Marin Alsop Conducts Two Baltimore Performances of Program Leading Up To Debut Concert at Carnegie Hall
Feb. 7 & 8 program includes works by Strauss, Debussy, Stravinsky; U.S. premiere of Steven Mackey's Time Release featuring Colin Currie
Baltimore, Md. (January 8, 2008)-On Thursday and Friday, February 7 and 8, 2008, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, led by its new Music Director Marin Alsop, will perform two concerts of a program it will later take to New York's Carnegie Hall (Feb. 9), an event marking the Orchestra's first Carnegie Hall appearance under the baton of Maestra Alsop. The program includes Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (1919), and the U.S. premiere of American composer Steven Mackey's Time Release, with Scottish solo percussionist Colin Currie. In addition to these performances, on Wednesday, February 6, composer Steven Mackey will participate in the BSO's "Composers in Conversation," a new lecture series offering patrons a unique opportunity to engage with 11 of the contemporary composers featured in the 2007-2008 season. See below for complete program information.
Ms. Alsop's first months at the helm of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra have been hailed as a great success by audiences and critics alike. The New York Times wrote, "With her kinetic conducting style and affinity for jazzy contemporary music, Ms. Alsop brings rhythmic verve to everything she performs." Referring to her embrace of contemporary music, the Baltimore Sun wrote, "Marin Alsop, in her inaugural season at the helm of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, is determined to perk up ears with concerts that are as much about new musical experiences as shedding fresh light on familiar ones."
For the orchestra's Baltimore and Carnegie Hall programs, Ms. Alsop conducts three late Romantic-era works each based on a character from folklore: Strauss's gleeful tone-poem based on the 14th-century German rogue Till Eulenspiegel; Debussy's breakthrough musical paraphrase of Mallarmé's Symbolist poem on the faun from Greek mythology; and Stravinsky's suite from his ballet The Firebird, the creature of the Russian imagination.
Paired with these works is Steven Mackey's Time Release, a concerto for percussion and orchestra written for the percussionist Colin Currie, which has its U.S. premiere in Baltimore on February 7. Unlike the three folkloric works, the new work is not programmatic in nature, but the composer relates that it tells a particular story about the marimba, the score's primary percussion instrument. "The evolution of the marimba as a mature melodic voice is a thread through Time Release," Mr. Mackey says. "The marimba ornaments and embellishes the material of the orchestra in the first movement. It takes a more thematic role in the first part of the second movement with agile riffs and runs that are more rhetorical than melodic. Midway into the second movement, the marimba introduces a jaunty tune, and the third movement is all about melody. It is a melody with wide leaps and angular contours, yet with an ambling, folk-music character suited to the marimba's cultural heritage." In addition to the marimba, Mr. Currie plays several other percussion instruments in Time Release: almglocken, cowbells, Peking opera gong, cymbals, kick drum, samba whistle, flexatone, vibraslap, and crotales.
Carnegie Hall recently announced that Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will next return in October 2008, as part of its Leonard Bernstein festival, The Best of All Possible Worlds. Ms. Alsop, a protégée of the famed conductor/composer, will conduct the orchestra in two performances of Bernstein's Mass, the first at Carnegie Hall and the second featuring hundreds of New York City schoolchildren at the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights as part of The Bernstein Mass Project, presented by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed for her dynamic musicianship, artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra, mirroring her ongoing success in the United Kingdom as principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony since 2002.
In summer 2005, she was named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this most prestigious American award. The first artist to win Gramophone's "Artist of the Year" award and the Royal Philharmonic Society's Conductor's Award in the same season (2003), Maestra Alsop recently won the Classical Brit Award for Best Female Artist of 2005. In July 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award presented to individuals whose vision, courage and determination have made a major impact on increasing the influence of women in European affairs.
Ms. Alsop is a regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as with many distinguished orchestras worldwide. After a highly successful 12-year tenure as music director of the Colorado Symphony, Ms. Alsop continues her association as conductor laureate; she also continues as music director of the highly acclaimed Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California.
Marin Alsop is a native of New York City; she attended Yale University and received her master's degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she became a prizewinner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition in New York, and in the same year, she was awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a pupil of Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa and Gustav Meier.
Colin Currie, percussion
Percussionist Colin Currie has established a reputation for charismatic and virtuosic performances of works by today's leading composers and has already appeared with many of the world's most important orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw, and The Philadelphia Orchestra. At the age of 15, Mr. Currie won the Shell/LSO prize, and subsequently was the first percussion finalist in the BBC Young Musician competition. He was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society's Young Artist Award in 2002 for his outstanding role in contemporary music-making and was a Borletti-Buitoni Trust award winner in 2005. Mr. Currie was selected as a BBC New Generation Artist from 2003-2005 and performed a variety of concerto and recital engagements with the BBC orchestras in major festivals and concert halls. He is currently Visiting Professor of Solo Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague.
Regularly commissioning and recording new works, Mr. Currie has made a great contribution to percussion repertoire. He has premiered works such as Michael Torke's Rapture, Thea Musgrave's Wood, Metal & Skin, three works by Joe Duddell, and many works by Dave Maric, a composer he collaborates with on a regular basis. Mr. Currie recently premiered two concertos that were written for him: a new Percussion Concerto by Jennifer Higdon with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach and Steven Mackey's Time Release. Other premieres this season include the world premiere of a new concerto by Simon Holt with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the UK premiere of Michael Nyman's marimba concerto gdm with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.
Steven Mackey, composer
Composer Steven Mackey's first musical passion was playing the electric guitar in rock bands based in northern California. He later discovered concert music and has composed for orchestras, chamber ensembles, dance, and opera. Mr. Mackey regularly performs his own work, including two electric guitar concertos as well as numerous solo and chamber works and is also active as an improvising musician. As a composer, he has been honored by numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, two awards from the Kennedy Center, and the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Mackey's Indigenous Instruments was selected to represent the U.S. at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris in 1990. Among his commissions are works for the Chicago and San Francisco Symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Kronos Quartet, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Fromm Foundation, the Brentano String Quartet, the Borromeo String Quartet, Fred Sherry, Dawn Upshaw and The Dutch Radio Symphony, Prism Saxophone Quartet, and the BBC Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Mackey is currently Professor of Music at Princeton University where he has been a member of the faculty since 1985.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Composers in Conversation: Steven Mackey
Wednesday, February 6, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.-Theatre Project, 45 West Preston Street, Baltimore, Md. 21201
Tickets are $10 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444 or 410.783.8000, or BSOmusic.org.
Celebrity Series: Provocateurs
Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.-Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Friday, February 8, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.-JMSH
Saturday, February 9, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. - CARNEGIE HALL (New York, NY)
Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.-TILLES CENTER (Brookville, NY)
This program will be broadcast on XM Satellite Radio (XM Classics 110) on Friday, March 7 at 8:00 p.m., with an encore presentation on Sunday, March 9 at 3:00 p.m.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Colin Currie, percussion
Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks
Steven Mackey: Time Release (U.S. Premiere)
Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite (1919)
Special anniversary pricing at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is made possible by generous underwriting from the PNC Foundation.
Tickets for the Baltimore concerts range from $15 to $78 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444 or 410.783.8000, or BSOmusic.org.
For tickets for the Carnegie Hall concert, visit carnegiehall.com. For tickets for the Tilles Center program, visit tillescenter.org.