2014 Season Announcement

Contact: Mona Baroudi | 415.615.2735


Music Director and Conductor Marin Alsop leads America’s preeminent new music festival in an extraordinary season featuring thirteen composers in residence, three world premieres, two US premieres and four West Coast premieres

SANTA CRUZ, CA—April 24, 2014—The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, America’s longest running festival dedicated to new music for orchestra, is pleased to announce programming for its 52nd season, August 1-10, 2014.

Music Director & Conductor Marin Alsop returns to Santa Cruz to lead the Cabrillo Festival in an extraordinary offering of new music and a remarkable lineup of guest artists. The thirteen composers-in-residence selected by Alsop this season illustrate the broad spectrum of talented artists making music today. Young, emerging composers such as TJ Cole, Gabriella Smith and Dylan Mattingly will share the spotlight with established composers such as John Adams, Jennifer Higdon and Brett Dean.

The Cabrillo Festival’s innovative spirit is alive and well in Alsop’s 2014 programming. Many of this season’s works highlight instruments atypical to the classical repertoire including Béla Fleck’s concerto for banjo and orchestra; John Adams’ saxophone concerto featuring saxophone star Timothy McAllister; and the use of the untraditional Oboe-like Armenian duduk and the Central-Eastern European cimbalom in a large symphonic work by Mark-Anthony Turnage. And self-proclaimed “classically trained garage band” Time for Three defies traditional classification – bringing to the Festival their limitless enthusiasm and no musical boundaries.

“Audiences can always expect the unexpected at the Cabrillo Festival,” said Executive Director Ellen Primack. “Marin’s programming is consistently brilliant and intriguing – it’s uniquely hers without being predictable or static. She guides Festival audiences through an experience of discovery and adventure. The 2014 season will be a thrilling two weeks celebrating her return.”

This year the Cabrillo Festival presents three world premieres, two US premieres and five West Coast premieres. The world premieres are by Dylan Mattingly, Gabriella Smith and Jonathan Sheffer. Preeminent composers Brett Dean and Detlev Glanert offer up the season’s US premieres and West Coast premieres are by Béla Fleck, TJ Cole, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Andrew Norman, and John Adams.

The thirteen composers-in-residence are John Adams, Clarice Assad, TJ Cole, Michael Daugherty, Béla Fleck, Stacy Garrop, Detlev Glanert, Jennifer Higdon, Dylan Mattingly, Andrew Norman, Jonathan Sheffer, Gabriella Smith and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

The Festival’s roster of guest artists this year includes Béla Fleck (banjo), Timothy McAllister (saxophone), Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (violin) string ensemble Time for Three, and composer Jonathan Sheffer, narrating for the world premiere of his new family work.

In addition to the featured evening concerts, the Festival continues its tradition of hosting open rehearsals, pre-rehearsal talks, and the Conductors/Composers Workshop, a professional training program focusing on the creation and performance of new music.

PLAY – Friday, August 1, 8pm – Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
The Cabrillo Festival kicks off on Friday, August 1 with works by Dylan Mattingly, Béla Fleck and Andrew Norman. The world premiere of Dylan Mattingly’s Sky Madrigal invites audiences to experience the work of an exceptional young composer whose music has been celebrated as “an audacious blend of post-minimalism, traditional modernism, rock, jazz and more (The San Francisco Chronicle).” Sky Madrigal is, in Mattingly’s words, “a piece about perfection.” Narratively it tells the story of an ascent – Mattingly was especially drawn to the account of George Mallory and Andrew “Sandy” Irvine, two mountaineers who disappeared while attempting to climb Mount Everest. Mattingly writes, “Whether or not Mallory made it to the top, his journey into the sky, like the building of a cathedral and the tuning of a lyre to the laws of the universe, captains our imaginations toward a destination that could only be the result of the bliss, terror, inspiration, and yes — perfection — of a human life. That is the kind of perfection I want to chase.”

