Report from Boston and Tallahassee

I’m grateful for two recent performances that I traveled to hear: Matins was done by Peggy Pearson, oboe, and the Cantata Singers, conducted by David Hoose, in Boston’s Jordan Hall; A Sibyl was performed at the opening concert of the Florida State University Festival of New Music.

The Cantata Singers rehearsed in a hall in a suburb called Melrose:

which did not come close to the gorgeous acoustic of Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory:

Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture with Peggy, but here I am with David Hoose and an oddly glowing stage behind us:

I had time to do a few other things while in Boston, including my first visit to the Gardner Museum in many years:

 

 

 

 

May I say that the food at the cafe was excellent:

On Friday I heard my first Boston Symphony concert in Symphony Hall (having previously only heard them at Tanglewood):

 

 

The orchestra sounded fabulous as did pianist Martin Helmchen. The Saariaho was consistent with my impressions of much of her work – very beautiful and a little too static for my taste. The Sibelius symphonies continue to baffle me and doing two in a row didn’t help much. The famous acoustics of Symphony Hall actually seemed to me to be a little too rich – good for the Saariaho and Sibelius, but a little blurry for the Mozart.

I lingered in Boston to attend an Emmanuel Music celebration of John Harbison’s 80th birthday. It was good to have another chance to hear his Sixth Quartet, and the evening also included a set of John’s pop songs, with the composer at the piano.

In Florida, the featured guest composer was Georg Friedrich Haas, and I heard a number of his pieces throughout the festival. The music struck me as uneven, severe at times and sensuous at others, a strange mix of fascinating and dull.

My own work, the song cycle A Sibyl was performed by soprano Marcía Porter, and and ensemble of faculty and grad students, with Alexander Jiménez conducting. One festival highlight was a concert by the Meitar Ensemble – guests visiting from Israel – who offered a blazing performance of Grisey’s Talea among other works.

I’m grateful to all who made these performances of my music possible. Next on the schedule is a premiere with the Imani Winds, on February 15 in Philadelphia.

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