The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia Announces 2017/2018 Season IMPROVISIONARIES
A founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (COP) announces its 2017-2018 Season. From September 2017 through May 2018, the Chamber Orchestra will perform six programs as part of its subscription series. All six concert pairs will be performed in the Kimmel Center's intimate Perelman Theater. Building upon our 52-year history of world-class artistry, vibrant programming and innovative engagement, the 2017/18 season will represent an exciting, watershed moment for The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, featuring both an expansion of current programs and an introduction of new long-term initiatives.
17/18 marks an important year for Jazz in Philadelphia, it represents a multitude of significant anniversaries of Jazz legends with deep connections to the City, including Butch Ballard (100th), Dizzy Gillespie (100th), Gerry Mulligan (90th), Percy Heath (90th), Archie Shepp (80th), Bootsie Barnes (80th); and John Coltrane, who lived in Philadelphia from 1952-58. In partnership with the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz, COP will celebrate this landmark season with Improvisionaries: a variety of programs exploring the art of improvisation spanning the 17th through the 21st centuries, and culminating in the premiere of a new work - illuminating the immensely varied and colorful musical trajectory which furnished an essential backdrop to the birth of Jazz and fertile source of inspiration for the work of these Philadelphia-based Jazz visionaries. COP's series at the Kimmel Center will highlight the prismatic underlying tapestries of Baroque figured-bass, reprise the excitement of improvised cadenzas in Classical/Romantic concertos, explore the cross-fertilization of Jazz and Modernist composers in the 20th century, and journey into aleatoric and other contemporary improvisational models. Executive Director, Bill Rhoads adds, "inspired by the anniversaries of these Jazz icons, we have a unique opportunity to experience the diverse and fascinating panoply of music that arose from the incredibly rich and fruitful dialog between Jazz and classical composers."
Kicking off the Improvisionaries season on October 1st, 2017 will be an exploration of the trumpet with Norwegian rising star, Tine Thing Helseth. Hailed in 2011 by BBC as the "superstar of tomorrow", Helseth's international acclaim at a young age has taken her all over the world. This concert, entitled Haydn & Goldenthal will feature Helseth performing Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in Eb with new cadenzas written specifically for this performance. Helseth will present the world premiere of Academy Award-winner Elliot Goldenthal's Trumpet Concerto. Written with Helseth in mind, Goldenthal - who is perhaps best known for his soundtracks to blockbuster films Alien 3, Batman & Robin, and Titus - will explore the relationship between a performer's artistic liberties and that of the orchestra though the partly-improvisatory musical structure of this new work.
Audience participation in the 2017-2018 season is encouraged in our second series concert featuring the music of Beethoven on November 5th and 6th, 2017 with pianist Charlie Albright. Hailed by the Washington Post as "among the most gifted musicians of his generation," Albright will perform an All-Beethoven program with improvisations on the beloved Für Elise, and in the cadenzas for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3. As part of our Classical Conversations post-concert discussion on November 5th, Albright will take note requests from the audience and improvise on a theme built on the requested pitches. This concert will be conducted by Australian born Sarah Ioannides, whose work has taken her all over the world performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Nationale de Lyon, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and the Flemish Radio Orchestra. Having studied conducing at The Curtis Institute of Music, this Chamber Orchestra debut marks a Philadelphia homecoming for Ioannides.
Our third series program, Mozart, Piazzolla, and John Cage will feature COP Music Director Dirk Brossé conducting in concert with flutist Mimi Stillman. Philadelphia native and the youngest wind player ever admitted to Curtis Institute of Music, Stillman will dazzle audiences with improvised Mozart and Piazzolla cadenzas, and as soloist for the U.S. premiere of Dirk Brossé's DNA in Music. COP will perform two realizations of Mozart's aleatoric work, Würfelspiel (Dice Game). Using the composer's chance algorithm, one of the two realizations will be determined by COP patrons, and the other by Chamber Orchestra musicians. Both realizations will be constructed and orchestrated by COP's Composer-In-Residence, Adam Vidiksis. The aleatoric scores of Mozart's Würfelspiel and John Cage's Atlas Eclipticalis will be projected above the orchestra during the performance to illuminate the improvisatory aspects and unique performance challenges of these scores.
Perhaps no other composer in the history of classical music has had as profound an effect on western European musical tradition as J.S. Bach. Historical accounts of Bach's style of improvisation on hymns and mass themes have generated schools of thought and interpretation that are perhaps more various and heavily debated than any other composer of his time. For our All-Baroque concert COP will present one of the world's leading improvisers on the keyboard, Philadelphia's Jeffery Brillhart, as he conducts and plays music of J.S. and C.P.E Bach, Rameau, and his own improvisations on themes heard in the program.