Famed banjo virtuosi and 15-time Grammy Award-winner Béla Fleck performs in the West Coast premiere of The Impostor, Fleck’s concerto for banjo and orchestra. Dedicated to banjo master Earl Scruggs, The Impostor is Fleck’s first large-scale classical composition. The Impostor continues Fleck’s work as a pioneer for the banjo’s expressive dimension and was written for a vintage 1937 Gibson Mastertone banjo made of mahogany—a prized possession Fleck calls the “holy grail” of banjos.

Andrew Norman’s Play is a sprawling orchestral cycle and the most ambitious and personal piece the composer has written to date. “Much of this piece is concerned with who is playing whom,” writes Norman. Play was fertile ground for Norman to delve deeply into some of the inspirations that drove his compositional process, including interpersonal relationships, video game dynamics, theater and the many definitions of the word “play,” ranging from the innocent and light-hearted to the dark and malevolent. Norman is a rising star in the symphonic word, and this is the third consecutive year his work will be featured at the Cabrillo Festival.

HOPE – Saturday, August 2, 8pm, Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
Maestra Marin Alsop leads the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra in West Coast premieres by TJ Cole and Mark Anthony Turnage. Tonight’s program also features a three-movement concerto by Jennifer Higdon featuring special guest artist Time for Three.

The young composer TJ Cole, who is currently studying at the Curtis Institute, wrote Megalopolis during her first year living in Philadelphia, in reaction to the hustle and bustle of urban life. “At first, city life can be very exciting,” writes Cole. “But it quickly became very crowded, loud, overwhelming, and even a little scary. Across the street from where I lived there was a church with a little courtyard. Every day, the church bells would ring on the hour to mark the time. Sometimes at night, I would go out into the courtyard to find some peace within all of the chaos.”

“This is Turnage’s Tragic Symphony – Mahlerian in scale, orchestration and mixture of cosmic and quotidian,” wrote the Financial Times of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s monumental Speranza, which receives its West Coast premiere tonight at the Cabrillo Festival. Turnage, who is known for his skillful blend of classical and jazz idioms, incorporates subtle touches of Arabic music, Jewish music, blues and jazz into Speranza. Turnage also brings in instruments that are unconventional to classical works – including the cimbalom, duduk and the soprano saxophone. Turnage explains that Speranza was intended to be “a big, dark, despairing work… in memory of poets and writers who’d committed suicide…But I soon realized this all seemed a bit gloomy and not exactly a fun evening in the concert hall … so I started brightening things up and it soon became more upbeat, extrovert and optimistic…Although Speranza shimmers a lot, I suspect the dark heart of the original idea still peeks through.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning Jennifer Higdon returns to the Cabrillo Festival and offers up Concerto 4-3, a three-movement concerto that uses the language of classical music, with dashes of bluegrass technique. Concerto 4-3 was written specifically for the string ensemble Time for Three, who were Higdon’s students at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. Featuring Nick Kendall and Zach De Pue (violins) and Ranaan Meyer (double bass) Time for Three draws upon bluegrass, jazz, rock, folk and classical themes. The ensemble has an eclectic style and rich bluegrass flavor that complements Higdon’s own roots in Mountain music, which she cultivated growing up in Tennessee.

Free Family Concert: The Conference of the Birds – Sunday, August 3, 1pm – Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
The Cabrillo Festival commissions a world premiere by Jonathan Sheffer for this year’s Free Family Concert on Sunday, August 3. Designed to introduce kids to the wonderful world of orchestral music, this annual concert is suitable for adults too. Sheffer, who studied under Leonard Bernstein, is known for his work in television and feature film scores, as well as his work for orchestra, solo piano, concertos, musicals and opera. The Conference of the Birds is a 20-minute work based on a 12th-century Persian poem. The Conference of the Birds tells the story of a journey of self-discovery by birds of the world. “It carries a spiritual message of self-love, as the birds’ fears and struggles illuminate our human journey as well,” says Sheffer. It features narration by Sheffer and employs colorful orchestral effects in its depiction of the birds, their distinct voices and their magical journey of self-discovery. The concert begins with the popular Tour of the Orchestra where kids can make an up-close and personal connection to the different instruments and players.

