LSM Newswire

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Carmina Nova: ancient times, modern ears

Carmina Nova

Folk songs and ballads from ancient times, heard through modern ears

Tuesday & Wednesday, May 5 & 6, 2009 at 8 pm

Trinity St. Paul’s Centre

Toronto’s Talisker Players conclude their 2008/09 season with Carmina Nova, a fascinating programme featuring Luciano Berio’s stunning Folk Songs, R. Murray Schafer’s captivating Minnelieder and the world premiere of The Song of Henry Pyne by Alexander Rapoport. The Talisker Players share the stage with mezzo-soprano Norine Burgess, who brings her unique flair and ease in countless styles and languages to these outstanding works. Delving into ballads, folk songs and stories from ancient times in many cultures as heard through the ears of some of the greatest composers of the modern age, Carmina Nova is presented at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre on May 5 and 6.

Luciano Berio's Folk Songs is a pioneering work from 1964 that draws on traditional melodies from America, Armenia, Sicily, Genoa, Sardinia, the Auvergne and Azerbaijan. The composer honours the original melodies while creating a highly inventive and personal framework for the ensemble – mezzo soprano with viola, cello, flute, clarinet, harp and percussion. His muse was his wife, the great mezzo soprano Cathy Berberian, who established the work's popularity through many performances and an acclaimed first recording.

Minnelieder, by Canada's R. Murray Schafer, is an early work, written in 1956 when he was studying and working in Vienna. The composer, who at 75 has recently received the Governor General's Lifetime Achievement Award, has stated that it is "the first work I would regard as a useful contribution to music." It is indeed a beautiful piece, for mezzo-soprano with woodwind quintet. The texts are in medieval German, by Minnesinger (the name derives from the word minne, Middle High German for love) from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, and they speak mostly of passionate but unfulfilled love.

As a companion to these two compelling works, Talisker Players have commissioned a new work from the well-known Toronto composer Alexander Rapoport. The Song of Henry Pyne is a retelling of an ancient middle-European ballad, for mezzo-soprano, viola, flute, bassoon and harp. The libretto, written by the composer, follows the young protagonist through various trials of love, with the instruments of the ensemble taking on the voices of the different characters in the story, in the style of medieval madrigal comedy. One of Toronto's most distinguished composers, Alexander Rapoport has had numerous commissions for orchestral and solo works, and for vocal works of all types, as well as music for film and theatre. An accomplished librettist, he also co-wrote the libretto for his acclaimed one-act opera, The Dragon in the Rocks, commissioned by the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus in 2007/08. His clever and light-hearted Music Theory Song, commissioned by the Riverdale Youth Singers in 2006, has already become a staple of the repertoire.

The evening includes readings from some of the most famous literature of medieval and Renaissance Europe, which describe the period in lusty detail. Excerpts from Don Quixote, The Canterbury Tales and The Decameron will be delivered by the well-known Toronto actor and director Stewart Arnott.

Photo of Norine Burgess.Norine Burgess’s compelling stage presence and beauty of tone have brought her renown in opera houses and on concert stages around the world. She has appeared in opera production in Canada and abroad. Equally acclaimed on the concert stage, the Canadian singer performs regularly with The Aldeburgh Connection and with leading orchestras such as the Montreal Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and many other ensembles across Canada, the U.S. and in Europe.

Carmina Nova

Tuesday, May 5 & Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 8 PM

Ballads and folk songs from ancient times, heard through modern ears

Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West

Norine Burgess, mezzo soprano

The Talisker Players

Stewart Arnott, actor

R. Murray Schafer: Minnelieder, for voice and woodwind quintet

Luciano Berio: Folk Songs, for voice, flute, clarinet, viola, cello, harp and percussion

Alexander Rapoport: The Song of Henry Pyne, for voice, viola, flute, bassoon and harp

*world premiere*


Individual tickets: $30 / $20 (seniors) / $10 (students)

Box office: 416-504-7529

General information: 416-466-1800


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The VSO Presents the Legendary Judy Collins for One Night Only!

The VSO presents the legendary Judy Collins for One Night Only!

Vancouver BC – The iconic Judy Collins makes her debut with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and conductor Evan Mitchell, for one night only on March 30, 8pm, at the Orpheum Theatre. Known as one of folk music’s pioneers, Ms. Collins has firmly established herself as a legend of the genre with a career that spans over four decades.

While Judy Collins made her public debut performing Mozart's "Concerto for Two Pianos," at the age of 13, it was the music of traditional folk artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger that sparked Judy Collins’ love of lyrics. By 16, Ms. Collins moved away from classical piano and began her lifelong love of guitar. For nearly 45 years, she has galvanized a generation with more than 40 albums, numerous Top 10 hits, Grammy nominations and gold and platinum selling albums.

