Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

On the Horizon

February 08, 2007

Members of the LA Philharmonic
with Sir Neville Marriner
Photo: mine 2007
After the sizable disappointment of the LA Opera 07/08 Season announcement a few weeks back, it was heartening to get the LA Philharmonic 07/08 mailing this week. Although not as overall immediately exciting as last two seasons, there are a number of what promises to be must-see events. Clearly there are some details yet to be hammered out in this schedule that was sent out to renewing subscribers early this year; more so than normal. But already, there will be plenty of new and recent music and other challenging programming to look forward to.

The season starts out with “Sibelius Unbound”- a series of programs conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen that will feature all of Sibelius’ symphonies paired with other works. The other works in these programs will include a new piece from Steven Stucky, Salonen’s own Wing on Wing and other works from Sibelius including songs to be performed by Ben Heppner. Salonen will also lead local premieres of Saariaho’s La Passion de Simone with Dawn Upshaw and his own Piano Concerto with Yefim Bronfman as well as the world premiere of Oliver Knussen’s Cello Concerto with Anssi Karttunen. In the new music “Green Umbrella” series there will be programs dedicated to works by Saariaho, Salonen, Stucky and a new commission from Thomas Adès with video artist Tal Rosner.

One of the two other major programming concepts next season is “Concrete Frequency”- three programs conducted by David Robertson that are described as an examination of “the elements that define cities [their italics] and how those qualities are affected by, and reflected in, music.” While this seems a rather spurious concept, it does include some rather interesting and unusual works like Feldman’s The Turfan Fragments, Benjamin’s Palimpsest I and II, Boulez’ ”…explosante-fixe…”, Frank Zappa’s Dupree’s Paradise, Crumb’s A Haunted Landscape, and a new music/video work from Michael Gordon and Bill Morrison. At the other pole programming-wise is the International Youth Orchestra Festival, which will feature performances of much more standard fare, including Beethoven and Mahler’s 5th symphonies as performed by the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra under Salonen’s direction and two shows from the Simòn Bolivar National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela with Gustavo Dudamel conducting.

Dudamel will also head up a star-studded list of visiting conductors including Iván Fischer, Jonathan Nott, Edo de Waart, Zubin Mehta, Nicholas McGegan, Charles Dutoit, James Conlon, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, and even Lorin Maazel who will lead a performance of Britten’s War Requiem. Of course there is no shortage of celebrity instrumentalists and vocalists either. Renée Fleming will help kick off the season at the opening gala concert and other visiting vocalists will include Anthony Dean Griffey and Lilli Paasikivi in a Salonen-led performance of Das Lied von der Erde. András Schiff will give four solo recitals as part of a two-year cycle of all the Beethoven piano sonatas and the WDCH stage will also be graced by old-stand-bys Lang Lang and Midori as well as Leif Ove Andsnes, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Christian Tetzlaff, Olivier Latry, Vadim Repin, Leila Josefowicz, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. All and all not too shabby.

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