Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music explores “The Sacred and the Profane”

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The Tanglewood Music Center, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's elite summer academy for advanced music study, will present its annual Festival of Contemporary Music from July 17-21 in Lenox, Mass. Directed in 2003 by celebrated American conductor Robert Spano, this year's Festival explores the theme "The Sacred and the Profane," with special focus on the work of young American composer Jennifer Higdon, Englishman George Benjamin, and György Ligeti in his 80th birthday year. Now in its 40th year, and a highlight of the Tanglewood season since its inception, the annual Festival of Contemporary Music features performances by Tanglewood Music Center Fellows, special guest artists, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with selected works featuring members of the TMC faculty. The 2003 Festival will feature five days of new-music events ranging from instrumental and vocal chamber music to orchestral works, beginning Thursday, July 17, with a performance by acclaimed soprano Dawn Upshaw and the New Fromm Players, a group of recent TMC alumni spending the summer focusing on new music, and ending Monday, July 21, with the Margaret Lee Crofts Concert, featuring Robert Spano, Michael Morgan, and George Benjamin sharing the podium for a Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra concert with BSO Associate Concertmaster Tamara Smirnova as soloist. The Festival of Contemporary Music is made possible by the generous support of Dr. Raymond and Hannah H. Schneider, with additional support through grants from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Fromm Music Foundation, the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Festival of Contemporary Music highlights The 2003 FCM opens on Thursday, July 17, at 8:30 p.m. in Seiji Ozawa Hall. Soprano Dawn Upshaw will be joined by the New Fromm Players -- a group of recent TMC alumni engaged by the Tanglewood Music Center to concentrate on and perform contemporary repertoire -- in a performance of György Kurtág's Scenes from a Novel, Op. 19. This program opens with Jennifer Higdon's Light Refracted and closes with George Crumb's Black Angels. BSO violist Michael Zaretsky will perform Russian composer Jakov Jakoulov's Viola Concerto No. 2 with Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center on Friday, July 18, at 2:30 p.m. in Ozawa Hall. This program also includes Jennifer Higdon's Voices, Aaron Jay Kernis' Brilliant Sky, Infinite Sky, and a reduced version of Augusta Read Thomas' Spirit Musings. On Saturday, July 19, at 2:30 p.m., the renowned vocal ensemble New York Virtuoso Singers, Harold Rosenbaum, conductor, will be joined by Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, led by Stefan Asbury, in a program of vocal music including Jonathan Harvey's Forms of Emptiness, Thea Musgrave's On the Underground, Set No. 2 (The Strange and the Exotic), Benjamin Britten's Sacred and Profane, and Scenes and Interludes from György Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre. Prior to that evening's Boston Symphony concert, the New York Virtuoso Singers, Harold Rosenbaum, conductor, will give a Prelude Concert in Ozawa Hall, with the program to include Charles Wuorinen's O Solis Ortu, William Kingswood's Nunc Dimittis, György Ligeti's Papaine and Lux Aeterna, Krzysztof Penderecki's Veni Creator Spiritu, John Harbison's Concerning Them That Are Asleep, and Sean Carson's Kyrie, L.A. is on Fire. This concert is free to ticketholders of that evening's Boston Symphony Shed concert, which will include a BSO performance of George Benjamin's Ringed by the Flat Horizon under the baton of Robert Spano, marking the Boston Symphony's contribution to the 2003 Festival. The New Fromm Players will be featured in a performance on Sunday, July 20, at 10 a.m. in Ozawa Hall. Program highlights include John Cage's Lecture on nothing -- with Robert Spano as guest lecturer -- two works by Peter Lieberson, his Raising the Gaze and Ziji, and the world premiere of this year's Paul Jacobs Commission, Florian Maier's Eclipse. The 2003 Fromm Concert at Tanglewood -- an annual FCM tradition since 1992 -- will be given on Sunday, July 20, at 8:30 p.m. with a trio of pianists exploring a theme running through this summer's Festival, "The Sacred and the Profane." Pierre-Laurent Aimard opens the concert with the American premiere of Shadowlines -- a work written for him by George Benjamin and given its world premiere in London on February 13, 2003 -- and continues with selections from Ligeti's seminal Piano Etudes. Robert Spano and pianist Ursula Oppens are also featured on this program, joining together for Messaien's powerful Visions de l'Amen for two pianos. In addition, this concert will feature the world premiere of Peter Eötvös' Erdenklavier-Himmelklavier, Luciano Berio in memoriam, a brief new piece written in memory of the great 20th-Century composer, who passed away earlier this year. On Monday, July 21, at 8:30 p.m., the 2003 Festival of Contemporary Music closes with the Margaret Lee Crofts Concert in Ozawa Hall. Robert Spano, George Benjamin, and TMC Conducting Program Coordinator Michael Morgan share the podium for this special program, leading the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in a program to include Mr. Benjamin's Palimpsest 1 & 2, Jacob Druckman's Summer Lightning, Jennifer Higdon's Concerto for Orchestra, and Oliver Knussen's Violin Concerto, the latter featuring BSO Associate Concertmaster Tamara Smirnova as soloist. Composers scheduled