We recently had lunch with Johanna Rees and Lisa Bellamore from the LA Philharmonic, and over the course of the meal the two outlined the next half year of concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall, both of which are programmed by the Phil. We'll be addressing the full Bowl line-up in a future post -- though you know that Adele's performing this summer (don't you?), and that you should grab those tickets first chance you get. There are some great shows planned, and with the retirement of Phil music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, the arrival of Gustavo Dudamel, and the naming of John Adams as an
"artistic advisor," "creative chair" 2009 promises to be a memorable year on many different fronts.
But this one little (huge) tidbit of evidence was delivered to us from Rees.
On November 21st, Kronos Quartet will perform at the Disney with Matmos, Terry Riley and Mike Einziger (best known as the guitarist for Incubus, but a composer in his own right). As you can see from the chart above, which Rees scribbled on the back of a Hungry Cat menu, the evening involves collaborations among the four artists. Rees emphasizes that her on-the-fly graph is but one mere option of many -- but you get the idea: Kronos would come out and perform first, and after doing so, Matmos would join them for a collaboration. Then Kronos would exit, Matmos would perform a piece, and then be joined by Terry Riley for a collaboration. Ditto Riley, then on to Einziger. After that, Rees suggested that Kronos, Matmos, Riley and Einziger would all take the stage to perform a new piece created a composer to be named later.
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It should make for a fascinating evening. Kronos is so prolific that sometimes you forget all the masterful classics they've released over the years. I've recently been cruising LA to their amazing Early Music collection, on which they perform work of Moondog, Harry Partch, John Cage, Hildegard von Bingen, and Jack Body, among others. The opportunity to seem them onstage with SF electronic team Matmos, whose performance of work from The Supreme Balloon at the Echoplex last year was one of my favorites, is, to fans of outre-synth/classical convergences, a dream. Toss in the masterful Terry Riley and Einziger and, well, who the hell knows?
The evening is part of a John Adams-curated three week event to take place along the coast called the West Coast: Left Coast Festival. In a press release, the composer describes the ideas behind the festival.
"The Los Angeles Philharmonic's Creative Chair, John Adams, serves as Festival Director, curating this three-week multi-disciplinary festival that celebrates California's distinct musical culture. West Coast: Left Coast begins with Dudamel leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program of Salonen's LA Variations, Lou Harrison's Piano Concerto and Adams' City Noir. The festival continues with Adams conducting his own The Dharma at Big Sur with soloist Leila Josefowicz. Guest conductor (and LA native) Leonard Slatkin leads the orchestra and the festival's ensemble-in-residence, the San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet, in the world premiere of a new work by composer Thomas Newman (of the film-scoring Newman family dynasty in Hollywood).
Says Adams, "The West Coast: Left Coast festival is a celebration of music that is, in a sense, native born, arising from the curious and unique nature of the California sensibility. When it comes to music we are still a young culture, younger than the East Coast and younger for sure than Europe or the great traditions of the Orient and the Middle East. I am not even certain that there is a single 'West Coast sensibility.' Part of the aim of the festival is to discover whether there is indeed such an identifying characteristic in what we do. Certainly what seems to set us apart as West Coast composers is a particular absence of orthodoxy and an openness to influences and stimuli that may come from any number of sources, whether it's John Cage listening to ambient sounds in the environment, or Harry Partch making microtonal instruments out of recycled junk, or Lou Harrison creating an alchemy of Balinese gamelans and ancient Greek tuning modes, or Frank Zappa incorporating Varèsian sonorities and Stravinskian rhythms into his utterly individual music. As all of these pioneers and experimenters showed us, there is much to celebrate and to explore in our own backyard - both figuratively and literally! - and our festival is dedicated to that spirit."