New York Philharmonic to perform neighborhood Bandwagon 2 concerts—atop 20-foot shipping container

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New York Philharmonic musicians in the 2020 iteration of the orchestra’s Bandwagon series.

“Late last summer, the august New York Philharmonic … rented a Ford F-250 pickup truck …and drove around the city … for short, impromptu chamber events,” writes Zachary Woolfe in Friday’s (4/30) New York Times. “The Philharmonic announced on Friday that it would be bringing the NY Phil Bandwagon concept back…. Bandwagon 2 will trade in the pickup truck for a 20-foot shipping container atop a semi truck, which will visit four parks around New York City for weekend-long residencies through May…. Offerings will [include] varied, genre-crossing collaborations with six community arts organizations…. In Domino Park in Brooklyn, the composer and singer Juana Luna and the dancer Elisa Toro Franky … will develop song-and-dance pieces with a quartet of Philharmonic string players as an element.… Angélica Negrón’s ‘Sembrar,’ to be performed at Father Gigante Plaza in the Bronx, will feature its composer on electronics along with string players from the Philharmonic and the Bronx Arts Ensemble…. The soprano Laquita Mitchell will perform with the Harlem Chamber Players at Marcus Garvey Park in Manhattan and with a Philharmonic string quartet at St. Albans Park in Queens. New works by participants in the orchestra’s Very Young Composers Program will be featured each week.”

May 3, 2021

Vermont Symphony’s summer statewide performances, plus return to concert hall in October and music director search

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“In lieu of the VSO Summer Festival Tour, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra is accelerating ever so carefully away from COVID-19 into full symphonic concerts at Burlington’s Flynn Center for the Performing Arts this fall and the initiation of its music director auditions,” writes Jim Lowe in Saturday’s (5/1) Rutland Herald (VT). “In the meantime, the VSO leaves no part of the state untouched…. The VSO begins the summer July 1-21 with a Breweries Tour, Homes & Gardens Tour and Gazebos & Bandstands Tour. String quartets, woodwind quartets and a brass quintet, all VSO members, will travel across the state in a series of free concerts in 17 Vermont towns from St. Albans and Stowe to Greensboro and Grafton…. The VSO’s Oct. 30 full symphony concert marks … the return to its concert home at the Flynn Center after more than a year away, and the initiation of its music director auditions to replace the legendary Jaime Laredo.” Seven music director candidates—including Akiko Fujimoto, Peter Askim, Julian Pellicano, Tania Miller—will lead concerts in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons. “It’s going to take until spring 2023 to get all these candidates on the stage,” said VSO Executive Director Elise Brunelle.

May 3, 2021

West Virginia Symphony’s 2021-22 season, final one with Music Director Lawrence Loh

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“After five seasons, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra will be saying goodbye to music director Lawrence Loh at the end of next season,” writes Bill Lynch in Friday’s (4/30) Charleston Gazette-Mail (Charleston, WV). “The upcoming departure was announced in a release Thursday for the symphony’s 2021-22 season. The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra credited Loh with expanding its repertoire and programming music from contemporary and diverse composers. Loh will finish out his tenure with the upcoming season, ‘Embracing Harmony.’… The 2021-22 season v… kicks off Oct. 16 at the Clay Center with … guest cellist Sterling Elliott, performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major. The symphony also will present Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Scheherazade,’ and West Virginia composer Matt Jackfert’s ‘Social Dissonance.’… On Jan. 15 … members of the West Virginia Youth Symphony will join members of the orchestra for a side-by-side of Beethoven’s ‘Fidelio’ Overture. The evening also will feature Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 in C Major, and guest Annie Wu will make her Charleston debut and perform Kevin Puts’ Flute Concerto.” In addition to standard repertoire, the orchestra’s 2021-22 season will include music by Adolphus Hailstork, Reena Esmail, Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges), and Quinn Mason.

