ARThound

Geneva Anderson digs into art

Summer at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall—this evening, violinist Sarah Chang and French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet perform with Moscow’s Best, the Russian National Orchestra

French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet performs with the Grammy award-winning Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro at Weill Hall on Tuesday, July16, 2013. Violinist Sarah Cheng also guest solos.

French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet performs with the Grammy award-winning Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro at Weill Hall on Tuesday, July16, 2013. Violinist Sarah Cheng also guest solos.

There’s a special performance at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall this evening.  As part of their summer programming, which has a particularly festive bend, GMC is partnering with Napa Valley’s Festival Del Sole in presenting the Russian National Orchestra (RNO), conducted by Carlo Montanaro, with renowned violinist Sarah Chang performing Samuel Barber’s popular Violin Concerto, and sensational pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Saint-Saëns’ “Egyptian” Piano Concerto No. 5, a rarely-performed gem.  The concerts starts early, at 6:30 p.m., and ample tickets are still available in most areas except the front orchestra, so tickets can be purchased right before the performance at the GMC box office which closes at 4 p.m. and then re-opens at 5:30 p.m.

The Program—

Dmitri Shostakovich / Festive Overture, Op. 96:  Shostakovich wrote this short lively piece in 1954 for a concert held at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution.  A victim of Stalin’s suppression, he worked heroically under stifling conditions but was unable to share his music.  Many music historians have posited that piece’s ebullience reflects his relief over Stalin’s departure and his ability to practice his art freely.  It is based it on Glinka’s Russlan and Ludmilla overture from 1842, and it features the same lively tempo and style of melody.  The overture was played at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and at the 2009 Nobel Prize concert.

Founded in 1990 by pianist and conductor Mikhail Pietnev, the Russian National Orchestra is described as “a living symbol of the best in Russian art” (Miami Herald) and “as close to perfect as one could hope for” (Classics Today).  The orchestra is unique among leading Russian ensembles in that it is a private institution funded with the support of individuals, corporations and foundations in Russia and worldwide.  The RNO maintains an active international tour schedule, appearing in Europe, Asia and the Americas and its guest artists include Nicola Luisotti, San Francisco Opera’s beloved Music Director and Renée Fleming, who opens GMC 2nd season on September 15, 2013.  The RNO is the resident orchestra of the Festival de Sole.

Camille Saint-Saëns / Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, Op. 103:  This concerto is nicknamed “The Egyptian” for two reasons. Saint-Saëns composed it in the temple town of Luxor while on one of his frequent winter vacations to Egypt, and secondly, the music is a synthesis of his far-flung eastern wanderings displaying influences from Javanese and Spanish as well as Middle-eastern music.  While it’s hard to imagine now, in 1872, Saint-Saëns received a large bequest from the estate of the director of the French Post Office, who expressed that a gifted composer should not have to work (as organist of La Madeleine in Paris) to supplement his income.  This bequest, together with income from royalties and performance fees, freed Saint-Saëns indulge his passion for travel.  He conducted in Moscow, London, and the United States and travelled to Egypt, Brazil, Ceylon, and Algiers.  He premiered the piece in 1896 with himself as soloist at a Jubilee Concert commemorating his debut 50 years earlier.

Thibaudet is known for coaxing the most amazing nuances from each work he performs and has recorded over 40 albums.  He has also collaborated on the soundtracks of Oscar-wining and nominated films Atonement and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.   He was just 20 when he was invited to be a guest soloist with the Napa Valley Symphony Orchestra and performed the Saint-Saëns concerto that he will be playing this evening.  For a delightful rendition of that performance and Thibaudet’s long-abiding passion for Napa Valley, click here to read L. Pierce Carson’s article in the Napa Valley Register.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet on Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 5 – The Egyptian 

Samuel Barber / Violin Concerto, Op. 14:  Commissioned by Philadelphia soap magnate, Samuel Fels for Russian violinist Iso Briselli, this controversial concerto, completed in 1939, was subsequently rejected by the Russian virtuoso.  Its tragic lyricism is in large part due to its dramatic violin parts which should find their true intense expression under Sarah Chang. Since her debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of 8, Chang has performed with the greatest orchestras, conductors and accompanists internationally in a career spanning more than two decades.  Her latest recording of the Brahms and Bruch violin concertos (EMI, Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 / Brahms: Violin Concerto, 2009) has been voted one of the top 250 best recordings of all time in Gramophone magazine.  If you’ve never seen Chang perform live before, you’re in for a remarkable experience.  Her intense bow strikes often seem like attacks. Her restless stage presence includes bending backwards, flipping her hair and making anguished facial gestures all while donning a body-hugging evening gown.

