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Covid-19 Good News
A small collection of good and delightful news from our artists that happened under the “auspices” of Covid-19.
Baritone Holger Falk returned to the stage in June at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich in front of an audience of fifty to repeat his performance of Peter Maxwell Davies’ monologue for baritone “Eight Songs for a Mad King”. It was a big success!! As the Münchener Merkur wrote: “The focus clearly is on baritone Holger Falk, who can ascend his throne in his obligatory over-sized fruit-of the looms and master with bravura the demanding tour-de-force that stretches over five octaves. He portrays the English King George III not so much as a madman, but one with a split personality, who falls from one emotion to another. This is an impression strengthened by the numerous stylistic citations that the composer borrows from various epochs. The more one has to raise one’s hat, or better said one’s crown to Falk’s achievements.”
In addition, Holger Falk’s CD Il Gondoliere Veneziano of 17th and 18th century Venetian canzoni di battello recorded with the early music ensemble Nuovo Aspetto and complete with the sounds of Venice recorded by the electronic music duo Merzouga has been released.. Critics agree that the product is amazing and a worthy replacement for travelling to Venice in person (see Holger’s webpage for video and reviews!).
In April, the Utrecht String Quartet recorded for the Ottawa Tulip Festival from the Concertgebouw — the Hall was specially opened for this — two arrangements of the Rodgers and Hart classic “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.” The first, arranged by Dutch composer Wijaard van Klaveren, was shown on the opening day of the festival, the second, an arrangement by Canadian composer Glen Stewart Morley, on the closing day. The festival this year celebrated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands with the help of Canadian forces at the end of World War II. To see the Utrecht SQ perform the van Klaveren version go to their page on our website.
The Phaeton Piano Trio started playing again in June at the Ellwangen Schlosskonzerte and at the beautiful Bagno concert hall in two concerts each of an all-Beethoven program with audiences of 40 each. The ensemble and ‘finally again a live concert’ created a lot of excitement, as witnessed here: “Phaeton, the shining one, drove his father’s sun chariot harnessed with four fiery steeds across the sky during the day, returning at night to the sea. As demanding the name is, so fantastic is the ensemble… the Phaeton fascinated with its joy of music making and its beguilingly beautiful ensemble sound.” (— Imf und Jagd Zeitung)
The Bennewitz Quartet has agreed to record a special mini-concert for the Cleveland Chamber Music Society. It also has taken part in the Prague Music Festival, “Music Belongs In The Streets.” performing once from the roof of a major department store in central Prague, and then in Wenceslaus Square. Beyond that, the quartet hopes to soon return to the concert stage, having numerous concerts planned in Germany (including Hamburg’s Elbphilarmonie and Laiezhalle and the Stuttgart Liederhalle), Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands, as well as at home in the Czech Republic including a concert in Czech Philharmonic’s Chamber Music Series of a Beethoven cycle which includes the Hagen Quartet, Prazak Quartet and other big names.
While the Auryn Quartet’s October 2020 tour has been moved into October 2021 (thereby postponing the quartet’s retirement to the end of 2021), the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music in Tucson has also asked the quartet to record for them for October 2020 one of the two concerts that had to be cancelled.
While not being able to perform publicly, pianist/composer Arsentiy Kharitonov has been putting the time to good use composing. Pieces that he has been hard at work on include Chopsticks For Two Fingers, a violin concerto, his piano sonata, and Back to Bach, a piece commissioned by Russian ice dancers. Go to Arsentiy’s website to listen: www.arsentiykharitnov.com
Piano Trios Triumph
February 2020 was the month for piano trios at Shupp Artists Management!
First to arrive was the Phaeton Piano Trio from Weimar, which opened its first U.S tour with a concert at the Library of Congress. Violinist Friedemann Eichhorn was given the rare honor of playing the Kreisler Guarnieri del Gesu from the Library’s instrument collection. From there they traveled to the intimate music room at the prestigious Frick Collection in New York where a critic praised their “inspired – and inspiring – playing” (— Oberon’s Grove). Then on to Cleveland where another critic wrote “the musicians technique [was] unimpeachable, their artistry and expression powerful, their manner warm and professional” (— ClevelandClassical.com). Last on the tour was a concert for the San Jose Chamber Music Society. Everywhere on the tour the trio received enthusiastic standing ovations for their warm and sweeping performances.
Next to perform was the Vienna Piano Trio, on their first and extensive North American concert tour with new cellist Clemens Hagen, among them concerts at the Kimmel Center for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the 92nd St. Y in New York City, the University of Georgia in Athens, at Rice University for the Houston Friends of Chamber Music, ending at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, California. Everywhere it went, the ensemble dazzled with the refinement and detail of their playing. As the Boston Musical Intelligencer said about their concert at the Rockport Music Festival: “But what made their interpretation truly absorbing was everything going on beneath the polish… anyone who can work this kind of magic with the core repertoire deserves repeated hearing.”
