by Jarrett Hoffman
IN THIS EDITION:
•Tonight: Apollo’s Fire, Verona Quartet, Cleveland Orchestra, No Exit with Zeitgeist, and a TMA Black History Month concert
•News: Applications for EMA’s Emerging Artists Showcase, and the latest from Canton Symphony’s Orchestrating Change
•Almanac: Kreisler & Heifetz, Oppens & Harrison, and Palestrina
Five concerts fill the schedule tonight. You can choose between two events in Akron (Apollo’s Fire in a chamber program titled “Muse of Fire,” and a Tuesday Musical Association concert celebrating Black History Month), one in Oberlin (the Verona Quartet), and two in Cleveland (The Cleveland Orchestra, and the combination of No Exit and St. Paul-based Zeitgeist). Pictured above: pianist Damien Sneed, who is part of the TMA program.
Applications are open through April 3 for Early Music America’s Emerging Artists Showcase, which shines a spotlight on rising stars of early music and historical performance. Three artists or ensembles will be selected, and the Showcase will take place in Boston on October 26. Grant money is available to help with travel expenses. More details here.
This past weekend, the Canton Symphony released a new episode of Orchestrating Change, their podcast advocating for greater diversity within the orchestral world. In this episode, hosts Rachel Hagemeier and Matthew Jaroszewicz are joined by Blake-Anthony Johnson, CEO of the Chicago Sinfonietta. Check it out on YouTube.
Among today’s honorees are two of the most famous violinists in history. Fritz Kreisler was born on February 2, 1875 in Vienna, while Jascha Heifetz followed suit on this date in 1901 in Vilnius, in what is now Lithuania. A quarter-century apart in age, the two were still great admirers of each other. In fact, after Heifetz’s Carnegie Hall debut in 1917, Kreisler remarked, “We might as well take our fiddles and break them across our knees.”
Kreisler was also a composer, so as tribute to them both, listen to Heifetz play his elder’s lesser-known Reccitativo and Scherzo, Op. 6 here.
Another decorated performer on the list is New York City-born pianist Ursula Oppens, who turns 79, and who is especially renowned for commissioning and performing the music of many of the great composers of the 20th and 21st centuries — including John Adams, Luciano Berio, William Bolcom, Anthony Braxton, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, Anthony Davis, John Harbison, Laura Kaminsky, Tania Leon, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, Meredith Monk, Conlon Nancarrow, Bernard Rands, Frederic Rzewski, Alvin Singleton, and Joan Tower.
One name that is absent from that list is Lou Harrison, who died on this date in 2003 in Lafayette, Indiana, and who is best known for the unique ways in which he combined East and West in his music. But, Oppens has given notable performances Harrison’s Piano Concerto, among other works. Listen here, where Oppens is joined by the Filarmonica della Scala under the direction of Dennis Russell Davies.
Going back in time, we end with Italian composer Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina, who died on this date in 1594 in Rome. He’s considered perhaps the greatest European composer of the late 16th century, and as Daniel Hathaway wrote in a previous almanac, “The quality of his counterpoint marked the culmination of Italian Renaissance church music.”
Here’s a local performance for you: click here to listen to Quire Cleveland sing the motet Sicut cervus from Motectorum liber secundus under guest conductor Jameson Marvin at Historic St. Peter’s Church in 2013.