IN THE BLUE ROOM with Time for Three – Sunday, August 3, 8pm – Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
Time for Three, a self described “classically-trained garage band” defies traditional classification. Performing music from Bach and Brahms to their own arrangements of The Beatles, Katy Perry, Mumford & Sons, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake, they have played everywhere from Carnegie Hall to jazz clubs, European festivals, NFL games, and the Indy 500. The trio, Zachary De Pue (violin), Nicolas Kendall (violin) and Ranaan Meyer (double bass) perform a solo recital for tonight’s In the Blue Room concert.

FIRE – Saturday, August 9, 8pm – Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
The second weekend of the Cabrillo Festival kicks off on Saturday, August 9 with one World premiere commission, one US premiere and one West Coast premiere. Opening the concert is a new work by Gabriella Smith, a young composer from the San Francisco Bay Area who started composing at the age of eight. This world premiere, Tumblebird Contrails, was commissioned by the Festival and sponsored by the Pacific Harmony Foundation, established by renowned composer John Adams and his wife Deborah O’Grady.

John Adams will also be in residence this season, when his Saxophone Concerto, featuring soloist Timothy McAllister, receives its West Coast premiere. In Saxophone Concerto, Adams brings to the forefront the saxophone, which is often an outlier in the world of classical music. Adams, whose father played in swing bands, grew up hearing the saxophone almost every day. The source of this concerto is, in Adams’ words, “my life-long exposure to the great jazz saxophonists, from the swing era through the likes of Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and Wayne Shorter.” Timothy McAllister, hailed as “one of the foremost saxophonists of his generation” (The New York Times) was an ideal soloist for this concerto. McAllister has premiered over 150 works by some of today’s top composers, and is, in Adams’ words, “quite likely the reigning master of the classical saxophone, an artist who while rigorously trained is also aware of the jazz tradition.”

The US premiere of Fire Music, a work by Grawemeyer-winning composer Brett Dean, closes out Saturday night’s program. Dean wrote Fire Music in response to the “Black Saturday” bushfires of 2009, a catastrophic series of fires that took place across the state of Victoria, and resulted in Australia’s highest ever loss of life from a bushfire. Dean wrote, “Whilst the 2009 fires obviously had utterly disastrous consequences, fire can also cleanse and replenish; these thoughts, as well as its use in ritual, informed aspects of my Fire Music.”

DREAM: Music at the Mission – Sunday, August 10, 4pm and 7:30pm – Mission San Juan Bautista
The Cabrillo Festival comes to a triumphal close with Alsop leading the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra in works by Stacy Garrop, Clarice Assad, Michael Daugherty and Detlev Glanert at the beautiful sanctuary of the Mission San Juan Bautista. Chicago-based composer Stacy Garrop’s music is centered on direct and dramatic narrative. Thunderwalker was celebrated as “a big, bold tour de force for large symphony orchestra that seizes your attention at once and refuses to let go” (The Chicago Tribune).

Tonight Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg joins the festival in two works for soloist and string orchestra. A violinist, author and teacher, Salerno-Sonnenberg is known for her exhilarating performances, musical depth and unique charisma. She currently serves as Music Director of the San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra. Salerno-Sonnenberg performs as soloist in Dreamscapes. A work for solo violin and strings by Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad, Dreamscapes is a musical depiction of what happens during a dream from the moment one falls asleep, until fully awake. Dreamscapes’ form is loosely based upon on the composer’s research on the subject of REM sleep and lucid dreaming.

Salerno-Sonnenberg also performs in celebrated American composer Michael Daugherty’s Fallingwater. Inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and four of his most admired buildings—Taliesin, Fallingwater, Unity Temple and the Guggenheim Museum—Daugherty explores various dimensions of the string orchestra in each of the work’s four movements. Daugherty writes, “As I stood in the center of [Taliesin], I noticed a large circular music stand made of wood, designed by Wright himself, with four sides for use by string quartets. I began to hear a composition for strings in four movements, as an emotional, spiritual, and musical exploration of Wright’s aesthetic of ‘organic architecture.’”