COP's fifth series program at Kimmel, Mozart, Mooke, and Fauré, will feature Mozart's brilliant Symphony No. 38 "Prague." This iconic work received its first performance in Prague during one of Mozart's most successful tours to the city. The "Prague" symphony will share the program with a new commission by the trailblazing electric violist and composer Martha Mooke. Noted for her collaborations with musicians ranging from Philip Glass to David Bowie, Mooke will compose an improvisatory work in two parts - one a mirror reflection of the other. Mooke observes, "the idea of improvisation can be terrifying, especially to "classically" trained musicians who are not used to playing without all the notes printed on a page. My motto is "Illuminating the Creative Spirit" - this applies equally to player and listener. No two performances will be performed or perceived in the same exact way. Each one will be a uniquely shared, yet personal, experience." This series program also begins COP's annual partnership with Astral Artists, one of America's premiere incubators for rising-star classical musicians. Violist Born Lau, praised for his "immaculately refined" playing (The Philadelphia Inquirer) will perform Hummel's Fantasie improvising the cadenza for this beautiful and charming work as the COP's inaugural Astral Spotlight Artist.
Philadelphia's love affair with Jazz spans over a century and the Clef Club of Jazz is very much at the center of the city's rich musical history. Our season finale concert, Bluegrass, Bernstein, and the Blues showcases acclaimed soloist and composer Mark O'Connor and the great musicians of the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz in what promises be a revelatory genre-defying experience. The program will celebrate the 100th anniversary of American visionary Leonard Bernstein, and will feature the music of Jazz-great Dave Brubeck and the world premiere of new work culminating the season-long partnership with Clef Club of Jazz composed by Philadelphia's Adam Vidiksis, COP's Steven R. Gerber Composer-In-Residence. Special guest trumpeter and composer, Jeff Beal, will be on hand to perform his famed suite House of Cards from Netflix's hit drama, House of Cards.
In 2017/2018 the Chamber Orchestra will present the third season of its newest mini-series intersect. Featuring artists and performers from our Perelman Series, intersect is a bold venture celebrating the common DNA shared by music in all its forms and showcasing COP's phenomenal musicians in collaboration with artists of diverse backgrounds and styles. In addition to World Café Live in University City, this season we will present intersect at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and the Annenberg Center's Prince Theater at the University of Pennsylvania. Each intersect will blend workshop performances and artist talks focusing on the many-facets and practices of improvisation.
This season will mark the beginning of a new season long partnership with the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Beginning in the 2017/2018 season, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia will be orchestra-in-residence at the Annenberg Center. Christopher A. Gruits, Executive & Artistic Director of the Annenberg Center, describes the venture as "a partnership of two great Philadelphia institutions." Gruits continued, "The Annenberg Center is one of the nation's foremost urban performing arts centers and The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia is one of the nation's leading chamber orchestras. Both presenters are looking for new and interesting performances to bring to their audiences. We're excited to make this annual partnership a long lasting and harmonious one." The residency is envisioned to include a series of performances, workshops and events throughout the season. Details surrounding the partnership will be released in the Spring.
Astral Artists and COP are pleased to announce a new partnership between their esteemed Philadelphia institutions. Starting in the 2017/2018 season, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia will present an annual "Astral Artist Showcase" featuring an Astral Spotlight Artist as soloist in a regular series program at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. With Astral's mission as an early career incubator for rising-star classical musicians and the COP's long history of, and ongoing interest in, presenting young, up and coming soloists as a key component to its regular season, this partnership represents a natural and strategic alignment of goals for both institutions. The partnership also marks a concerted effort to expand Philadelphia's musical footprint and exposure of its wealth of musical talent in the local, national, and international musical community. Astral's Executive Director, Julia Rubio, says, "We are thrilled to collaborate with such a respected chamber orchestra and music director Dirk Brossé. This is a wonderful opportunity for our outstanding artists that also establish an important long-term and creative partnership between our organizations. We both share a common interest in providing leadership and vision for Philadelphia's classical music community."
Propelled by a generous matching grant by the Steven R. Gerber Trust and the American Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter, COP will launch our first-ever joint composer-residency. Resident composer, Adam Vidiksis, will work with COP on the world premiere of several new works and arrangements, will host a series of community discussions and Q&A's, and will lead composition workshops with students in area public schools and universities, including a new musical project with Joybells of Melmark musicians.
Inspired by the dictum that musical talent and potential for success should never be lost due to financial circumstances, COP will partner with Philadelphia's Primavera Fund to coach young musicians and then present a public side-by-side concert. Admission to the event will be in the form of pay-as-you-wish donations, the proceeds of which will go toward future coaching of Primavera students by COP musicians.
COP is excited to embark on a season-long partnership with the esteemed Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz (PCC). Since its inception as an extension Philadelphia's black musicians' union, the PCC has served as a hub for the city's Jazz community and provided space for socializing and musical experimentation. As a core season partner - through a series of concerts, talks, and workshops - Clef Club will explore with the Chamber Orchestra the many-faceted art of improvisation in diverse genres and the rich dialogue between Jazz and Classical artists that continues through to the present day.