On Stage at Curtis

Curtis 20/21 and “eighth blackbird”

Airs Sunday, November 2 at 6 p.m. on WHYY-TV

This concert is part of a three-year residency at Curtis by eighth blackbird, the renowned contemporary chamber ensemble. Their residency includes workshops with Curtis composers, a career forum, and in-depth coachings with students. Tonight, they are joined in concert by Curtis’ own contemporary ensemble, Curtis 20/21. The program:

Lutoslawski: Subito
Shannon Lee, violin; Amy J. Yang, piano

Witold Lutoslawski, the estimable 20th-century Polish composer, lived from 1913 to 1994. He composed Subito in 1992 for the Indianapolis International Violin Competition, making it his last work for that instrument, and his last completed composition.

Penderecki: Selections from Suite for Solo Cello
Tessa Seymour, cello

The great contemporary Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki was the 2013/2014 composer-in-residence at the Curtis Institute. The Suite for Solo Cello is an expansion of his earlier Divertimento; the additional elements in the Suite illustrate his late-career return to a more traditional style of composition, especially in his reverence for Bach.

György Kurtág: Bagatelles, Op. 14d
Niles Watson, flute; Samuel Casseday, double bass; Lisa Kaplan, piano

The Hungarian composer György Kurtág was born in 1926, and was greatly influenced by the music of his countryman Béla Bartók. As his own style developed, Kurtág turned his attention to miniatures, like these Bagatelles, which are transcriptions of selections from his earlier piano cycle Games.

Steven Stucky: The Stars and the Roses
Roy Hage, tenor; Shannon Lee, violin; Arlen Hlusko, cello; Patrick Williams, flute; Slavko Popovic, clarinet; Kate Liu, piano; Ted Babcock, percussion

Steven Stucky is one of America’s premiere contemporary composers, and served as Curtis’ composer-in-residence for the 2012/2013 school year. Stucky’s 2012 song cycle “The Stars and the Roses” is set to the poetry of Nobel Prize-winner Czeslaw Milosz. The verses offer hope for a world that sometimes seems devoid of hope, with Stucky’s score illuminating their sensibility.

Ligeti: Selections from Etudes for Piano
eighth blackbird: Tim Munro, flute; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinet; Yvonne Lam, violin; Nicholas Photinos, cello; Lisa Kaplan, piano; Douglas Perkins, percussion

eighth blackbird players Lisa Kaplan and Tim Munro adapted four sections of the influential Etudes for Piano by the 20th-century Hungarian composer György Ligeti Composed by 1985 and 2001, the original version of the Etudes are considered a classic set of studies in the vein of Liszt, Chopin and Debussy.

Music Word of the Week: Bagatelle
“A short and unpretentious instrumental piece, usually for keyboard. Francois Couperin gave the title Les Bagatelles to pieces in his Pieces de Clavecin (ordre 10); Beethoven wrote 26 piano bagatelles, of which Fur Elise is one.”


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