapolis Symphonies, the National Philharmonic, and Canada´s Symphony Nova Scotia.

Jon Manasse appears frequently in highly praised duo concerts with pianist Jon Nakamatsu, and together they have released several recordings. Their acclaimed recording for Harmonia Mundi of the Brahms quintets for clarinet and piano, in collaboration with the Tokyo String Quartet, was released in 2012.

Pianist BRIAN CONNELLY’s performances span an unusually broad range of historical and modern repertoires. Born in Detroit, he attended the University of Michigan, where he studied with pianists Gyorgy Sandor and Theodore Lettvin. Mr. Connelly has premiered works by a host of contemporary composers such as William Albright, Karim Al-Zand, Derek Bermel, William Bolcom, Paul Cooper, David Diamond, Ross Lee Finney, and many others. He is a frequent guest with new-music groups such as the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and the Chicago Contemporary Players, and he was recently featured in the Carnegie Hall series Making Music in a tribute to composer William Bolcom.

Known for his affinity for the works of Olivier Messiaen, Connelly’s recent performances include Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus and Catalogue d’Oiseaux for piano, the complete songs cycles with soprano Carmen Pelton and mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, all of the chamber music, the Oiseaux exotiques with chamber orchestra, and the Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine with conductor Donald Runnicles at the Grand Teton Music Festival. Mr. Connelly is also widely respected as a scholar and performer of historical instruments, appearing in the U.S. and Europe on 18th- and 19th-century pianos by Walther, Rosenberger, Graf, Pleyel, Bösendorfer, and Streicher. He has for 13 years been a member of the renowned ensemble Context; and his recent recordings with that group—of music by Robert Schumann and Prince Louis Ferdinand—have received exuberant praise.

Comments Comments Off