Festival will celebrate Japanese and Japanese American arts

A variety of Japanese and Japanese American arts — including Butoh and jazz, as well as  anime — will be celebrated during “JapanOC,” a seven-month festival presented by Carnegie Hall, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Programs will feature traditional and contemporary music, dance, theater, film and visual art. Among the highlights will be tributes to composer Toru Takemitsu and sculptor-designer Isamu Noguchi by artists including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Tokyo String Quartet.

Music offerings include:

  • Guitarist Kazumi Watanabe playing selections from Takemitsu’s avant-garde works on Dec. 19 at OCPAC’s Samueli Theater.
  • Gustavo Dudamel leading the L.A. Philharmonic in a program of Takemitsu’s “Requiem for Strings” and works by Webern and Bruckner on March 5 at OCPAC’s Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
  • The Tokyo String Quartet performing Takemitsu’s “A Way a Lone” and other works on April 19 at the Samueli Theater.

Read the full article in The Los Angeles Times here.

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How I discovered Mahler

After decades of near-neglect and sometimes ridicule, the music of Gustav Mahler caught on in a big way in the 1960s — and I thank goodness that I was aware enough then to experience it.
Most Mahler nuts, we’re told, find their ways to this composer through one of the less time-demanding symphonies like the First or Fourth — or maybe the poignant Adagietto movement from the Fifth. My entryway, oddly enough, was through the clangorous finale from the Seventh Symphony on a free Columbia Masterworks LP sampler that my dad brought home in 1966. (I might add that from this one slab of vinyl, I also heard Bruckner, Ives, Nielsen and neoclassical Stravinsky for the first time, igniting lifelong passions for all.) No one ever told me that the Seventh was the tough one that you’re not supposed to get right away. The last minutes sounded like a riotous, even desperate celebration — maybe the cracking apart of 19th century Romantic traditions, to paraphrase Leonard Bernstein, or something bigger and more current.

Read the full blog posting in The Los Angeles Times here and an earlier article here.

Sir Simon Rattle and LSO join forces

Sir Simon Rattle, chief conductor and artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker since September 2002, will collaborate with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) at the Barbican for the first time in 10 years, when he returns to conduct Messiaen’s Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum and Bruckner’s Symphony No 9 in March 2011.

Sir Simon last conducted the LSO in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos in 2000. He will also accompany the Berliner Philharmoniker to London for a series of four concerts in the same year. The London Concerts series opens at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Sunday 20 February, and continues with two concerts at the Barbican Centre, concluding at the Royal Festival Hall. All four events are already sold out. Sir Simon said: “I am delighted to be returning. This will enable us to share with London audiences the heart of our work.”