Gabriel Cabezas Named Featured Soloist for CSO December Concert

November 15th, 2013 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
December 10, 2013
7:30 pm

CUR_4056On December 10 at 7:30 pm, twenty-one-year-old cellist Gabriel Cabezas will join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as the featured soloist in Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto. One of the most popular cello works ever written, the First Cello Concerto is a profound expression of struggle and triumph, its sardonic humor giving way to elegiac beauty. Symphony Hall is located at 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Tickets are available here or by calling 312-294-3000.

Cellist Gabriel Cabezas has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, the National Symphony of Costa Rica, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Nashville Symphony, among others. Cabezas has been portrayed as “…an intense player who connects to the music naturally, without artifice, and brings a singing line to the cello” (David Stabler, The Oregonian) and his debut performance with the Cleveland Orchestra described as a “…remarkably poised and elegant account, with superb attention to phrasing, nuance and tonal coloration” (Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer).

A passion for chamber music and collaboration has taken him to Marlboro Music, Music@Menlo, Music from Angel Fire, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, Bargemusic, and Chicago’s Symphony Center Presents series. His television appearances include performances with Yo-Yo Ma at “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Good Morning America”, and with Béla Fleck in “From The Top – Carnegie Hall.”

2013-14 season highlights include a subscription debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as a return to Chicago’s International Beethoven Festival and the annual Sphinx Virtuosi national tour. Cabezas’ 2012-13 engagements included concerts with the Detroit Symphony, the Nashville Symphony and the National Symphony of Costa Rica, as well as appearances with Musicians from Marlboro, at the International Beethoven Festival, and ChamberFest Cleveland.

Formerly a recipient of an Education Grant by the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation, Cabezas has supported music outreach and education programs including Midori’s Partners in Performance, the Sphinx Organization, Costa Rica’s national SINEM music education program, and Chicago’s Citizen Musician movement. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Carter Brey. As a writer, Cabezas has been featured in Teen Strings Magazine and has been a contributing writer for Strings Magazine.

CFAS Presents Annual Winners Concert at Cultural Center

November 15th, 2013 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
November 24, 2013
3:00 pm


Chicago, IL — The Chinese Fine Arts Society will present a free concert at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm. The Chicago Cultural Center is located at 78 E. Washington in Chicago. For more information, visit or The 29th Annual Music Festival in Honor of Confucius Winners Concert, also part of the Cultural Center’s Sunday Salon Series, features First Place winners — cellists, pianists, violinists and Chinese Instrumentalists, ranging in age from 8-25. This year’s concert is in honor of CFAS lifetime member, repeat MFHC winner, and Coordinator of this year’s competition, Mimi Liu, who tragically passed away earlier this fall. The Chinese Fine Arts Society has established a new scholarship in the Piano Youth Division in Mimi’s name.

Works by Prokofiev, Liszt, Chopin, and Haydn are presented side by side with traditional and contemporary Chinese compositions. Performing winners include Eriko Darcy, Piano; Ifetayo Ali, Cello; Ruijing Han, Guzhen; Yerin Yang, Piano; Sean Choi, Piano; Zachary Brandon, Violin; Richard Li, Cello; William Tan, Cello; Sean Lee, Violin; and Caleb Kim, Piano.

This festival introduces participants to the rich heritage of Chinese music through competitions and scholarships. From a storefront operation at its inception, attracting just a handful of participants, the Music Festival has become a very popular musical event for musicians of all ages in Chicago. Music teachers welcome it; young musicians look forward to participating in it; the packed audience at the Winners Concerts enjoy and appreciate it. Alumni of this popular program — including Rachel Barton Pine and Conrad Tao — have gone on to attend music conservatories, and many have developed successful professional music careers.

Every fall, hundreds of young musicians perform Chinese music selected from our required repertoire, as well as a western piece of their choosing, for a panel of judges. The top scoring performers in each age category play in the annual Winners Concert at prestigious Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center. The required repertoire reflects the beauty and breadth of the Chinese musical tradition and proves to be challenging and inspiring for the contestants. Since 1984, the Chinese Fine Arts Society, a small, fully-independent arts organization has brought together people from diverse backgrounds around a common goal: to celebrate the beauty and majesty of traditional and contemporary Chinese music and art. CFAS is dedicated to promoting the appreciation of Chinese culture, enhancing cultural exchange and pursuing excellence in Chinese music, dance and visual arts. For further information about the Chinese Fine Arts Society contact 312-369-3197 or and visit

