What a Hall
Carnegie’s new space aims for flexibility andintimacy.
There’s a new roomin town. After decades as a movie theater and a $72million reconstruction, Judy and Arthur ZankelHall—Carnegie Hall’s midsize room, wherethe building’s first concert took place 112years ago—opens next week. “Great musiccomes in many forms” is a phrase artisticdirector Robert Harth uses often, and Zankel is highlyflexible: The stage can be shifted from the end of theroom to the center, or removed altogether. John Adams starts his composer-in-residence run, andopens the hall, with a concert of twentieth-centuryworks, followed the same night by Cuban jazzman OmarSosa and rap artist Brutha Los. Meredith Monk,Afro-pop star Youssou N’Dour, and PierreBoulez’s Ensemble Intercontemporain all appearsoon after, as do more typical Carnegie artists likeYo-Yo Ma and the Orion String Quartet.Opening-festival tickets are priced low; most areabout $25. —Alicia Zuckerman • Details: Zankel Hall; OpensSeptember 12.
At Columbia’s Miller Theatre, George Steelbooks new music for a new crowd.
George Steel might justhave the answer to the question How can classicalmusic draw young audiences? The free-thinkingfellow who runs Columbia University’s MillerTheatre, Steel has turned it into a new-music hotspotwhere jeans are acceptable and clapping betweenmovements is okay. (Fans include Ned Rorem andPhil Lesh.) For the hall’s fifteenth year,he’s booked fifteen “ComposerPortraits,” each devoted to an original voice ofthe past century: The Eos Orchestra will play PeterLieberson pieces mixing Stravinsky with TibetanBuddhism, and Henry Threadgill will conduct his ownwork. Steel is also known for playing with context,and he’s scheduled Edgard Varèse’ssetting of a Mayan prayer alongside a Carl Rugglestranscendentalist work and a new piece by John Zorn.“Now that we’re established,” saysSteel, “we’re gonna get dangerous.”—Alicia Zuckerman • Details: Miller Theatre Season beginsSeptember 19.
He’s cute as a button and a huge piano star—at barely 21. Is Lang Lang the real deal? Yes, yes.
The typical college-agekid with otherworldly keyboard proficiency usuallyspends his days playing Grand Theft Auto. But LangLang’s keyboard is on a Steinway, not a Sony Vaio, andhis game is Chopin and Liszt. “The stage for me feelslike home,” says the 21-year-old piano virtuoso (whosename rhymes with gong). “I always believed thatI can be a great pianist, and hopefully that’s stilltrue.” Lang began performing as a 5-year-old in China andretains a huge amount of childlike energy. Whileplaying Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at theMostly Mozart Festival this summer, he whipped hishead one way to flash the orchestra a smile, then backto beam at the audience, radiating pure joy and neverlosing his connection to the music. A year out of theCurtis Institute in Philadelphia, he’s just wrapped upwhat he calls a “life’s dream” of a summer-playingwith the major orchestras of New York, Chicago,Philadelphia, Boston, and Cleveland in a two-monthspan. For his Carnegie Hall recital debut, he turned to hismentors to help him choose the repertoire. GaryGraffman, Daniel Barenboim, and AndrÃ© Watts helped himsettle on Schumann, Haydn, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt,and a premiere by the Chinese composer Tan Dun. (Hisfather plays the erhu, a Chinese bowed fiddle, andthey perform duets now and then.) When Lang was 19,Teen magazine named him one of twenty teens whowill change the world. “Of course,” he says, “if popstars could also promote a little bit of classicalmusic, it would be nice-if Britney Spears said,Hey! We like classical music!” He’s got talent,optimism, and a contract with Deutsche Grammophon-andonly one problem. “I mean, piano literature-there’s noend to it,” he laments. “Six lives is not enough.”—Alicia Zuckerman • Details: Lang Lang, November 7(Carnegie Hall).
A piano maestro takes her last New York bows.