May 3, 2021

Márquez named Interlochen’s director of music

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“Enrique Márquez, who produces and books events for Harvard University’s Department of Music and administers the Fromm Music Foundation, has been appointed director of music by Interlochen Center for the Arts,” writes Susan Elliott in Thursday’s (4/29) Musical America (subscription required). “He succeeds Kedrik Merwin, who left in 2019 and is now executive director of the Traverse (City, MI) Symphony Orchestra…. Márquez will oversee music programming, pedagogy, and curricula for Interlochen Arts Academy, Camp, College of Creative Arts, and Interlochen Online. He starts June 1.… [At] the Fromm Music Foundation, Márquez has been involved in commissioning new work and collaborating with … Tanglewood, the American Composers Orchestra, the American Academy in Rome, and Sony Classical. Previously a lecturer in the Arts Administration and Cultural Entrepreneurship Program at Northeastern University, Márquez served for two years as director of the Veracruz Cultural Institute in Mexico and as founding executive and artistic director of the Boca del Rio Philharmonic Orchestra. He holds masters degrees in music from the Manhattan School of Music, in cultural policy and management from City University London, and in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.”

May 3, 2021

Arts groups urge U.K. government to act swiftly to avoid devastating post-Brexit financial losses

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“The Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera House and Ed Sheeran’s manager have signed a letter urging Boris Johnson to avert a ‘crisis which is threatening our industry’ since Brexit,” reads an unsigned article in Thursday’s (4/29) BBC News (U.K.). “More than 300 arts figures warned the prime minister of a ‘mountain of costly bureaucracy and red tape’ for EU tours. Their letter said the government had ‘a limited window’ before ‘work will be lost and businesses will go under.’ The government said it was ‘working flat out’ to help touring artists. Concerns about obstacles to UK performers and crews travelling to and performing in Europe—and vice versa—are growing, with the live shows and foreign travel now on the horizon after being on hold during the pandemic…. The letter was organized by The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), and the signatories include the British Fashion Council, the Association of British Orchestras, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. It said that, in the ‘absence of a clear plan,’ the government must now prioritize negotiating special work permits for all creative professionals and provide an emergency funding package…. The creative industries generate £111bn for the UK economy every year.”

May 3, 2021

Obituary: Composer James Primosch, 64

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“James Primosch, 64, a stalwart Philadelphia composer, pianist, and longtime University of Pennsylvania professor, died Monday of complications from pancreatic cancer at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse, said his wife, Mary Murphy,” writes Peter Dobrin in Friday’s (4/30) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Dr. Primosch … wrote music praised for being both sophisticated and genial. Though personally introverted, he formed deep bonds that made him a central player in the Philadelphia music community…. He was prolific and worked with a wide variety of forces and genres: orchestra, chorus, solo voice, string quartet and sax quartet, and electronic music. Dr. Primosch also crafted music as readily for amateurs as for professionals…. For all of his adaptability, however, setting text for voice was probably his strong suit…. Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus … was included on an all-Primosch recording by the Crossing choir that garnered a 2021 Grammy nomination for best choral performance…. His works were performed by the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra…. As a pianist, he could be found playing a George Crumb four-hand piece with Lambert Orkis, or dipping into another genre entirely…. His works were commissioned, performed, and recorded by [Philadelphia-based groups including] the Mendelssohn Chorus, Prism Quartet, Lyric Fest, and … Orchestra 2001 and Network for New Music.”

May 3, 2021

Eugene Symphony’s virtual “Soundwaves” series, from Hildur Guðnadóttir to Dvořák and Herrmann

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The next installment of the Eugene Symphony’s six-concert Soundwaves series of virtual concerts featuring the ensemble’s string musicians will feature Hildur Guðnadóttir’s From the Other Place, Bernard Herrmann’s Suite from Psycho, John Williams’s Air and Simple Gifts, and Antonín Dvořák’s Serenade. Concerts are recorded at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, and each concert premieres at eugenesymphony.org, where it is available for one week without a password, with a suggested donation of $15; after that, each video is available on demand at the orchestra’s password-protected site for donors and members who give at least $120 per year. The orchestra’s April 1 Soundwaves installment featured music by Dmitri Shostakovich, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Florence Price, and Edward Elgar; and a June 3 concert will include Zhou Tian’s Nocturne, John Cage’s Second Construction, Chen Yi’s Shuo, Terry Riley’s In C, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. In a press release, Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong said, “My intention for these programs is to continue to find ways to showcase our talented string players and also to highlight living and lesser-known composers whose repertoire lends itself well to smaller ensembles.”

May 3, 2021