Weekly Update, Oct 1, 2013

Philip Glass, Vadym Kholodenko & Jeffrey Kahane

glass20110611-16.jpgPhilip Glass and the Days & Nights string ensemble

Films with music by Philip Glass are being shown free of charge during this week’s Days & Nights Festival. But it’s the two ensemble concerts that promise to be the event’s high points. Friday, at Sunset Center in Carmel, the Days & Nights string quartet joins the composer for shortish works by Schubert, Glass, Muhly and Dessner, and the grand Piano Quintet in E-flat by Schumann. On Saturday, vocalist Tara Hugo sings a Glass program with the festival string quintet.

The string quartet by Nico Muhly (on Friday) makes a timely introduction to the area of the young New Englander whose name you can expect to hear a great deal more. NICO_RETOUCHED-1Muhly was born in Vermont, in 1981, and grew up in Providence. He began studying piano at age 10. After graduating from Columbia University he completed a Masters in Music at the Juilliard School, studying with composers Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano (both prominent figures at Marin Alsop’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz) but had already begun working closely with Philip Glass.

Now his music is being heard everywhere, from the New York Philharmonic to, at last, Carmel. Commissions are pouring in for instrumental and vocal works. His new opera, Two Boys, was jointly commissioned by the English National Opera, which premiered it in 2011, and the Metropolitan Opera whose staging will open Oct 21 for a total (so far) of seven performances. (If you’re going to be in the Big Apple, better get your tickets soon.)

And very recently, Muhly co-founded the LA Dance Project with choreographer Benjamin Millepied. For an introduction to Nico Muhly, as interviewed by conductor Charles Hazelwood and including a performance of his Gait by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain at last year’s BBC Proms, click here. (You can also find the link on our Links of Interest page.)

Vadym Kholodenko - 2013Vadym Kholodenko, gold medalist at this year’s Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Ft. Worth, makes his Monterey Bay debut, and opens the Carmel Music Society’s 2013-14 season, this Sunday afternoon at Sunset Center. The brilliant young Ukraine native will perform one of the most difficult sonatas for the instrument, Rachmaninoff’s Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, the rarely heard run-up to the great Third Piano Concerto. Many other composers are represented in the program, but all in transcriptions/arrangements by Rachmaninoff. Khodolenko also has a new Harmonia Mundi CD that, we are told, will be available to buy at the event.

kahane3_highCalifornia pianist (and conductor) Jeffrey Kahane joins the Santa Cruz Symphony and its new conductor, Daniel Stewart, for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C this weekend. Stewart, whom we profiled in this space last week, has a lot of sharply articulated ideas for the future of the Symphony and the community it serves. Kahane, born in Southern California and now resident in Santa Rosa, is well known in our area. One year ago he performed a solo recital in Carmel. The Santa Cruz Symphony appears Saturday at Civic Auditorium and Sunday afternoon at the Mello Center in Watsonville.

See our Calendar Page for concert details and contact information. Photo of Nico Muhly by Matthew Murphy. Photo of Vadym Kholodenko by Ellen Appel-Mike Moreland/The Cliburn.

Scott MacClelland, editor