RiteNow: The Composers

November 10th, 2013 by Peter McDowell No comments »

A one-time-only performance RiteNow: A Centennial Celebration of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring will take place at Woolsey Hall, 500 College Street (corner of College & Grove), New Haven, CT on November 17 at 8pm. Admission is free. Complete info is at


RiteNow will include works by composers Fay Kueen Wang, Justin Tierney, Matthew Welch, Benjamin Wallace, Daniel Schlosberg, Gleb Kanasevich, Polina Nazaykinskaya, and Paul Kerekes. Production designer Solomon Weisbard will create an immersive environmental design, and costumes will be created by Ksenia Zhuleva.

Complete composer bios are available at Here’s a summary:

Composer/performer Fay Wang’s music has been performed around Asia, Europe and USA, including the Berlin Concert House, the Arnold Schoenberg Center, Oper Graz, Yun Isang Memorial Hall, Beijing, Shanghai Concert Hall, Merkin Hall and Lincoln Center, with ensembles including the China Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonia Iuventus, RIAS Youth Orchestra, Dinosaur Annex, and a recent premiere by Bang On A Can All-Stars at NYC’s Ecstatic Music Festival.

The music of Matthew Tobin Welch (b.1976), Composer/Multi-instrumentalist, stems from a multi-faceted foundation. As a virtuoso of the Highland Bagpipe, he studied traditional music with Gold Medalist masters such as Colin MacLellan, Jack Lee, Angus MacLellan and Andrew Wright. Matthew also was a member of the four – time World Champion Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, winning with them in 1999 and 2001.

Justine Tierney‘s music was declared “superb, robust, and grand” by the Boston Globe who avowed that “Tierney’s dark-hued music had polished, ominous richness… and sound-worlds that were cogent and immediate.” A recent performance ofThe God’s Script was described as [one of] “two of the most compelling operas also draw on illustrious literary sources: … it sheathes in fierce, gorgeously orchestrated music a dramatization of Jorge Luis Borges’sLa Escritura del Dios.”

Ben Wallace, originally hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a New England based composer, pianist, percussionist, and conductor. His works have been performed at various venues in Cincinnati, New Haven, New York, Switzerland, and Albuquerque. He received his Bachelor of Music in 2011 from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati where he studied with Joel Hoffman, Michael Fiday, Mara Helmuth, and Al Otte of Percussion Group Cincinnati.

Polina Nazaykinskaya was born in Togliatti, Russia in 1987 and has been studying music since the age of 4. After graduating with honors from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia with concentrations in violin and composition, Polina earned her Masters of Music Degree from the Yale School of Music. Her professors at Yale included Christopher Theofanidis and Ezra Laderman. Currently Polina is pursuing Artist Diploma in composition at the Yale School of Music.

Composer and pianist Daniel Schlosberg (b. 1987) just completed his master’s degree and is currently pursuing his doctorate at the Yale School of Music. His works have been played by the Buffalo Philharmonic, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, New Morse Code, Yale Baroque Ensemble, Center City Opera Theater, and counter)induction. In July, his orchestral piece My reflection ran away with my eyes was featured at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, CA.

Gleb Kanasevich, a 2013 YSM graduate with MM in clarinet, has taken part in IRCAM’s 2013 AcademieManifeste and this year has had premiere performances at Spoleto Festival,soundSCAPE Festival, Atlantic Music Festival and Fundacion Music AntiquaNova in Argentina. He currently performs largely as a soloist and in duet with pianist Michael Sheppard under Chesapeake Concert Artists.

Paul Kerekes was born in Huntington, New York. His music has been described as “striking…ecstatic…dramatic” (WQXR), “highly eloquent” (New Haven Advocate), and able to create “an almost tactile picture” (The New York Times).

From the conductor RiteNow: A Centennial Celebration of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring

November 10th, 2013 by Peter McDowell No comments »

In the words of Conductor Paolo Bortolameolli:

“How many times does the world stop to celebrate ONE single piece of art?

In the spring of 2013, a masterpiece and seminal work of music of the twentieth century, “Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)”, turned 100 years old. May 29th, 1913, the day on which “The Rite of Spring ” was premiered at the Theatre Champs Elysee in Paris, is in retrospect a key date in the history of music, ballet and art in general and can be considered as the launching of a century. This gives us a good opportunity to look back and reflect.

