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  • La Phil’s 2008/09 Green Umbrella Series at Walt Disney Concert Hall Continues With Stockhausen and the Music of the Future
  • Dec. 9, 2008
  • Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado Makes His Walt Disney Concert Hall Debut Leading the LA Phil New Music Group in a Concert Featuring Works by Stockhausen, Berio, Cage and Ligeti

    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2008, AT 8 PM

    Media Sponsor: Los Angeles Magazine

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2008/09 Green Umbrella series at Walt Disney Concert Hall continues with Stockhausen and the Music of the Future, Tuesday, December 9, at 8 p.m. The program features works by Stockhausen and three composers who crossed his path in post-war Germany during the heyday of Europe's emerging avant-garde music scene. Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, in his Walt Disney Concert Hall debut, leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group in Stockhausen's Kontra-Punkte, and three powerful singers join for Ligeti's Aventures and Nouvelle Aventures.

    The program opens with Berio's Sequenza V, featuring LA Phil Associate Principal Trombonist James Miller, attired in a costume representing the legendary Swiss clown Grock, who had been a neighbor of the composer. As a child, the young Berio would climb the clown's walls to steal fruit from his garden, blissfully ignorant of the comic genius who astonished and amused audiences throughout Europe. After Berio saw him perform, the fruit-stealing ceased and he later composed Sequenza V as a tribute to this great clown.

    The program continues with excerpts from Cage's Sonatas and Interludes, his magnum opus for prepared piano, featuring LA Phil pianist Joanne Pearce Martin. In the pieces, the composer explores ideas he learned while studying ancient Hindu aesthetic theory about inducing emotions in an audience, centered about a scheme of eight essential emotional states and ultimately grounded in tranquility.

    Following is Stockhausen's Kontra-Punkte, the single-movement work which the composer premiered as his official "Opus 1" in Paris in 1953. The program concludes with Ligeti's barrage of noise and drama, Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures, featuring soprano Kiera Duffy, mezzo-soprano Mary Nessinger, baritone Eugene Chan and the LA Phil New Music Group. Ligeti's nonsensical phonetic text explores voices and plays out as the singers enact an incoherent drama among themselves. The noisy accompaniment in Aventures, which includes inflated and popped paper bags, is taken to a heightened level in Nouvelle Aventures with marbles clashing in a bowl, the screeching sound produced from rubbing the surface of balloons, and smashing plates.

    Heras-Casado's varied musical background is unusually varied. He was voted winner of the 2007 Lucerne Festival conductors' competition by a jury led by Pierre Boulez and Peter E"otov"os, and acclaimed for his conducting of contemporary scores. He is also founder and Artistic Director of the original-instrument based Cama~nia Teatro de Pr'incipe. Additionally, he is closely linked with opera houses including Paris, Bordeaux and Madrid.

    The LA Phil's groundbreaking Green Umbrella new music series is a tribute to adventurous, open-minded and curious music lovers. The series, with a more-than-20-year history, offers three more concerts during the 2008/09 season, featuring the LA Phil New Music Group led by Esa-Pekka Salonen or guest conductors. The Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group was launched in 1981 under composer-in-residence and Philharmonic percussionist William Kraft, as one of several contemporary music projects envisioned and organized by the Philharmonic's Managing Director at the time, Ernest Fleischmann. Praised for its imaginative programming and expert and enthusiastic performances, the New Music Group is recognized as one of the premier performing groups of its kind in the country.

    Remaining concerts for the 2008/09 Green Umbrella seriesare: LA Phil Assistant Conductor Lionel Bringuier leading the New Music Group, special guest Susan Narucki and members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (Jan. 20, 2009); Salonen conducting the New Music Group in a program of four Philharmonic-commissioned new works and his own Floof (April 7, 2009); and John Adams leading a Composer's Choice program featuring an LA Phil-commissioned new work (May 12, 2009).

    An Upbeat Live pre-concert event takes place in Walt Disney Concert Hall's BP Hall one hour prior to the concert, and is free to all ticket holders. Steven Stucky, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Consulting Composer for New Music for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, hosts.

    Although only 31 years old, Spanish-born PABLO HERAS-CASADO already enjoys a multi-faceted conducting career of unusual breadth and variety. Born in Granada in 1977, Heras-Casado has conducted extensively in Spain, including many of the country's most important orchestras; and held the post of Principal Conductor of the Girona City Orchestra from 2005 to 2008. He was founder and principal conductor of the Granada Baroque Orchestra; and has also recorded and premiered Spanish ballet music in theaters throughout Andalucia. Strongly affiliated with the Op'era National de Paris, Pablo has worked alongside Sylvain Cambreling in projects as diverse as Verdi's Simon Boccanegra and Berg's Wozzeck. He recently made his own full debut in autumn 2008 conducting the world premiere of Marc-Olivier Dupin's ballet Les enfants du paradis. His successful debut with the Op'era National de Bordeaux, conducting the closing performance of the Robert Carsen production of Le nozze di Figaro, has led to an invitation in 2009 for a new production of Offenbach's La P'erichole. Furthermore he has established his credentials at Teatro Real Madrid with Britten's The Little Sweep, and at Bilbao Opera with the Spanish premiere of Respighi's La bella dormente. Now increasingly present on the international conducting scene, he made his U.S. debut in June 2008 in a program of Bach, Ad`es and Carter with Ensemble ACJW at Carnegie Hall, and his UK debut in August 2008 with National Orchestra of Britain.