Ms. Collins is often noted in her career for her rendition of "Both Sides Now" on her classic album Wildflowers, a song which has since been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. She was also awarded the "Song of the Year" at the 1975 Grammy Awards for her version of "Send in the Clowns", a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical, "A Little Night Music". Without doubt, the definition of a living legend, Ms. Collins has seen her artistry influence music and politics over the decades and her vocal interpretations and charity work inspire millions around the world. Ms. Collins has also given inspiration to many who have felt the grief of loved ones lost too soon, with the release of her book, Sanity and Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival and Strength. This book is a deeply moving memoir, focusing on the death of her only son and the healing process following the tragedy. The book speaks to all who have endured the sorrow of losing a loved one before their time. In the depths of her suffering, Judy found relief by reaching out to others for help and support. Now, she extends her hand to comfort other survivors whose lives have been affected by similar tragedy.

Truly a unique, powerful and lasting performer, the inimitable Judy Collins appears for one night only with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on March 30th, 2009, 8pm at the Orpheum. Visit Ms. Collins online at



Judy Collins in Concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra!

Monday, March 30, 8pm, Orpheum Theatre

Evan Mitchell, conductor

Judy Collins, entertainer

Visit Judy Collins at:

Tickets: $35 to $55 (Senior, Student & Subscriber discounts available)

Tickets available by phone at 604.876.3434 or online at


Evan Mitchell, conductor

Conductor Evan Mitchell is proving to be one of Canada’s most promising young conductors. Currently the Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony, Evan is slated to play a key role in programming, artistic development and of course performance with the VSO, leading the orchestra through a wide assortment of concerts.

Equally at home with chamber music, opera and full symphonic masterpieces, Evan has enjoyed critical acclaim with recent operatic performances including Britten’s Albert Herring, Ward’s The Crucible, Hindemith’s “Hin und Zuruck” and the world premiere of Glenn James’ opera “To Daniel.” Evan also won positions with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada for four consecutive years as both conductor and percussionist and now holds the title of Associate Mentor with the orchestra. Highlights include conducting violin soloist Elizabeth Pitcairn, the concertmaster of the New West Symphony and owner of the Mendelssohn Stradivarius 1720 “Red Violin.”

Evan is an advocate of contemporary music. Recently the resident conductor of NUMUS New Music Ensemble, he has premiered several new works, toured across Canada conducting a festival of contemporary Chinese music and recorded works for the CMC, collaborating with such Canadian artists as the Pentaedre Wind Quintet, Penderecki String Quartet and Dancetheatre David Earle. Evan has also conducted and performed works during the highly acclaimed Open Ears Festival.

As a percussionist Evan has enjoyed equal success. In demand as a recitalist and concert soloist (recent performances of the Rosauro Marimba concerto and the Mayuzumi Xylophone concerto), Evan’s percussive performance has been hailed as “breathtaking in (his) sensitivity” as well as “wizardly” and “awe-inspiring.” Evan has toured Canada, the United States and abroad, including a memorable tour as Canadian ambassador during a concert tour with virtuoso composer/percussionist Nebojsa Zivkovic, during which he performed as concert soloist and along with the composer in a sold out performance of Zivkovic's celebrated “Trio per Uno” at the Stuttgart International Theatre. Evan is a frequent performer with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and has performed with Orchestra London and the Toronto Symphony. Evan has also been a faculty member and guest lecturer with Wilfrid Laurier University, primarily as Music Director of the Flute Ensemble.

Awards include First Prize at the Werlde Musik Kontest in Kerkrade, Netherlands, finalist at the upcoming TD Canada Trust Elora Festival Competition and Winner in Marching category as part of the Kavaliers DCI Drum Corps. Evan is also the winner of the 2006 Pioneer Leading Edge Arts Award.

Evan is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University where he completed an Bachelor of Music degree as a percussion major; he is also a graduate of the University of Toronto, where he studied on a full scholarship sponsored by Elmer Iseler and Victor Feldbrill, earning a Masters degree in conducting. His principal conducting teachers include Raffi Armenian, Doreen Rao, Paul Pulford and Boris Brott. Additionally, he has studied and performed in concert series with Denise Grant, Martin Fischer-Dieskau and most notably, Helmuth Rilling, in the inaugural Toronto Bach festival.

Judy Collins, entertainer

Judy Collins has thrilled audiences worldwide with her unique blend of interpretative folksongs and contemporary themes. Her impressive career has spanned more than 40 years. At 13, Judy Collins made her public debut performing Mozart's "Concerto for Two Pianos" but it was the music of such artists as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, as well as the traditional songs of the folk revival, that sparked Judy Collins' love of lyrics. She soon moved away from the classical piano and began her lifelong love with the guitar. In 1961, Judy Collins released her first album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, at the age of 22 and began a thirty-five year association with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records.

Judy Collins is also noted for her rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" on her classic 1967 album, Wildflowers. "Both Sides Now" has since been entered into the Grammy's Hall of Fame. Winning "Song of the Year" at the 1975 Grammy's Awards show was Judy's version of "Send in the Clowns," a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical "A Little Night Music."

Released on September 29th, Judy's new book, Sanity and Grace, A Journey of Suicide, Survival and Strength, is a deeply moving memoir, focusing on the death of her only son and the healing process following the tragedy. The book speaks to all who have endured the sorrow of losing a loved one before their time. In the depths of her suffering, Judy found relief by reaching out to others for help and support. Now, she extends her hand to comfort other survivors whose lives have been affected by similar tragedy.

