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George Rochberg, U.S. composer who rebelled against modernism, has died at age 86


Philadelphia-based composer George Rochberg, 86, who is credited with leading American composers out of esoteric modernism with some of the more emotionally visceral pieces of the late 20th century, died Sunday [May 29] from complications following May 2 surgery. His widow, Gene, reported that he died peacefully in Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Mr. Rochberg was one of the most successful composers of the 1970s and '80s. His Violin Concerto was championed by Isaac Stern, who performed it 47 times between 1975 and 1977; his Symphony No. 5 was premiered in 1986 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti and his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra was premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch in 1996.

His seven string quartets — especially String Quartet No. 3, which is considered the turning point in his output — are considered cornerstones in the American chamber music repertoire. Among his nearly 100 published works are six symphonies and a full-length opera, The Confidence Man.

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Richard Ayres opera premières at Aldeburgh Festival and Almeida Opera


The Cricket Recovers premières at the Aldeburgh Festival on 10th June, a first operatic work from Richard Ayres, one of the most individual British-born composers in recent years. Based on a story by the Dutch cult children's writer Toon Tellegen, The Cricket Recovers is a 70 minute chamber opera that tells the tale of a depressive cricket and an elephant with a compulsive tree-climbing disorder, seeking answers to their troubled lives. Further performances will take place at the Almeida Theatre, London, from 29th June.

Richard Ayres describes himself in his music as "drawn towards the kind of sounds or stylistic mannerisms that many people choose to leave out of their work, the clumsy, lost, or forgotten ones .... virtually anything can find its way into the pieces .... music for me is a displaying of life, a celebration of living."

For Aldeburgh Festival:
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Adams gets a Classical Brit


John Adams won the contemporary music award in last night's Classical Brit Awards for his album On The Transmigration of Soul, the album dedicated to those who lost their lives in the September 11th attacks, and which has already picked up three Grammy awards.

Adams is regularly performed in Britain, not least through his role as artist-in-association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
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Schirmer Signs 30 year old Avner Dorman


G. Schirmer, Inc. has signed Israeli-American composer Avner Dorman. Dorman, who is only 30, joins a roster of Schirmer composers that includes John Adams, Elliot Carter, as well as Dorman's own teacher John Corigliano.

Dorman has quickly risen to become one of Israel's most successful and renowned composers. At the age of 25, he became the youngest composer to win Israel's prestigious Prime Minister's Award.

Currently, he is a C.V. Starr fellow in the Doctoral program of the Juilliard School of Music, where he studies with John Corigliano. Recent performances of Dorman's work in the 2003-2004 season include Variations Without a Theme, premiered by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta in November 2003
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Music more important than TV says Brabbins


"the first thing Afghanis wanted to do after the overthrow of the Taliban was to start playing music again" says Martin Brabbins in an interview with Australia's The Age.

Brabbins is about to conduct the Melbourne Symphony in a three day festival of contemporary music which includes Ligeti's Violin Concerto.
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PRS Foundation announces shortlist for New Music Award


The PRS Foundation has announced the short-list for the first New Music Award, the most financially significant award for music in the UK, as:

Jem Finer for Score for a Hole in the Ground

Terry Mann for The Bells of Paradise

Craig Vear for Singing, Ringing Buoy

Each of these ideas has been short-listed from over 200 entries. A panel of judges, including key figures from the world of contemporary music (Stewart Lee, Verity Sharp, Aniruddha Das, Evelyn Glennie and Anne Dudley, will make an award of £50,000 to fund the realisation of the winning project. The presentation event will be held at London's Living Room, top floor of City Hall London on Tuesday 12 July 2005. The winner will have until September 2006 to create the new work and present it to the public.

View films about the short-listed entries at the weblink from 1st July 2005.
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Covent Garden in row over vanity project


An article in yesterday's Guardian newspaper has found that Lorin Maazel, the conductor-composer whose new opera of George Orwell's 1984 opens tomorrow at the Royal Opera House, has put more than £400,000 of his own money into the production, leading to accusations that Covent Garden is staging a vanity project.,11711,1474732,00.html

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New Commissions from Meet the Composer announced


Meet the Composer, the organization dedicated to the performance of new music has announced $215,000 worth of new commissions from 22 classical and jazz composers.

The group has previously commissioned over 700 works since 1988, including John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer, André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, and John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1. The latest commissions are part of the Commissioning Music/U.S.A. program, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

The commissions this year include a new a cappella work for the Kansas City Chorale from Steven Stucky, the winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for music. Eve Beglarian has been commissioned to create a multimedia piece for cellist Maya Beiser; and saxophonist Jimmy Heath to write a piece for the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Other composers being commissioned include pianist Geri Allen, who will compose a piece for the Walt Whitman Arts Center in Camden, New Jersey; Martin Bresnick, who will write a new work for So Percussion; guitarist Fred Frith, who will write for the Bang on a Can All-Stars; and Libby Larsen, whose work will be performed by the Cassatt Quartet.

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Scaled down Henze a success in Paris


Almost 40 years after the world premiere of Hans Werner Henze's most famous opera "The Bassarids" the work received it's Parisian premiere - well, almost. A strike by administrative and technical personnel at Radio France, prevented the radio's Orchestre Philharmonique from attending - and almost forced the Théâtre du Châtelet to cancel their prized performance.

In a triumph of will-power, the Japanese conductor Kazushi Ono pulled the stops out and feverishly transferred string and wind parts to three pianos and found seven substitute percussionists, two harpists and a few other solo instrumentalists to take the total number of players up to 21. From the reviews we have found of the event seem, the gamble seems to have paid off entirely:

Students to get cheap opera tickets


The Royal Opera House, London has announced a new offer to allow students to buy seats for ballet and opera performances for just £10 each.

Students who have student ID can register for the scheme by text message or online. They will then be notified via e-mail or text message that there are tickets available.

The deal has been sponsored by currency firm Travelex who were also behind the successful £10 Monday's deal at the ROH.
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