    American soprano KIERA DUFFY is widely recognized for both her gleaming high soprano and insightful musicianship. She is enjoying a flourishing concert and operatic career in repertoire that spans from Handel and Praetorius to the new sounds of Elliott Carter and John Zorn. Born in Philadelphia, Duffy was an accomplished pianist before pursuing singing and holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognition from such esteemed organizations as the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition, the Young Concert Artists International Competition, and Astral Artistic Services. Duffy opened the 2008/09 season with her New York Philharmonic debut in Pierre Boulez's Pli selon pli: Improvisation II sur Mallarm'e under the baton of music director Lorin Maazel and goes on to sing Gy"orgy Ligeti's seminal works, Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures, for her first appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    Mezzo-soprano MARY NESSINGER has been heard in concert, recital, and opera throughout the U.S. and Europe. Of recent performances, The New York Times has praised her "remarkable fluidity and beauty of tone," and described her interpretive skills as "a tour de force of characterization."The New Yorker has heralded her "exacting musicianship and quiet dignity (which) have made her a fixture of the New York scene." Nessinger has been heard as a soloist in some of this country's finest venues, including Carnegie, Alice Tully, Avery Fisher, and Merkin Halls; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C.; Jordan Hall and the Gardner Museum in Boston; and she has appeared internationally at the Wigmore Hall in London, the Kammermusiksaal der Philharmonie in Berlin, the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh, and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Nessinger obtained her Bachelor of Music degree, cum laude, at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, and afterwards studied at the Eastman School of Music with Seth McCoy and Jan DeGaetani, and in New York with Chloe Owen. She has served on the voice faculty of Princeton University, and is currently a Lecturer in Voice at Vassar College. In addition to works from the standard repertoire, Nessinger has devoted a large portion of her musical life to the performance of new music.

    American baritone EUGENE CHAN is quickly establishing himself as a talented actor-singer able to hold an audience captive with the smoothness of his operatic voice, enunciation, and sure interpretation. In the 2007/08 season, Chan made his San Francisco Opera debut as Prince Yamadori (Madama Butterfly) under Donald Runnicles. He most recently made his Hollywood Bowl debut with Bramwell Tovey and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Orff's Carmina Burana with fewer than 24 hours notice, a piece which served as his international debut in China at the Shanghai National Grand Theatre. As a member of the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program, Chan performed the title role in Eugene Onegin, Marco (Gianni Schicchi), L'Horloge Comtoise/Le Chat (L'enfant et les sortil`eges), Gasparo (Rita), and Baritone Trio (Trouble in Tahiti). He returned to San Francisco Opera in the summer of 2008 as Mr. Gedge in Albert Herring with their prestigious Merola program. For the 2008/09 season, Chan is scheduled for a National Residency under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, Danilo (The Merry Widow) with Opera Santa Barbara, and Schaunard in La boh`eme with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

    JAMES MILLER is the Associate Principal Trombonist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a position he has held since 1999. His duties include performing on alto, tenor and bass trombone, tenor tuba and bass trumpet. His previous orchestral experience includes the North Carolina Symphony, the Long Island Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic. Miller earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa and his Masters of Music degree from the Juilliard School where he was a scholarship student of Per Brevig and Joe Alessi. His performance experience includes the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, Ensemble ST-X, and with a variety of popular performers. As a composer, he has had world premieres in New York's Lincoln Center and continues to perform his own works in solo performances throughout the country. James Miller serves on the faculty of the North Carolina School of the Arts.

    Currently enjoying her 7th season as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's principal keyboardist, JOANNE PEARCE MARTIN performs with the orchestra on multiple keyboard instruments including the celesta, various synthesizers, and occasionally a Mac computer, in addition to the ubiquitous piano. Born in Allentown, PA, Martin performs all over the world as soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist. With the LA Phil, she has made numerous solo appearances on piano, harpsichord, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ, appearing with such conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams and Miguel Harth-Bedoya. She is also a frequent soloist with the LA Phil during the summer Hollywood Bowl seasons. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, she has been guest soloist with many other orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, L.A. Chamber Orchestra, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Florida West Coast Symphony and England's Huddersfield Philharmonic. In great demand as a collaborative artist, she has performed with such artists as Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Iona Brown, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Julius Baker, Aaron Rosand and Joseph Silverstein, among others. Her playing has been described by the Los Angeles Times as possessing "unusual fervor and fluency."

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music - Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association's involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2008, at 8 PM

    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    Green Umbrella

    PABLO HERAS-CASADO, conductor

    KIERA DUFFY, soprano

    MARY NESSINGER, mezzo-soprano

    EUGENE CHAN, baritone

    JAMES MILLER, trombone

    JOANNE PEARCE MARTIN, prepared piano

    BERIO Sequenza V for Trombone

    CAGE Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano

    STOCKHAUSEN Kontra-Punkte

    LIGETI Aventures and
    Nouvelles Aventures

    Media sponsor: Los Angeles Magazine

    An Upbeat Live pre-concert event takes place one hour prior to the concert in BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and is free to all ticket holders. Steven Stucky, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Consulting Composer for New Music for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, hosts.

    Tickets ($24 - $49) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at, or via credit card by phone at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Lisa White,, 213.972.3408; Photos: 213.972.3034