The season is underway in New York and, as usual, there are a number of promising looking performances coming up.  Here are a few things to look for:

Margaret Garner, Richard Danielpour’s operatic collaboration with Toni Morrison, is in mid-run at City Opera and, judging from the ads, there are plenty of seats to be had.  I can’t quite stir myself enough to drag up there and sit through an evening of misery about a runaway slave who murders her daughter rather than have her captured.  Doesn’t stop me from having an opinion, though.  Morrison is too sanctimonious and self-important by half and Danielpour should write an opera about Omar the Tentmaker.  Samuel Barber’s Vanessa opens on November 4.

Chance Encounter, On September 28, Lisa Bielawa, Susan Narucki and the new-music chamber group the Knights, will commandeer East Broadway near the Seward Park Library to perform a 4-hour work based on overheard conversation, collected over the last year and set to music.  Details at Lisa’s blog.

Kronos Quartet – The indefatigueable quartet is slated for BAM’s Next Wave festival with collaborations with two Finnish composer/musicians: Kimmo Pohjonen, an accordionist and singer, and Samuli Kosminen, an accordionist and manipulator of electronic sounds.  Oct. 3, 5-6.

Esa Pekka-Salonen – Another famous Finn is the subject of a Composer Portrait at Miller Theater on October 5.  Performers include Imani Winds, cellist Darrett Adkins, soprano Tony Arnold and pianist Blair McMillen.

Berlin in Lights –  Life is a carbaret, old chum, with a bunch of cultural events scattered around town between November 2 and 18.  The centerpiece is the Berlin Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall on November 13 and 14.  Simon and gang will be doing the U.S. premiere of Marcus Lindberg’s Seht die Sonne on the 13th and Thomas Adès’ Tevot on the 14th.  Adès, who Simon sez is also a spectacular pianist, is doing an entire recital that will include (without electronic or mechanical assistance) Conlon Nancarrow’s fiendish  Three Canons for Ursula.

That takes us up to mid-November.  We’ll pick up there over the weekend.  What’s hot in L.A., San Francisco, London, Grand Rapids?  Give us a report.


8 thoughts on “What’s Happening This Season?”
  1. See for the seasons of (and links to) Philadelphia’s four new music performing groups: Prism, Orchestra 2001, Relache, and Network for New Music. Among other things, O2001 is doing Marteau and Relache is doing a big Kyle Gann cycle.

    The print brochure also includes some terrific new music concerts by Chamber Music Now! (,
    the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (,
    the Mendelssohn Club with big orchestra (, and
    Penn’s Annenberg Center (

    And the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia is going way out on the curve with small group Xenakis – no big deal for NYC but very, very rare in Philadelphia.

    You can also see Prism in NYC, and O2001 is coming to Zankel next season with Part VI [sic] of George Crumb’s 4-part American Songbook.

  2. Agreed on the above. The band from Toronto went on and on. Then they went on and on. Then they put down their instruments. Then they picked up their instruments again and went on and on. I was kind of dying.

  3. Don’t worry, Jerry. I’m on duty at Margaret Garner this Thursday night. No review, though, since Richard’s my old composition teacher. Still… I understand your reluctance.

    Last night’s Wordless Music concert was, I really do hate to admit it since the whole series is such a great venture, not very good. The performers were fine. But the only music worth mentioning was Jacob TV’s “White Flag,” an anti-war piece with some powerful moments.

  4. Sparky, are you also skipping, besides Philip Glass’s and Christopher Hampton’s “Appomattox”, the premiere, on Oct 12 and 13 at S.F.’s Project Theater Artaud, of composer and librettist Carla Lucero’s opera “Juana” — about the complex and brilliant woman Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz de Asbaje y Ramirez, and her relationship to the Spanish Inquisition in 17th c. Mexico?

    Ms. Lucero Carla Lucero received a B.F.A. in Music Composition from California Institute of the Arts in 1986 where she studied with composers Leonard Rosenman, Morton Subotnik, Alan Chapman and Rand Stieger. According to her site: “Drawing upon sources from Romantic and Neo-Classical music, Lucero has developed a highly melodic compositional style that puts soul into the cerebral.”

    The Bay Area also just closed out a computer music festival at Project Theater Artaud, and features the usual strong contemporary arts program at Mills College in Oakland. [Helmut Lachenmann is Composer in Residence in January.]


    In “Greater Washington”, while the “Washington National Opera” is mounting Miller/Weinstein/Bolcom’s “A View from the Bridge” (which we will attend) [and WETA-FM is broadcasting D.C. resident composer Nick Maw’s “Sophie’s Choice” [based upon William Styron], tomorrow]; the strongest contemporary classical music series this fall appear to be (from a very quick perusal) those of the Library of Congress and the Austrian Cultural Forum (focusing on contemporary classical violin music the next two months). And the U. of Maryland, now artistically aspiring to be U. of Calif. – Berkeley, is also mounting the world premiere of John Musto’s and Mark Campbell’s “Later the Same Evening”: an opera inspired by five paintings of Edward Hopper (co-produced with the National Gallery of Art):

  5. Dispatch from Canada:

    The Kitchener Waterloo Symphony opens their season tonight with John Adams The Chairman Dances: Foxtrot for Orchestra; Ravel Piano Concerto in G major; Feldman Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety; Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor; Jamie Parker piano; Edwin Outwater baton.

    A full review will be posted at the weekend.

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