David T. Little Haunted Topography
James MacMillan Percussion Concerto No.2 (Colin Currie, percussion) [U.S. Premiere | Festival Co-Commission]
Mason Bates Anthology of Fantastic Zoology [West Coast Premiere]
Maestra Marin Alsop kicks off the Festival’s Opening Night with a diverse program featuring U.S. and West Coast premieres. “One of the most imaginative young composers” on the scene (The New Yorker), David T. Little’s dramatic music draws upon his experience as a rock drummer, and fuses classical and popular idioms to powerful effect. His Haunted Topography was inspired by the story of a woman whose son was killed in the Vietnam War. Only after she was shown a map of where her son had been killed was she able to begin the process of healing. Of this work Little says, “It is a simple story, of course, but it says a lot about the nature of grief, of mortality and of the peculiarities of each individual’s needs while engaging with the healing process.”
Scottish composer James MacMillan teamed up with percussion virtuoso Colin Currie for his Percussion Concerto No. 2, which comes more than 20 years after MacMillan’s Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, the most performed work in the genre. Co-commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival, and receiving its U.S. premiere tonight, Percussion Concerto No. 2 focuses on metal percussion (including the recently invented aluphone which bridges the gap between vibraphone and bells). London’s Financial Times wrote “The cacophony of the first section, with hyperactive percussion solo and police siren wailing in the orchestra, feels like standing at a busy junction in New York at rush hour. The music quiets and there is a touching passage for percussionist and solo viola, before the concerto steams up to a typically explosive ending.”
The recent recipient of the Heinz Medal in Arts and Humanities, Mason Bates writes music that fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, the harmonies of jazz and the rhythms of techno. Tonight’s program includes the West Coast Premiere of Bates’ Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, a surreal symphonic suite that brings to life the strange and wonderful creatures from the book by magical realist Jorge Luis Borges.
MEETUP! The 2015 season begins with an outdoor Pre-Concert Talk by Marin Alsop and a special ticketed dinner prepared by Feast for a King and served alfresco at the Civic Auditorium. Reservations required.