Sunday, March 10, 2002 at 3 pm
ACO 25th Anniversary Concert, Part I
Tickets are $47, $36, and $17. Call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800;
or buy online at www.carnegiehall.org
The concert is preceded by a discussion, free to ticket-holders, at 1:45pm.
Steven Sloane, ACO Music Director Designate,
Makes Carnegie Hall Debut;
Launches ACO’s 25th Anniversary Celebration
World premiere by Stewart Wallace performed with
British contemporary ensemble “Icebreaker”
American Composers Orchestra Music Director Designate Steven Sloane will make his ACO and Carnegie Hall debut on Sunday, March 10, 2002 at 3:00 pm, in a program that pairs the world premiere of Stewart Wallace’s The Book of Five featuring the British contemporary art-rock ensemble “Icebreaker,” with ACO’s first performance of Erich Korngold’s luxuriant Symphony in F-Sharp Major. The concert is the first of two that mark ACO’s 25th anniversary. Mr. Sloane officially assumes ACO’s lead conductor position, taking over from founding conductor Dennis Russell Davies, after Mr. Davies conducts ACO’s concluding concert of this anniversary season on Sunday, April 14.
For his debut program, Mr. Sloane, wanted to include new music that would challenge conventional notions about the orchestra’s sound and format. When the ASCAP Foundation offered to commission a new work to celebrate his arrival and ACO’s anniversary, he turned to Stewart Wallace, a composer he has known since 1977, when they met in high school. Their most recent professional collaboration was in 1997 when Mr. Sloane performed the world premiere of Mr. Wallace’s percussion concerto Gorilla in a Cage with Evelyn Glennie as soloist with the Bochum (Germany) Symphony. Both composer and conductor had been admirers of the innovative amplified British new music group Icebreaker—an ensemble comprised of guitars, panpipes, saxophones, and other instruments not traditionally found in a symphony orchestra—and the idea of a concerto for that ensemble and ACO began to develop: one that would meld incompatible aesthetics and use a non-traditional stage setup. With additional support of The Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund, a fully-collaborative composition for Icebreaker and ACO emerged.
Mr. Wallace has christened the work The Book of Five. Originally, the composer intended that the work’s five movements would be loosely based on those proposed by modern scholars to be the five writers of the texts comprising the Five Books of Moses. Major events—including September 11, 2001, and the birth of Mr. Wallace’s son, Lucas, one week later—intervened during the compositional process and altered the shape of the piece. The five movements would alternate between music for Icebreaker with orchestra, Icebreaker without orchestra, and a middle movement for orchestra only. Mr. Wallace comments, “I wanted to have some kind of response to September 11, a personal response. I decided to absent the soloists from the middle movement, which was partially inspired by the Washington Cathedral service.”
In contrast to the Wallace-Icebreaker premiere, Mr. Sloane has chosen a lush, romantic, rarely performed mid-20th-century symphony for the second half of the program. Erich Korngold was widely acknowledged as one of the greatest child prodigies since Mozart. When Korngold was only ten years old, Gustav Mahler proclaimed him a genius. While still in his teens, Korngold produced two operas, a major ballet, and an immediately successful piano sonata that was performed around the world by Arthur Schnabel. Korngold emigrated to the U.S. and to Hollywood after the Anschluss in 1938. Upon arrival in Hollywood, Korngold immediately became swept-up into the Hollywood film industry, scoring dozens of movies, and making him rich and famous, as well as infamous, for his ubiquitous lush scores. Less well known, is that after the war, Korngold returned to his concert music roots, writing what is perhaps his most well-known work, the violin concerto, for Jascha Heifetz. The Symphony in F-Sharp is Korngold’s only symphony, and became the major focus of his work during the last years of his life. This sprawling work (nearly 50 minutes in duration) was dedicated to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and first performed in 1952, though not recorded until the 1970s. It is, arguably, the single work from Korngold’s later output that most fulfills the promise of his early potential.
Steven Sloane is one of the most adventurous and innovative conductors to have emerged in recent years. Through his work with orchestras, festivals, choruses, and opera companies across Europe and in America, Mr. Sloane has won acclaim for his compelling programming, theatrical flair, and impressive technique. His passion for unusual repertoire, interest in eclectic juxtapositions of music of divergent eras and styles, commitment to contemporary works, and willingness to challenge convention have established Mr. Sloane as a bold champion of the future of concert music. In November 2000, Mr. Sloane was named Music Director Designate of American Composers Orchestra, succeeding Dennis Russell Davies, who co-founded the orchestra in 1977.
