Weekly Magazine

NEW THIS WEEK

MONTEREY COUNTY 8TH GRADERS SAW HAMILTON LIVE IN SF

NINE THOUSAND PUBLIC & PRIVATE SCHOOL 8th graders in Monterey County went by bus to San Francisco last fall to see Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. This Saturday, May 23, watch the must-see, one-hour documentary on Estrella TV at 9am, or Central Coast ABC at 6:30pm.

 

MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL “POSTPONED”

THE 2020 FESTIVAL has been canceled until Sept. 24-26, 2021. Festival Artistic Director Tim Jackson hopes to restore the 2020 lineup next year.

WILL COVID-19 DERAIL STUDENT CAREERS?

THE IMPACT on performing arts students in shuttered high schools. Click HERE

NO HIGHER EDUCATION ON CAMPUS TILL 2021

USC EMERITUS PROFESSOR William G Tierney argues that returning to campuses this fall is not viable. The only option until then is online course offerings. And that will include a tuition increase. Click HERE

THIS WEDNESDAY’S SMUIN DANCE

SMUIN CONTEMPORARY BALLET offers Amy Seiwert’s Renaissance (photo above by Chris Hardy) as the next installment of its Hump Day Ballets series, which aims to brighten mid-week spirits with free video streaming of a ballet from the Company’s archives. Departing Smuin to lead Sacramento Ballet after ten years as its Choreographer in Residence, master dancemaker Seiwert returned in April 2019 to help celebrate Smuin’s 25th anniversary season. This “timeless” (San Francisco Chronicle) world premiere work set to the music of Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble was inspired by a 385-mile protest wall formed by women in India on New Year’s Day 2019. Renaissance will be offered beginning Wednesday, May 20, 2020, accompanied by a video introduction by current Smuin dancers Terez Dean Orr, Tessa Barbour, and Peter Kurta. The recorded performance will be available for 48 hours only, with streaming instructions announced through Smuin’s email list (sign up at smuinballet.org), or via Smuin’s Facebook (facebook.com/SmuinBallet) and Instagram (instagram.com/smuinballet).

SPECTORDANCE WINS STATE ARTS GRANT

ON MAY 5, the California Arts Council announced a grant award of $19,000 to SpectorDance as part of its Sea Change & Monterey Ocean Arts Festival program. SpectorDance will take the next steps in their evolving efforts to bring together art+science+community by producing performances and offering opportunities for people of all ages to engage in the arts. With the CAC funding, SpectorDance will create Sea Change, a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest where the storm from the original play will be a metaphor for climate change and the magic that Prospero employs to deal with his shipwreck is the power of art.

RIGHT WHERE I AM

WRITTEN AND PERFORMED by River Navaille, joined by Razzvio, James Lee Murray, Taylor Rae and Leche Malo.

 

OUR READERS’ FEEDBACK

THANKS FOR putting (the Weekly Magazine) out. Especially impressive to still have it be so worth reading during these times of no publically-attended live performances! ~Astrid Holberg

I HAD SUCH a wonderful time reading and listening to today’s issue (May 12) of PAMB that I forgot for an hour or so that we are all being denied live performances for the time being! Thank you for the wonderful distraction! Joe and I share your feelings about Max and his departure. We have never felt closer to a conductor. He and Mary even attended a couple of my performances! ~ Linda Hancock, The Listening Place Readers Theater

THANKS FOR that wonderful paean to Max Bragado. He has remade our orchestra into the hypnotizing, coruscating musical ensemble that is second to none in the state. Thanks for expressing your appreciation of it. He will be sorely missed. ~ Susan Britton, Britton Design

CONDUCTOR BRAGADO-DARMAN BIDS ADIÓS

HIS LAST PERFORMANCE was to have been for school students yesterday.

 

MESSAGE FROM THE CABRILLO FESTIVAL 

“CABRILLO FISTIVAL invited violinist Matt Albert to create a special message and performance video directed specifically to Festival donors who contributed gifts at this challenging time. Cabrillo Festival has been posting incredible online content free of charge on a weekly basis, but the content posted by PAMB was private and therefore taken down at the Festival’s request. PAMB readers and the broader community are welcome to hours of incredible musical and educational content via this Festival link. Thanks for your understanding.” Ellen Primack, Executive Director

WHAT ARTISTS DO WHILE STUCK AT HOME

TERRENCE FARRELL, well-known Monterey Bay guitarist and teacher at CSU Monterey Bay, is “Doing a Joseph Campbell and following my bliss. Teaching and performing has fallen off a cliff.” While teaching online, Terrence is working on a new composition, Dancing into the Light, “a metaphor on what’s going on right now. It has a somber minor/modal nostalgic beginning and ends in the light as we come out of the mire! Either that or I’ll just call it Waltz.” He has several compositions dedicated to him that he needs to edit and has some “musical postcards” to record with pictorial images from his travels.