In a recent appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, Judy performed "Wings of Angels," the heartbreaking ballad that she wrote about the loss of her son. The song is currently available on the newly released Judy Collins Wildflower Festival CD and DVD, which also feature guest artists Arlo Guthrie, Tom Rush and Eric Andersen. This extraordinary concert was filmed at the famed Humphrey's By the Bay in San Diego, CA. The concert was the culmination of a 25 city national tour.

Judy Collins continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Final Programming for 2009 Ojai Music Festival (June 11-14) Announced




“an electrifying confluence of artists, music, theater and ideas”

(Thomas W. Morris)

March 11, 2009– Ojai, California…Thomas W. Morris, artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival and Ojai’s 2009 music director eighth blackbird have announced the final programming for the 2009 Ojai Music Festival, which takes place from Thursday, June 11 to Sunday, June 14, 2009. This season, the four-day Festival, which for six decades has become well known for its fearlessness in championing pioneering musical ideas and personalities, pushes the envelope again with programming that reflects the qualities that have made eighth blackbird a growing musical phenomenon—genre-defying variety in wildly collaborative and visually dramatic presentations.

Mr. Morris and eighth blackbird have gathered many of today’s finest musicians, ensembles, and composers for what Mr. Morris describes as “a wild and diverse musical party of extraordinary talents.” Among them are freewheeling chamber ensemble Tin Hat; the matchless recorder quartet from Berlin, QNG; American pianist Jeremy Denk; composer/guitarist Steven Mackey, actor/singer Rinde Eckert, and renowned sound sculptor Trimpin.

In programming the Festival, eighth blackbird flutist Tim Munro explains, “Variety is important. We talk often about creating a well-balanced meal—not too salty or spicy or sweet—where all elements combine.” The result is a Festival of music that is both fresh and familiar presented with a time-honored Ojai Music Festival aesthetic. The centerpiece of the Festival is the world premiere of a work co-commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival—Steven Mackey’s Slide*—a concert-length, multidisciplinary, music/theater work about the seduction and manipulation of the American psyche, which Mr. Eckert describes as “concert theater, distinct from an oratorio for its involvement of the instrumentalists as theatrical role players.”

Also featured in the Festival will be such treasured masterpieces of the repertoire as J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations performed by Jeremy Denk in his Festival debut, the world premiere of a semi-staged performance of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire directed by Mark DeChiazza with speaker Lucy Shelton doing sprechstimme, and Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians.

The Festival opens and closes with concerts that are distinctively the mark of eighth blackbird. The opening concert includes Thierry de Mey’s Musique de Tables, John Luther Adams’s Dark Waves, Takemitsu’s Rain Tree, and George Crumb’s Music for a Summer Evening. The Festival closes with a four-hour Marathon Finale in three parts, featuring all Festival artists in a visual and aural display of fearless virtuosity and unconventional music-making, highlighted by Reich’s Double Sextet written for eighth blackbird, Lisa Bielawa’s Kafka Songs performed by Tin Hat’s Carla Kihlstedt; John Cage’s Construction No. 3, as well as a new work by Nathan Davis for Trimpin and his sculptural creations. Capping the Festival will be Louis Andriessen’s highly charged Workers Union.

Ara Guzelimian, dean of the Juilliard School and former artistic director of the Ojai Festival, will moderate the Festival Symposium, which takes place this year at the Matilija Auditorium. Mr. Guzelimian will discuss The Creation of Slide with Steven Mackey and Rinde Eckert, The Creation of a Festival with eighth blackbird, and finally, The Creation of a Performance with Jeremy Denk.

Trimpin, the innovative MacArthur Foundation Award-winning sound sculptor/composer/inventor, returns to Ojai with two interactive art and sound installations in Libbey Park—“Sheng High” and “Giuter-Toy.” He will also be featured in one of three free Ojai bonus events at the Ojai Theater—a sneak preview of an upcoming feature-length documentary. The two other bonus events are “Trembling Air” featuring flutists Tim Munro and Alexis Kenny in a concert showcasing the diversity of the flute and “BREATHtaking” with QNG in a concert of contemporary repertoire for recorders of all sizes and shapes, which includes the world premiere of a work commissioned for them from composer Éric Marty by the Canada Council for the Arts

Concerts will take place outdoors at the Libbey Bowl under a canopy of live oaks and safeguarded by the sacred “Wedding” tree, a sycamore thought to have taken root when the first “Americans” set foot on our shores. Other events will be held at Libbey Park, the Ojai Theater and Matilija Auditorium, the site of the original Festival concerts in 1947.

Concert Insights—Musicologist Christopher Hailey and featured artists will engage in a discussion about every Libbey Bowl concert one hour before each of those performances.

