Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Performs Works by Frank Zappa and Philip Glass, July 23
Program also features Baltimore beatboxer, Shodekeh, in excerpts from new concerto for beatboxer and strings, Fujiko's Fairy Tale
Baltimore, Md. (June 30, 2010)—Music Director Marin Alsop will conduct the BSO in The Music of Frank Zappa and Philip Glass on Friday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The concert pays tribute to the musical triumphs of the Baltimore-born composers who pushed the music envelope. To connect the avant-garde movement of Zappa and Glass to the next generation of artists, Baltimore beatboxer Shodekeh makes his BSO debut in the U.S. premiere of Fujiko's Fairy Tale by Finnish composer Jan Mikael Vainio. See below for complete program information.
From his early work with the band Mothers of Invention to his classical, rock, jazz and electronic compositions, Frank Zappa is revered for the complexity and versatility of his music. "Frank Zappa dabbled in virtually all kinds of music," says Rolling Stone. "Whether guised as a satirical rocker, jazz-rock fusionist, guitar virtuoso, electronics wizard or orchestral innovator, his eccentric genius was undeniable." Zappa's music interweaves a plethora of genres and instruments that transcends typical sounds and messages of popular music. Maestra Alsop and the BSO will perform Zappa's own great orchestral versions of Be-Bop Tango and Dupree's Paradise, as well as Outrage at Valdez and G-Spot Tornado.
The program concludes with four movements from Philip Glass' Symphony No. 4, "Heroes," based on the David Bowie and Brian Eno 70's album Heroes. "Philip [Glass] has put more of himself in this new [work], but the irony is that I believe that he's actually put his finger on more of my original voice," said David Bowie. "It was though Philip had fed into my voice...but somehow had arrived, I feel, a lot nearer to the gut feeling of what I was trying to do." Movements I, IV, V and VI will be played of what the Los Angeles Times calls "a dramatically sweeping, pull-out-the-stops piece."
The concert will also introduce a 33-year-old Baltimore beatboxer, Shodekeh, in a unique collaboration of vocal drumming (beatboxing) with orchestra. Shodekeh is a Prince George's County native and Coppin State University graduate. In 2004, he worked as an usher at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall "to be close to music" and then moved to New York City to pursue his dream of beatboxing. With a large following in the Baltimore area, he has even been praised by such esteemed critics as Roger Ebert. "He's the only percussion section I've ever seen with choreography," says Ebert. "The personal element he puts into his performances uplifts a song and carries it along. His joy is infectious." Shodekeh will perform the beatbox solo in Jan Mikael Vainio's Fujiko's Fairy Tale, a concerto written for strings and beatboxer that made its world premiere with the Mikkeli Orchestra in Finland in February 2010. Shodekeh will also open the second half of the concert with beatbox improvisations, serving as lead-in for Glass' Symphony No. 4, "Heroes."
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world's leading conductors for her 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. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California.
In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award, in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 Musical America named her "Conductor of the Year."
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvorák.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master's degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.
Shodekeh is a professional beatboxer and vocal percussionist in a number of artistic fields for dance, music and the visual arts. Using his voice as his primary instrument, he vocalizes everything from drum sets, turntables, ocean waves, to sleigh bells. He is the founding director of Embody: A Music Series of The Vocal Arts, which strives for artistic and cultural unity through the many vocal traditions of the world from opera, throat singing, to beatboxing, which will also evolve into a larger festival in 2012.
He currently serves as faculty and musical accompanist for Towson University's dance department and The American Dance Festival at Duke University. He has completed a number of high level music commissions over the years including opening for President Bill Clinton at a Maryland state reception with The Coppin State University Choir, "Witness" with VT Dance at The Kennedy Center, "Fuse Muse" with percussionists Brian Prechtl of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Barry Dove, "The Kandinsky Beatdown" at Virginia Tech University, "The Urbanite Project 2009" with Urbanite Magazine, the Conference on World Affairs at The University of Colorado (2008-2010) and "Transformations: New Directions in Black Art," a 2009 conference of African American Art presented by the Maryland Institute College of Art and Harvard University.
He has also won many awards and honors such as his 2006-2007 residency with The Johns Hopkins Modern Dance Company, The 2007 Artist Studio Residency at The Creative Alliance at The Patterson, grants and commissions for The United States Embassy of Lithuania's 2009 and 2010 Month of American Culture Program and placement on The Maryland State Arts Council 2009-2012 Touring Artist Roster Program.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
The Music of Frank Zappa & Philip Glass
Friday, July 23, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Marin Alsop, conductor
Zappa: Dupree's Paradise
Zappa: Be-Bop Tango
Zappa: Outrage at Valdez
Zappa: G-Spot Tornado
Jan Mikael Vainio: Excerpts from Fujiko's Fairy Tale
Philip Glass: Excerpts from Symphony No. 4, "Heroes"
Tickets range from $21 to $48 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000, 877.BSO.1444 or BSOmusic.org.