Yolanda Kondonassis Releases GINASTERA: ONE HUNDRED A Centennial Celebration of Alberto Ginastera 1916-2016
Internationally acclaimed harpist Yolanda Kondonassis is the executive producer of a new album, Ginastera: One Hundred, celebrating the centennial of the iconic Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera in 2016, which will be released by Oberlin Music and distributed by Naxos on October 14, 2016. The album is produced by Erica Brenner with recording engineers Paul Eachus, Larry Rock, and Michael Bishop.
Ginastera: One Hundred features Yolanda Kondonassis in Ginastera's Harp Concerto, Op. 25, recorded with the Oberlin Symphony Orchestra; Gil and Orli Shaham in Ginastera's Pampeana No. 1, Op. 16 for violin and piano; Orli Shaham in Danzas Argentinas; and Jason Vieaux in Ginastera's Sonata for Guitar, Op. 47. The album features extensively researched liner notes by James O'Leary and historical photos of the composer provided by Boosey & Hawkes.
Since its premiere in 1965, Alberto Ginastera's Harp Concerto has acquired an almost cult status as the definitive harp concerto of the 20th century. With its pulsing Latin rhythms, virtuosic displays, and creative use of many unique colors and special effects, the work has received numerous performances during the past several decades, nearly 200 of which have been performed by Yolanda Kondonassis.
Kondonassis considers the album to be a labor of love and gratitude to Maestro Ginastera for his important contribution to the harp repertoire. She says:
This project celebrates the life and work of Alberto Ginastera. The Argentine composer's innovative style draws comparisons to Bartók and Stravinsky for the artful ways in which he integrated folk music and dance forms from his native country into a striking, modernist musical language. Throughout his compositional life, Ginastera took an architectural approach to his work that, while moving through different tonal and structural worlds, remained uniquely recognizable as his own distinctive, colorful voice.
To harpists, however, Alberto Ginastera was much more than a leading force in contemporary music. He wrote our piece. He created the work that pushed the harp out of its box and gave us the kind of indelible, substantive composition that makes or breaks a solo career like mine. By my best estimate, I have performed Ginastera's Harp Concerto close to 200 times, but in every performance, I discover something new-a hidden motivic layer, a subtle orchestral color I hadn't noticed before, or just another interpretive pathway to explore. His music speaks to performers and audiences alike, while pushing the ear beyond the expected. This kind of creation is a gift, and my gratitude to Ginastera for that gift was the inspiration for this project.
Yolanda Kondonassis is celebrated as one of the world's premier solo harpists and is widely regarded as today's most recorded classical harpist. Hailed as "a brilliant and expressive player" (Dallas Morning News), she has performed around the globe as a concerto soloist and in recital, bringing her unique brand of musicianship and warm artistry to an ever-increasing audience. Also a published author, speaker, professor of harp, and environmental activist, she weaves her many passions into a vibrant and multi-faceted career. Since making her debut at age 18 with the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, Kondonassis has brought new audiences to the harp and has appeared as soloist with numerous major orchestras in the United States and abroad such as The New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, to name a few. She has been featured on CNN and PBS as well as Sirius XM Radio'sSymphony Hall, NPR's All Things Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, St. Paul Sunday Morning, and Performance Today. The first harpist to receive the Darius Milhaud Prize, Kondonassis is committed to the advancement of contemporary music for the instrument, with recent premieres including works by Bright Sheng, Keith Fitch, and Gary Schocker. Kondonassis has also earned a reputation as a world-class chamber musician, collaborating with artists such as the Shanghai, JACK, Jupiter, and Vermeer string quartets, pianist Jeremy Denk, and guitarist Jason Vieaux, among others. The Kondonassis/Vieaux duo released their debut album, Together, in January 2015 on Azica Records. With hundreds of thousands of albums sold worldwide, Kondonassis' extensive discography, released on the Telarc, Azica, Oberlin, New World, and Channel Classics labels, includes nineteen titles. Her 2008 release of music by Takemitsu and Debussy, Air (Telarc), was nominated for a Grammy Award. Her many albums have earned universal critical praise as she continues to be a pioneering force in the harp world, striving to make her instrument more accessible to audiences and to push the boundaries of what listeners expect of the harp. Kondonassis heads the harp departments at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Cleveland Institute of Music and plays a Lyon & Healy Salzedo Model harp.
About Oberlin Music: Founded in 2007, Oberlin Music is the commercial label of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. The label's mission is to further the ideals of Oberlin Conservatory with select recordings that feature Oberlin's distinguished faculty, alumni, students, and guest artists. Each recording released through Oberlin Music is created and produced for artistic purposes alone and aims to promote the highest musical integrity, in both performance and project material. In 2010, the conservatory opened Clonick Hall, a state-of-the-art recording facility, delivering the capability to record studio and concert hall sessions in the heart of the conservatory. Oberlin Music titles are available on traditional CD, digital retail formats such as itunes, and digital listening channels worldwide.
The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, founded in 1865, is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States. With world-renowned faculty and alumni, the conservatory was awarded the 2009 National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given to American artists and arts patrons.