On Saturday night the New England Conservatory’s teal and gilt Jordan Hall enjoyed the premiere of no fewer than four new works by living, breathing composers and performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, which parties where symphony orchestras fear to tread. Bucking both contemporary and traditional expectations, provoking appreciation and conversation, this was a night of risks that paid off handsomely.
Critics Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Since its 1996 inception, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP for short) has quickly pushed its way to the forefront of contemporary-music organizations in this country. Under the leadership of conductor Gil Rose, BMOP’s founder and artistic director, the ensemble has presented nearly 40 premieres, half of which it commissioned. It has also been active on the recording front, issuing 13 discs on a variety of labels.
That’s the title of Lisa Bielawa’s impressive debut CD. Long known as a singer in Philip Glass’s ensemble, she is now making her mark as a composer, one expansive collaboration at a time.
At a time when pundits continue to predict the death of physical recordings, the always-against-the-grain Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) has launched a new CD label, BMOP/sound. Their initial release is the first complete recording of John Harbison’s 1984 ballet Ulysses. Nine additional releases are scheduled to come out a month at a time for the remainder of 2008.
Friday’s wide-ranging Boston Modern Orchestra Project concert demonstrated how unhelpfully vague the umbrella term “modern music” can be. Some New England Conservatory link was the only correspondence among the disparate works, gathered under the title “Boston ConNECtion” (and performed under Jordan Hall’s architecturally ill-mannered “New England Conservatory” signboard, which continues to intrude on the season’s concert experience like a dinner-time telemarketer).
BMOP has become so popular, you have to look hard in the program to find its full name: Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Founder Gil Rose and his outstanding ensemble celebrated their 10th season at the New England Conservatory on Friday with their annual concert devoted to Boston composers. An enthusiastic and diverse audience (diverse especially in age) cheered, whistled, and hooted its approval for pieces, including two world premieres, by five composers also diverse in age. All the pieces were lively and (unlike Gerontius) fun.
Catherine Stephan, Executive Director of Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP)
Tell us about the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, how it was formed, it’s raison d’etre.
I wish that all the people who claim to hate “modern” music had been able to attend Saturday’s concert of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at Bowdoin College’s new Studzinsky Recital Hall.
Works composed in the 21st century range from Renaissance harmonies through Romantic lyricism to the craggiest of dissonance. The writing varied in quality, but the program transfixed the large audience and held its interest throughout, appealing to the intellect and the emotions.
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), an orchestra devoted exclusively to performing and commissioning new music, has announced it will launch an in-house record label, BMOP Sound, in January.
BMOP Sound will release five world premiere CDs early next year: John Harbison’s Ulysses, Michael Gandolfi’s Y2K Compliant, Gunther Schuller’s Journey Into Jazz (with the composer narrating), Lee Hyla’s Lives of the Saints (with mezzo-soprano Mary Nessinger), and Charles Fussell’s Wilde (with baritone Sanford Sylvan).
A couple of weeks ago, conductor Gil Rose was sitting in a local Indian restaurant, looking improbably relaxed. As music director of Opera Boston, he had the opening night of Osvaldo Golijov’s flamenco opera Ainadamar looming over his head, and as founder of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, he had four daunting contemporary scores waiting to be whipped into shape for a concert at Jordan Hall.
“Re-Inventions,” the opening concert of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s 11th season, promised “glorious and subversive music for keyboards.” While none of the four pieces heard Friday night fully lived up to either adjective, they did present individual and strikingly resourceful ideas on how the concerto, a timeworn musical form, could be reimagined for the present.
A couple of weeks ago, conductor Gil Rose was sitting in a local Indian restaurant, looking improbably relaxed. As music director of Opera Boston, he had the opening night of Osvaldo Golijov’s flamenco opera Ainadamar looming over his head, and as founder of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, he had four daunting contemporary scores waiting to be whipped into shape for a concert that takes place this Friday night at Jordan Hall.
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s 11th season will focus on concertos, pairing the orchestra with a wide array of local and international soloists. The season, announced today, offers BMOP’s customary mix of the cutting-edge and the merely modern, including no fewer than 10 world premieres.
The eighth annual ASCAP Concert Music Awards will be presented this evening at 5:00 p.m in the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. Hosting the invitation-only event will be composer/performer/radio host/comedic luminary Peter Schickele will host the event. (He will not be appearing in the guise of the musicologist from the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople and authority on P.D.Q. Bach, though he likely to provide more than a few laughs nevertheless.)
Anyone who caught the Ben Folds performance with the Boston Pops last week and was struck by the thinness of the meeting of musical worlds should have been there on Saturday night at Sanders Theatre to hear the Boston Modern Orchestra Project tee off on three bracingly imaginative works infused with rock ‘n’ roll and other popular styles.
Gil Rose and his Boston Modern Orchestra Project are nothing if not adventurous, playing all sorts of new music and bringing classical music to pubs and bars.
Tonight they take that spirit even further by performing Anthony De Ritis’ Devolution: A Concerto for DJ and Orchestra featuring DJ Spooky the Subliminal Kid; Steven Mackey’s Dreamhouse featuring electric guitars and vocalists; and the world premiere of Evan Ziporyn’s Hard Drive. The program, at Sanders Theatre, is part of the Celebrity Series Boston Marquee performances.
In the basement of the Masonic Hall in Porter Square, conductor Gil Rose is giving members of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project fair warning. “This is going to get pretty loud,” he says.
Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will perform Devolution, an original piece composed by Northeastern professor Anthony De Ritis and featuring DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller) on May 19th at 8 p.m. at the Sanders Theater, as part of the Bank of America Celebrity Series.
President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the surrounding events are seen through the prism of musical drama in the world premiere of Our American Cousin, a new opera by Amherst College composer Eric Sawyer and librettist John Shoptaw.
CAMBRIDGE -- Pull enough threads in American contemporary music of the last 50 years and you’ll arrive at the Fromm Foundation, which has funded commissions from many of the 20th century’s most distinguished composers. Paul Fromm (1906-1987) was an emigre who fled Nazi Germany and settled in this country, establishing a successful wine importing business in Chicago and, later, a foundation pledged “to restore to the composer his rightful position at the center of musical life.”