For Pierre Boulez, It’s Still About the Music

From NYTimes.com:

IN a maroon turtleneck and loose-fitting gray suit, eyes on his score, Pierre Boulez took turns one late August morning here rehearsing the soloists for “Répons.” Written in 1981 for six soloists, chamber orchestra and live electronics, it is the first major work he wrote using the electronic-music institute in Paris, Ircam. But it has rarely been performed, just a few dozen times.

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The lion in winter still roars but more quietly

Pierre Boulez, a friend of Górecki during the ...
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From chicagotribune.com, a profile of Pierre Boulez and his upcoming events.

On March 26, the French composer and conductor, one of the most distinguished figures in contemporary music, will turn 85. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with which Boulez has enjoyed an exceptionally cordial relationship that goes back four decades, is celebrating that milestone with a series of concerts and discussions throughout the month that will bring audiences closer to Boulez’s music, as well as give them the chance to hear him conduct new pieces along with classics of the 20th century with which he has long been identified.

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Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music – Ambition Abounds in an Exultation Over Contemporary Works

NYTimes.com reviews this recent festival.

A stray orchestral work, Helen Grime’s Clarinet Concerto (2009), opened the Sunday evening concert, which was otherwise devoted to chamber music. Ms. Grime, an English composer born in 1981, seems drawn to melody and textural luxuriance, but she also has an ear for counterpoint and rhythmic complexity that gives her music an appealing edge. The concerto’s most entrancing section is a clarinet cadenza in which a combination of trills and sustained tones creates the illusion of several clarinet lines intertwined. Brent Besner was the superb soloist.

Ms. Grime’s work was a world premiere, as was Elliott Carter’s “Poems of Louis Zukofsky” (2009), on the same program. Lucy Shelton, the soprano, and Thomas Martin, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s associate principal clarinetist, are sufficiently expert in Mr. Carter’s music to round off its difficulties, but this one needed little help: its soprano line, though chromatic, is warm-hued and melodic, and the clarinet writing darts around it in a way that brings out the humor in some of Zukofsky’s quirky, aphoristic texts.

Also on Sunday evening the guitarist Oren Fader presided over a lively account of Mario Davidovsky’s invitingly pointillistic “Festino” (1991), and Ryan McAdams conducted a suitably brash, pulsing performance of Tansy Davies’s “neon” (2007), a septet rooted in a Zappaesque raucousness.

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This Week at the ISSUE Project Room

From the ISSUE Project Room:

06/25 @ 8pm – Mivos String Quartet and the CNS Symphony Orchestra play works by Tony Conrad, Huang Ruo and Luke Dubois Dave Soldier and Brad Garton

MIVOS quartet is devoted to performing contemporary music. It was founded in 2008 by violinists Olivia DePrato and Joshua Modney, violist Victor Lowrie, and cellist Isabel Castellvi. They met while pursuing a master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music in the Contemporary Performance Program. Since their inception they have performed and premiered works by both young and established composers including […]

06/26 @ 8pm – Susie Ibarra Quartet

Friday, June 26 at 8pm Susie Ibarra Quartet violin Jennifer Choi, piano Kathleen Supové, harp Bridget Kibbey, drums and percussion Susie Ibarra. Performing Ibarra’s original music for quartet, inspired by Filipino Indigenous folklore. “Composer and Percussionist Susie Ibarra is known for her individual artistry on percussion and genre-defying music. In the past decade, her willingness to step out from […]

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Ensemble Intercontemporain – Past Meets Present With Ligeti’s Blurred Colors and Frenetic Rhythms

Pierre Boulez in 2004
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A recent Ensemble Intercontemporain performance is reviewed.

For decades, it was hard to think of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, a brilliant French chamber orchestra formed in 1976, without factoring in the composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, who founded the group.

Mr. Boulez asserted, not incorrectly, that to advance his rigorous Modernist aesthetic, he needed a band capable of rendering the music of Schoenberg, Webern and their followers with the same clarity and conviction that a conventional group might pour into Mozart and Beethoven.

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American Composers Orchestra Season Finale

The American Composers Orchestra has its final show of the season happening May 1st in NY.

American Composers Orchestra, the nation’s most consistently adventurous champion of new orchestral work, returns Underground for five World Premieres at 7:30PM on Friday, February 20, presented by Carnegie Hall at Zankel Hall. The concert continues ACO’s cutting-edge Orchestra Underground series that redefines orchestral music with new composers, new influences, new multimedia collaborations, and new technologies.

This concert program features:

Robert Beaser delivers the New York premiere of his new Guitar Concerto written for long-time friend and collaborator, the “monster virtuoso” Eliot Fisk. Beaser’s concerto is the first work work commissioned by his “home team” orchesta in over a decade.

Derek Bermel‘s contribution to the program is the world premiere of A Shout, A Whisper, A Trace, a piece inspired by Bartók’s correspondence during his final years in New York City. The commission also concludes the triumphant three year Music Alive Residency Bermel has had with ACO.

Lukas Ligeti (Labyrinth of Clouds) and Thomas Larcher (Bose Zellen) join this musical gathering of old friends with a world premiere and U.S. premiere promising new and excting sounds. Both Ligeti’s Labyrinth of Clouds and Larcher’s Bose Zellen (Malignant Cells) will feature composers as soloist. Ligeti will play his Marimba Lumina and Larcher will be spotlighted soloing on prepared piano which gradually becomes stripped of its trappings throughout the piece.

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New festival to showcase innovation in music

Stephen Drury and others will play in Colorado.

Three nationally and world-renowned musicians who are pushing the envelope of innovation in sounds and harmonies will headline the first Open Space Festival of New Music on the University of Northern Colorado campus next week.

Pianist Stephen Drury, composer Paul Rudy and bouzouki player Roger Landes will perform together and individually next Thursday and Friday between a series of lectures and presentations organized by UNC professors Paul Elwood and Sara Heimbecker.

Drury, the Boston Globe’s 1989 Musician of the Year, has performed or recorded with the American Composers Orchestra, the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Radio Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Boston Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the Springfield (Mass.) and Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestras and the Romanian National Symphony.

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