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Magnus Lindberg wins Wihuri Sibelius Prize24/10/2003
Magnus Lindberg has been awarded the Wihuri Sibelius Prize, a prestigious international award that carries with it one of the largest cash sums in the classical music sector, EUR 100,000.
The prize was established in 1953 to recognise and support the work of "prominent composers who have become internationally known and acknowledged". It has been awarded only ten times since Jean Sibelius received the inaugural award in 1953 and Lindberg now joins the elite rank of previous winners including Dmitri Shostakovich (1958), Igor Stravinsky (1963), Benjamin Britten (1965), Olivier Messiaen (1971) and György Ligeti (2000).
Boulez comes to Zankel Hall New York15/09/2003
September’s opening of Zankel Hall in New York’s Carnegie Hall complex will be celebrated with two weeks of concerts. Pierre Boulez and Ensemble InterContemporain will be there on 17 September with Le Marteau sans Maitre (with Hillary Summers), Dialogue de l’ombre double (Alain Darniens) and Notations, Incises (Dmitri Vassilakis), as well as on 18 September with sur Incises. On 22 October, Boulez will conduct Éclat/multiples and sur Incises at the Cité de la Musique (EIC). As part of the 2003 musik@venture Festival in Antwerp, the Prometheus Ensemble will play Dérive 1 under Etienne Siebens on 17 October in deSingel. On 18 October, the same hall will see a performance of the 3rd Sonata with Jan Michiels at the piano.
Ensemble Modern under Martyn Brabbins will be performing Domaines at the Ruhr-Triennale on 19 and 20 September with soloist Roland Dyri.
Holloway at 60: in London, Manchester & Cambridge15/09/2003
Over 20 works by Robin Holloway are performed this autumn in major celebrations for his 60th birthday, including premieres by the Nash Ensemble and Endellion String Quartet, and an all-Holloway orchestral concert by the BBC Philharmonic. In addition to concerts in London, the Royal Northern College of Music presents a Holloway Resonances weekend and the composer is featured at the Cambridge Music Festival.
The Nash Ensemble gives the world premiere of Holloway’s Spring Music for flute, harp and string quartet on 4 October at the Wigmore Hall in London. The new work is the third in a series of four chamber works, each for a different selection of six instruments, that evoke the seasons and the character of four of Holloway’s composer friends - the new work being dedicated to Howard Skempton. The 60th birthday concert also features Holloway’s Fantasy-Pieces on Schumann’s Liederkreis conducted by Lionel Friend. The work has been recorded by the Nash Ensemble on Hyperion (CDA 67036) and, as on disc, the Wigmore Hall performance of Fantasy-Pieces will incorporate Schumann’s song-cycle, here sung by tenor John Mark Ainsley with pianist Ian Brown.
The Endellion String Quartet gives the world premiere of Holloway’s new String Quartet in Manchester on 13 October, as an upbeat to the Holloway Resonances weekend at the RNCM. A further performance takes place on 18 November within the Cambridge Music Festival’s feature entitled Robin Holloway and the Romantics. The fruits of a long flirtation with this most challenging of mediums, the new String Quartet falls into three movements: the opening allegro is a forward-moving succession of contrasted material; the slow movement consists of a march rising through the range of the instruments, surrounding a muted trio; the finale is a compressed recap of the opening movement’s material, ending in a whirlwind prestissimo.
Manchester plays host to a three-day celebration of Holloway’s music on 16-18 October (full schedule overleaf) directed by Clark Rundell, combining the forces of the BBC Philharmonic and students from the Royal Northern College of Music. A highlight promises to be the all-Holloway concert by the BBC Philharmonic at the RNCM on 17 October, with Martyn Brabbins conducting three of the composer’s most admired works. Scenes from Schumann (1970) was a breakthrough work for Holloway in which he reclaimed "all that was forbidden by the Zeitgeist", embracing German Romanticism and recasting it in his own language. The Second Concerto for Orchestra (1979) was hailed as "one of the most important achievements of its time" (The Times) and "a simply astonishing piece of sustained compositional virtuosity" (Financial Times). The Violin Concerto (1990) demonstrates Holloway’s lyrical skills to the full, and the performance by Ernst Kovacic in Manchester is tied in with the NMC reissue of his recording (DO97).
Carter's Of Rewaking premiere in Chicago23/05/2003
Thursday, May 29 marks the world premiere of Elliott Carter’s new orchestral song cycle Of Rewaking. Daniel Barenboim conducts mezzo-soprano Michelle De Young and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; the program at Orchestra Hall is repeated on May 30 and 31.
Says Carter, “For 75 years – since my college days – I have been fascinated by the poetry of William Carlos Williams, the great American poet (and doctor-pediatrician). So I chose three of his visionary poems for Of Rewaking, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, as a gift to Daniel Barenboim. The score was commissioned by The Royal Philharmonic Society of London, and was written during 2002.”
Of Rewaking contains Carter’s first songs with orchestral accompaniment since A Mirror on Which to Dwell in 1975. Struggle, surrender, and renewal are the new cycle’s principal themes. In the first song, The Rewaking, Williams’s text – “Sooner or later/we must come to the end/of striving” – unfolds in Carter’s tender, upwardly-yearning cantabile line. In Lear, Williams asserts the futility of striving against an unconquerable force. Carter engages in a rare bit of tone-painting: at the lines, “We/yield and are made quiet by its fury,” he unleashes a hail of sharp, fortissimo tutti attacks. The mercurical Shadows ends the triptych with an assertion of imagination’s power to renew the soul.
Founded 1813 in London, The Royal Philharmonic Society’s activities focus on young musicians, composers, and the creation of new music. Works commissioned by the Society include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony. Society Gold Medal and Honorary Membership recipients have included Brahms, Gounod, Horowitz, Bernstein, and Carter, who received a Gold Medal in 1995.
Plans are underway for European performances of Of Rewaking in 2004.
Gavin Bryars at 6023/05/2003
The composer will celebrate his 60th birthday in January 2003. A new CD of his music has recently been released by CBC Records in Canada. This includes first recordings of his Violin Concerto 'The Bulls of Bashan' played by Gwen Hoebig, the Three Songs written for and sung by Holly Cole and The Porazzi Fragment for strings. In addition the composer himself plays his Jazz Bass Concerto By the Vaar - the orchestra is the CBC Radio Orchestra conducted by Owen Underhill. A further CD will be issued by Decca in their British Music Collection in the New Year.
Bryars has been commissioned to write a short choral work by the Choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh. The choir will give the first performance at an Evensong to be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in August 2003.
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