Archive for the “Auction” Category

camillaNext to the early and unlikely appearance of Mr. Eliot’s cruelest  camellias, the most anticipated January event for many of us wintering in the Low Country is the arrival (in the other mailbox out by the street) of the annual printed Spoleto USA program. For those of you who may not know much about it, Spoleto USA is one of the world’s major arts festivals–bigger and better, for example, than the annual summer Lincoln Center Festival, whose programming is similar.  It is safe to say that Spoleto USA has been a key factor in making Charleston, SC–also blessed with great winter weather, gloriously inventive southern cooking, and Bill Murray–the biggest little city in America.

We have the composer Gian Carlo Menotti to thank for that.  He founded the festival in 1977 as a counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) in Spoleto, Italy.  Over the early years, budgets were overrun, deficits mounted, philistines were elected to the board.  There were the usual artist vs. accountant hissy fits and Menotti bailed for the good in the mid-1990s. The philistines and the angels have generally played nicely together since with the result that the programs are still excellent and finances are much more stable.

The program for the 17-day, May-June festival are a combination of classical and jazz music, dance, theater and a curious category  called Physical Theater, which features the kind of tumbling, and acrobatic circus sort of dance, sort of not dance that I thought had disappeared with the Ed Sullivan Show.  But, apparently not.

Not sure who to credit (I suspect John Kennedy) but there is also an especially generous amount of new music to heard each year.  The featured opera this year is the world premiere of Huang Ruo and Jennifer Wen Ma’s opera Paradise Interrupted, featuring Qian Yi. May 22, 24, 27, 29, 31.  And they’re also doing Huang’s  The Lost Garden Chamber Concerto on May 23.   There’s a conversation about the opera with Huang and Wen at the Charleston Library Society on May 24.

Bank of America sponsors a great series of 11 Chamber Music concerts which are usually sprinkled. with a healthy dose of music by composers who are still, more or less, breathing.  This year’s composer-in-residence is Mark Applebaum, who will be premiering a piece. The St. Lawrence String Quartet will celebrate its 20th year of Spoleto USA residency.  Alisa Weilerstein will be there.

Joe Miller’s Westminster Choir Concerts at St. Luke’s and St. Paul usually pair old and new works.  Urmas Sisask’s Oremus and Eric Whitacre’s Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine join Montiverdi’s Si Ch’io vorren morire and the opening chorus of Bach’s Cantata 79 on May 24 and 27.  David Lang’s marvelous The Little Match Girl Passion, with choreography by Poitus Lidberg, is scheduled along with Giacomo Carissimi’s Jephte for May 30 and May 31.

The Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, directed by John Kennedy, will do Bill Morrison/Michael Gordon’s Decasia (that old thing–just joking, just joking) on June 1.  Kennedy is also directing a great-looking series of concerts called Music in Time that features the aforementioned Huang Ruo, Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata , Hans Otte’s concert-length piano suite The Book of Sounds, an evening of new commissioned works by Christopher Cerrone, Anna Meredith, Adrian Knight, Timo Andres, Nicole Lizzee and Samuel Carol Adams and–finally, for the hardcore–an evening called Quarter-Tone Shredding featuring the Living Earth Show, San Francisco’s electric guitar and percussion duo–performing Damon Waitkus’ North Pacific Garbage Patch, Brian Ferneyhough’s Renvoli/Shards, Ken Ueno’s WATT and assorted other stuff.

I’m sure I missed some things so take a look at the online program, get yourself some tickets, and get on down heah.  You heah?

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This has got to be a first. Luis Andrei Cobo is offering his services to compose a grand opera to the highest Ebay bidder. For $150,000 you can buy a grand opera over 2 hours in length.

Cobo estimates that he’ll need 2 years of full-time work to complete the project, so $75K/year will enable him to maintain the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed as a software programmer.

Don’t have $150K? That’s OK, he’s open to other offers. For as little as $32,000 he will write a half-hour long chamber opera for 3 to 5 singers.

The winning bidder will get to suggest subject matter for the opera, be able to produce the work royalty-free, and upon the composer’s death, the highest bidder or the heir(s) of the bidder will inherit the work.

Sounds like a deal. Then again, obtaining an actual staging of the finished work….

Complete information on this ebay item can be found here. Good luck on your bid!

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do i hear $50?Like to own a piece of potential history? Or maybe just somebody to lug your bags around? Grab some fare or flair, from fluff to full, all to be had at the American Music Center’s 70th anniversary online auction fundraiser. Proceeds will support the Center’s ongoing programs, which have been working to build a national community of artists, organizations, and audiences creating, performing, and enjoying new American music for a good chunk of the last century.

The list of auction items is eclectic, to say the least. I’m not really seeing the musical value in a gift certificate for some beef, or tickets to a comedy club (except maybe to feed that starving artist, and give them a few ideas for that next absurdist chamber opera)…  But there are quite a few truly special treats to be had: how about tickets to the New York City Opera complete with backstage tour? A private salon concert by the wonderful violinist Jennifer Koh? Commission your dream piece from Steven Stucky or Robert Xavier Rodriguez? Get some personal consulting on your composerly career from market-savvy composer Alex Shapiro? Vocal coaching with Paul Sperry? And my personal favorite — name your own David Rakowski piano étude!

The material’s even better for you autograph hounds: not only signed sketches and manuscripts from the likes of Stucky, Bernard Rands, Augusta Read Thomas, Tobias Picker, there’s the conductor’s score of  Three Occasions by Elliott Carter, signed by the grand old man himself! For the ‘multiples’ collector, there are special “Pulitzer Prize Packages” — each of which includes both a signed CD and signed score of their prize-winning composition — from Bernard Rands, David Lang, John Corigliano, and Melinda Wagner. All this and more, more more!

The bidding opens Thursday Nov. 5th and runs through Nov. 20th. Some seriously good stuff, some seriously useful stuff, some seriously silly stuff — no matter, it all goes to benefit the efforts of the most fundamental and over-arching organization in the U.S., for the advocacy of New Music and the people who make and play it.

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