to work with TMC Composition Fellows during this year's FCM include TMC Faculty members Michael Gandolfi (Composition Program Coordinator), George Benjamin, Osvaldo Golijov, Augusta Read Thomas, and Robert Zuidam. Festival Of Contemporary Music history New music has been an important part of the Tanglewood Music Center since the Festival's beginnings. In 1956, Paul Fromm, a German-born wine importer from Chicago and one of this century's most significant patrons of music, offered to underwrite two contemporary music concerts at Tanglewood. Starting the next summer, the Fromm Foundation provided several fellowships each year specifically for performers who would play new music and who would work with the composers-in-residence on the preparation of new works. In 1964, under the leadership of then-BSO Music Director Erich Leinsdorf, the Tanglewood Music Center increased its focus on new music even further. Rather than bringing certain Fellows to Tanglewood as specialists in new music, every participant in the school performed in concerts of contemporary music, often with the composer present to coach and discuss their work. Also in 1964, the new-music activities of the TCM were combined for the first time into a single week of intense concert activity. Most of the concerts were given by the Fellows of the Music Center, in varying combinations of small chamber ensembles, large chamber ensembles or small orchestra, and full orchestra. This "festival within a festival," -- officially named the Festival of Contemporary Music -- has remained a Tanglewood fixture ever since. The Fromm Foundation At Harvard and its history at Tanglewood For nearly 30 years, the Festival of Contemporary Music was unofficially called the "Fromm Festival" in fond homage to the support of the late Paul Fromm, who in 1954 founded the Fromm Music Foundation, which is now based at Harvard University. In 1992 the Foundation instituted an annual Paul Fromm Concert and a Paul Fromm Award for Composition in cooperation with the Tanglewood Music Center, enabling a performance and residency by a visiting soloist or ensemble. Thanks to a grant from the Fromm Foundation, the 2003 Festival of Contemporary Music will feature performances by a new ensemble made up of recent alumni of the Tanglewood Music Center concentrating their summer studies on contemporary music. This five-person group -- the New Fromm Players -- will spend the summer in a post-graduate setting working on demanding new repertoire with TMC faculty members and visiting composers. Beyond the boundaries of the FCM, the New Fromm Players will also work with the TMC's Composition Fellows, giving performances of their music throughout the summer. This year's New Fromm Players are Louis DeMartino, clarinet; Caroline Pliszka and Marc Rovetti, violins; Chi-Yuan Chen, viola; Tomoko Fujita, cello; and Franziska Huhn, harp. All programs and artists are subject to change. For more information please call 617-266-1492 or 413-637-5165. Tanglewood is on the Internet at www.tanglewood.org. 2003 Festival Of Contemporary Music July 17-21, Robert Spano, director Made possible by the generous support of Dr. Raymond and Hannah H. Schneider, with additional support through grants from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Fromm Music Foundation, The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts. All programs and artists are subject to change. Thursday, July 17, 8:30 p.m., Seiji Ozawa Hall NEW FROMM PLAYERS DAWN UPSHAW, soprano JENNIFER HIGDON Light Refracted GYÖRGY KURTÁG Scenes from a Novel, Op. 19 GEORGE CRUMB Black Angels Friday, July 18, 2:30 p.m., Seiji Ozawa Hall TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS MICHAEL ZARETSKY, viola JENNIFER HIGDON Voices JAKOV JAKOULOV Viola Concerto No. 2 AUGUSTA READ THOMAS Spirit Musings (reduced version) AARON JAY KERNIS Brilliant Sky, Infinite Sky Saturday, July 19, 2:30 p.m., Seiji Ozawa Hall NEW YORK VIRTUOSO SINGERS HAROLD ROSENBAUM, conductor TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS STEFAN ASBURY, conductor JONATHAN HARVEY Forms of Emptiness THEA MUSGRAVE On the Underground, Set No. 2 (The Strange and the Exotic) BENJAMIN BRITTEN Sacred and Profane GYÖRGY LIGETI Scenes and Interludes from Le Grand Macabre Saturday, July 19, 6 p.m., Seiji Ozawa Hall BSO Prelude Concert NEW YORK VIRTUOSO SINGERS HAROLD ROSENBAUM, conductor CHARLES WUORINEN O Solis Ortu WILLIAM KINGSWOOD Nunc Dimittis GYÖRGY LIGETI Papaine GYÖRGY LIGETI Lux Aeterna KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI Veni Creator Spiritu JOHN HARBISON Concerning Them That Are Asleep SEAN CARSON Kyrie, L.A. is on Fire Sunday, July 20, 10 a.m., Seiji Ozawa Hall TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS NEW FROMM PLAYERS ROBERT SPANO, lecturer PETER LIEBERSON Ziji JOHN CAGE Lecture on nothing PETER LIEBERSON Raising the Gaze FLORIAN MAIER Eclipse (world premiere; The Paul Jacobs Commission) Sunday, July 20, 8:30 p.m., Seiji Ozawa Hall The Fromm Concert at Tanglewood PIERRE-LAURENT AIMARD, URSULA OPPENS, and ROBERT SPANO, pianos GEORGE BENJAMIN Shadowlines (American premiere) PETER EÖTVÖS Erdenklavier-Himmelklavier, Luciano Berio in memoriam GYÖRGY LIGETI Selected Etudes OLIVIER MESSIAEN Visions de L'Amen Monday, July 21, 8:30 p.m., Seiji Ozawa Hall The Margaret Lee Crofts Concert TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER ORCHESTRA ROBERT SPANO, MICHAEL MORGAN, and GEORGE BENJAMIN, conductors TAMARA SMIRNOVA, violin JACOB DRUCKMAN Summer Lightning GEORGE BENJAMIN Palimpsest 1 & 2 OLIVER KNUSSEN Violin Concerto JENNIFER HIGDON Concerto for Orchestra

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