The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Announces Season With New Music Director Cristian Macelaru

Irish composer Gerald Barry's witty Piano Concerto receives its US premiere with celebrated pianist Jason Hardink performing. The concerto "takes conventional concerto rhetoric and stands it on its head, cramming it into a 25-minute single movement as a careering series of no-holds-barred confrontations between the piano, with its weaponry of forearm clusters, torrents of repeated notes and rare precious moments of utter calm" writes The Guardian (UK).

Maestro M?celaru leads the Festival Orchestra in German composer Jörg Widmann's Con Brio, translated into "with fire" or "with spirit." An 'exercise in fury and rhythmic insistence,' Con Brio was composed with a knowing wink towards 19th-century Romanticism. Critic Georgia Rowe wrote of this work, "(Con Brio) incorporates material from Beethoven's 7th and 8th symphonies in a kaleidoscopic scheme. Familiar phrases are sliced and diced, leaving jagged edges everywhere: bows strike strings, woodwinds chirp in protest and brass instruments stutter in a series of tense episodes broken by abrupt cuts. The piece ends quietly, but it produces a small universe of sound throughout its 12-minute span" (San Francisco Classical Voice).

The program closes with award-winning composer Cindy McTee's Symphony No 1: Ballet for Orchestra. This captivating work is composed of four movements, which embrace various dance styles and draw inspiration from famous scores of balletic pedigree. McTee writes, "Music is said to have come from dance - from the rhythmic impulses of men and women. Perhaps this explains my recent awareness of the inherent relationships between thought, feelings, and action - that the impulse to compose often begins as a rhythmical stirring and leads to a physical response - tensing muscles, gesturing with hands and arms, or quite literally, dancing."

Tributes: Part Two, Saturday, August 12, 8pm

Four world premiere/Festival commissions close out the 2017 Cabrillo Festival.

The world premiere of an orchestral suite of American composer Jake Heggie's critically acclaimed opera, Moby-Dick, opens up the program. Moby-Dick is a "masterpiece of clarity and intensity" wrote critic Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle. The suite is arranged by M?celaru, who collaborated with Patrick Summers on the world premiere of Moby-Dick as assistant conductor for the Dallas Opera.

The program also includes the world premiere of a Festival-commissioned work by Christopher Rountree. A conductor and composer working at the intersection of classical music, new music, performance art and pop, Rountree is the founder, conductor and creative director of the path breaking L.A. chamber orchestra wild Up. This commission is part of an ongoing series designed to identify the next generation of talent sponsored by the Pacific Harmony Foundation, established by celebrated composer John Adams and his wife, the noted landscape photographer Deborah O'Grady.

John Adams' 70th birthday, a milestone celebrated by the music community around the globe, is commemorated at the Cabrillo Festival with the world premiere of a new piece by GabriElla Smith. The prolific San Francisco-based composer has a special relationship to Adams - her composition Tumblebird Contrails was commissioned by the Pacific Harmony Foundation for the Festival in 2014.

Maestro M?celaru closes out the Festival with the world premiere of a powerful new work by Canadian composer Karim Al-Zand featuringGrammy Award-winning, New Zealand-born Samoan bass baritone Jonathan Lemalu. Al-Zand, whose music has been celebrated as "strong and startlingly lovely"(Boston Globe) offers The Prisoner,a work inspired by the story of Adnan Latif, a Yemeni man imprisoned at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 until his death there 10 years later. The libretto includes segments of a letter Latif wrote to his lawyers, interspersed with poems by Rilke and Rumi.



Festival tickets range from $30-$65 with many events free and open to the public. The public may access information on the Festival website at or call (831) 426-6966; and people are encouraged to join the mailing list to receive advance notification.

Tickets may be ordered by mail beginning May 4 through the Festival's Advance Ticket Order Form; and then via phone, walk-up, or on-line through beginning June 14.


All concerts will be held at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium at 307 Church Street in Santa Cruz, with the exception of Music in the Mountains held at Nestldown in the Santa Cruz Mountains.


