(LENOX, Mass.) – The Tanglewood Music Center’s 2011 Festival of Contemporary Music, August 3-7, under the direction of Pulitzer Prize-winning Charles Wuorinen, will feature three world premieres, by Wuorinen, John Zorn, and Fred Ho — all three commissions by the Tanglewood Music Center. The 2011 programs will represent a mix of early-, mid-, and late-career composers, with a special emphasis on American composers, as 18 of the 23 featured composers are American.
The 2011 Festival of Contemporary Music opens on Wednesday, August 3, at 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall, with the world premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s It Happens Like This, a dramatic, semi-staged 35-minute cantata for four singers and 12 instrumentalists, set to six selections from James Tate’s Return to the City of White Donkeys. This performance will be preceded by a panel discussion at 6 p.m. featuring Mr. Wuorinen, James Tate, and Ken Schmoll.
Though the 2011 Festival of Contemporary Music will feature performances by Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center and guest artists and conductors, several of the featured composers will also take part in performances of their own works.
“The Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood presents a wide variety of music united by one common thread: the highest artistic aspiration,” said Charles Wuorinen, Director of the 2011 Festival of Contemporary Music. “In general, equal thirds of the Festival have been given over to senior, mid-career, and young composers; among these, many are little known — but all have much to say. An added pleasure in these programs is having so many of the composers with us and participating as performers, conducting, or playing their own works.”
THREE WORLD PREMIERES
In addition to the world premiere by Charles Wuorinen, this year’s festival will also present the world premiere of jazz- and funk-influenced Chinese-American composer Fred Ho’s Fanfare to Stop the Creeping Meatball, commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center. Ho’s work will open the concerts on August 4 at 8 p.m. August 6 at 2:30 p.m., and August 7 at 10 a.m. in Ozawa Hall, and August 5 at 2:30 p.m. in the Theatre.
The third world premiere and TMC commission of the Festival will be John Zorn’s À Rebours, a title inspired by the Huysmans book of the same name. The work will be performed by Fellows of the TMC with guest cellist Fred Sherry and guest conductor and former Fellow Brad Lubman, on Thursday, August 4, at 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall.
Brazilian composer Felipe Lara’s Onda will be the opening work of the final concert of the 2011 Festival, under the direction of Stefan Asbury, Sunday, August 7, at 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall. This year’s Festival will highlight three works of Japanese composer Jo Kondo, including Beginning, Middle and End, on Saturday, August 6, at 2:30 p.m. in the Theatre; High Window on Sunday, August 7, at 6 p.m. in Ozawa Hall; and In summer on Sunday, August 7, at 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall. Also featured will be works by two British composers: Brian Ferneyhough’s beautifully intricate miniature violin concerto Terrain, will be performed on Thursday, August 4, at 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall, and Belize-born British composer Errollyn Wallen’s The Girl in My Alphabet will be performed on Friday, August 5, at 2:30 p.m. in Ozawa Hall. Israeli composer Jonathan Keren’s Multiscala will be performed on Saturday, August 6, at 2:30 p.m. in the Theatre.
The 2011 FCM programs will encompass a mix of works by early-, mid-, and late-career composers, and 18 of the 23 featured composers are American, including Milton Babbitt (August 4 and 7), John Chowning (August 4), Wayne Peterson (August 5), George Flynn (August 6), and Bernard Rands (August 7), representing the late-career composers; Tobias Picker (August 4), John Zorn (August 4), Fred Ho (August 4,5,6, and 7), Eve Beglarian (August 5), Richard Festinger (August 5), Lee Hyla (August 5), Jonathan Dawe (August 7), David Felder (August 7), Louis Karchin (August 7), and Christopher Rouse (August 7), representing mid-career composers; and Jason Eckardt (August 4), David Fulmer (August 7), and Andrew Norman (August 7) representing early-career.
A Prelude concert, on Sunday, August 7, at 6 p.m. in Ozawa Hall, will feature guest pianist Ursula Oppens playing Jason Eckardt’s Cuts, Milton Babbitt’s It Takes Twelve to Tango, Bernard Rands’s Tre Espressioni, Jo Kondo’s High Window, and Tobias Picker’s Four Etudes for Ursula.
In addition, several FCM programs will feature the composers as performers in their own works, including American composers David Fulmer, who will be the soloist in his own violin concerto, and Louis Karchin, who will conduct his Chamber Symphony, both to be performed on Sunday, August 7, at 10 a.m. Pianist Errollyn Wallen will perform his own The Girl in My Alphabet on Friday, August 5, at 2:30 p.m. in Ozawa Hall. George Flynn will be a featured pianist, along with New Fromm Player Nolan Pearson, in his own Pieces of Night (Three American Nocturnes) on Saturday, August 6, at 2:30 p.m. in the Theatre.
Guest cellist Fred Sherry and guest conductor and former TMC Fellow Brad Lubman will be featured along with Fellows of the TMC of John Zorn’s À Rebours on Thursday, August 4, at 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall. That program will also feature guest Ensemble Signal performing English composer Brian Ferneyhough’s Terrain, also featuring guest violinist Christopher Otto, and Tobias Picker’s Sextet No. 2. Avi Avital, on mandolin, will be featured in Jonathan Keren’s Multiscala on Saturday, August 6, at 2:30 p.m. in the Theatre.
TMC TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets for TMC Orchestra Concerts (July 5, 11, 17, 25, and August 14) and Festival of Contemporary Music events (August 3-7) are available in advance online or by calling SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200 or 617-266-1200. For all other TMC concerts, tickets ($11) are available one hour prior to concert start time at the Ozawa Hall Box Office.