Mr. Sloane is currently Music Director of Opera North (UK), and General Music Director of the City of Bochum Symphony (Germany), as well as Principal Conductor of the English Northern Philharmonia. For the last three years he was also Music Director of the Opera and Orchestra at the Spoleto Festival (USA).
Mr. Sloane’s recent performances include the American premiere of Heiner Goebbels’s Surrogate Cities at Spoleto. That work, by one of Germany’s most provocative composers, is scored for amplified orchestra, voice, percussion, and computer sampler. Mr. Sloane presented Surrogate Cities in a suitably dramatic setting—an abandoned theater—in a performance that The New York Times called “a knockout&ldots; it turned the symphony orchestra on its head.” With the Bochum Symphony, Mr. Sloane has offered such eclectic programming as Monteverdi Meets Maderna, Jean Cocteau and his Paris, Trans-Atlantik (exploring connections between Germany and America), and Assimilation: Jewish Identity in Music, earning the prestigious German Publishers Award for Best Programming of the Year. This season while on tour with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Mr. Sloane conducted George Crumb’s landmark music/performance-art piece Echoes of Time and the River. Among the many contemporary composers whose works he has performed recently are American composers Michael Daugherty, Joan Tower, Steve Reich, John Adams, Tan Dun, Christopher Rouse, John Corigliano and Stewart Wallace. He has also championed many of America’s early New England School composers, including George Whitefield Chadwick, John Knowles Paine, and Edward MacDowell, as well as leading European composers of today such as Luciano Berio, Mauricio Kagel, and Wolfgang Rihm. He has commissioned more than twenty Israeli composers, including Gil Shohat, Noam Sheriff, Sergiu Natra, and Tzvi Avni.
Born in Los Angeles in 1958, Mr. Sloane studied viola, musicology, and conducting at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). He continued his conducting studies with Eugene Ormandy, Franco Ferrara and Gary Bertini. After settling in Israel in 1981, Mr. Sloane conducted all the leading Israeli orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Haifa Symphony and the Israel Sinfonietta. He was also Orchestral and Choral Director of the Israel Conservatory of Music and Music Director of both the Tel Aviv Philharmonic Choir and the Tel Aviv Vocal Festival.
In 1988, Mr. Sloane was offered the position of Principal Resident Conductor of the Frankfurt Opera, a position he held until 1992. From 1992 to 1994 he served as Music Director of the Long Beach Opera. He has been a regular guest conductor both with the New York City Opera, where he conducted a “Live From Lincoln Center” national television broadcast of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, and with the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv. Recent operatic engagements have included debuts at the Seattle Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Bonn, Welsh National Opera, Lausanne, and Stuttgart Opera. He has also led productions at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and opened the Hong Kong Festival. His recent operatic repertoire includes Weill’s Mahagonny, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Strauss’ Salome, Berg’s Wozzeck, and Janácek’s Jenufa and Katja Kabánova. Next season he will make his debut with the Houston Grand Opera in a production of Janacek’s The Makropulos Case.
Steven Sloane’s recent orchestral engagements include the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Utah, New Mexico and Edmonton, the orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, the Cologne and the Bavarian Radio Orchestras, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Teatro San Carlo (Naples), the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. Next season, he makes his debut with the San Francisco Symphony.
Stewart Wallace was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Texas, where the radical mix of jazz, blues, gospel, Tejano, rock, and classical music profoundly influenced him.
Wallace is most known for his innovative operatic works. At 28 years old, his opera Where’s Dick? was premiered at the Houston Grand Opera. Like many subsequent Wallace works, Where’s Dick? wrestles with the myth of America and its politics, in this case seen through a series of comic-book grotesques doing vaudeville turns. Harvey Milk, Wallace’s fifth full-length opera and most widely known score, was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera and San Francisco Opera. With a libretto by Michael Korie and directed by Christopher Alden, the 1995 world premiere played to sold-out houses and was debated in major American and European newspapers, Time magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair and on CNN. The term “CNN Opera” was coined for Harvey Milk by critic Peter G. Davis.
Wallace’s non-operatic works include a trilogy composed for percussionist Evelyn Glennie. The first, Gorilla in a Cage, a concerto for percussion and orchestra, was commissioned by the Bochum Symphony, Germany, and premiered by Steven Sloane in 1997. Wallace’s first ballet Peter Pan premiered with the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet in April 2000.
