LA Philharmonic's 2007-08 Season to Feature Sibelius, Saariaho and Stucky

Classic Arts News   LA Philharmonic's 2007-08 Season to Feature Sibelius, Saariaho and Stucky
The Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2007-08 season, its 16th under music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, will feature an in-depth survey of the music of Sibelius, a residency by Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and premieres by Oliver Knussen, Steven Stucky and Kaija Saariaho.

During a series of concerts called "Sibelius Unbound," the Finnish composer's symphonies and other works will be paired with music by composers he influenced, including Stucky and Saariaho. On October 5 (the season opens the day before with a gala concert with Ren_e Fleming) Salonen will lead the U.S. premiere of Saariaho's oratorio, La Passion de Simone, with soprano Dawn Upshaw. Later in the season Salonen will conduct his own Wing on Wing and the world premiere of Stucky's Radical Light for orchestra.

Salonen and the Philharmonic will take the "Sibelius Unbound" repertoire to Europe, with residencies in Paris at the Salle Pleyel and in London at the Barbican Centre, where soprano Karita Mattila joins the orchestra for Quatre Instants, a song cycle Saariaho composed for her. Single concerts follow in Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon.

Other highlights of the Sibelius festival include tenor Ben Heppner making his Walt Disney Concert Hall debut with Sibelius songs (orchestrated by John Estacio), on a program with the composer's Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6.

"For a Finn, I discovered Sibelius relatively late in life," says Salonen. "In my early twenties, I thought that his music represented everything I disagreed with compositionally. But getting to know Sibelius's style and musical language has been a life-long journey of study and reflection. Now, more than a quarter-century later, I have gained a gradual deepening, understanding and admiration of his music."

Guest conductor David Robertson will curate a multi-disciplinary festival called Concrete Frequency, which includes the world premiere of a Philharmonic-commissioned collaboration between composer Michael Gordon and filmmaker Bill Morrison exploring Los Angeles. Works by Copland, Crumb, Zappa, Feldman, Ives, Benjamin, Berio, Boulez and Varse will also be performed.

Robertson comments, "Our urban environment has been looked at from two different viewpoints: a place to flee or the place to be. From the 'Twilight Zone' quality of the Crumb to the fascination with cities reaching for the sky which so inspired Varse, these composers use the city as a canvas on which to paint their ideas."

An International Youth Orchestra Festival at Walt Disney Concert Hall will feature Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel and Charles Dutoit conducting, respectively, the Sibelius Academy Festival Symphony Orchestra, the Sim‹n Bol‹var Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and the Verbier Festival Orchestra. The Philharmonic will host symposia with prominent music educators including Jos_ Antonio Abreu, the founder of Venezuela's unique state-supported music education system. Salonen and his former instructor, Jorma Panula (who also taught Osmo V‹nsk‹, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Mikko Franck), will lead two master classes for conducting students at the Colburn School.

Dudamel will also lead the Philharmonic in two weeks of subscription concerts, including major works of the French repertoire as well as Bart‹k's Violin Concerto No. 2 with Leila Josefowicz as soloist.

Newly appointed assistant conductor Lionel Bringuier begins his tenure leading two youth concerts with music by Sibelius; he will also conduct violinist Jennifer Koh and percussionist Steven Schick in Saariaho's Graal th_ê¢tre, Six Japanese Gardens, and NoaNoa.

World premieres on the LA Philharmonic schedule include a new arrangement by Stucky (who will be celebrating his 20th anniversary with the orchestra) of Stravinsky's Les Noces, as well as Oliver Knussen's Cello Concerto; Harold Meltzer's Piano Concerto for chamber ensemble and piano; a work by Gabriela Lena Frank scored for soprano, percussion and two pianos; and a piece for solo organ by Terry Riley.

U.S. premieres include a 30-minute work for 14 instruments and video by Thomas Ads and video artist Tal Rosner (conducted by Ads); West Coast premieres include Salonen's Piano Concerto; Colin Matthews's arrangements of selected piano Preludes by Debussy; Stucky's Piano Quartet and his Dialoghi for solo cello; James Matheson's Songs of Desire, Love and Loss; and Susan Botti's Jabberwocky.

Making their Philharmonic debuts will be violinist Janine Jansen and trumpeter Alison Balsom and conductors Semyon Bychkov and Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Returning to the orchestra are conductors James Conlon, Christoph von Dohnšnyi, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Ivšn Fischer, Zubin Mehta and Edo de Waart; and instrumental soloists including flautist James Galway; violinists Itzhak Perlman, Leila Josefowicz and Christian Tetzlaff; and pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Leif Ove Andsnes and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

The visiting orchestra lineup includes the St. Petersburg Philharmonic led by Yuri Temirkanov; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam led by Mariss Jansons; the Philharmonia Orchestra led by Christoph von Dohnšnyi and the China Philharmonic Orchestra led by Long Yu with pianist Lang Lang.

The Philharmonic's "Baroque Variations" series will offer four concerts, including a performance of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, in a staging by Jonathan Miller, with Mark Tucker in the title role and Philip Pickett leading the New London Consort, in honor of the 400th anniversary of that opera's 1607 premiere; Jordi Savall and his ensemble Hesperion XXI, with soprano Montserrat Figueras, in a Christopher Columbus-themed program; violinist Fabio Biondi and the ensemble Europa Galante playing Vivaldi, Leclair and Purcell; and Ads on piano with members of the Philharmonic in his own Sonata da caccia alongside music by Couperin.

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