By Vivien Schweitzer
From PlaybillArts.com - April 19, 2007
For John Adams, it seems, one Chamber Symphony isn't enough. This fall, taking a cue from Frankenstein movies, he follows up his 1993 score with Son of Chamber Symphony, whose world premiere will be a high point in the 2007-08 season of Stanford Lively Arts, the performing arts series at Stanford University in California's Silicon Valley.The upcoming season — which features birthday celebrations for Adams (60th), Philip Glass (70th) and Elliott Carter (100th) — will be the first season planned by Jenny Bilfield, who began her tenure as the presenter's artistic and executive director last August.
The Glass celebration opens Stanford Lively Arts’ season on October 9, with the West Coast premiere of his Book of Longing, a 12-part cycle based on Leonard Cohen's poetry collection of the same name. Choreographer and MacArthur Fellow Susan Marshall directs the staging, and Michael Riesman conducts an ensemble which will include Glass himself on keyboards. Cohen's voice will be heard on recording reading selections of his poems, and his artwork will be incorporated through projected imagery and scenic design by Christine Jones.
Later that month, Glass and director JoAnne Akalaitis will be involved in the two-week Public Theater Residency at Stanford, culminating in workshop performances of Euripides's The Bacchae, directed by Akalaitis with incidental music by Glass. November 30 brings the world premiere of Son of Chamber Symphony, a co-commission of Stanford Lively Arts, Carnegie Hall and the San Francisco Ballet. The concert, by the admired new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, also includes works by Michael Gordon and Harrison Birtwistle and transcriptions of two Studies for Player Piano by Conlon Nancarrow and of music by the electronic sound artist Aphex Twin.
Elliott Carter's 100th birthday will be honored twice, with performances of two of his string quartets by the Pacifica Quartet (No. 5, January 9) and the Juilliard String Quartet (No. 2, April 9).
To mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of Stravinsky, Stanford will host "The Stravinsky Project," a three-day festival in March dedicated to his works. Pianist Alexander Toradze and his colleagues in the Toradze Piano Studio will join author-historian Joseph Horowitz for a look at "Stravinsky the Pianist" (March 7), featuring a chronological traversal of his piano works and transcriptions (including the two-piano version of The Rite of Spring). On March 8 and 9, Toradze joins the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jindong Cai for a cross-section of music from Stravinsky's Russian, French, and American periods, including the rarely-performed Capriccio and the popular Firebird Suite. Horowitz and Peter Bogdanoff examine the Symphony in Three Movements as a World War II victory symphony with a visual presentation incorporating wartime newsreels.
Stanford Lively Arts' new music lineup also features the Kronos Quartet performing Terry Riley's Sun Rings (January 18), a multimedia work featuring imagery by Willie Williams inspired by NASA telescope footage and accompaniment by the Stanford Chamber Chorale under the direction of Stephen M. Sano. The Emerson Quartet (February 6) will give the West Coast premiere of a yet-untitled work by Bright Sheng, on a program with Kaija Saariaho's Terra Memoria and music of Martinu and Bartók.
The St. Lawrence String Quartet, Stanford's ensemble-in-residence, presents Adams's witty cycle John's Book of Alleged Dances, along with quartets by Haydn and Beethoven (October 14); Beethoven's Op. 131 and Osvaldo Golijov's Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, with clarinetist Todd Palmer (January 13); and a new quartet by Stanford faculty member Jonathan Berger, plus music by Haydn and Korngold (April 6).
Other classical highlights include violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott in a joint recital (December 9); Christopher O’Riley juxtaposing piano preludes by Shostakovich with his transcriptions of songs by Radiohead (January 23); the Academy of Ancient Music performing concertos by Bach, Handel and Telemann (February 13); the all-male choir Chanticleer in a Christmas program (December 11-12); a wide-ranging recital by baritone Jubilant Sykes (February 9); and percussion virtuoso Evelyn Glennie in an evening of improvisations with guitarist Fred Frith (April 23).
The season also features an increased emphasis on jazz, with performances by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (January 27) and by pianist/composer Uri Caine (March 19).
The 2007-08 season concludes on April 26 with China's Jin Xing Dance Theatre making its U.S. debut tour, led by choreographer Jin Xing. The ballet Shanghai Tango will be paired with a pageant-like production of Orff's Carmina Burana performed with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus, presented in partnership with Stanford's Pan-Asian Music Festival. Other dance highlights include the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (January 25-26) and the Elisa Monte Dance Company in its Bay Area debut (March 14).
Stanford University is planning to construct a new performing arts center; the first phase of the center is a new concert hall scheduled to open in 2011, made possible by a lead gift of $50 million from Helen and Peter Bing announced last October.