Saturday, November 17, 2012

Appalachia Tour - Day 4

Parkersburg, WV - West Virginia University

Our fourth and final concert on our Appalachian tour found us in beautiful Parkersburg, WV.  We also pleasantly found ourselves among our most enthusiastic crowd.  Although many in the audience had never heard the music of George Crumb, and were likely not fully aware of the joys that contemporary classical can bring, they nevertheless relished in the rich sonorities created by pianist Marcantonio Barone, and percussionists Bill Kerrigan, Greg Giannescoli, David Nelson, and Brenda Weckerly.  After the performance, "Voices from the Heatland" by George Crumb, the audience proved quite inquisitive and enjoyed the opportunity to join the musicians on stage and learn about the many techniques utilized throughout the piece and to see George Crumb's beautiful hand written score.

Preconcert discussion led by conductor James Freeman 
and including all performers of Orchestra 2001.
...and yes,  Orchestra 2001 is performing on a basketball court!

Orchestra 2001 performs "Voices from the Heartland" to an enthusiastic crowd.

Percussionist Bill Kerrigan energetically plays the tabla.

performers (left to right):
soprano Ann Crumb, percussionist David Nelson,
and conductor James Freeman

Baritone Patrick Mason speaks with inquisitive audience members after the performance.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Appalachia Tour - Day 3

Morgantown, WV

Concert number 3 in our concert tour of Appalachia found us in beautiful Morgantown's West Virginia University Creative Arts Center in the most wonderful (if a little cramped) hall of the tour, Bloch Performance Hall.  The hall's rich and lively sound proved to be perfect for the music of George Crumb.

performers (left to right):
percussionists Brenda Weckerly and David Nelson,
pianist Marcantonio Barone, soprano Ann Crumb,
and baritone Patrick Mason

Orchestra 2001 accepts uproarious applause from the
students of West Virginia University. 

Artistic director, founder, and conductor of Orchestra 2001 James Freeman
explains the music of George Crumb to enraptured students.

Pianist Marcantonio Barone talks with a student about the many
piano techniques used in the music of George Crumb.

Soprano Ann Crumb signs autographs and answers questions from
eager students after the concert.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Appalachia Tour - Day 2

Morehead, KY

Day 2 of our four concert tour of Appalachia led us to Morehead State University's beautiful Duncan Recital Hall in the Baird Music Hall. Morehead's idyllic campus was a perfect setting for the performance of Crumb's folk song inspired American Songbook: Volume 7 "Voices from the Heatland."

Morehead University's Baird Music Hall

The students of Morehead were treated to a preconcert panel discussion which for the first time included a demonstration of some of the odd percussion techniques and instruments utilized in the music of George Crumb in order to create his unique and identifiable sound that is so well known within the contemporary music world.  Students were also anxious for the opportunity to come on stage after the performance to talk to our musicians about these techniques and to personally see the huge variety of instruments crowding their stage.

Preconcert panel discussion (left to right):
percussionists Brenda Weckerly and Bill Kerrigan, 
pianist Marcantonio Barone, conductor James Freeman,
and baritone Patrick Mason

percussionist Greg Giannascoli and baritone Patrick Mason performing

Orchestra 2001 performing (left to right):
percussionist Dave Nelson, soprano Ann Crumb, 
pianist Marcantonio Barone, conductor James Freeman,
percussionist Greg Giannascoli, and baritone Patrick Mason

performers left to right:
percussionist Dave Nelson, soprano Ann Crumb, 
and pianist Marcantonio Barone

Orchestra 2001 appreciating a standing ovation

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Appalachia Tour - Day 1

Charleston, WV 

Bringing the music of native Charleston, WV composer George Crumb to Appalachia is one of Orchestra 2001's greatest honors to date.  The tour appropriately started in the home town of Mr. Crumb with a concert with the Charleston Chamber Music Society and truly allowed us to see the natural beauty of this rich mountainous region of the US.  We were honored to be the first contemporary music performance in the 70 year history of the Charleston Chamber Society.

The Kanawha River at Court St. in Charleston, WV.

The University of Charleston's Geary Auditorium proved to be a wonderful space for the music of George Crumb and we were heartily thanked even as the presentation began with a brief panel discussion with Orchestra 2001's artistic director and founder James Freeman, pianist Marcantonio Barone, and baritone Patrick Mason.  The audience was also very grateful for an opportunity to inspect the many instruments used for the performance immediately after the performance.  With over 150 percussion instruments as well as extended techniques utilized on the piano the audience had a chance to see and hear the variety of sounds created up close.

A panel discussion prior to the performance helped the audience
to grasp the many unique sounds that they would soon hear.

The performance that followed was well received and was even reviewed in Charleston's local newspaper the following morning where it received a glowing review that held such warm sincerity that we left Charleston for our next concert with even more enthusiasm than we had felt as we arrived in Charleston.

performers left to right:
soprano Ann Crumb, conductor James Freeman, percussionist Greg Giannascoli, 
baritone Patrick Mason, and percussionist Bill Kerrigan

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Appalachian Tour - George Crumb Songbooks - Tour Blog Post 1


We of Philadelphia's new music ensemble Orchestra 2001 will set off on Saturday, Nov. 3, for a tour of Appalachia.That may seem a little strange unless  you know that the music we'll be performing will be by George Crumb, who grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, and whose music very often echoes in various ways that experience.That is especially true of the major work we'll be performing at four different venues (Charleston, Morgantown, Parkersburg, and Morehead State College), Crumb's extraordinary "Voices from the Heartland: American Songbook VII." It is the final installment in a monumental series that has occupied Crumb for the last ten years. Orchestra 2001 has been the extremely fortunate dedicatee of all seven volumes.  I am especially pleased to learn that our hotel in Charleston stands next to the Kanawha River, which provided the direct inspiration for one of the nine movements of "Voices from the Heartland." 

Later in November, we will take an entirely different program to Havana, Cuba's International Festival of Contemporary Music - an entirely different program but one that the Cubans insisted be primarily music  (again!) by George Crumb.  For this venture, the program will consist of Crumb's "Dream Sequence" and "Night of the Four Moons," together with the premiere of a new work by one of Crumb's successors at the University of Pennsylvania, Jay Reise's "Red Sea Swallow."   Many of us will spend our free time while in Appalachia poring over  "Introductory Spanish." 

Other than a spring time concert at the Library of Congress, again featuring "Voices from the Heartland," together with the premiere of a new work by Chaya Czernowin, the rest of our 2012-13 season will be presented as usual in Philadelphia and at Swarthmore College, where Orchestra 2001 is the ensemble in residence.  I'll write more about that once we're back from Appalachia.


James Freeman
Founder and Artistic Director, Orchestra 2001