The 2001-02 season features Mr. Wallace’s Supermax, a new opera with libretto by Michael Korie and directed by Scott Elliott for the New Group. Other upcoming Wallace works are Yiddisher Teddy Bears, his second collaboration with writer-director Richard Foreman; and Skvera for Electric Guitar and Orchestra composed for Marc Ribot and the National Symphony with Leonard Slatkin conducting. Mr. Wallace serves as “Music Alive” Composer-in-Residence with the National Symphony for 2001-2002.
Founded by James Poke and John Godfrey in 1989 to play at the new Dutch music festival in York, Icebreaker is a 12-piece group consisting of panpipes, saxes, electric violin and cello, guitars, percussion and keyboards. Today, the members of Icebreaker have established themselves as the United Kingdom’s most innovative contemporary music interpreters. As a group that always plays amplified, Icebreaker boasts an exciting repertoire that encompasses some of the best known and most influential names in contemporary music today. Icebreaker is not easy to categorize; the ensemble creates a music that appeals to contemporary classical, rock, and alternative music audiences alike. Given its unusual instrumental combination, Icebreaker represents a unique voice in contemporary British music.
Icebreaker’s concert appearances span the whole of the U.K. and Europe, as well as performances in the U.S. The ensemble has been invited to appear at most major European contemporary music festivals and venues including Meltdown, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the Aarhus, Gent, and Budapest festivals, and the NYYD Festival in Estonia. In 1995, Icebreaker the resident ensemble at the Dartington International Summer School for the advanced composition course led by Louis Andriessen. In June 1998, Icebreaker appeared as guest performers with The Royal Ballet. Recent performances include a festival dedicated to the ensemble at the Wiener Musik Galerie in Vienna, a concert tour of Holland, and performances in Belgium, Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the U.K.
Icebreaker has recorded for Argo/Decca. Its first complete recording, Terminal Velocity, was released to great critical acclaim in 1994. The second album, Trance by Michael Gordon was released in 1996. Icebreaker’s album Rogue’s Gallery (NewTone) contains works by Michael Torke, David Lang, Godfrey, Martland and Andriessen. Its most recent recordings are Diderik Wagenaar (Composers’ Voice) and Extraction (between the lines), both due for release in autumn 2002.
Tickets & Information
Tickets for the March 10, 2002 concert at Carnegie Hall are $47, $36, and $17. Tickets may be purchased through CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, by visiting Carnegie Hall’s website at www.carnegiehall.org, or at the Carnegie Hall box office on 57th Street at 7th Ave. The concert is preceded by a discussion with Stewart Wallace and the Artistic Director of the ACO, Robert Beaser, at 1:45 p.m. on March 10 at Carnegie Hall.
For further information about American Composers Orchestra events, call 212-977-8495.
Founded in 1977, and celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2002, American Composers Orchestra is the world’s only orchestra dedicated exclusively to performing symphonic works by American composers. Through its concerts at Carnegie Hall, recordings, radio broadcasts, educational programs, Whitaker New Music Reading sessions, and commissions, ACO identifies today’s brightest emerging composers, champions this country’s prominent established composers as well as those lesser-known, and increases international awareness of the infinite varieties—stylistic, geographic, and ethnic—of American orchestral music. Since its founding, the Orchestra has programmed 500 works by more than 400 American composers, including over 100 world premieres and commissions, generating more new American Symphonic works than any other orchestra. Recordings by the ACO are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, MusicMasters, Nonesuch, Tzadik, and New World Records. Among the honors ACO has received are special awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Broadcast Music, Inc. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers has awarded ACO its prize for adventuresome programming in each of the last 24 years, recognizing ACO as “the orchestra that has done the most for new American music in the United States.”
ACO concludes its 2001-02 season and continues its 25th Anniversary celebration on Sunday, April 14, 2002 at 3pm, when Dennis Russell Davies performs his final concert as Music Director. The program features world premieres by ACO founder Francis Thorne and the talented young Kevin Puts. Music by American icons John Cage and Elliott Carter complete this anniversary program.
“The Book of Five” is commissioned by ACO and The ASCAP Foundation, with additional production support from The Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund. Major support of the American Composers Orchestra is from Alliance Capital Management L.P., Americans for the Arts, Arthur M. Blank Foundation, Mr. Thomas Buckner, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Citigroup Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust, Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, Christian Humann Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, The Jerome Foundation, Meet The Composer, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JPMorgan & Co., National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Times Co. Foundation, Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Virgil Thomson Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
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