2009 Ojai Music Festival Programs

Thursday, June 11, 2009

6:00 p.m. Libbey Park

Trimpin will give the first of two free, live demonstrations of two new interactive sound sculptures created for the Ojai Music Festival. The first is “Sheng High.” Based on the ancient Chinese instrument, the sheng, the music produced by “Sheng High” is activated by a motion sensor. At the same time, an arm moving over an eight-foot disc on the floor of the instrument allows viewers to see and hear the composition simultaneously. The second instrument is “Giuter-Toy,” made from modified plastic toy guitars in all colors. The buttons on the toys are replaced with switches and then hooked up to a computer, producing compositions incorporating 80 different sounds, from musical notes to singing, talking, hip hop sounds, drumming, etc. The music is activated by inserting a coin.

8:00 p.m. Libbey Bowl – Opening Concert

The Ojai Music Festival opens with a program demonstrating how nature inspires the creation of beautiful music with John Luther Adams’s Dark Waves; Takemitsu’s Rain Tree, George Crumb’s Music for a Summer Evening, and Thierry de Mey’s Musique de Tables.

Friday, June 12, 2009

1:00 to Matilija Auditorium – Symposium-Session I

2:00 p.m. Ara Guzelimian in conversation with Steven Mackey and Rinde Eckert – The Creation of Slide

2:15 to Matilija Auditorium – Symposium-Session II

3:15 p.m. Ara Guzelimian in conversation with eighth blackbird – The Creation of a Festival

3:30 to Matilija Auditorium – Symposium-Session III

4:30 p.m. Ara Guzelimian in conversation with Jeremy Denk – The Creation of a Performance

8:00 p.m. Libbey Bowl – Tin Hat Sets Stage for Slide* World Premiere

Tin Hat sets the evening’s stage with an eclectic mix of chamber music with their improvisational stamp. The world premiere of Slide follows. An Ojai Music Festival co-commission, composer/guitarist Steven Mackey, actor/singer Rinde Eckert, and eighth blackbird are featured in this audacious music-theater collaboration with the instrumentalists doubling as theatrical role players.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

11:00 a.m. Libbey Bowl – Jeremy Denk Contrasts Bach and Ives

In what he describes as “a painterly contrast,” pianist Jeremy Denk will pair Bach’s “luminous and serene” Goldberg Variations with the “raucous” Ives Sonata No. 1. Though written a century apart, Mr. Denk calls both “spartan and spiritual.”

2:00 p.m. Ojai Theater – “Trembling Air” – Bonus Event

Flutists Tim Munro from eighth blackbird’s and Australia’s Alexis Kenny play a program that stretches the flute to unimaginable limits, even transforming it into a drumset in Harold Meltzer’s Trapset.

4:30 p.m. Ojai Theater – Trimpin Private Screening – Bonus Event

A preview of an upcoming documentary about the life and work of Trimpin is a special presentation for Festival attendees only.

8:00 p.m. Libbey Bowl – Pierrot Lunaire and West Coast Premiere of Quasi Sinfonia

This concert opens with eighth blackbird performing the West Coast premiere of David M. Gordon’s Quasi Sinfonia, a modern take on the traditional symphony, which includes such “alternate instruments” as harmonicas; pitch pipes; kazoos; slide whistles; duck, deer, and goose calls and three melodicas. It follows with a semi-staged and costumed performance of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with speaker Lucy Shelton, directed by Mark DeChiazza and described by eighth blackbird as “a work of fevered intensity, dark gallows humor and touching pathos.”

11:00 p.m. Ojai Theater – “BREATHtaking” – Bonus Event

QNG—Quartet for New Generation—will showcase the recorder in all its forms in an innovative program entitled “BREATHtaking.” The program includes two works by Fulvio Caldini, one of which is composed around the medieval melody Beata Viscera; Paul Moravec’s Mortal Flesh, based on an ancient hymn; Wojtek Blecharz’s Airlines incorporating unconventional sounds and articulations; and the world premiere of a work commissioned for QNG by the Canada Council on the Arts by composer Éric Marty in which the artists create a surreal soundscape.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

11:00 a.m. Libbey Bowl – Music for 18 Musicians

Music for 18 Musicians, Steve Reich’s seminal chamber work of musical minimalism, will be performed by eighth blackbird and friends, a super ensemble created for this occasion by eighth blackbird, who call this work “a pivotal moment in 20th-century music.”

2:00 p.m. Libbey Park – Trimpin Returns

Trimpin returns to Libbey Park for a second free, live demonstration of his newest interactive sound installations “Sheng High” and “Giuter-Toy.”

4:00 p.m. to Libbey Bowl – Marathon Finale in Three Parts

8:00 p.m. A fitting conclusion to the 2009 Ojai Music Festival is the Marathon Finale, incorporating all of this year’s Ojai artists in performances that include Reich’s Double Sextet, Lisa Bielawa’s Kafka Songs, John Cage’s Third Construction, and Louis Andriessen’s Worker’s Union, plus a newly commissioned work for Trimpin and his sculptural creations.