Phaeton Piano Trio
Shupp Artists Management, Inc. welcomes the Phaeton Piano Trio from Weimar, Germany. The trio is made-up of three exceptional chamber and soloists. Violinist Friedemann Eichorn has performed chamber music with Gideon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet and Boris Pergamenschikov among others, and is professor of violin at the Weimar Hochschule für Musik and Artistic Director of the Kronberg Academy. Peter Hörr is sought after as a chamber musician and is a founding member of the Mozart Piano Quartet. He was a winner of an Echo Klassik Prize for his recording of the Duport Cello Concerti and has been Artistic Director of the Hofkappelle Weimar since 2010. Florian Uhlig made his orchestral debut at the London Barbican, and has appeared at leading concert halls around the world, performing with renowned orchestras and conductors, and is artistic director of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival and is Professor of piano at the Dresden Hochschule für Musik. Since forming a trio several years ago, they have performed together in concerts throughout Germany, Netherlands, France, Switzerland and South America. Their first recording, Mendelssohn trios, is awaiting release on the MDG label. February 2020 will have the trio performing for the first time in the United States, with the opening concert of the tour being at the Library of Congress.
Vienna Piano Trio
The Vienna Piano Trio has just finished it first season with its new cellist Clemens Hagen, and is happy to announce the release of its first CD with Clemens, offering the trios of Chausson and Ravel. Later this year a second CD with Beethoven’s Archduke and the Op. 1/3 trios will be released—both recordings are on the MDG label, of course! The trio is also very much looking forward to its first tour with Clemens of the United States in February of 2020, which will include concerts for the 92nd St. Y, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the University of Connecticut, the University of Georgia, Chamber Music Houston and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA.
The Bennewitz Quartet has just released a new CD with works by Ullmann, Krasa, Schulhoff and Haas, Czech composers who all who perished in concentration camps. Of their performance of the Ullmann Europadisc wrote, “It beggars belief that this music was composed in such harrowing circumstances, and the Bennewitz do it proud, in a performance of supreme technical artistry that never gets in the way of the music’s abundant character,” and named it CD of the week. Likewise Presto named it Editor’s choice writing “The Czech quartet demonstrates terrific rapport with each other and with the four composers who lived and worked in their homeland before perishing in Nazi concentration camps in the 1940s, throwing the music’s extremes of light and shade into stark relief—there’s bleak beauty in abundance, but the wit and audacity of the works (Haas’s whinnying horse, Schulhoff’s cod-tango and manic tarantella) are never short-changed either.”
The quartet was also invited to perform Schulhoff and Ullmann at the Commemoration of Victims of National Socialism in Germany at the Deutsche Bundestag in January 2019.
The quartet is the winner of the 2019 Classic Prague Awards for the Best Chamber Music Recording, and has been ensemble-in-residence at the Czech Philharmonic since 2017.
Cuarteto Quiroga is the winner of the 2018 Spanish National Music Award given by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. On May 2nd this year it released its newest CD Heritage—a musical visit to Madrid at the time of Goya- with string quartets by Brunetti, Boccherini, Canales, and Alameida—and gave a performance of the program at the Prado Museum as part of the celebrations of the museum’s bicentenary on May 14th. A brief introduction is to be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffMiIOpgOXc.
The quartet also paid a short but most successful visit to the United States earlier in the spring.
The Auryn Quartet from Cologne, winners of the Munich, Portsmouth and Bratislava competitions, have long been considered one of the leading quartets of today. In March 2019 they celebrated 38 years (same personnel) at the Vienna Konzerthaus and have thus become the oldest continuous quartet in the world today. The ensemble plans to retire in 2021 and will return to North America for only one more tour in October 2020.
Following the great success of the performance of his own works at the Tchaikovsky House and Museum outside of Moscow in June, pianist and composer Arsentiy Kharitonov will be returning to Moscow in August to give more recitals of his own works at the Rachmaninov House in Moscow, at the Nizhni Novgorod Philharmony and at the Philharmony of Belgorod. Once again he offered an exciting solo recital at the Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa in July. Among his upcoming engagements, he also will be returning to New York City, this time to the Frick Collection this October.
In the summer of 2020 Arsentiy and cellist Julius Berger will be teaming up to perform Julius’ programs Inspired by Bach and Inspired by Mozart in Europe, Canada, and the US.
