Thursday, July 12, 2018

Bravo, Einaudi, Bravo!

Ludovico Einaudi presented an intense two hour and a quarter concert last evening at Atlanta Symphony Hall. For nearly half of the concert, Maestro Einaudi played solo piano and for the remainder, he was joined by electric violin and cello, percussion, synthesizer, and bass guitar. Einaudi is one of the most listened-to composer/pianists of the digital age. His music is stylistically minimalist, which he uses to create beautiful and touching melodies. He is criticized by some classical critics, but there is no doubt that he produces music that appeals to a wide-range, especially younger, of people. Einaudi eschews, labels for his music, but grants that it features elements of world, classical, jazz, rock, pop, New Age, etc. But categories aside, Einaudi mesmerized the audience in Atlanta.

The staging was minimal (if you pardon the pun), including some electric candles, and various background colors. But the most affecting part of the staging was the video graphics that were perfectly suited to the music being played, and they included color blocks, faux hieroglyphics, photos of natural objects, modified with different filters. And his sound engineer made make the most of Symphony Hall’s treacherous acoustics. Often, with amplified music, the sound becomes muddy and loud; here the sound was crisp and the bass was solid. The skill of the engineer managed to cover many of the Hall’s acoustical flaws.

There was no printed playlist so the audience just focused on the music and not titles. Einaudi’s music is most effective when it is not driven by the percussion; there were about five pieces that were heavily influenced by a drum. The amplified violin and cello were beautifully played and were blended nicely with the piano. It is interesting that Einaudi performs with his back to the audience, but that did not seem to interfere with his connection to his fans.

There is no doubt the most effective portion of the program was a half-hour long piano solo by Mr. Einaudi. His music is not particularly complex, and it is very tonal. His melodies are unsurpassed, and he has an immense, but very well controlled dynamic range. During this long solo interlude, the audience was totally silent. In fact, I cannot remember a time in Symphony Hall when 1200 people were so silent and quiet in their seats. With only a single overhead light focusing on the piano, Mr. Einaudi managed to cause people to wipe away tears as they listened.

This was grand music making, and Einaudi is a skilled interpreter of his own music. He is worth seeing and hearing. It is quite an experience.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

More accolades for Stephen Mulligan...

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has this week announced the four 2018/2019 Dudamel Fellowship recipients. The four young international conductors will be invited to develop their conducting craft and enrich their musical experience through personal mentorship by Principal Conductor Gustavo Dudamel – plus participation in the LA Phi’s orchestral, education and community programs. The 2018-2019 Dudamel Fellowship Program recipients are: Nuno Coelho (Portugal) Stephen Mulligan (America) Elena Schwarz (Switzerland/Australia) Jesús Uzcátegui (Venezuela) “The most important and fulfilling part of my work is to mentor extraordinary young people … ” the 37-year-old Venezuelan-born Maestro has said. “On behalf of the LA Phil, I welcome these four outstanding young conductors into the program and look forward to helping them become their best, as both musicians and people,” he has said. “Over the past nine years, alumni of this program have gone on to accomplish amazing things in their careers, and I have no doubt this exceptional group will go on to do the same.”

Almoural Castle, Almoural, Portugal

Batalha Monastery, Batalha, Portugal

Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon, Portugal

Estrela Basilica, Lisbon, Portugal

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Congratulations to Stephen Mulligan....

Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of The Solti Foundation U.S. and Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair, today announced the names of the eight recipients of the 2018 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards. 

Ms. Van Horn revealed Daniel Black, Assistant Conductor, Florida Orchestra (commencing fall 2018); Roger Kalia, Assistant Conductor of Pacific Symphony and Music Director of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Co-Founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival (NY); Stilian Kirov, Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony (CA), and New Jersey’s Symphony in C; Farkhad Khudyev, Music Director of Calilfornia’s Hidden Valley Orchestra Institute and Youth Music Monterey County; Stephen Mulligan, Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra; Sameer Patel, Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and of Idaho’s Sun Valley Summer Symphony; Stefano Sarzani, who serves as a Solti Fellow at Lyric Opera of Chicago, assisting and covering La Boheme and Il trovatore this fall 2018; and Lidiya Yankovskaya, Music Director with Chicago Opera Theater, a resident artist at National Sawdust in NYC, and Artistic Director of Refugee Orchestra Project as the 2018 Award recipients.

See article here: