Jacaranda, the classical music series known for rarely heard, new and modern music, will celebrate its first 10 years with a “Season of Journeys” at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica. Two of the season’s eight Saturday concerts will be separated by a dinner break, and one will feature the Lyris Quartet in a free offering hosted by the UCLA Music Library at Schoenberg Hall. For its pre-season launch, Jacaranda will present a carousel ride, “The Rest is Noise” during Santa Monica’s Glow art event. Created by Jacaranda artistic director Patrick Scott, this musical experience, highly emblematic of Jacaranda’s signature style and reach, will surround riders on the city’s carousel with a sequence of excerpted, influential 20th-century premieres, from the most thrilling 12 seconds of Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony (1901), to an exclamation point from Sofia Gubaidulina (2000).
Sept. 28, 2013, 7 p.m.-3 a.m.: Free Pre-Season Glow Event
“The Rest is Noise,” a free nighttime ride through 20th-century music on Santa Monica’s storied merry-go-round, is based on the bestselling-book by “The New Yorker” music critic Alex Ross titled “The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century.” With 16 speakers and lighting effects, the ride will allow participants, on painted-ponies and chariots, to experience a century of music history: excerpts from 25 key works by 25 visionary composers (full list below). Ross’ prize-winning book grew out of his landmark blog, The Rest is Noise, and also inspired an ambitious yearlong festival featuring live performances of symphonies, operas and chamber works now underway at London’s renowned Southbank Centre arts complex. “The Rest is Noise” carousel ride will include a multifaceted educational component accessed by smart phones.
Oct. 19, 2013: Grit and Glory
As in every season prior, Jacaranda’s 2013-14 season will officially open with a program of American music. Pianists Gloria Cheng, Scott Dunn, Mark Robson and Steven Vanhauwaert will celebrate Jacaranda’s anniversary. Jacaranda’s acclaimed resident Lyris Quartet and four percussionists under the direction of M.B. Gordy will join the pianists.
The music will journey to a factory in South Carolina (Frederick Rzewski’s “Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues”), a country fair in Mexico (Silvestre Revueltas’ Quartet No. 4 “Musica de Feria”), and three California locales (John Adams’ “Phrygian Gates” and “Hallelujah Junction,” and John Bergamo’s “Piru Bole”). Ritual percussion from Hawaii and Haiti (Christopher Rouse’s “Ku Ka-Ilimoku” and “Ogoun Badagris”) will add tropical reaches to the musical itinerary. Grit and Glory, the name of this concert, conveys the American experience in all its boldness, courage and euphoria.
Nov. 9, 2013: Shattered Glass
This concert will observe the 75th anniversary of the infamous Kristallnacht, Nov. 9, 1938, when Jewish business, temples, schools, hospitals and homes were systematically vandalized, damaged or destroyed across Nazi Germany and parts of Austria. Some 90 Jews were killed and 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps between Nov. 9 and 10th. The concert will travel musically from the Jewish quarter (Samuel Adler’s Klezmer Fantasy” for solo clarinet) to Hollywood (Eric Zeisl’s “Hebrew Requiem”) via trains across the U.S. and Europe (Steve Reich’s Different Trains for string quartet and pre-recorded tracks). Along the way, the Jacaranda Chamber Singers will perform two brief unaccompanied choral works about peace and endurance (Arnold Schoenberg’s “Friede auf Eden” and “De Profundis”). To be performed under the baton of Mark Alan Hilt, Jacaranda’s Music Director and Resident Conductor, Zeisl’s 1944 requiem, with soloists, chorus and orchestra, was the first musical work to commemorate the holocaust.
Jan. 25, 2014: Hallucination
The acclaimed European vocal ensemble VOXNOVA, specialists in contemporary music, will make their U.S. debut under the direction of bass baritone Nicholas Isherwood with Karlheinz Stockhausen’s 1968 masterpiece “Stimmung” (“Tuning”) for six amplified voices. According to Isherwood, VOXNOVA “cracked the code” of the score by producing the harmonic balance asked for by the composer but not fully realized before. Described as a trance-like stream of consciousness, the work lasts approximately one hour. To complete the evening, cellist Timothy Loo will provide a point of departure with “Nomos Alpha” (1965) by Iannis Xenakis, a complex 15-minute work still considered virtually impossible to perform. This concert will be offered as an 80th birthday tribute to artist and Fluxus catalyst Mary Bauermeister, Stockhausen’s first wife, whose vocalizations during pregnancy strongly influenced her husband’s composition of “Stimmung.”