The celebration this year was an event of global proportions. Many and varied approaches are possible but without doubt there is one that sparks my fascination: The artistic collaboration.

Once again we reaffirm Stravinsky’s genius and the transcendent legacy of his composition. The definitive emancipation of rhythm, the imaginative and provocative use of the orchestra and the harmonic boldness are some of the reasons why this is a fundamental score of the twentieth century. In addition, the name of Vaslav Nijinsky is confirmed as the great revolutionary in the genesis of contemporary dance. The contribution of painter, writer, archaeologist and philosopher Nicholas Roerich, materialized through the original sets and costumes joined the concept of primitivism and mysticism of an ancient rite. And the artistry and enterprise of Sergei Diaghilev is a legend in the history of twentieth century music.

The combination of a group of sensitive and brilliant minds who shared a specific time in history bore fruit in a masterpiece in every sense.

How do we look back today then, to its creation, 100 years ago?

Art is a living organism that does not stop, and that makes its way every day through its inevitable need to find new ways to communicate and express from the observance, the anticipation or reflection. Rarely can we, however, do so from these three angles simultaneously.

The validity, importance and strength of the current artistic creation led me to the concept to pay a particular tribute: joining forces again to obtain a collective result in a once of lifetime experience.

Based on the episodic structure of Stravinsky’s work, I commissioned to 8 highly gifted and talented composers of this generation, to write each an episode that would be eventually assembled to form an homage piece. The result is an eclectic work, where eight personal languages from ​​8 points of views have been captured in a single score.

Moreover, the aesthetic vision of our Production Designer will unify the contrasting elements, showing a common message based on the essential concept of the original work: The Rite. A rite for spring, but also for death and birth, the rite in ancient times, but also at a time where art experienced an unprecedented period of experimentation. It is the result of a society on the verge of the first global war that transformed humanity into the actual Chosen to be sacrificed, a rite to a reborn, a rite to celebrate the concrete manifestation of music in a concert hall that 100 years ago. This was one of the most controversial and booed premieres — which 100 years later makes us wonder where is the audience, THAT audience today?

A rite to man and its primary, essential language: Art.

A rite to THEN and NOW.”


On Sunday November 17th at 8pm, conductor Paolo Bortolameolli will lead the Zephyrus Project Orchestra in a performance of RiteNow: A Centennial Celebration of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. This one-time-only performance will take place at Woolsey Hall, 500 College Street (corner of College & Grove), New Haven, CT. Admission is free. Complete info is at

Percussionist Lisa Pegher Featured in Latest CD from Boston Modern Orchestra

October 26th, 2013 by Sam Zelitch No comments »

lisa-pegher-percussionist-0384headshotBoston, MA – A percussion soloist pioneer in the orchestral realm and beyond, New York City-based Lisa Pegher has made it her life’s work to present percussion to larger audiences by collaborating on new works that bring percussion to the front of the stage. Her latest project is a new album recorded by saxophonist Kenneth Coon, composer Mathew Rosenblum, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Mathew Rosenblum: Möbius Loop, released on the BMOP/sound label, includes the Rosenblum’s Double Concerto, a piece in five movements that uses a solo percussionist to color and shade the leading melodies of the solo saxophone. This, combined with Rosenblum’s original use of microtonal compositional language, results in a double concerto like no other.

The album release comes at a hot moment for Pegher as she enters a busy fall filled with composer collaborations, recording sessions, and the undertaking of her NYC duo project, “Controlled Chaos.” One of the very few full-time percussion soloists in the world, Pegher has been hailed by the Boston Globe as “forcefully balletic” and by critic Marty Lash as “a gifted, passionate artist, with a rockstar aura.”

The album is available for download at both the BMOP/sound website and on iTunes.

About BMOP/sound:

BMOP/sound, the Grammy-nominated signature record label of the acclaimed Boston 676695024623.170x170-75Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), an eclectic, composer-centric catalog of both rediscovered classics of the 20th century and the music of today’s most influential and innovative composers. Since its launch in 2008, BMOP/sound recordings have received several accolades including: “Best of 2008” lists for its five inaugural releases in the New York Times, Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Time Out New York, American Record Guide, and Downbeat Magazine, among others; five Grammy nominations in 2009 for Charles Fussell: Wilde, in 2010 for Derek Bermel: Voices and in 2011 for Steven Mackey: Dream House. The New York Times proclaimed, “BMOP/sound is an example of everything done right.” For more information, visit