Alicia De Larrocha wasknown only by piano buffs when she came to HunterCollege for a recital in 1966. Everything changedafter that, and not a season has passed withoutconcerts and recordings, not only of her signatureSpanish works but also the core Classical and Romanticrepertory. Now it’s time to say good-bye, and DeLarrocha plays here for the final time next month,joining the Philharmonic for Haydn’s KeyboardConcerto in D and De Falla’s Nights in theGardens of Spain. De Larrocha belies her fragile looks with amagisterial tone coupled with pristine clarity andswirling colors. You can hear it all on theretrospective just released by Decca—seven CDsthat contain some of the most nuanced and enrichingpianism on disc. – Peter G. Davis • Details: Alicia De Laroccha, October15–18 (Avery Fisher Hall).
The Best of TheRest
New York Philharmonic
Lorin Maazel conducts mostly Verdi for opening night,plus Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 (September 17). TheHilliard Ensemble vocal chamber group joins theorchestra for the world premiere of Symphony No. 3,L.A. composer Stephen Hartke’s work about groundzero (September 18–20 and September 23). For the200th birthday of Hector Berlioz, Maazel conductsRoméo et Juliette (October 2–4); SirColin Davis conducts vocal selections withmezzo-soprano Monica Groop (November 13–15). Andthere’ll be a complete cycle of the Beethovensymphonies and piano concertos (begins October 21).Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center.
New York Festival of Song
Season opens with “The New York Poets,”work by Harvard schoolmates William Bolcom, Ned Rorem,Virgil Thomson, Ricky Ian Gordon, and others (October15), and continues with an exploration of black andJewish vaudeville, from Eubie Blake to Irving Berlin.November 12, Merkin Hall.
Leif Ove Andsnes
Much-acclaimed Norwegian pianist’s recitalincludes works by Schumann and Schubert. October 26,Avery Fisher Hall.
“The New Yorkers”
A three-concert series that celebrates and reflects onour city, with new music by Julia Wolfe, MichaelGordon, and David Lang (the Bang on a Can musiccollective), text by Lou Reed, cartoon projections byartist Ben Katchor, decayed film footage of New Yorkbuildings by Bill Morrison, and the work of urbanvideo artist Doug Aitken. Also includes a landmarkseventies video by William Wegman. October 22, 24, and25, Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Tokyo String Quartet
Beginning a three-year residency at the Y, theensemble performs works by Schubert, Janácek, andDvorák in a program called“Schubert’s Bohemian Roots.” October25, 92nd Street Y.
“When Morty Met John …”
Five concerts over two days celebrate Morton Feldmanand John Cage, pioneers of avant-garde composition.Performers include heavyweight new-music singer JoanLa Barbara, pianists Margaret Leng Tan and MarilynNonken, and Miller Theatre’s George Steel,who’ll perform Cage’s complete Musicfor Carillon. October 25 and 26 at Zankel Hall(Carnegie Hall), Miller Theatre, and St. Thomas Churchon Fifth Avenue.
The New York premiere of its multimedia “VisualMusic” concert features music by Steve Reich,John Zorn, and Conlon Nancarrow, plus video, lighting,and sculptures that morph into instruments. November16, Zankel Hall.
An Argentine composer draws on the dramatic, doomed life of Spain’s greatest modern poet.
Last year, OswaldoGolijov’s La Pasión Según San Marcos, theunruly, intoxicating Passion that reveled in musicalstyles from Bach to bossa nova, was among theseason’s hottest tickets at the Brooklyn Academyof Music. Now his chamber opera Ainadamar,based on the life and death of the Spanish poetFederico García Lorca, is likely to raise thetemperature just as high. Staged jointly by bam andLincoln Center as part of the Next Wave Festival,it’s directed by Chay Yew and stars soprano DawnUpshaw. Even the title is intense, referring to the“fountain of tears” where the poet wasmurdered in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. The libretto, by David Henry Hwang, focuses largely onthe powerful women in García Lorca’s work,particularly the actress Margarita Xirgu, who playedthe self-sacrificing heroine in his 1925 playMariana Pineda. As for musical ideas,García Lorca led a positively operatic existence,and he was intimately associated with Spain’smusic. A specialist in cante hondo, the purestand oldest flamenco songs, he often wrote music forhis own plays, arranged dozens of folk songs (evenplaying the piano on records by the inimitable LaArgentinita), and collaborated with Manuel De Falla.Many composers have already been drawn to GarcíaLorca’s work—famously George Crumb andDmitri Shostakovich—so Golijov has plenty ofprecedent and material to generate theatrical power.—Peter G. Davis• Details: Ainadamar, October 28, 30,and 31 and November 2 (BAM).