Friday, August 4, 8pm: DEPARTURES

Michael Gandolfi: Points of Departure(World Premiere, re-orchestrated for full orchestra, Festival commission)

Clarice Assad:Percussion Concerto AD INFINITUM(Evelyn Glennie, percussion)(World Premiere, Festival Commission)

Aaron Jay Kernis: Second Symphony

Saturday, August 5, 8pm: TRIBUTES Part One

Gabriela Lena Frank: Three Latin American Dances

James Stephenson: Concerto for Violin Tributes(Jennifer Frautschi, violin) (West Coast Premiere)

David T. Little: The Conjured Life, Commemorating Lou Harrison's Centenary (World Premiere re-orchestrated for chamber orchestra, Festival commission)

Cindy McTee: Double Play

Sunday, August 6: 1pm: FREE FAMILY CONCERT

Michael Gandolfi: Pinocchio's Adventures in Funland(West Coast Premiere) (Gemma New, conductor: Cristian M?celaru, narrator)

Sunday, August 6, 8pm: IN THE BLUE ROOM with Clarice Assad
Clarice Assad (piano/vocals) with Keita Ogawa (percussion)

Wednesday, August 9, 6:30pm: MUSIC IN THE MOUNTAINS Fundraiser at Nestldown, Los Gatos
Wine and food tastings in a spectacular garden setting, and a chamber music concert featuring performances of works by composers William Bolcom and Karim Al-Zand, performed by Jason Hardink, piano; Cristian M?celaru, violin; concertmaster Justin Bruns, and Festival principal clarinet Bharat Chandra; plus a performance by bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu.

Friday, August 11, 8pm: CON BRIO

William Bolcom: Symphony No. 9 (West Coast Premiere)

Gerald Barry: Piano Concerto (Jason Hardink, piano)(US Premiere)

Jörg Widmann: Con Brio

Cindy McTee: Symphony No. 1: Ballet for Orchestra

Saturday, August 12, 8pm: TRIBUTES Part Two

Jake Heggie: Moby-Dick Orchestral Suite (World Premiere, arranged by Cristian M?celaru, Festival Commission)

Christopher Rountree: new work (World Premiere, Festival Commission/Pacific Harmony Foundation)

GabriElla Smith: new workin honor of John Adams' 70th Birthday (World Premiere, Festival Commission)

Karim Al-Zand: The Prisoner (Jonathan Lemalu, bass baritone) (World Premiere, Festival Commission)


Karim Al-Zand: The Prisoner (Jonathan Lemalu, bass baritone)

Clarice Assad:Percussion ConcertoAD INFINITUM (Evelyn Glennie, percussion)

Michael Gandolfi: Points of Departure (re-orchestrated for full orchestra)

Jake Heggie: Moby-Dick Orchestral Suite (new arrangement by C. M?celaru)

David T. Little: The Conjured Life (re-orchestrated for chamber orchestra)

Christopher Rountree: new work (John Adams' collaboration/Pacific Harmony Fndtn.)

GabriElla Smith: new work


Gerald Barry: Piano Concerto (Jason Hardink, piano)


William Bolcom: Symphony No. 9

James Stephenson: Concerto for Violin Tributes (Jennifer Frautschi, violin)

Michael Gandolfi: Pinocchio's Adventures in Funland (West Coast Premiere of orchestral version) (Conducted by Gemma New; Narrated by Cristian M?celaru)


Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussion

Jennifer Frautschi, violin

Gemma New, Cabrillo Assistant Conductor

Cristian M?celaru, narrator

Clarice Assad, piano/vocals

Keita Ogawa, percussion

Jason Hardink, piano

Jonathan Lemalu, bass-baritone


Karim Al-Zand

Clarice Assad

Gerald Barry

Michael Gandolfi

Jake Heggie

Aaron Jay Kernis

David T. Little

Cindy McTee

Christopher Rountree

GabriElla Smith

James Stephenson

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