FREE IMPROVISATIONAL JAZZ

NEW RULES made up on the fly.

 

HARPIST EMILY LEVIN’S ENCHANTED IDEA

THE DALLAS SYMPHONY harpist explains, “About a month into our mandatory break from performing, after some frenzied brainstorming, I wrote my colleagues to ask if they would be interested in putting together a virtual orchestra performance. The responses started coming in as soon as I hit “send” — one after another, each person enthusiastically offering to help. I asked the 23 people who responded to record their part to Ravel’s Le Jardin Féerique (The Fairy Garden) and send it to me so I could edit them together. Preparing and recording a video was already a large time commitment. I expected my colleagues to simply send me their recordings. That’s not what happened. Instead, the string players worked together to coordinate their bowings. The woodwinds came up with recording systems that allowed them to tune to one another. Players recorded multiple takes and created videos of the highest musical and technical quality. They went to extraordinary lengths to make the project a success.”

 

WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF THAT?

CARLO FUORTES, head of Opera di Roma, has announced a plan to stage operas in the Piazza di Siena, in the park of Villa Borghese. The plan has the approval of the mayor’s scientific advisers and the space will accommodate 1,000 distanced spectators. The first opera will be Verdi’s Rigoletto with Luca Salsi and Vittorio Grigolo and conductor Daniele Gatti.

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

NEW ENGLAND TRIOS

COMPOSER WALTER PISTON (1894-1976) is best known for the suite from the ballet The Incredible Flutist of 1938. It’s also safe to say that it and the large body of his orchestra, band and concertante music is better known on the East Coast, having been composed for the Boston, Pittsburgh and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, among others. Born in Maine, Piston studied at Harvard then spent the next 34 years teaching there. (He also studied with Nadia Boulanger, Paul Dukas and George Enescu.)  Leonard Bernstein was a pupil. Ronald Perera also studied at Harvard, but with composers Leon Kirchner and Randall Thompson. The two Piston trios date respectively from 1935 and 1966 (six years after he retired.) All of these works, expertly played by Joel Pitchon (violin), Marie-Volcy Pelletier (cello) and Yu-Mei Wei (piano), display excellent craftsmanship and character, each containing its own treasures within clear classical techniques. The earlier Piston, in four movements, begins with a restless allegro, followed by a circumspect adagio that favors the cello, then a manic, syncopated ‘scherzo’ that is highly suggestive of Bernstein’s dance music. Bernstein was still a student when he composed his Trio in 1937, his earliest work currently in print. At the time, Piston said, “There wasn’t much to teach him, he knew it all by instinct.” The opening movement, harmonically ambivalent, scurries about like a steeplechase in miniature. Not surprisingly for the composer, it comes into focus as a fugue, which then becomes a chorale with a soaring violin solo. The second movement opens with a bluesy march that would later show up in the composer’s On the Town; it ends with a quote from Three Blind Mice. The final movement will immediately call to mind “Somewhere” from West Side Story. Jazz and klezmer music inflect the bass line as things turn molto ritmico. The first movement is briefly recalled and the piece ends with a Broadway flourish. Perera’s Trio opens incisively (Incisivo) but with abruptly changing meters and syncopations that add a measure of nervous anxiety. The middle cantabile movement was adapted from a scene for baritone and orchestra from an earlier work, The White Whale, in which Captain Ahab unburdens his soul to Starbuck. Strangely, the violin melody sounds suspiciously like a Bernstein scene. The final movement is marked scorrevole—sliding—and extends the work’s overall cat-and-mouse unease. You can get it from wherever Bridge Records are sold. SM

WESTERN ORPHEUS

THIS CD on the Fleur de Son Classics label offers an excellent sampling of music by American composer David Ward-Steinman (1936-2015) including his Elegy for Astronauts (depicted on the cover) written after the Challenger disaster in 1986 and performed by the Moravian Philharmonic, Moiré of 1984 as performed by the eight-member San Diego New Music Ensemble, The Tale of Issoumbochi, based on a Japanese fairy tale, of 1968 with the SD New Music Ensemble, soprano Richelle Triglia and narrator Jonathan McMurtry, and the concert suite from the ballet Western Orpheus of 1965 performed by the California Ballet Orchestra conducted by Donald Barra. Conductor for the first two is David Amos. The composer is featured as pianist with the New Music Ensemble. Ward-Steinman’s music is a pleasure to hear, with excellent craft and imaginative musical storytelling in equal measure. SM

PROFESSOR OF RHETORIC ROBERT PALMER

FROM 1978

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor