Summer Festivals

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Photo credit: G. Schirmer

Summer Festivals

We're packing our suitcases again this summer for premieres and performances at music festivals from New Mexico to the Berkshires, Austria to the UK and beyond.

On August 2, the Aspen Festival Orchestra, Peter Oundjian, conductor, premieres Peter Lieberson’s Suite from Ashoka's Dream. Lieberson's 1997 opera Ashoka’s Dream tells the story of Ashoka Maurya, a 3rd-century B.C. king of India and the only ruler to unify India until the 19th century A.D. The suite is in two parts, each part consisting of four sections; the vocal parts are reassigned to winds, horns or strings. The orchestra remains the same size as the opera, with the addition of an alto saxophone.

On August 15, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble performs Kaija Saariaho’s Graal Théâtre, and the rarely heard Violin Concerto No. 2 by Ernst Von Dohnanyi is performed on July 1.

At this summer’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, on August 8 Marin Alsop conducts Avner Dorman’s spicy percussion extravaganza, Spices, Perfumes, and Toxins!, Dorman is on faculty at this year's festival giving composer workshops. On August 15 the Alsop gives the US premiere of Joby Talbot’s trumpet concerto, Desolation Wilderness with Craig Morris on trumpet.

La Jolla SummerFest has commissioned Stewart Copeland to write a new chamber work, Retail Therapy (La Jolla) for clarinet, trumpet, violin, bass, piano and percussion, which premieres on August 21 (with Copeland on the drums) and will be performed with Kaya, Celeste for violin, piano and percussion and Gene Pool for percussion ensemble.

Augusta Read Thomas, who is both the director of Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary music (more below) and the composer-in-residence at Music From Angel Fire, sees a world premiere on September 6 at the latter festival: Capricious Angels for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, 3 Violins and Viola.

On July 26, Gunther Schuller’s Quintet for Horn and Strings is given its world premiere at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, a co-commission with Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Music Society, and The International Horn Society; featuring Julie Landsman, horn and the Miró String Quartet. The SFCMF is also featuring David Lang’s these broken wings, performed by eighth blackbird and as well as Witold Lutoslawski’s Epitaph, performed by Liang Wang, oboe and Marc Neikrug, piano.

One of the newest music festivals in the world, founded in 2007, is in residence at the 700 year old Grafenegg castle outside of Vienna. Tan Dun is the Composer-in-Residence for the 2009 season of the Grafenegg Festival. Tan Dun will hear the premiere of his latest work on September 6, Earth Concerto for Stone and Ceramic Instruments with Orchestra, as well as performances of several other works including his Paper Concerto and Water Concerto. Throughout the festival featured screenings of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “The Map,” will be shown during “film breakfasts.” The composer will also lead discussions and a composition workshop.

Other notable performance this summer are as follows:

Sarasota Music Festival
June 4 – June 20
For 45 years, the Sarasota Orchestra has been showcasing music each summer at this revered festival. This year, on June 20, Yehudi Wyner sees his Piano Concerto 'Chiavi in Mano', Robert Levin, piano, performed in a reduced orchestration.

Grant Park Music Festival
June 10 – August 15
Celebrating 75 years, the GPMF performs Aaron Jay Kernis’s Too Hot Toccata on June 12.

June 22 – August 23
Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music is being curated this year by Schirmer’s own Augusta Read Thomas. Six works in the Music Sales catalogue will receive performances at this year’s festival: John Corigliano’s Snapshot: Circa 1909; Aaron Jay Kernis’ Two Movements (with Bells); David Lang’s Illumination Rounds; Peter Lieberson’s Drala; Bent Sorensen’s The Shadows of Silence; and Yehudi Wyner’s Quartet for oboe and string trio.

Additionally, Tanglewood celebrates Andre Previn’s 80th birthday with three programs showcasing his remarkable versatility as a conductor, composer and pianist – Previn’s new string and wind quintet receives its world premiere on August 12.

Le Festival de Lanaudiere
July 4 – August 2
This 32 year old music festival in the town of Joliette, Quebec, Canada features Tan Dun’s The Map on July 11 with the Orchestre du Festival with Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor and Matthew Barley, cello.

Eastern Music Festival
June 27 – August 1
Gerard Schwarz leads this venerable festival in North Carolina. This year the festival features the music of Bright Sheng. Sheng and violinist Jeff Multer perform A Night at the Chinese Opera and Four Movements for Piano Trio on July 13th and 14th respectively, and then Sheng leads the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra in Flute Moon, Les Roettges, flute, on July 16 and then Tibetan Swing on July 18.

BBC Proms
July 17 - September 12
Prom 13, July 26
Richard Rodney Bennett
Lilliburlero Variations
World Premiere of orchestral version

Prom 37, August 12
Philip Glass
Symphony No 7 ‘A Totlec Symphony’
UK Premiere
Violin Concerto

PCM 16, August 30
John McCabe
Sonata (Study No 12)
BBC commission: World Premiere

Prom 72, September 8
Augusta Read Thomas
Violin Concerto No 3 ‘Juggler in Paradise’
BBC co-commisison with Radio France, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Brown and National Symphony Orchestra, Washington DC: UK Premiere

Prom 70, September 8
Peter Maxwell Davies
Violin Concerto No. 2
UK Premiere
Jean Sibelius Symphony No. 5 in E flat Major

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