The Ojai Music Festival in California’s Ojai Valley enjoys a worldwide reputation for providing artists with the freedom to present music they are passionate about in a place so idyllic that filmmaker Frank Capra transformed the area into Shangri-La for his 1937 film Lost Horizon. All concerts take place at the outdoor Libbey Bowl, once marked sacred by the ancient Chumash Indians, where inspiration and creativity still flourish. From its founding in 1947, a healthy spirit of eclecticism and musical daring produced concerts that were fun and inspiring. That spirit was reinforced in 1954 with the appointment of Lawrence Morton as the Festival artistic director. A man of broad musical tastes, Mr. Morton was a visionary whose constant curiosity and unwavering integrity shaped the festival’s future direction. Under his leadership, the Ojai Music Festival developed an enduring concept whereby the artistic director engages a different music director each year, around whose musical ideas that year’s Festival is built. Thomas W. Morris, the Festival’s current artistic director, began his tenure at Ojai in 2004. Among the Festival’s diverse music directors have been such renowned musical personalities as John Adams, Emanuel Ax, Pierre Boulez, Aaron Copland, Ingolf Dahl, Peter Maxwell Davies, Lukas Foss, John Harbison, Oliver Knussen, Kent Nagano, Igor Stravinsky, Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mitsuko Uchida, Robert Spano, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and last year, David Robertson. The Ojai Music Festival is located in California’s Ojai Valley, 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Grammy Award-winning sextet eighth blackbird is known for its provocative and engaging performances for ever-growing audiences. Combining virtuosity with a fresh sense of irreverence and panache, the sextet—comprising Tim Munro, flutes; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; Matt Albert, violin and viola; Nicholas Photinos, cello; Matthew Duvall, percussion+; and Lisa Kaplan, piano—debunks the myth that contemporary music is only for a cerebral few. The ensemble is praised for its performing style—often playing from memory with virtuosic and theatrical flair—and for making new music accessible to wide audiences. Since its founding in 1996, eighth blackbird has commissioned and recorded new works from such eminent composers as Steve Reich, George Perle, Frederic Rzewski, Joseph Schwantner, Jennifer Higdon, Stephen Hartke, Derek Bermel, David Schober, Daniel Kellogg, and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez. The ensemble has won numerous awards and honors, including the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and a Meet the Composer Award in 2007, the 2000 Naumburg Chamber Music Award, and was the first contemporary music group to win the Grand Prize at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Cedille Records has released four albums by eighth blackbird, including strange imaginary animals, which won the 2008 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance. The group derives its name from the Wallace Stevens poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

Steven Mackey’s first musical passion was playing the electric guitar in rock bands in northern California. He later discovered classical music and has composed for orchestras, chamber ensembles, dance and opera. The composer/guitarist/ music educator has received commissions from American Composers Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony, among others. He previously worked with Rinde Eckert on his monodrama Ravenshead, which has been performed over 100 times and was named “Best New Opera of 1998” by USA Today. Since the mid-1980s Mr. Mackey has resumed his interest in the electric guitar and regularly performs his own work. He recorded his own work on Lost and Found, and other recordings include Tuck and Roll conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Both recordings made The New York Times year-end top ten list. Mr. Mackey is professor of music at Princeton University, and as co-director of the Composers Ensemble at Princeton he coaches and conducts new work by student composers.

Rinde Eckert, a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in drama, is a writer, composer, performer, and director. His opera/new music theatre productions have toured throughout America and to major festivals in Europe and Asia. A classically trained singer known for his flexible and inventive singing voice, Mr. Eckert is also a multi-instrumentalist, who has performed in multi-media theater pieces with the Paul Dresher Ensemble and the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, among others. But, in recent years, it is his work as a solo artist that has attracted increasing attention. His modern treatment of a variety of vernacular and classical music straddles the boundaries between time-honored and the new, the mysterious and the familiar, defying stylistic pigeonholes. Mr. Eckert begins a three-year residence at Princeton University in 2009.

Forging a new acoustic sound that defies categorization while striking universal chords, San Francisco-based, multi-instrumentalist Tin Hat makes freewheeling chamber music for the 21st century, combining many genres of music, including southern blues, bluegrass, neoclassical, eastern European folk music, and avant-garde. The ensemble – Carla Kihlstedt, Mark Orton, Ben Goldberg, and Ara Anderson - has garnered widespread critical acclaim for its five CDs and high marks for their captivating performances, sometimes including original soundtracks for classic silent film animation from Russia. Tin Hat’s international audiences have grown over the years through many concert tours in the United States and in Europe. Hailed for "interweaving Old World Europe with post-modern America, south-of-the-border sensuality with concert-hall propriety, and odd-metered syncopation with deeply soulful grooves" (The New York Press), the ensemble has created an original American ethnic music.

QNG (Quartet New Generation) are four recorder virtuosos from Berlin who are known to mesmerize audiences with their theatrical flair and innovative programming that juxtaposes contemporary and early music, confirming the recorder’s viability as a modern classical instrument. The members of QNG—Susanne Frohlich, Andrea Guttmann, Hannah Pape, and Heidi Schwarz—perform on more than 20 different recorders of varying sizes and shapes and are continuously searching for new possibilities of sound and expression. With a large repertoire of European works, the collective has begun commissioning American composers, such as Stephen Taylor, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Gordon Beeferman and Nissim Schaul, among others. Founded in 1998 at the Amsterdam Conservatoire and the University of the Arts, Berlin, the quartet in numerous competitions, including the 1996 German Music and 2004 Concert Artists Guild International Competition.