The evening culminates with the US premiere of Three Songs without Words by Detlev Glanert. One of the most distinguished among contemporary German composers, Glanert is acclaimed for his operas and orchestral works that demonstrate his lyricism and a fascination with the past viewed from a modern perspective. Three Songs without Words was commissioned for the bicentenary celebration of Felix Mendelssohn. Glanert pays respect to the composer in both the title of the work and the idea of a song being shaped by pure musical forces. However, Three Songs without Words has been written for a large orchestra and does not reference the styles of the early nineteenth century. In Three Songs without Words “Glanert sounds out the nuances of orchestral timbre between the intimate viola solo and clamorous despair, delights with eloquent expression, with bustling escalations, with the jazz-oriented rhythm of the middle movement – and nevertheless does justice at all times to the poetry in Mendelssohn’s music, to the delicacy of their melodies” (Mitteldeutsche Zeitung).

August 1-10, 2014

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music presents its 52nd season.

Festival tickets range from $25-$55 with many events free and open to the public. The public may access information on the Festival website at https://cabrillomusic.org or call (831) 426-6966; and people are encouraged to join the mailing list to receive advance notification.

Tickets may be ordered by mail beginning May 5 through the Festival’s Advance Ticket Order Form; and then via phone, walk-up, or on-line beginning June 17.

Friday, August 1, 8pm: PLAY
Dylan Mattingly: Sky Madrigal (World Premiere)
Béla Fleck: The Impostor Concerto (Béla Fleck, banjo) (West Coast premiere)
Andrew Norman: Play (West Coast Premiere

Saturday, August 2, 8pm: HOPE
TJ Cole: Megalopolis (West Coast premiere)
Jennifer Higdon: Concerto 4-3 (Time for Three, string trio)
Mark-Anthony Turnage: Speranza (West Coast premiere)

Sunday, August 3, 1pm: Free Family Concert: The Conference of the Birds
Jonathan Sheffer: The Conference of the Birds (Jonathan Sheffer, narrator) (World Premiere | Festival Commission)

Sunday, August 3: 8pm: In the BLUE ROOM with Time for Three

Saturday, August 9: 8pm: FIRE
Gabriella Smith: Tumblebird Contrails (World Premiere | Festival Commission)
John Adams: Saxophone Concerto (Timothy McAllister, saxophone) (West Coast premiere)
Brett Dean: Fire Music (US premiere)

Sunday, August 10: 4pm and 7:30pm: Music at the Mission: Dream
Stacy Garrop: Thunderwalker
Clarice Assad: Dreamscapes (Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin)
Michael Daugherty: Fallingwater (Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin)
Detlev Glanert: Three Songs without Words (US premiere)

All performances except for Music at the Mission take place at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz. Music at the Mission takes place at Mission San Juan Bautista, 406 2nd Street, San Juan Bautista. Open Rehearsals begin Sunday, July 27, and run through Friday, August 8 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, full schedule available online.


Three World Premieres
Dylan Mattingly: Sky Madrigal
Jonathan Sheffer: The Conference of the Birds (Festival Commission)
Gabriella Smith: Tumblebird Contrails (Festival Commission)

Two US Premieres
Brett Dean: Fire Music
Detlev Glanert: Three Songs without Words

Five West Coast Premieres
John Adams: Saxophone Concerto
TJ Cole: Megalopolis
Béla Fleck: The Impostor Concerto
Andrew Norman: Play
Mark-Anthony Turnage: Speranza

13 Composers-in-Residence
John Adams
Clarice Assad
TJ Cole
Michael Daugherty
Béla Fleck
Stacy Garrop
Detlev Glanert
Jennifer Higdon
Dylan Mattingly
Andrew Norman
Jonathan Sheffer
Gabriella Smith
Mark-Anthony Turnage

Guest Artists
Béla Fleck, banjo
Jonathan Sheffer, narrator
Timothy McAllister, saxophone
Time for Three, featuring (Nick Kendall (violin), Zach De Pue (violin), Ranaan Meyer (double bass)
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin


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