Salonen to lead SF Symphony; Bryce Dessner to have role

Esa-Pekka Salonen has been named as the next music director of the San Francisco Symphony, succeeding Michael Tilson Thomas. And in what seems to be a trend, the orchestra will take on the new approach of having an artistic leadership team with a group of eight collaborative members, who will “reimagine” the role of the orchestra.

Aaron and Bryce Dessner performed Bryce Dessner’s “St. Carolyn by the Sea” with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Photo courtesy of CSO

One of those is Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner, of the band The National. Of course, most of us know that he is also an excellent classical composer and curator, whose music has been premiered by the Cincinnati Symphony.

The Finnish conductor Salonen will serve as Music Director Designate for the next year and half, and will become the 12th Music Director in the illustrious 107-year history of the San Francisco Symphony.

His tenure as Music Director will begin in September 2020 following the conclusion of Thomas’ remarkable 25-year tenure.

In a statement, the orchestra says that “Esa-Pekka values a collaborative approach to artistic leadership and music making. Together, the SFS and Esa-Pekka Salonen will reimagine the role of a symphony orchestra in our community and in today’s world.”

The new partners come from a variety of cultural disciplines. They are pianist, film producer, and composer of award-winning film scores Nicholas Britell; soprano and curator Julia Bullock, who has made social consciousness and activism fundamental to her work; flutist, educator, and advocate for new and experimental music Claire Chase; composer, new music curator, and member of The National Bryce Dessner; violinist, musical director, and artistic trailblazer Pekka Kuusisto; composer and genre-breaking collaborator Nico Muhly; artificial intelligence entrepreneur and roboticist Carol Reiley; and jazz bassist, vocalist, and undefinable artist Esperanza Spalding.

Salonen will lead the orchestra in concerts on January, 18, 19, and 20, 2019.

Advertisements

Review: Terrific all-Russian concert at CSO

Click here to read the review of pianist Yevgeny Sudbin with the Cincinnati Symphony, led by guest maestro Hannu Lintu this morning in Music Hall.

Yevgeny Sudbin wowed in his CSO debut, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Photo by Lee Snow

Reviews on the Cincinnati Business Courier website are supported by the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

My picks in the coming week

As always, Cincinnati offers myriad choices of things to do in the fall season. Here are just a few options that you might want to try.

Cincinnati Ballet’s “Peter Pan,” with a charming musical score composed by Carmon DeLeone, honors the maestro in its performances this weekend for his unprecedented 50 years as the Ballet’s music director. The dancing crocodile is one of my personal favorites. Thursday through Sunday in Music Hall. Tickets: cballet.org or call 513-621-5282.

Christian McBride. Photo provided

The great jazz bassist Christian McBride has shared the stage with jazz legends like Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock or Pat Metheny; pop giants like James Brown, Sting andThe Roots; and classical artists like Kathleen Battle, Edgar Meyer or the Shanghai Quartet. He visits the Xavier Jazz Series, 8 p.m. Oct. 27 in Gallagher Theater on the XU campus. Tickets: xavier.edu/musicseries

Cincinnati native and rising conductor Isaac Selya has just returned from making his debut with the Deustche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (yes, Paavo’s orchestra).

Next, he says, “I’m jumping straight into the next Queen City Opera program.” This one will be operatic selections featuring 11 emerging artists, accompanied by full orchestra. Eight of them trained at CCM; the other three trained at Indiana University, University of Kentucky, and Miami University in Oxford.

The concert will also feature the Xavier University Concert Choir,

Isaac Selya

singing in “Habanera” from Carmen. There will be a rare chance to hear the Council Chamber Scene from Simon Boccanegra, which ends with a soft entreaty for peace.

Just one performance: 3 p.m. Sunday, October 28 at the Sanctuary at Community Matters (2110 Saint Michael Street, 45204). To read the details on the repertoire and the performers click here.
Tessa Lark
Violinist Tessa Lark returns to the Queen City (where she trained at CCM) to star in Matinee Musicale’s 106th season, 2 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Anderson Center, 7850 Five Mile Road. Since her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony at age 16, the Kentucky native is the recipient of a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant and was silver medalist in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and winner of the 2012 Naumberg International Violin Competition. She recently acquired a very special new violin from the Stradivari Society of Chicago. Read about it here. Andrew Armstrong collaborates at the piano. Here’s the program:
Suite Italienne……………………Igor Stravisky (1882-1971)

Appalachian Fantasy…………….Tessa Lark

Sonata in A major………………..César Franck (1822-1890)

Sonata No. 9, Op. 47 “Kreutzer”.. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Visit matineemusicalecincinnati.org for tickets or purchase at the door.

 

Where are the reviews?

Joshua Bell performing Sibelius with the CSO. Photo by Lee Snow

Some of you have asked me where to find symphony reviews. Thanks to a grant from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, they can be found on the Cincinnati Business Courier’s new Arts Front, which is free to read. (You may need to register for a FREE subscription).

