Experienced as a whole, the 2010/2011 Peak Performances @ Montclair music season, which travels back and forth through sonic history, reveals similarities, departures, inspirations and innovations in music composition and instruments over the centuries.
The series opens on September 1 with “Everywhere Is the Best Seat,” a sound/light installation by composer/architect Christopher Janney, who has a long history of creating sonic and light environments in existing public spaces. Inspired by John Cage’s democratic comment, “Everything you do is music/And everywhere is the best seat,” and commandeering the Montclair State University amphitheater, this user-friendly, interactive work invites passersby to create their own sounds and light, thereby giving new, vibrant life to the space. The installation is free, accessible 24 hours a day, every day, and runs through November 14.
Working in collaboration with New Amsterdam Records, Peak Performances presents Here There Be Dragons on September 11, as members of a trio of new chamber-rock groups join forces: NOW Ensemble (Judd Greenstein), William Brittelle’s Television Landscape and Victoire (Missy Mazzoli).
Then, reaching 2000 years back in musical history, the ever-popular Shanghai Quartet will present the world premiere of Lei Liang’s “Five Seasons,” on September 12. Composed for the pipa, an ancient, lute-like string instrument, “Five Seasons” will be performed by renowned pipa master Wu Man.
On October 10, Young Concert Artists will present a quartet of four of its most talented up and coming musicians—Courtenay Budd (soprano), Jose Franch-Ballester (clarinet), Benjamin Moser (piano) and Wonny Song (piano), in a program of works by Poulenc, Mahler, Strauss, Kovács, Beethoven and Schubert.
Sō Percussion, considered America’s most innovative percussion ensemble, will present Iannis Xenakis’s contemporary polyrhythmic masterpiece “Pleiades” and Cenk Ergün’s “Proximity” on November 6.
Also scheduled in November is “Town and Country: Music of European Royalty and Aristocracy,” a program of 18th century music, designed and performed by New York-based Baroque ensemble REBEL and comprising classics by Telemann, Scheiffelhut, Fischer, Schmierer and Handel (November 7).
Cellist Carter Brey and pianist Christopher O’Riley will join musical forces in a mixed bill of Bach, Dello Joio and Grieg on February 5.
>Palestinian òud player/violinist Simon Shaheen will be a guest artist in the Imani Winds concert that features the world premiere of “Zafir” (“a gentle breath”) by Shaheen. The new work is commissioned by Peak Performances to be performed on February 6.
The Shanghai Quartet returns to perform works by Bridge, Mozart and Bartók on April 2.
The season concludes May 7 and 8 with a world premiere by jazz composer Fred Hersch with text and direction by Herschel Garfein and multimedia and animation by Sarah Wickliffe. Entitled “My Coma Dreams,” the full-evening work, scored for 11 instruments and a speaker/singer, was inspired by dreams Hersch experienced during a two-month-long coma in the summer of 2008.
"Everywhere Is the Best Seat,” Christopher Janney
Sept. 1–Nov. 14 (free in the Montclair State Amphitheater, open 24 hours every day)
“Here There Be Dragons,” NOW
Ensemble/William Brittelle’s Television Landscape/Victoire
Sept. 11 at 8 p.m.
Sept. 11 at 10 p.m.
“Five Seasons” by Lei Liang
and works by Beethoven, Schumann and Wang Huiran, Shanghai Quartet with guest
Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.
Young Concert Artists, featuring
soprano Courtenay Budd, clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester, and pianists
Benjamin Moser and Wonny Song
Oct. 10 at 3 p.m.
“Bringing Down the Stars and
Moving Them Around: Pleiades,” Sō Percussion with guests Meehan/Perkins Duo
Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.
“Town and Country: Music of
European Royalty and Aristocracy,” REBEL Ensemble for Baroque Music
Nov. 7 at 3 p.m.
Carter Brey and Christopher O’Riley, works by Justin Dello Joio, Edvard Grieg, and Bach
Feb. 5 at 8 p.m.
Imani Winds, with guest
Simon Shaheen, Featuring “Zafir,” a new work by Simon Shaheen
Feb. 6 at 3 p.m.
Shanghai Quartet, works by
Bridge, Mozart, and Bartók/strong>
Apr. 2 at 8 p.m.
“My Coma Dreams,” Fred
May 7 at 8 p.m.
May 8 at 3 p.m.
Tickets are only $15 and may be purchased at the Alexander Kasser Theater box office, by phone at 973-655-5112, or on the Web at www.peakperfs.org. There is no charge for Montclair State University undergraduate students with Valid ID. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before curtain to claim your PAF ticket.
Peak Performances acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Discover Jersey Arts, the New England Foundation for the Arts, The Jim Henson Foundation, Meet The Composer, Chamber Music America, The Honorable Mary Mochary and Alison and James T. Cirenza.
Released: July 27, 2010