Nathalie Stutzmann appointed music director of Atlanta Symphony

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Nathalie Stutzmann photo by Brice Toul

“In a historic move, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has named French-born Nathalie Stutzmann as the fifth music director in the orchestra’s history,” states an unsigned article on Thursday’s (10/13) ArtsAtl.com. “Stutzmann, 56, will take the podium from Robert Spano, who led the ASO for 20 years before stepping down at the end of the past season. She will have an initial term of four years…. Stutzmann will conduct the ASO tonight and tomorrow in a program that features a recent work by Missy Mazzoli and Tchaikovsky’s epic Fifth Symphony…. Because of the pandemic, these shows will be her first with the ASO before a live audience; the two concerts she conducted last season were streamed. She currently holds positions as principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra and as chief conductor of Norway’s Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra…. Stutzmann, who also plays piano and bassoon, is one of the world’s great contralto opera and concert singers…. She founded the chamber orchestra Orfeo 55 [and] became principal guest conductor of the … national orchestra of Ireland…. ‘It is also very important for us to connect with the Atlanta community, sharing our infectious love of music,’ Stutzmann said.”

October 13, 2021

Musical America’s 2022 awardees: Mitsuko Uchida, Missy Mazzoli, Teddy Abrams, Davóne Tines

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“Musical America has named the distinguished pianist and educator Mitsuko Uchida as its 2022 Artist of the Year,” writes Nicholas Beard in Tuesday’s (10/12) Musical America (subscription required). “In the other categories, Missy Mazzoli is the Composer of the Year; Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams is Conductor of the Year; and bass-baritone Davóne Tines is Vocalist of the Year. Each is the subject of a feature article in the all-digital 2022 Musical America. The awards will be streamed via Facebook Live on December 5 at 4 p.m. Each of the honorees has been asked to choose a personal friend/colleague to present them with their award. This will mark the second year in a row that the ceremony has been conducted online.” Musical America is publisher of the annual International Directory for the Performing Arts, edited by Clive Paget, and of the daily Musical America news site, edited by Susan Elliott.

October 13, 2021

On the intersection of artificial intelligence and Beethoven’s uncompleted Tenth Symphony

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“An artificial-intelligence-created realization of Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony called ‘Beethoven X: The AI Project’ … is based on the skimpy sketches he left when he died,” writes Jan Swafford in Thursday’s (10/7) VAN magazine. “Artificial intelligence can mimic art, but it can’t be expressive at it because … it doesn’t know what expressive is…. If I turned on the radio and heard this music, would I guess it was by Beethoven? No…. The scoring is competent … but … aimless and uninspired…. Could this computer effort pass for bad Beethoven? Again, no…. When Beethoven wrote junk it was usually because that’s what he intended to do…. The best example is the gloriously trashy ‘Wellington’s Victory.’ … One of Beethoven’s familiar devices is to compress a rhythm to goose the momentum.… Our computer didn’t know how to keep the momentum going. The rhythms just sit there, headed nowhere in particular…. Near the end of his life Beethoven told a friend that in the Tenth Symphony he was attempting to discover ‘a new kind of gravity.’ We’ll never know what he meant by that, but we can dream about it. Dreaming being, yet again, something a computer can never do.”

October 13, 2021

Albany Symphony’s season-opening concert, marking 30 years for David Alan Miller

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“Sometimes Beethoven just hits the spot. His Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica’ anchored the Albany Symphony’s season opener on Saturday at the Palace Theatre and its majestic and expansive solidity felt right for the occasion and for the times,” writes Joseph Dalton in Tuesday’s (10/12) Times Union (Albany, NY). “The symphony was a tour de force for music director David Alan Miller, who was honored at the start of the concert by mayor Kathy Sheehan for a transformative 30 years in the position…. For all the ambitious initiatives and ancillary events that are today’s ASO, it still comes down to execution of the music and Miller consistently pulls it off and with flair. His interpretation of the ‘Eroica’ carried ample drive and force but also highlighted some well-honed details as moments to savor…. There was a grin on his face during the rollicking finale. [On] the concert’s first half … Jessie Montgomery’s ‘Coincident Dances’ seamlessly blended together episodic hints of various popular forms…. Two movements from Sibelius’ ‘Lemminkainen’ Suite included ‘The Swan of Tuonela’ and beautiful lengthy solos from Grace Shryock on English horn. Her elegant legato lines glided on the surface of the shimmering strings.”

October 13, 2021

Review: New Jersey Symphony launches season with Michael Abels premiere, Roumain, Beethoven

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“Since becoming the music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in 2016, the dynamic conductor Xian Zhang has worked steadily to reflect diversity and inclusion,” writes Anthony Tommasini in Saturday’s (10/12) New York Times. “These priorities were in evidence on Friday when, 557 days after its last full orchestra concert (because of the pandemic), the New Jersey Symphony opened its new season at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center…. The program opened with the premiere of Michael Abels’s ‘Emerge.’ Best known for his scores for the contemporary horror films ‘Get Out’ and ‘Us,’ Abels describes this eight-minute piece as suggesting a group of highly trained musicians getting back together after a long break, a scenario that speaks to the moment. It begins with an evocation of an orchestra tuning up. We hear the oboe playing a single pitch of A, which the other instruments pick up on…. Finally, the musicians team up in passages of mellow lyricism, skittish bursts, manic scales, all leading to a brassy, celebratory coda.” Also on the program were Daniel Bernard Roumain’s 2002 “Voodoo Violin Concerto” with Roumain as soloist (Roumain was appointed the orchestra’s Resident Artistic Catalyst in May), and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.

October 13, 2021

Ann Arbor Symphony launches music composition program for elementary-school students

Industry Buzz

Michigan’s Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra has announced a new music composition program, MY Song, for elementary-school students for the 2021-22 school year. Teaching artists from the orchestra will work with students in music composition workshops; resulting compositions will be recorded and provided to teachers to share with families. In its pilot phase, the program will be offered free of charge to students in grades 3 through 5, with plans to expand into additional grade levels, with Title 1 schools receiving priority. A modified version of the program is being launched as an Ann Arbor Public Schools after-school program at Allen Elementary School. In announcing the program, the orchestra said it hopes the program “will not only allow more students to explore the wonders of music, but also empower them to express themselves in a new, engaging and boundlessly creative way.”

 

October 13, 2021