Rise and Fly
Gabriella Smith: f(x)=sin²x-1/x (West Coast Premiere)
Julia Wolfe: riSE and fLY (Colin Currie, percussion) (West Coast Premiere)
Gabriela Ortiz: TZAM (West Coast Premiere)
Robert Hughes: Uutiqtut
Olga Neuwirth: Dreydl (U.S. Premiere)
The second weekend of the Cabrillo Festival begins with works by Gabriella Smith, Julia Wolfe, Gabriela Ortiz, Robert Hughes, and Olga Neuwirth.
Gabriella Smith’s music is described as “high-voltage and wildly imaginative” (Philadelphia Inquirer), and “the coolest, most exciting, most inventive new voice I’ve heard in ages” (Musical America). Her work, f(x)=sin²x-1/x, draws inspiration from mathematical curves to build waves of musical energy.
Composer Julia Wolfe’s music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes. She drew inspiration from the street performers that played music near her home in New York City for her percussion concerto riSE and fLY. The star of this piece is acclaimed percussionist Colin Currie who performs using his body and other objects including pans, oven racks, and buckets.
One of today’s most prominent Mexican composers, Gabriela Ortiz’s musical language synthesizes high art, folk music, and jazz. Măcelaru leads the Festival Orchestra in Ortiz’s Tzam, a work that pays tribute to the composer’s father, her composition teacher, and faculty colleague—three important figures she lost in succession. The work is a departure from her usual style, and features different atmospheres with important harmonies and tone colors. The title means “dialogue” in a nearly extinct dialect from Mexico and Ortiz notes that the piece establishes a dialogue not only with her influences but also with herself.
Composer Robert Hughes co-founded the Cabrillo Festival more than six decades ago and passed away in August 2022. “Hughes was a visionary who kept coming up with ideas to make musical life in the Bay Area more exciting, more surprising and more responsive to the creative demands of the world around,” wrote Joshua Kosman in The San Francisco Chronicle. The Festival will feature Hughes’ Uutiqtut, one of several of Hughes’ works inspired by the Arctic region’s nature, people, and music. Uutiqtut is an Inuit term that means ‘movement.’
The Grawemeyer Award-winning Austrian composer and multimedia artist Olga Neuwirth is celebrated for her technical virtuosity and the elemental power of her work. The composer describes how her one-movement work, Dreydl, “emerged out of my preoccupation with memory and the passing of time.” Reflecting the circular rotation of the dreidel the piece is driven by cyclical repetitions of rhythmic patterns.