Pianist Jeremy Denk commands a broad and challenging solo and chamber music repertoire ranging from J. S. Bach, through Schubert, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Messiaen, and Bartok, to Tobias Picker. Mr. Denk earned a Master’s degree from Juilliard and is a double-degree graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory in chemistry and piano. Known for his interesting programming, his recitals have combined Ives’s “Concord” Sonata with the final sonata of Beethoven, and a medley of Bach chorales and chorale-preludes with American Rags and Stephen Foster ballads. An avid chamber music artist, Mr. Denk, has collaborated with the Borromeo, Brentano, Mirò, St. Lawrence, Shanghai and Vermeer Quartets, and has appeared at all major chamber music festivals. He has played several recital tours with violinist Joshua Bell since their first performance together at Spoleto in 2004. Mr. Denk is also well known for “Think Denk,” his popular blog.

Trimpin, the Mac-Arthur “genius grant” award-winning sound sculptor, composer, musician, and inventor, describes his work as “an ongoing exploration of the concepts of sound, vision, and movement, experimenting with combinations that will introduce our senses of perception to a totally new experience.” Although he uses the latest technology available, he works with “natural” elements—water, air, light, fire, etc.—and reconfigures them in new and unusual applications, pushing them to the limits. Currently, an artist-in-residence at the California Arts Institute, Trimpin’s sound sculptures, both whimsical and serious, have appeared all over the world. He previously exhibited his interactive Conloninpurple installation at Ojai’s 60th anniversary season in 2006

Pianist Amy Briggs is both a leading interpreter of the music of living composers and an artist who brings a fresh perspective to music of the past, with performances as a soloist and chamber musician across the United States, Europe, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and Asia. As a pianist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW ensemble, she has worked with such major composers as Augusta Read Thomas, Pierre Boulez, Marc-Anthony Turnage, Oliver Knussen, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Osvaldo Golijov. Her recordings include two critically acclaimed discs of David Rakowski’s Piano Etudes on Bridge Records with a third to be released shortly; discs of solo and chamber music on the ART and Wergo Records label; and an upcoming album of solo piano tangos from the 20th and 21st centuries. Ms. Briggs earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at Northwestern University as a student of Ursula Oppens.

Soprano Lucy Shelton enjoys an international career of recital, chamber, opera and orchestral performances in repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the Contemporary. A foremost interpreter of today's composers, she has premiered more than 100 works, many of which have been written for her by such composers as Elliott Carter, Mario Davidvosky, Oliver Knussen, and Charles Wuorinen. International appearances include Pierre Boulez's Le Visage Nuptial under the composer's direction; Kurtag's The Sayings of Peter Bornemisza; Saariaho and Berio with the Ensemble InterContemporain; and staged performances of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. A native of California, her primary mentor was mezzo-soprano Jan de Gaetani. She has taught at the Britten-Pears School and in America at the Eastman School, Cleveland Institute, New England Conservatory of Music, and since 1996 has been a resident artist faculty member at the Tanglewood Music Center.

As the child of two Broadway and Hollywood dancer/actors, Mark DeChiazza grew up exposed to theater, dance, film, and the visual arts. Trained as a modern dancer and actor, he has performed all over the world in works of dance and dance-theater. A member of Susan Marshall’s company, he contributed to the company’s collaborative creation of work and also collaborated with her on the Leonard Cohen/Philip Glass production Book of Longing and on the eighth blackbird and Bang on a Can work, Singing in the Dead of Night. He has directed at Manhattan Theater Source; pilot episodes of the TV series Selectmen, and the short film Speck’s Last. His one-act play The Dead Salesman was performed by Houston’s Theater Southwest. and he has just completed his first full-length play Cut. Mr. DeChiazza is currently a member of Metropolitan Opera Ballet and is directing Phenomenon, which will premiere in 2010.

Thomas W. Morris, recognized as one of the most creative leaders in the music industry, assumed the position of artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival in 2004. His tenure extends through 2011. As artistic director, Mr. Morris is responsible for identifying and engaging each year’s festival music director and working together with each, to create festival programming. In February 2004, Mr. Morris retired as executive director of The Cleveland Orchestra, a position he held since 1987. He served in a number of capacities, including general manager of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1969 to 1985, where he had overall responsibility for the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Tanglewood, and Symphony Hall. In addition to his Ojai post, Mr. Morris is active as a consultant, teacher, and writer.

Tickets and Information

Ojai Music Festival single tickets range from $35 to $95 for reserved seating; lawn seats are $15. (Reserved section tickets increase the week of the Festival.) Series tickets are also available and range from $150 to $309 for a full series and $125 to $255 for a mini series. Ojai concerts take place at the Libbey Bowl at East Ojai Avenue in downtown Ojai.

