Laguna Beach Music Festival unwraps new music, explores inspiration between film and music.
Music of Paul Chihara, Philip Glass, Steve Reich showcased in 8th annual festival12.31.2009 – LAGUNA BEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL
January 18-24, 2010
Laguna Beach Artists’ Theatre and elsewhereLaguna Beach Music Festival (January 18-24, 2010) unwraps new music by some of America’s top contemporary composers and mates film to music by profiling composers who have made significant contributions to both film and concert music and by fostering three new musical scores for the premiere of a 13-minute documentary film.In early 2009 violinist Maria Bachmann and pianist Jon Klibonoff premiered Philip Glass’ Sonata for Violin and Piano; their West Coast premiere of the piece on January 23 will be a Festival highlight. A performance by flutist Claire Chase, co-founder and executive director of International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and noted new music producer, promises a second Festival highlight: Steve Reich’s Vermont Counterpoint, a solo for flute and taped flute that she plays with “exactly the fire and funk it demanded” (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
The Festival’s through-line is a marriage of film and music. Works by composers equally comfortable in or equally inspired by both screen and concert hall and works for live performances based on musical material originally created for screen are highlighted: the music of Toru Takemitsu, Erich Korngold, John Corigliano and 2010 Festival artistic director Paul Chihara is featured as well as works by composers more frequently identified as film composers including the great John Williams, James Newton Howard (Pretty Woman, Blood Diamond) and Bruce Broughton (Silverado, Young Sherlock Holmes, JAG).
Taking film and music a step further, the Festival has commissioned three new scores for a short film. IMAX filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, a Festival guest artist, has selected scenes from his Academy Award-nominated documentary The Living Sea and created Reflections on The Living Sea. This new 13-minute film will be shown at each of the Festival’s three concerts, with different scores played live. Reflections on The Living Sea composers are Pamela Madsen, Sharon Farber and Paul Chihara; their differing approaches capture the broad spectrum of inspiration that film brings to music. Writes Chihara: “Musical ghosts of Brahms and Debussy haunt my little score.” Madsen reaches for texts by T.S. Eliot and calls to mind sea nymphs, and sirens. Farber finds inspiration in the profound challenge of using a small chamber ensemble to portray the deep and infinite nature of the sea.
Bringing this marriage of film and music full circle is composer Donald Crockett’s “Night Scenes,” the Festival’s fourth commission for 2010. In “Night Scenes” Crockett has created film music for an imaginary film. He writes: “The movement titles, Scatter the Barbarians, The Blue Guitar, Midnight Train and Night Hawks, are meant to evoke scenes from imaginary movies or very possibly scenes of the movie-goers themselves. The titles are invented or found objects, not the least of which is the evocation of the famous Hopper painting. One might say of Night Hawks that perhaps the subjects of the painting inhabit the late show in an old art-cinema house, or maybe the music underscores a scene in a movie about them.”
Crockett wrote “Night Scenes” for The Claremont Trio, the Festival’s featured ensemble. The first winner of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award and the only piano trio ever to win the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, The Claremont Trio has an impressive track record with new music compositions, having already commissioned work by composers such as Nico Muhly, Mason Bates, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Daniel Kellogg, Howard Frazin, and Hillary Zipper.
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