John Adams: Lola Montez Does the Spider Dance [World Premiere | Festival Commission]
John Adams: Absolute Jest (Attacca String Quartet)
Michael Kropf: Spinning Music [World Premiere | Festival Commission]
Kevin Puts: The City with film (James Bartolomeo, filmmaker) [West Coast premiere | Festival Co-commission]
Marin Alsop’s encouragement of aspiring composers has had a huge influence on the trajectory of their lives and careers. So, too, her programming has inspired both musicians and audiences throughout the world. Tonight Alsop opens with the world premiere of a work by John Adams, commissioned by the musicians of the Festival Orchestra in Alsop’s honor, and dedicated to her by the composer. Lola Montez Does The Spider Dance is based on a theme from Adams’ latest opera, to premiere in 2017. The work shares the bill with Adams’ Absolute Jest, featuring the Attacca String Quartet—Amy Schroeder (violin), Keiko Tokunaga (violin), Nathan Schram (viola), and Andrew Yee (cello). In an ebullient riff, the composer “picks up strands from Beethoven’s work, primarily the scherzo from the Ninth Symphony, and weaves them into a tapestry that is pure Adams,” wrote San Francisco Chronicle critic Joshua Kosman. “The harmonies and textures draw on Adams’ post-minimalist vein, while the thematic materials are Beethoven’s—except that very often the two blur so beguilingly that it’s hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.” The evening includes the world premiere of a Festival-commissioned work by Michael Kropf, a gifted young composer now earning his Master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. This commission is part of an ongoing series devoted to nurturing the next generation of composers, and sponsored by the Pacific Harmony Foundation, established by Adams and his wife, the noted photographer Deborah O’Grady. The concert closes with the West Coast premiere of The City by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. This work was co-commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony and by Carnegie Hall to celebrate their respective major anniversaries, and Cabrillo Festival joined as a co-commissioner in honor of Marin Alsop. The City is a tone poem inspired by the city of Baltimore and is accompanied with a film by James Bartolomeo that movingly depicts urban landscapes, inhabitants, and the complexities of their interactions.
MEETUP! Talkback Session with Marin Alsop, the composers, and the guest artists follows the concert.
Photo credit, clockwise from left: Attacca Quartet, Michael Kropf (Tessa Updike), John Adams, Kevin Puts (David White), film still from The City (courtesy of director James Bartolomeo)