Tickets for the Festival Symposium on June 12 in Matilija Auditorium at Matilija Junior High School are $30 in advance or $35 the day of the event. Matilija Junior High School is located at 703 El Paseo Road.

The three June 13 bonus events all take place at the Ojai Theater at 145 East Ojai Avenue and all are free. For the 2 p.m. Trembling Air” and 11 p.m. “BREATHtaking” events, subscribers and donors will be given first-priority seating, and the balance of the tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserved seating for the Trimpin private screening at 4:30 p.m. is available only to Ojai Music Festival attendees and donors.

To purchase tickets, to make reservations for the Trimpin bonus event, or for additional information, call 805-646-2094. Or visit

Concierge Service

Ojai Music Festival provides a complimentary Festival concierge service for accommodations and assistance with other Ojai activities. The Festival also has special room rates for patrons at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and other participating hotel partners, including the Su Nido Inn and Casa Ojai. The direct line to the Festival concierge is 805-646-2094, Ext. 110.

*SLIDE is a co-commission of Stanford Lively Arts at Stanford University, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at University of Maryland, Meet The Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, Charles C. Jett, Nancy R.G. Church M.D., and Herb and Belle Goldman, The Modlin Center at The University of Richmond

The 2009 Ojai Music Festival, Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University, Corporate Funding by The Boeing Corporation, and The Music Department at Princeton University

SLIDE was commissioned as part of a national series of works from Meet the Composer's Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Francis Goelet Trust, the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Target, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shannon Mercer & Skye Consort - Chansons galloises - AN2 9965

Montréal, le 24 février 2009Shannon Mercer, l'une des étoiles montantes les plus brillantes de l'univers lyrique canadien, qu'on retrouve notamment sur l'enregistrement Analekta Bach et l'année liturgique, en nomination pour un Juno 2009, nous propose ici une incursion dans la musique folklorique galloise en compagnie du Skye Consort.

Pour ceux qui connaissent Shannon Mercer comme chanteuse classique, ce choix peut sembler étrange. Pourtant, cette culture a modelé sa vie. « Cette musique, cette culture et ce patrimoine gallois sont justement les raisons pour lesquelles je suis devenue chanteuse, explique-t-elle. Mon père avait toujours démontré sa passion et son amour de la musique. Il découvrit l'Ottawa Welsh Society et commença à chanter avec les Gwalia Singers. Petite fille, j'ai pu poursuivre cette tradition et, à l'âge de 15 ans, j'ai voyagé jusqu'à Llangollen, au Pays de Galles pour participer au Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. »

Les chants choisis pour cet enregistrement datent du début du XIXe siècle et se veulent un mélange de pages familières et moins connues. Ils transcendent les époques et les genres, mais surtout racontent le périple d'un peuple passionné, à travers des thèmes de jeunesse innocente et d'amour, de joie et de peine, de naissance et de mort. Ils abordent aussi bien les multiples visages de l'amour – comme dans Y Deryn Pur, Fenyw Fwyn ou la célèbre berceuse galloise Suo Gân – que l'importance des souvenirs dans le folklore gallois – comme le démontrent Y Gŵydd, dans lequel une vieille femme évoque ses épreuves que dans le lancinant Dafydd y Gareg Wen. Les arrangements de ces airs, certains conçus pour être chantés et d'autres dansés, ont été travaillés par Seán Dagher afin de redéfinir harmonie, contrechant et rythme.

Encensée par la critique internationale pour son étonnant talent, Shannon Mercer a été saluée comme « l'une des plus prometteuses jeunes sopranos au Canada » et l'une des « Leaders du futur » (Maclean's). On a décrit sa voix comme chatoyante, lumineuse et scintillante ainsi que souligné la finesse, l'esprit et le piquant de son jeu. Au cours de la saison 2008-2009, Shannon a participé à plusieurs productions de La Flûte enchantée à Hamilton, Toronto, Victoria et London (Ontario) mais a aussi chanté avec le Vancouver Chamber Choir, Symphony Nova Scotia, Les Violons du Roy ainsi qu'en concert lors de la OffCentre Series de Toronto.

Fondé en 1999, Skye Consort se produit en tournée, participe à des festivals de musique de chambre et à des séries de concerts dans l'est du Canada et aux États-Unis. L'ensemble s'est fixé pour but d'insuffler l'esthétique et l'intérêt de la musique savante à des musiques du monde de diverses traditions.

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Shannon Mercer & Skye Consort - Wales, The Land of Song - AN2 9965

Montreal, February 24, 2009Shannon Mercer, one of Canada's most promising brilliant rising stars, featured recently on the Analekta recording Bach and the Liturgical Year, nominated for a Juno, invites us to discover the Welsh folksong repertoire with the Skye Consort.

To those who know the singer as a classical vocalist, this album may seem odd but this is the culture that shaped her path in life. "This music, this Welsh culture and heritage is the reason I became a singer," she explains. "My father always showed a passion and love for music. He discovered the Ottawa Welsh Society and began to sing with the Gwalia Singers. As a girl, I was able to carry on this inherited tradition when, at the age of 15, I travelled to Llangollen, Wales to sing in the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod."

