More Pix From Tanglewood

First, a few shots of the campus being gorgeous:



Now, some composers. Left to right, Casey Ginther, Augusta Read Thomas, Bun-Ching Lam:

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Gerald Levinson, Yehudi Wyner, and John Harbison at a rehearsal of Levinson’s Here of most amazing now:


Here’s the ensemble for the Levinson:

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(Jiyeon Kim, guitar; Blair Francis, flute;Nicholas Tisherman, oboe and english horn; Mary Patchett, saxophone; Matthew Howard, percussion; Jakob Alfred Paul Nierenz, cello, Nash Tomey, double bass. Obscured at left is pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu, piano.)

Harbison and Levinson at Jerry’s dress rehearsal:


Bright Sheng conducting his own Deep Red:


Yehudi Wyner at a rehearsal for his new work on an Elizabeth Bishop text, Sonnet: In the Arms of Sleep:


Yehudi’s singers at work – Lucy Shelton, Paulina Villareal, and Quinn Middleman:


John Harbison conducting a Dallapiccola rehearsal:


The dress rehearsal for the late Gunther Schuller’s Magical Trumpets. The piece is scored for 12 trumpets – or, to be more precise: 1 piccolo trumpet in F, 1 D trumpet, 3 B-flat trumpets, 3 C trumpets, 1 cornet, 1 flugelhorn, 1 bass trumpet in E-flat, and 1 bass trumpet in B-flat. Jonathan Berman is conducting.


Michael Tilson Thomas rehearsing the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in the Copland Orchestral Variations:


MTT exhorting the players as they work on the Ives Holidays Symphony. That’s Marzena Diakun on the podium next to him; the blonde head between the first two violins is that of another conductor assisting in the Ives, Ruth Reinhardt. Christian Reif rounded out the team of conductors for the Ives.


More composers now – a blurry shot of a pre-concert chat with John Harbison, Charles Wuorinen, Helen Grimes, Shulamit Ran, and program annotator Robert Kirzinger:


One more group shot: Robert Kirzinger, Yehudi Wyner, Eric Chasalow, myself, Augusta Read Thomas, and I’m sorry to say I don’t know the name of the gentleman on the far right – help me out by identifying him in the comments, please.


Ode to Eternal Pine

Network for New Music’s season-long Asian theme continues with a program of music by Chinese composers on Sunday, February 13 at 7:30. The concert will be at the Settlement Music School, 416 Queen St. in Philadelphia. I will be involved, leading a pre-concert chat with composers Shih-Hui Chen and Chou Wen-Chung at 6:30, and recording a podcast discussion with Wen-Chung earlier in the day.

The program features a nice multi-generational mix – Wen-Chung, one of my teachers from my Columbia University doctoral studies, is the elder statesman of the group at 87, while the youngest is Huang Ruo, born in 1976, and Shih-Hui Chen and Bright Cheng are from a middle generation. Wen-Chung is a particularly intriguing figure. The kind of cross-cultural mix where Asian and Euro-American practices mingle that we associate with composers like Bright Cheng, Tan Dun and Chen Yi was actually pioneered by Wen-Chung. In fact, it was he who brought those younger Chinese composers to the United States to study at Columbia through his work with the US-China Arts Exchange. (If you know the film “From Mao to Mozart“, you know something about Wen-Chung’s efforts.) In addition to his work for cultural exchange, Wen-Chung is especially well known as the student, assistant, and musical executor of Edgard Varèse. In fact, the Varese connection has sometimes overshadowed Wen-Chung’s own compositional work, so it is nice to see his music getting some attention. Ode to Eternal Pine, the piece by Wen-Chung that Network will play, was commissioned by the New York New Music Ensemble, and is based on an earlier work, Eternal Pine,  that was composed for  an ensemble of Korean instruments. Ode to Eternal Pine is scored for Western instruments, but the playing style and technique is thoroughly influenced by East Asia musical sensibility, with an emphasis on fluidly shaped gestures with respect to pitch and rhythm. You can find score and recording excerpts of the piece at Wen-Chung’s exceptionally rich website.

I’ll be interested to get to know the music of Shih-Hui Chen. The piece she has composed for this concert is inspired by the aboriginal people of Taiwan. It is intriguing to read what she writes in her program note, that the aboriginals of Taiwan “encountered Dutch Christian missionaries in the early 17th century before the arrival of the Han people from China.”  Who would have thought that Christianity would occupy, as she writes, “a more prominent place [for the aboriginals] than traditional mythologies.” Her new piece is called Our Names and sets a text by a blind aboriginal poet, a plea for justice and respect for aboriginal people and their culture.

Four young musicians from the Philadelphia Sinfonia, directed by Gary White, will perform Fantasia, the first movement of Shih-Hui Chen’s string quartet Mei-Hua at 7:15 before the Network concert performance begins at 7:30 PM. Go here for video about this project.

(photo above: Chou Wen-Chung)