Feb. 22, 2014: Mid-Century Modern
Jacaranda’s first decade gave the centenaries of John Cage (1912-89) and Olivier Messiaen (1908-92) extensive attention. Two 20-movement works for solo piano link the composers after World War II: Cage’s Sonatas & Interludes (1946-48) for prepared piano, and Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards sur L’Enfant Jesus” (1944). Both works were influenced by Indian culture. Cage performed his cycle for Messiaen in Paris in 1949, and Messiaen reciprocated with a performance of his cycle by Yvonne Loriod, the work’s dedicatee and eventually Messiaen’s wife. Adam Tendler will perform the 60-minute Cage work at 5 p.m. without pause. After a dinner break, Christopher Taylor will perform the two-hour Messiaen work at 7:30 p.m. with an intermission. Both pianists are known as champions of the respective works. Specially-priced single concert admissions and an additionally discounted ticket for both concerts will be available.
Messiaen’s massive piano masterpiece has additional significance for Jacaranda. The work was the centerpiece of a one-off, three-concert festival organized in 2002 by series founders Patrick Scott and Mark Alan Hilt to observe the 10th anniversary of Messiaen’s death. The location was First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, where Hilt would soon be appointed Music Director. The enterprise grabbed the attention of the Los Angeles Times’ chief music critic, Mark Swed, who noted that there had been an abundance of international Messiaen tributes, but only the enterprising duo ventured a Southern California tribute. Nine months later, Jacaranda was born.
March 8, 2014: Continental Harmony at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall
Jacaranda’s inaugural season featured an adventurous young string quartet known as Denali, which played with the series until 2010. Denali was succeeded by the Lyris Quartet. In recognition of the latter’s importance to Jacaranda’s programming, for the first time, an entire concert will be devoted to the 20th-century American string quartet repertoire. Lyris will open with Quartet No. 2 by Charles Ives followed by a Jacaranda signature work, Quartet No. 4, “Amazing Grace,” by Ben Johnston. Quartet No. 5 by Philip Glass, a Lyris specialty, will be followed with Quartet No. 3 by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Composed in Los Angeles at the end of WWII, the latter was performed by Denali in its final season, and will be performed by Lyris for the first time. The UCLA Music Library will host this free anniversary concert, underwritten by the UCLA Music Library’s Hugo Davise Fund for Contemporary Music, at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall, 445 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90024.
April 5, 2014: Civil Wars
Minimalist landmarks made up Jacaranda’s 2003 inaugural concert and signaled a long-term commitment to such composers. Following Jacaranda’s January 2012 standing-room-only concert that launched the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s weeklong “Focus on Eötvös” in Santa Monica, Jacaranda will be featured in the L.A. Phil’s “Minimalist Jukebox” (April 8-19) with music from the Minneapolis Section of “CIVIL warS: a tree is best measured when it is down.” This vast and incomplete opera by Robert Wilson was intended for the 1984 Olympics. The section is a set of “Knee Plays” composed by David Byrne as interludes but subsequently performed together by brass band with narrator. It will complement the L.A. Phil’s performances of the complete “Rome Section” from CIVIL warS. The program will conclude with works by Philip Glass: “Mad Rush,” an organ piece performed for the exiled Dalai Lama’s first public visit to New York in 1981, and a suite of excerpts from the soundtrack to the film “Mishima.” “Mad Rush” was included on Jacaranda’s first concert. “Mishima,” a 1985 Paul Schrader film, chronicles the famed Japanese writer Yukio Mishima’s failed coup d’état.
May 10, 2014: Abandon
Season of Journeys will end with time travel from the late-18th century to the late-20th century with music by Mozart, Debussy and Arvo Pärt. The exaltation of Mozart’s Serenade for Winds, “Gran Partita,” leads to the rapturous sensuality of Debussy’s “Danses Sacree et Profane.” These works were Jacaranda audience favorites in 2004 and 2009, respectively. They will be followed by Jacaranda’s first hearing of the blissfully hypnotic Tabula Rasa for violin soloists, prepared piano and strings by Arvo Pärt, will feature violinists Alyssa Park and Shalini Vijayan, as well as the Jacaranda debut of pianist Richard Valitutto of L.A.’s wild Up, conducted by Hilt, also conducting “Gran Partita.”
Concert Locations/Ticket Prices:
Concerts will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, 1220 2nd St., Santa Monica, 90401, on Saturdays at 8 p.m., except for Feb. 22’s concerts, to be held at First Presbyterian at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; the free Sept. 28th pre-season Glow event at the Santa Monica carousel, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.; and the Continental Harmony concert, to be held on Sat., March 8, at 8 p.m., at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall, 445 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Concert tickets, $45 general; $20 students: jacarandamusic.org. Information: (213) 483-0216.
About Jacaranda: Jacaranda, with a motto of “music at the edge,” is a series of intimate concert adventures into the realm of new and rarely heard classical music designed to awaken curiosity, passion and discovery. Founded in 2003 by arts impresario Patrick Scott and conductor/organist Mark Alan Hilt, Jacaranda produces a series (eight concerts this season) in Santa Monica that features current and rising stars in the world of classical music performance. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013-14, Jacaranda’s full 2013-14 season information available at jacarandamusic.org. Concerts are at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, 1220 Second Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. For information or to purchase tickets go to jacarandamusic.org, or call (213) 483-0216.