The folksongs presented on this recording, a mix of familiar and not-so-familiar, date back to the 1800s. They transcend time and gender, melding themes of innocent youth and love, joy and sadness, birth and death and tell the journey of an honest and passionate people. Love is a common theme – as in Y Deryn Pur, Fenyw Fwyn or the famous Welsh lullaby Suo Gân–as memory, as in the old maid who is tediously weaving on the loom as she recalls her hardships in Y Gŵydd or the tragic and haunting Dafydd y Gareg Wen. Many of these songs, whether song melodies or dance tunes, are very well-known and Seán Dagher spent a great deal of time deciding which elements of previous arrangements (harmony, counter-melody, even rhythm) to keep and which to set aside.

Critically acclaimed by the international press for her musical artistry, Shannon Mercer has been hailed as "one of Canada's most promising young sopranos" and a "Leader of Tomorrow" (Maclean's). The 2008-2009 season features Shannon in multiple productions of The Magic Flute including performances in Hamilton, Toronto, Victoria, and London (Ontario). Season highlights include concerts with the OffCentre Series in Toronto, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Symphony Nova Scotia, and Les Violons du Roy.

Skye Consort was formed in 1999 and since then has toured and participated in music festivals and concert series across eastern Canada and the United States. The group's goal is to bring art-music aesthetic and interest to the music of different world traditions.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dominique Dupuis l'International American Folk Alliance à Memphis

Dominique Dupuis performera à
l’International American Folk Alliance à Memphis

(Moncton, 27 janvier 2009) - La violoniste acadienne Dominique Dupuis aura l’occasion de séduire de son archet le public de l’International North American Folk Alliance (NAFA) à Memphis au Tennessee du 18 au 22 février. La violoniste originaire de Memramcook a été sélectionnée afin d’y présenter une vitrine. C’est la deuxième fois qu’elle prendra part à l’événement. Son premier passage remonte à 2006.

Événement annuel qui réunit des professionnels de l’industrie musicale d’Amérique du Nord et du monde entier, l’International Folk Alliance permet aux membres de l’industrie musicale folk de partager et de célébrer la musique et la danse traditionnelle. « C’est un événement avec une énergie incroyable, il y a de la musique partout !, s’exclame Dominique Dupuis. C’est l’endroit idéal pour rencontrer des gens clés de l’industrie et se faire des contacts surtout pour le marché américain. »

L’International Folk Alliance compte plus de 2 000 membres dans le monde et sa conférence annuelle est l’une des cinq plus grandes conférences de musique en Amérique du Nord. On y présente 200 vitrines, plus de 50 ateliers, des réunions-débats qui abordent la présentation, la promotion et la préservation de la musique et de la danse folklorique et traditionnelle ainsi qu’une centaine d’exposants de l’industrie de la musique.

Dominique souligne que son premier passage en 2006 lui a été fort profitable. « Avec mon nouvel album, je vais pouvoir faire des suivis et proposer un produit beaucoup plus intéressant et surtout à jour, car j’ai beaucoup composé dans les dernières années », souligne-t-elle. Pour l’artiste acadienne qui a beaucoup tourné en Europe, surtout en Bretagne, le marché américain revêt autant d’importance que l’européen. « Jusqu’à présent j’ai surtout performé dans les parties des États-Unis où il y a une certaine population francophone comme la Louisiane et la côte est, explique-t-elle. Mais il est certain qu’avec la musique instrumentale, il est facile de franchir la barrière de la langue. »

Une deuxième nomination à l’AMCE

Le nouvel album de Dominique Dupuis, Bourrasque, lancé en juillet 2008, a suscité de très bonnes réactions de la part des critiques. Le 3e opus de l’artiste et son premier disque en six ans est en nomination au Gala 2009 de l’Association de la musique de la côte est (ECMA) dans la catégorie Enregistrement solo roots-traditionnel de l’année. Le gala aura lieu dans le cadre de l’événement annuel qui se déroulera du 26 février au 1er mars à Corner Brook à Terre-Neuve et Labrador. C’est une deuxième nomination à l’AMCE pour Dominique Dupuis.

Bal de neige

Dominique Dupuis sera de la danse lors du Bal de neige 2009 à Ottawa le 13 février prochain. Elle sera artiste invitée lors de la réception du premier ministre du Nouveau-Brunswick. En tant que représentante du Nouveau-Brunswick, elle prendra part à un spectacle sur la scène extérieure (dans une tente chauffée) avec d’autres artistes comme la formation rap hip hop acadienne Radio Radio. Célébration unique en Amérique du Nord, le Bal de Neige a été créé en 1979 pour célébrer quelques-unes des plus belles traditions d’hiver du Canada. L’événement se passe sur trois fins de semaines à Ottawa et attire des centaines de milliers de visiteurs chaque année incluant des centaines d’artistes, d’athlètes et de sculpteurs sur neige et sur glace de partout au Canada et au monde.

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