Sarah Chang performs Bruch Violin Concerto 3rd Movement

Sarah Chang age 12 masters Paganini’s Violin Concerto

Details:  Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.edu, or over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040 or in person at the Box Office which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and one hour before all performances.

For more information about the Green Music Center, visit www.gmc.edu .

For more information about Festival del Sole, which runs through July 21, 2013 and presents over 60 events featuring the stars of music, dance and theatre, visit www.festivaldelsole.org .

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July 16, 2013 Posted by | Classical Music, Green Music Center | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Music Center’s Summer Season is around the corner—tickets are now on sale to the general public today

El Gusto Orchestra, a group of Jewish and Muslim artists separated by war in Algeria more than 50 years ago, will perform at Weill Hall on Sunday, August 11, 2103. Dubbed the “Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers,” their chaâbi music, the jazz of the orient, was once considered fairly scandalous as it was played mainly in the cannabis dens of the Casbah in Algiers.  Safinez Bousbia’s acclaimed documentary “El Gusto” (2012), which tells the musicians’ fascinating individual stories, will also screen.

El Gusto Orchestra, a group of Jewish and Muslim artists separated by war in Algeria more than 50 years ago, will perform at Weill Hall on Sunday, August 11, 2103. Dubbed the “Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers,” their chaâbi music, the jazz of the orient, was once considered fairly scandalous as it was played mainly in the cannabis dens of the Casbah in Algiers. Safinez Bousbia’s acclaimed documentary “El Gusto” (2012), which tells the musicians’ fascinating individual stories, will also screen.

Josh Groban, YoYo Ma and Goat Rodeo Sessions, Chris Botti, the Russian National Orchestra, El Gusto,  and a traditional 4th of July celebration are among the highlights of the Green Music Center’s inaugural summer season which was announced on April 23, 2013.   After offering first dibs on summer tickets to its high-level donors, followed by Mastercard holders, tickets are now on sale to the general public.  The stellar season features a nine-concert array of classical, orchestral, bluegrass and world music artists and represents an expansive and creative approach to musical entertainment offering some coveted big name draws and a sampling of some rare offerings of world music incuding El Gusto (the Good Mood), a reunited group of musicians from the Casbah of old Algiers that has been hailed as the Buena Vista Social Club of Algeria.  And like the Buena Vista Social Club, there’s a new documentary film by Safinez Bousbia that will screen in advance of their GMC performance that has largely been responsible for their re-launch.

The al fresco season takes full advantage of the wonderful Wine Country weather and lush accommodations of Weill Lawn, utilizing the expanded seating of the Green Music Center’s outdoor spaces for up to 6,000 patrons.  Many of those seats and outdoor tables allow for outdoor gourmet dining from Prelude, GMC’s culinary jewel.

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION: It all begins on July 4 with the revival of a community tradition – a family-friendly Independence Day orchestral concert amidst an afternoon of festivities, culminating in a dazzling fireworks display across the Sonoma County skies.

 THE MASTERCARD PERFORMANCE SERIES: HEADLINE CONCERTS

Josh Groban’s success as a singer and songwriter has extended beyond the classical genre and into the mainstream, following his rise to fame in the early 2000s with such Grammy-nominated singles as “You Raise Me Up.”   Dubbed the “love me tenor” by adoring female fans, he performs with the Santa Rosa Symphony led by conductor Sean O’Loughlin, on July 24 for the most intimate concert of his summer tour – and his only date in Northern California – produced by Rick Bartalini Presents.

Yo-Yo Ma liked Weill Hall so much in January that he’s coming back, with the renowned The Goat Rodeo Sessions, sharing the stage with bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer, and mandolin master Chris Thile.  Special guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan joins this innovative ensemble that blends bluegrass influences with classical traditions on August 23.   What’s a “goat rodeo,” you might wonder?   The term is from the world of aviation where so many things go wrong that a right move needs to made for it all not to end in disaster.  The group feels kinship with that concept and the name has suits highly their improvisational spproach to music and life.

Members of the Goat Rodeo Sessions performing “Attaboy,” from the Goat Rodeo Sessions Live.

Retro-pop orchestra Pink Martini delivers its genre-crossing blend of jazz, classical, cabaret and world music on July 14, for a performance the New York Times calls “a polyrhythmic, one-world cocktail,” and lead singer China Forbes describes as “uplifting, romantic, multi-lingual and melodic – and of course it makes you want to dance.”