Here’s the season so far:

‘Hamilton’ star Leslie Odom Jr. is electric in debut with Pops: There’s no question that there is life after “Hamilton” for Leslie Odom Jr., the Broadway star who played Aaron Burr in the hip-hop sensation until two years ago. The only question was whether the Tony- and Grammy-winning singer-actor would make it to Cincinnati in time for his Cincinnati Pops debut on Friday after Hurricane Florence canceled his flight. Review.

French program offers festive kickoff to CSO season: The French music, which demands both clarity and atmosphere, revealed that the orchestra is adjusting to Springer Auditorium’s new acoustics as it begins its second season in the hall following a transformational renovation. Review.

Joshua Bell dazzles, ‘Rite’ impresses in CSO’s season opener: It was vibrant, athletic playing. Bell leaned back, crouched, turned to the orchestra and mopped his brow between movements. The slow movement was warm and dark, and he smiled as he played its expressive themes. He soared brilliantly through the diabolical virtuosities of the finale, almost dancing along with the timpani beats that open the movement (Patrick Schleker). Review.

‘Dharma at Big Sur’ a mesmerizing experience in CSO’s all-American program: John Adams’ inspiration for the piece was Jack Kerouac’s description of the rugged California coastline at Big Sur as well as the beat poet’s interest in Buddhism. For this performance, the CSO also engaged video artist Adam Larsen to create projections that played on three screens above the orchestra. Review.

Read about this weekend’s soloist, principal violist Christian Colberg: CSO violist enjoying life after near-death scare. Click here for the story.

WGUC to air ‘Leonard Bernstein: A Legacy ‘ on Sunday

Leonard Bernstein conducting, provided/Paul de Hoeck, courtesy of the Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.

WGUC (90.9-FM) continues its “100 Days of Bernstein” celebrating the centennial year of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a special program, “Leonard Bernstein: A Legacy,” airing at 8 p.m. Sunday night Aug. 19.

Produced by WGUC music director, Jessica Lorey in collaboration with Naomi Lewin, Stephen Baum, and hosted by Brian O’Donnell, “Leonard Bernstein: A Legacy” will bring you a wide range of Bernstein music as well as insights from musicians, conductors, and academics with local ties who knew, worked with, or studied the man many called Lenny.

You’ll hear remarks from:Read More »

Music critic Mary Ellyn Hutton: ‘The community was enriched by her knowledge’

Mary Ellyn Hutton wrote music criticism for 23 years for the Cincinnati Post.

Mary Ellyn Hutton will be remembered as a journalist with unflagging dedication to Cincinnati’s musical arts. The longtime classical music critic for the Cincinnati Post continued to cover the classical scene for more than a decade after the demise of Cincinnati’s afternoon newspaper in 2007.

She died surrounded by her family on May 28 after a battle with lung cancer. The Hyde Park resident was 77.Read More »

May Festival’s first season with Mena emphasized community

Links to my festival reviews for Cincinnati Business Courier are below:

John Holiday stepped in to sing wonderfully in Chichester Psalms when David Daniels could not apear on Friday. Photos are provided by the Cincinnati May Festival

The 2018 May Festival ended on Saturday night with a terrific performance of Handel’s Messiah, in which 170 community singers joined the May Festival Chorus.

Juanjo Mena led a stylish performance with a reduced Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and a smaller chorus (about 65 singers) surrounding the orchestra on risers. Stationed up high in Music Hall’s gallery were guest choruses, who participated in excerpts of the oratorio. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised from my seat — also in the gallery — that their ensemble was clean and they sang exceedingly well, as did the May Festival Chorus.

The May Festival Chorus on risers, with Juanjo Mena and soloists walking offstage

The soloists were superb — including soprano Robin Johannsen, tenor Barry Banks and baritone José Antonio López. What a thrill it was to hear countertenor David Daniels — who had canceled due to illness on Friday — appear on Saturday to sing brilliantly in airs such as “O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion.” I especially enjoyed his wonderful embellishments to his vocal lines.

Highly-trained community choruses flanked the stage, seated in the gallery.

Mena propelled tempos briskly, and kept the vocal and instrumental articulation crisp. It was an uplifting conclusion to his first year as principal conductor.

May Festival articles

The tradition of little flowers girls/boys is still alive at the May Festival

I have reviewed three May Festival concerts for the Cincinnati Business Courier, thanks to support from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism.

REVIEW: Eun Sun Kim makes stunning debut in Verdi’s Requiem at May Festival

REVIEW: Bernstein’s ‘Mass’ an over-the-top ‘happening’ at May Festival

REVIEW: Juanjo Mena makes joyous debut as new May Festival leader

Leonard Bernstein’s Mass in Music Hall for the first time since 1972

And thanks to grants from ArtsWave and the Haile Foundation, you may view the Courier’s arts page for FREE. Click here for much more arts coverage, including other May Festival stories.