Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Monday Link Round Up: February 27, 2017

by sarah - February 27th, 2017

News to start your week!

The Oscars happened Sunday night – and Mica Levi was nominated for best film score for Jackie.  In recognition of her nomination, The New Yorker has a profile of the musician and composer.

Also in The New Yorker, Alex Ross explores Kate Soper’s new work and “philosophy-opera” Ipsa Dexit which was recently presented by Wet Ink (a contemporary music ensemble) in New York City.  Read on about this complex and sophisticated work here.

Women’s History Month is quickly approaching, and with it comes the Women Composers Festival of Hartford!  The lineup this year of performers, presenters, and composers is outstanding as always – an event not to be missed!  Tickets are on sale now!

The Boston Classical Review offers their review of the world premiere of Sophia Gubaidulina’s Triple Concerto as performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Read on here. Also, on the same event, the Boston Musical Intelligencer,   This was an big event (in terms of gender equity issues) since it the BSO’s ONLY female composer of the season (although this fact was not observed by either online journal).  And here is discussion of is the 85-year old composer being awarded an honorary degree at the New England Conservatory.

NPR’s Deceptive Cadence featured a new choral work by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Caroline Shaw as performed The Crossing, a Philadelphia based choir with a new album of contemporary choral works.  The concept for album is based off of several cantatas by Buxtahude, known as the Membra Jesu nostri patientis sanctissima, with contemporary composers exploring the same themes.  The new album was released on February 24, but listen to a taste of Shaw’s contribution below!

New Work by Libby Larsen performed by North State Symphony

by Liane Curtis - February 26th, 2017

Last night (Feb. 24) in Chico, CA, the North State Symphony gave an enthralling area premiere of a new work by composer Libby LarsenDancing Man Rhapsody was written for violinist Terri Baune (Concertmaster of the North State Symphony) and commissioned by the NSS together with several other California orchestras.  Baune was the Concertmaster of The Women’s Philharmonic and has known Larsen for many years.  Maestro Scott Seaton is in his second year as Music Director of the NSS, and is infusing a new energy into the orchestra with his innovative programming, and lively rapport with audiences and the musicians.  The program also featured another recent work, Schism, by David Biedenbender, as well as Rimsky-Korskaov’s Snow Maiden Suite and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 (Spring).

Dancing Man Rhapsody  has five sections, with descriptive titles, played without a break.  The opening (“Dancing Man”) is playful, with its startling offbeat finger-snaps and a swinging line in the solo.  Then “A Sudden Conga” breaks out with a Latin percussion riff, and violin and brass in vigorous exchanges.  A jazzy plucked string bass gives a continuous pulse to the next section, while the strings soar in searing melodies. Here, the intense lyricism infuses the music with a rich, building, philosophical introspection.  The warmth of the string timbre, and the musicality of the entire orchestra in shaping the long lines gave depth and insight to this central passage.

Composer Libby Larsen

Some spontaneous cadenza-like solos transition to a faster repeated rhythm, and a section (“Backwards in High Heels”) rife with quotations – the repeated notes become the “Chopsticks” theme, and there are references to children’s songs, Mozart, Gershwin (and others). The solo violin interjects with jazzy riffs, and as if (paradoxically) the quotations have unleashed the music, it builds with a wild, exhilarating energy.  The last section (“Dancin’ with Kravitz,” a reference to Funk musician Lenny Kravitz) cavorts and spirals with a stomping, fervent drive until ending with one final explosive violin solo.  Terry Baune was incandescent as the soloist in this demanding work, incorporating jazz, classical and rock idioms, and Maestro Seaton led the orchestra with great flexibility and power.

Dancing Man Rhapsody is an engaging work I want to hear again, so I hope it will be dancing across the country soon!

Recent book (and CDs) feature composer Marie Jaëll (1846-1925)

by Liane Curtis - February 25th, 2017

The French musical world had a large number of notable women composers in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, as Florence Launay has pointed out.  Augusta Holmès, Cécile Chaminade, and Lili Boulanger come to mind in particular.  Now a detailed study has brought to light one more: Marie Jaëll (1846-1925). If her name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Jaëll was a prominent pianist and member of the Liszt circle. Her books on piano technique are admired even today. But it turns out that she was also an extremely interesting composer.

Evidence of this is presented in a 3-CD album (published with a small hardcover book, bi-lingual in French and English) produced by the Center for French Romantic Music, which is located at the Palazzetto Bru Zane in Venice. The CDs offer the two piano concertos, the cello concerto, and numerous tightly constructed and surprisingly experimental-sounding pieces for piano solo. Jaëll’s literary leanings are evident in the titles of the solo pieces (many refer to Dante’s Divine Comedy) and in a fascinating song cycle, La légende des ours (The Legend of the Bears), on poems of her own about a volcanic and finally brutal love affair. The CD set is reviewed at NewYorkArts.net by Ralph P. Locke (professor emeritus at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music and Research Affiliate at the University of Maryland). Liszt called Marie Jaëll a “brave, ambitious, and subtle composer.” The new 3-CD set, as Locke’s review explains, helps us see what in particular Liszt probably appreciated in her remarkable works.  In the upcoming International Liszt Symposium, Locke will be discussing Jaëll, and mentioning in particular some of her works that showed a modern stylistic direction.

The elegant CD/book set is available here (as well as on Amazon.)

Marie Jaëll



CSUF New Music Festival

by sarah - February 22nd, 2017

Today marks the beginning of the 16th annual California State University – Fullerton New Music Festival.  The five day event is always an amazing opportunity to engage with a huge range of new music.  This year’s festival is titled “To the ends of the earth: Music from Iceland to Australia and Beyond” and is dedicated to the memory of Pauline Oliveros, who was the founding composer in residence.

The 2017 festival features Annie Gosfield as Composer in Residence, but will also include music by Pamela Madsen, Pauline Oliveros, Sarah Belle Reid, Fay Wang, Kate Moore, Anna Clyne, Fjola Evans, Kate Neal, Vanessa Tomlinson, Paola Prestini, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir among others.

The festival runs from February 22 to February 26, with fantastic opportunities to hear a wide variety of ensembles and new works – including several world premieres.  Find out information about all of the coming concerts, and the composers whose works are being heard, at the CSUF New Music Festival website.


New Music Festival dedicated to Pauline Oliveros

by Liane Curtis - February 21st, 2017

16th Annual Festival of New Music at California State University, Fullerton – Feb. 22-26
“To the Ends of the Earth: Music from Iceland to Australia and Beyond”

This year’s festival is dedicated in loving memory of Pauline Oliveros, founding composer-in-residence. The Festival features Composer-in-Residence Annie Gosfield, whose music is often inspired by the inherent beauty of found sounds.
Dr. Pamela Madsen, Artistic Director.

Featured concerts include: CSUF New Music Ensemble,  Friday, February 24, 2017 • 8pm, Meng Concert Hall
University Symphony Orchestra
Concert features Pauline Oliveros’  Tuning Meditation for Orchestra
Kimo Furumoto, conductor
Sunday, February 26, 2017 • 4pm
Meng Concert Hall.

More information is here!