American jazz-trumpeter Chris Botti has had widespread success in the pop-instrumental genre, releasing twelve solo albums and collaborating with Andrea Bocelli, Paul Simon, Sting, and many of the world’s leading orchestras. His August 25 concert concludes the MasterCard Performance Series Summer 2013 programming.

ORCHESTRAL OFFERINGS

The Green Music Center partners with Napa Valley Festival del Sole for a July 16 concert by the Grammy award-winning Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro and featuring Sarah Chang in Barber’s Violin Concerto and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in the rarely-performed Saint-Saëns “Egyptian” Piano Concerto No. 5.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet on Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 5 – The Egyptian 

The suspense, the drama, the horror, the sorrow, and the excitement— the movies we love feature memorable scores.  The San Francisco Symphony performs an evening of “Music from the Movies” on August 4 with guest conductor Sarah Hicks and a very special narrator, as tunes from the silver screen come to life in a program that parents will appreciate, and kids of all ages are sure to enjoy.

ACCLAIMED FILM PROJECT WITH ALGERIAN ORCHESTRA EL GUSTO

 In 2003, film director Safinez Bousbia stumbled upon the inspirational story of El Gusto, a group of Jewish and Muslim artists separated by war in Algeria more than 50 years ago but brought together by a shared passion for Chaâbi – a musical blend of Berber, Andalusian, and Flamenco-influenced sounds meaning “of the people.”

This moving ensemble has been called “The Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers” by Le Journal du Dimanche, and performs exclusively on the West Coast in Weill Hall, following performances at Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center.

Bousbia’s documentary, “El Gusto,” chronicles these musicians enduring friendships and the transcendent power of music.  A special screening of the film precedes their August 11 concert.  (Stay tuned to ARThound for special coverage.)

Josh Groban has sold more than 25 million records…his music famously puts women in the mood.  He performs at Green Music Center on July 24 with the Santa Rosa Symphony, his only performance in Northern CA this summer.

Josh Groban has sold more than 25 million records…his music famously puts women in the mood. Claim to fame: 2003 single “You Raise Me Up.” He performs at Green Music Center on July 24 with the Santa Rosa Symphony, his only performance in Northern CA this summer.

MUSIC FESTIVAL TIES WEILL HALL TO THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL

Following a week of workshops with faculty from The Juilliard School, participants of the innovative pianoSonoma workshop and music festival will culminate their experiences with a concert in Weill Hall on August 10. This educational program pairs pianists throughout the region with Juilliard faculty for private lessons, guided rehearsals, daily master-classes, and a final public performance.

This capstone concert concludes a robust lineup of music education classes, workshops, master classes, and amateur performances taking place throughout the Green Music Center from mid-June to August.

GMC SUMMER 2013 At A Glance

A Fourth of July Celebration: Thursday, July 4 at 730 pm
Fireworks to follow

Pink Martini: Sunday, July 14 at 4 pm

Russian National Orchestra
with Carlo Montanaro, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano, and
Sarah Chang, violin :Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30 pm

Josh Groban
and the Santa Rosa Symphony
with Sean O’Loughlin, conductor: 
Wednesday, July 24 at 7:30 pm

San Francisco Symphony “Music from the Movies”
with guest conductor Sarah Hicks:
Sunday, August 4 at 4 pm

pianoSonoma: Saturday, August 10 at 7 pm

El Gusto
Documentary film screening and concert: Sunday, August 11 at 4 pm

Goat Rodeo
Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile with guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan
Friday, August 23 at 7 pm

Chris Botti: Sunday, August 25 at 4 pm

TICKETS AND BOX OFFICE INFORMATION: General public sales begin Tuesday, May 14 at 10 a.m. There are no subscription sales for the summer season.

Single-ticket prices range from $5 to $225. Discounts are available for youth (ages 12 and under receive 50% off lawn seating only), SSU students (50% discount, limit one per student per event), SSU faculty and staff (20% discount, limit two per employee per event), and for SSU alumni (10% discount, valid Alumni Association card required). Discounts do not apply to reduced-price events including pianoSonoma and El Gusto.

Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.edu, or over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Box Office is located in the interior of the Sonoma State University campus – ticket windows adjacent to the Green Music Center are only open prior to performances.

May 14, 2013 Posted by | Chamber Music, Classical Music, Film, Jazz Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment