11-13 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, even at a seasoned 49 years old itself, is all about the new—the here and now of contemporary works for orchestra. During the first two weeks of August each year, audiences are joined by both preeminent and emerging composers, an orchestra of dedicated professional musicians led by famed conductor Marin Alsop, and renowned guest artists from across the globe to give voice to works which are rarely more than a year or two old, and sometimes still wet on the page. The opportunity for composers to work with Maestra Alsop and musicians skilled and enthusiastic about bringing these new works to life, in the beautiful coastal, college-town of Santa Cruz, California, makes this an artistic paradise.

Photo credit: R.R. Jones

In a recent article for “Marin on Music” on NPR, Music Director Marin Alsop described the Festival this way, “Cabrillo is an artistic oasis for me and, happily, for everyone that attends. We are dedicated solely to new music and to offering an in-depth, accessible, inspired artistic experience for every single person that performs, attends, passes by or breathes the nearby air!” With a professional training workshop for early career conductors and composers, open rehearsals almost daily, educational programming for all ages, a “Meet the Composers” forum, a street festival showcasing Santa Cruz County performers and artists, and much more, the Cabrillo Festival has dozens of opportunities for meaningful engagement.

Maestra Alsop’s special gift is understanding fully the power of the Cabrillo Festival’s purpose and place, and curating for everyone involved the experience of a lifetime. Every concert and every Festival season is unique, with a confluence of events, personalities, and musical passages that builds on all the brilliant seasons that have come before—relationships carefully fostered, an orchestra at the top of its game, audiences, composers and musicians clamoring to join, and a sense of adventure in the midst of a surprisingly familial and comfortable setting.

To quote Financial Times music critic Allan Ulrich, “…in the surf mecca of Santa Cruz, 75 miles south of San Francisco, the Cabrillo Festival has made the contemporary repertoire sound urgent, indispensable and even sexy.”

2011 Season Highlights

The 2011 season takes place July 31 through August 14, and celebrates Music Director Marin Alsop’s 20th anniversary at the Cabrillo Festival.

The season features seven World premieres, two US premieres, nine West Coast premieres and 15 composers in residence. This year five distinguished composers who have a long history with the Festival have created new short works in honor of Marin Alsop. These composers are Mark Adamo, John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Avner Dorman, and Philip Glass. Commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival, these works will be presented as “nightcaps” throughout the evening concerts.

Fifteen composers – a record number in the history of the Festival – are in residence to celebrate this momentous occasion. They are composers Mason Bates, Margaret Brouwer, Chiayu, Anna Clyne, Michael Daugherty, Tina Davidson, Robin de Raaff, Zosha Di Castri, Pierre Jalbert, Elena Kats-Chernin, Shuko Mizuno, Behzad Ranjbaran, Christopher Rouse, George Tsontakis and Dan Welcher.

This year’s featured guest artists include renowned French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who was recently inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame; horn player Kristin Jurkscheit, principal horn of the Festival Orchestra and a member of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra; and electric guitarist D.J. Sparr. Author and National Public Radio host Scott Simon joins the Festival for a special interview program with Marin Alsop, “In the Blue Room.”

Please visit our website at http://www.cabrillomusic.org and make plans to join us this summer for an unforgettable musical experience!


Ram Narayan: Alap from Raga Mishra Bhairavi
Marika Papagika: Smyneiko Minore
Missy Mazzoli: Still Life with Avalanche
Marika Papagika: Smyneiko Minore
Jennifer Higdon: Percussion Concerto
Stephen Hartke: Meanwhile
Thomas Ades: Catch
Bryce Dessner: Aheym
Aleksandra Vrebalov: Hold me neighbor, in this storm

You can listen to the entire program here:

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Kronos Quartet

Hank Dutt, Viola
David Harrington, Viola
John Sherba, Violin
Jeffrey Zeigler, Cello

For more than 30 years, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola) and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world’s most eclectic composers and performers, and commissioning more than 650 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos’ work has also garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and “Musicians of the Year” (2003) from Musical America. More

eighth blackbird

Tim Munro, flutes
Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets
Matt Albert, violin, viola
Nicholas Photinos, cello
Matthew Duvall, percussion
Lisa Kaplan, piano

Grammy-winning eighth blackbird promises – and delivers – provocative and mind-changing performances to its burgeoning audiences. Combining bracing virtuosity with an alluring sense of irreverence, the sextet debunks the myth that contemporary music is only for a cerebral few. The ensemble attracts fans of all ages to its performances and recordings, which sparkle with wit and pound with physical energy; it inhabits and explores the sound-world of new music with comfort, conviction, and infectious enthusiasm. eighth blackbird is lauded for its performing style – often playing from memory with theatrical flair – and for making new music accessible to wide audiences. “It’s new music you can bring home to your mother,” observed the Washington Post. Profiled in the New York Times and NPR’s All Things Considered, the sextet has also been featured on Bloomberg TV’sMuse, CBS News Sunday Morning, St. Paul Sunday, Weekend America, and The Next Big Thing, among others. The group is in residence at the University of Richmond in Virginia and the University of Chicago. More

Colin Currie, Percussionist –
Colin enjoys a diverse career as a percussion soloist in a variety of settings, very often as a concerto soloist where every season he visits major orchestras across Europe, North America and further afield. He makes regular appearances at both The Royal Albert Hall and South Bank Centre in London, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Carnegie Hall in New York. His repertoire now includes an impressive list of works written for him, including some of the most important pieces to be added to the percussion repertoire in recent years. Jennifer Higdon’s “Percussion Concerto”, dedicated to Colin, and premiered in November 2005 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach has become a classic, receiving more than fifty performances so far, and the live recording with the LPO winning a Grammy award in 2010. Steve Mackey’s “Time Release”, commissioned by four prestigious European groups and given its US premiere in February 2008 with The Baltimore Symphony is another work that has pushed the art form further, both technically and musically. May 2008 saw the “staggering premiere”(Guardian Newspaper) of Simon Holt’s “a table of noises” which went on to win a British Composers Award in 2009, the first percussion concerto ever to do so. 2009 also saw the premiere of Kurt Schwertsik’s marimba concerto and Einojuhani Rautavaara’s concerto “Incantations” with both works programmed extensively in seasons to come. Many other works feature in his repertoire, and Colin enjoys a close relationship with both James MacMillan’s “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel” and Christopher Rouse’s “Der Gerette Alberich”, with well over one-hundred-and-fifty performances given thus far between these two works. More