Baritone Holger Falk recently premiered his project “Gondoliere Veneziano” together with the baroque-ensemble Nuovo Asperto as the opening concert for the Venice Festival at the Elbphilharmonie. The Hamburger Abenblatt wrote: “The density of the songs is high, Venice seems to come out here as the birthplace of the hit. Holger Falk, equally sought out after as an opera singer and a Lied interpreter finds exactly the right tone for this music with a light sound that unites simplicity ad sweetness in his almost tenor timbre.”
Earlier in the year Holger played the leading role of Lord Byron in Michael Wertmüller‘s Diodati. Unendlich at the Theater Basel, garnering such praise as, “Holger Falk succeeds vocally and interpretively with a strong portrait of the boastful dandy Lord Byron” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and, “Holger Falk dazzles as Lord Byron with an extraordinary baritone range” (BR Klassik/ Wiener Zeitung). In other news, Holger’s latest nominations are for Singer of the Year and Recording of the Year by the Opus Klassik Award 2019. He has been appointed professor for art song and contemporary music at the University of the Arts Graz starting with the summer semester of 2019.
Mozart Piano Quartet
The Mozart Piano Quartet has just released its recording of the complete piano quartets of Gabriel Fauré for MDG. Its previous recording of the chamber music of H.G. Witte, with Radovan Vlatkovic, horn and violinist Cornelia Gartemann, was awarded the 2018 Opus Klassik Award (formerly the Echo Klassik award) for chamber music. It is looking forward to returning to the United States in October 2021 when the group will offer the wonderful Dohnanyi Sextet—joining the quartet will be French clarinetist Paul Meyer and Radovan Vlatkovic, French horn.
NOVA Guitar Duo
Shupp Artists Management also welcomes the NOVA Guitar Duo. Its unique instrumentation combines the regular guitar and the eight-string “Brahms” guitar, substantially increasing the ensemble’s available range. Described as “lyrical and powerful” by Classical Guitar, the German-Brazilian duo was formed while both of its members, Nelly van Alven (6-string), Luis Mantovani (8-string) were studying at the Royal College of Music in London, England. Their programs explore the extensive repertoire for two guitars, as well as their own innovative arrangements of music originally written for other instruments and ensembles. A member of Yehudi Menuhin’s Live-Music-Now scheme, the duo has played in some of the finest UK venues and festivals, including the London Guitar Festival in Kings Place, Wigmore Hall, Buxton Festival, St. John’s Smith Square and Royal Albert Hall. In 2017, the NOVA Guitar Duo gave the UK premiere of French composer Germaine Tailleferre’s Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra at RCM’s Britten Theatre, and in 2018 performed its New York debut concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, through the Pro Musicis Foundation. Their debut album, Sortilegios, was released in December 2018 by the Italian label Stradivarius, and features music by de Falla, Mompou and Villa- Lobos.
Dogma Chamber Orchestra
The Dogma Chamber Orchestra has come out with another recording on MDG of a live concert of Mozart and Schubert Symphonies at the Konzerthaus Dortmund in front of a sold-out audience. This recording made it to the long-list of orchestral recordings for the Preis der deutschen Schallplatenkritik. Here is a link to a trailer for the CD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S-c3fypYZk.
A tour of North America is being planned for the 20/21 or 21/22 seasons.
Upcoming concerts include at Kölner Philharmonie in January 2020 in a program of Haydn Symphony Nr.83 ( Le Poule), Beethoven’s piano concerto no. 2 (Matthias Kirschnereit, piano) and Schubert’s Fifth Symphony. A tour of Japan with Japanese soloists follows. Appearances are planned at the Enescu Festival in September 2021 with accordionist Ksenia Sidorova as soloists. On the programs will be works by contemporary composers such as Taranu, Podgaits, Gavin Bryars and Michael Nyman as well as by conductor Mikhail Gurewitsch.
The Alliage Quintet is going to the Opera! It is offering two opera programs, one a bel canto program with one of Germany’s leading tenors, Daniel Behle, with works of Donizetti, Rossini, Bellini, Puccini, and Verdi, and one with baroque diva Simone Kermes with showstoppers from Bernstein, Délibes, Satie, Offenbach, Nagao (Carmen Rhapsodie), Weill, Poulenc, Dumont and again Bernstein .
Lucidarium just very successfully premiered its “Macchine” program at the York Early Music Festival, commemorating the 500-year anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death and exploring the music of his time. The York Press wrote, “Here [with “Macchine”] we were expertly transported right to the fountainhead of this exciting repertory.” They will be traveling to the United States in November with this program and with the program “Sounds of Shylock’s Venice,” that explores the music of the Venetian Ghetto. For more details on these programs, see their page on our website.
Stefan Hussong, Clemens Hagen
We’d also like to mention that accordionist Stefan Hussong and cellist Clemens Hagen recently collaborated with the Camerata Salzburg in a performance featuring a work by Sofia Gubaidulina.
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