Monday, October 24, 2016

Joseph Young leads Dvorak...

James Lee III is an associate professor of composition and theory at Morgan State University, Baltimore and he has been composing for about a decade and a half.  His music often has a spiritual or religious connotation and is influenced by his Seventh-Day Adventist faith. Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula was written in 2011 and the 10-minute work makes reference to the sounds of the shofar, an ancient musical instrument made from a ram’s horn. According to the composer, the music represents the grand advent of the Messiah, who in the end, comes down from heaven, through the nebula located in the constellation Orion. That was certainly not obvious from the music itself.  Click here for the full review:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Update! with Julie Coucheron...

Ms. Coucheron, one of Atlanta's finest pianists, will be performing with the DeKalb Symphony on November 15, 2016.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Great Shostakovich......

Most composers have a characteristic sound. With Brahms, it is the unmistakable warmth of the lower strings and horns; with Tchaikovsky it’s the brass and dance-like passages; and with Beethoven its strong thematic statements and development. Contemporary composers have similar sound signatures. For example, it is easy to identify John Adams’ works because of their colorful orchestrations, bright percussive effects, minimalist repetition, and irregular meters. In honor of Adam’s 70th birthday, Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are programming several of his works this season and this week’s concert featured the often-played foxtrot The Chairman Dances (based on music from Nixon in China). For the complete review, go here:

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Congratulations are in order...

Atlanta Chamber Players Founder Wins Governor's Award for the Arts & Humanities

Peace and the ACP are Recognized for Their Contributions to the State of Georgia

ATLANTA, October 5, 2016 – Earlier today, the pianist, advocate, and innovator Paula Peace was honored in a ceremony at the State Capitol Building as one of the recipients of the 2016 Governor’s Awards for the Arts & Humanities.

Ms. Peace was lauded for her work founding and sustaining the Atlanta Chamber Players (ACP) for 38 years, beginning in 1976 when she co-founded the ensemble. In particular, her work founding and leading the Rapido!® 14-Day Composition Contest with the Antinori Foundation was highlighted as something that has brought national attention to Georgia. Under her direction, the Rapido! contest grew from a regional competition to one that encompasses all 50 states and includes 5 chamber ensemble organizations in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, and San Francisco.

At the awards ceremony, the ACP’s Vice President Jim Throckmorton said “Because of Paula's pioneering artistic leadership of almost 40 years, Georgia can celebrate its first nationally recognized chamber music ensemble.” His remarks were followed by a musical tribute to Ms. Peace, an excerpt from C├ęsar Frank’s Violin Sonata No.1 performed by violinist Helen Hwaya Kim and ACP’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Pridgen. Ms. Pridgen, who is an accomplished pianist, took over the reigns of the ACP after Ms. Peace retired in 2014.

After the ceremony, Ms. Pridgen reflected on the recognition:
“Paula Peace is truly the Grand Dame of chamber music in Atlanta, and her legacy stretches across the country with the innovative programs she spear-headed, including the Rapido! Composition Contest. Paula has been a mentor and a role model for myself and countless other musicians in the region. The Board members and musicians, past and present, of the Atlanta Chamber Players were thrilled to watch her receive this well deserved Award today, recognizing her contribution to music and to our community.”

Paula Peace herself stated
“I am so honored that Governor Deal has recognized the importance of chamber music in Georgia with this award. I am humbled by this honor, and I am overjoyed at what the Atlanta Chamber Players continue to accomplish under the leadership of Artistic Director Elizabeth Pridgen. In particular, founding the Rapido! Composition Contest alongside the Antinori Foundation is my proudest legacy, and to hear it celebrated today in front of an assemblage of artists and leaders from all across Georgia is a memory I will always cherish.”

The Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities pay tribute to the most distinguished citizens and organizations that have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to work in these fields, demonstrating excellence and service. The Awards are presented by the Office of the Governor in partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts and Georgia Humanities.

See the interview with Ms. Peace: 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ohlsson Rules.....

One sign that the long hot Atlanta summer may soon be over is the beginning of the new season of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), about which recent news has been positive: it is operating in the black and musicians are reporting a new, positive attitude in the organization.  Decreased temperatures, more money, and improved attitudes should make conditions right for a memorable concert season, and at the least the season opener was a good omen.    After the Damrosch-arranged national anthem, Music Director Spano led a John Adams-penned fanfare, which is one of a three-part series of John Adams’ work that will be featured this season in honor of the composer’s 70th birthday.   The “Distant Trumpet” fanfare is a small 4-minute work that which sounded typically Adams, with brightly-colored orchestration and just a touch of foreboding in the low brass.  For the complete review, click here:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AMC Maestro Series: Jason Ikeem Rodgers, Music Director, Orchestra Noir

Jason Ikeem Rodgers is a native of Philadelphia, PA.  He attended the Cleveland Institute of Music where he obtained a professional studies degree in orchestral conducting. He also attended the University of North Carolina School of Arts where he earned master’s in orchestral conducting and a bachelor’s in piano performance. In 2014, he was first prize winner of the conducting competition held by the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina in Florence, Italy. That same year he was winner of the International Conducting Competition held in Atlanta, GA. In 2016 he won the first prize in the London Classical Soloists  Competition. He was also apprentice to the  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, under John Mauceri. He has also made appearances with the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Ocean City Pops Orchestra, Trowbridge String Ensemble, Salem College Orchestra and Play on Philly.  Mr. Rodgers served as Assistant Conductor of the
Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra from 2011 to 2013. He is Founder and Music Director of Orchestra Noir,  the Atlanta African-American Orchestra.