The Best of TheRest
New York City Opera
Presents new productions of Handel’s Alcina,featuring soprano Christine Goerke (opens September9), Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor(opens September 13), and Mozart’s La FintaGiardiniera, written when the composer was just18. Opens September 30, New York State Theater.
Fromental Halévy’s La Juive returnsto the repertoire for the first time since 1936, withnative New Yorker Neil Shicoff in the role ofEléazar, last sung by Caruso (opens November 6).The company premiere of Hector Berlioz’sBenvenuto Cellini stars Marcello Giordani in the titlerole. Opens December 4, Metropolitan Opera House.
The Death of Klinghoffer
The Brooklyn Philharmonic, the New York VirtuosoSingers, and a soloist perform a staged concert of thecontroversial 1991 John Adams opera, led by RobertSpano, with film by Bill Morrison. December 3, 5, and6, Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The Boyz FromBritain
George Piper Dances-a.k.a. the Ballet Boyz-go fromhip British TV to the New York stage.
Michael Nunn, 36, andBilly Trevitt, 34, may call themselves “the BalletBoyz,” but these two renegades seem as comfortablewith classics like Sleeping Beauty andGiselle as they do in the avant-garde. Havingleapt through the classical canon with the RoyalBallet in London, they took off for Japan’s K Balletbefore founding George Piper Dances, in 2001. They’veawed British TV audiences with their BalletBoyz documentary series, in which jock straps andbad hair figure prominently. You’d think that,striking out on their own, they’d have trouble drawingcollaborators. But at the Joyce this November, they’lldance fellow Royal Ballet alumnus ChristopherWheeldon’s Mesmerics, scored by Philip Glass.“Choosing repertoire has been relatively easy,” saysTrevitt, explaining that their independence means “wecan be flexible, traveling to choreographers to fit inwith their schedules-you’d be amazed at the people whoare prepared to work with you if you go that extramile.” —Alicia Zuckerman• Details: George Piper Dances,November 4-9 (Joyce Theater).
A Year ToRemember
Three of the city’s most important danceanniversaries collide in one very rich season.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company TwentiethAnniversary
The Kitchen, September 9–20
“Arnie and I came into the dance world in arebellious way,” Jones says today. “We hadsomething to prove.” Since Zane’s death in1988, Jones has tirelessly built on their vision. Thisyear, a rare program will re-create early work,including Blauvelt Mountain (A Fiction), ContinuousReplay, and Floating the Tongue.
Alvin Ailey American Dance
Theater Forty-fifth Anniversary City Center,starting December 3
The season starts with the ever-popular Revelationsand continues with artistic director Judith Jamison’s Hymn;Donald McKayle’s 1959 Rainbow ’Round MyShoulder, a portrait of the men on a chain gangand their dreams; and, by the late master himself,Cry, Night Creature, and Memoria.
George Balanchine’s 100th Birthday
New York City Ballet, starting November 25
Balanchine defined ballet as New York knows it, andNYCB is telling us to “save the year” forregular tributes. Also, stop by the New York PublicLibrary’s centennial exhibit (opening December3), and in March, keep an eye out for“Wall-to-Wall Balanchine,” a twelve-hour free performancemarathon at Symphony Space.
The Best of TheRest
Twyla Tharp Dance
Tony-winning choreographer (Movin’ Out)reinvents her 1970 The One Hundreds with a cast of100, including writers, artists, and politicians, in afree performance. September 9, Battery Park.
In American choreographer William Forsythe’sfinal season at the German company he’s headedfor almost twenty years, he presents four U.S.premieres of his works. September 30 and October2–4, Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
Premieres Come Ye, a celebration of the latelegend Nina Simone. October 21–26, JoyceTheater.
American Ballet Theatre
Fall season includes the world premiere of RobertHill’s Dorian, based on OscarWilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, andWilliam Forsythe’s workwithinwork, withmusic by Luciano Berio and Thom Willems. October22–November 9, City Center.
Reggie Wilson/First & Heel Performance Group
The world premiere of Black Burlesque(revisited) features Trinidad’s NobleDouglas Dance Company and the Zimbabwe-based acappella group Black Umfolosi, in a project drawing onAfrican, Caribbean, and southern culture. October22–November 1, Dance Theater Workshop.