Host of Intermusica artists featured in international Best of 2018 press picks
2018 was another fantastic year for Intermusica artists, with many singled out by the world’s top publications and broadcasters in their end-of-year highlight features. Read a selection below:
Daniil Trifonov featured in a plethora of publications including The Guardian, Sunday Times, New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, Arts Fuse, Seen & Heard and New York Classical Review. His recent release on Deutsche Grammophon, Destination Rachmaninov: Departure, with Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, was widely praised, as was his ‘Decades’ recital at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker called “playing of unreal beauty”. A recital with mentor Sergei Babayan was highlighted in Boston Classical Review, with Trifonov deemed “among the most sensational keyboard artists of his generation” and Babayan “second-to-none in his own right.”
Also popular amongst critics was Sir John Eliot Gardiner, whose Carnegie Hall appearance with his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, as part of Carnegie’s Berlioz Festival, drew glowing commentary. Gardiner’s Berlioz and Schumann exploration with the LSO, including an appearance at the 2018 BBC Proms, was similarly lauded (Arts Desk: “I reeled from… [Gardiner’s]… contributions … He sold instantly the ideas that wind and brass as well as upper strings… should stand”), and memorably enhanced by Antoine Tamestit’s take on Harold in Italy, which saw the soloist use theatrics to better inhabit the wandering eponymous hero (Tamestit’s Harold also came in for praise from Arts Desk, Limelight and New York Classical Review). Gardiner’s Verdi Requiem at the Concertgebouw and other venues was also mentioned by NRC and Seen & Heard.
British music champion Martyn Brabbins was singled out by several publications including The Guardian and Sunday Times, who included his releases of Tippett Symphonies 1& 2 (BBC Scottish Orchestra, Hyperion) and Ferneyhough: La Terre est un Homme (BBC Symphony Orchestra, NMC) in their recordings of the year round-ups.
Matthew Aucoin was picked out by WQXR for his opera Second Nature (on the topic of climate change) and “[making] the [classical] tradition more alive and urgent than ever.” Aucoin’s conducting skills impressed The New York Times, who noted his “instinct for tension” when conducting Peter Sellars’ Santa Fe Opera production of Doctor Atomic.
Colin Currie Group’s release of Drumming, the first on the new Colin Currie Records label, enchanted listeners with Arts Fuse calling it “one of – no, the – greatest recording of the piece to date” and The Boston Globe terming it “an ecstatic rendition…[which]…absolutely transports.”
Andrew Manze’s Mendelssohn symphony cycle with NDR Radiophilharmonie, where he is Chief Conductor, garnered praise from Arts Fuse, as did his moving War Requiem with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and NDR Radiophilharmonie at Liverpool Cathedral and in Hannover (one of Fiona Maddox at The Guardian’s Best of 2018), which saw British and German players unite to mark 100 years since the end of World War I.
Mark Wigglesworth was roundly praised by Seen & Heard (“typically first-rate conducting”), The Stage (“an exceptional musical performance”) and Arts Desk for his House of the Dead at the Royal Opera House; while over at English National Opera, Porgy and Bess, conducted by John Wilson, was a highlight for The Stage, The Guardian and Evening Standard.
Other notable recordings included Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “eminently accessible” rendition of Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet (WQXR); Nora Fischer’s Hush – “radically unorthodox yet utterly gorgeous” (WQXR), Boris Giltburg’s Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 with Royal Scottish National (Politiken); and Marek Janowksi’s “sumptuous Hindemith collection” on Pentatone (Arts Desk). Recordings by Francesco Piemontesi and Renaud Capuçon (Liszt Années de pèlerinage, Orfeo, and Bartok Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 with LSO, Hyperion) featured in The Sunday Times’ Classical Albums of the Year.
Lahav Shani’s new position as Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra was noted as a special moment by Seen & Heard and NRC, while Giancarlo Guerrero’s performances with Boston Symphony Orchestra (“a spectacular, kinetic reading”) and Curtis Symphony Orchestra (“at once authoritative and at the same time warmly collaborative") were noted by Arts Fuse and Seen & Heard. Mischa Maisky’s Jansen/Maisky/Argerich Trio performance at the Barbican was deemed “chamber music writ large” and “opulent” by Arts Desk.
Singers singled out by cultural commentators included Lise Davidsen for her “superlative” performance in the title role in a “long overdue feminist reassessment” of Ariadne auf Naxos at Festival d’Aix en Provence (Seen & Heard), as well as for her involvement in the Royal Opera House and Antonio Pappano’s Verdi Requiem – “the classiest perfection imaginable, crowned by the phenomenal Lise Davidsen” (Arts Desk).
Fellow dramatic soprano Iréne Theorin was noted in Seen & Heard as a “commanding Isolde” in Staatsoper Berlin and Daniel Barenboim’s Tristan und Isolde, as was Natalya Romaniw, who sang "with grace and conviction” in the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Testament alongside the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits.
David Alden’s “fine Lohengrin” at the Royal Opera House was singled out by The Stage, as was Garsington’s first full-scale commission, The Skating Rink, featuring Susan Bickley creating the role of Carmen.
2018 ended well for Sir James MacMillan, whose Cumnock Tryst took the number one spot in Fiona Maddox’s Best Classical Music of 2018 list for its unique role in “revitalising a local community with world-class performances”. The Scotsman, looking ahead to 2019, noted “it’s going to be a big year for Scotland’s most high-profile composer” as MacMillan turns 60, celebrating with a host of concerts and new works.
Matthew Aucoin conducts world premiere of Joby Talbot's Vampyr at Los Angeles Opera
Matthew Aucoin conducts the world premiere of Joby Talbot Vampyr at LA Opera on 27 and 31 October 2018. Talbot's new score has been specially commissioned for performance with Carl Dreyer's classic 1932 film Vampyr, which has come to be regarded as an important landmark of the horror genre.
The performances form part of Aucoin’s residency at LA Opera, which next season sees the world premiere of his third opera Eurydice.
Matthew Aucoin receives MacArthur 'Genius' Grant
Matthew Aucoin has been awarded a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship. The prestigious fellowships are awarded to individuals, in any field, who have shown "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction" and are citizens or residents of the United States.
The 25 recipients of the 2018 award also include poet Natalie Diaz, human rights lawyer Becca Heller and filmmaker Wu Tsang among others. The award is a recognition of Aucoin’s achievements to date, and an investment in a person's originality, insight, and potential. Last week is was announced that Aucoin’s next opera Eurydice will be co-commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera for East Coast premiere in the 2021/22 season.
Click here to find out more about the award.
Brett Dean's Hamlet & Matthew Aucoin's Eurydice coming to the MET
Brett Dean's Hamlet and Matthew Aucoin's new opera Eurydice are both coming to the stage of New York's Metropolitan Opera, it has been announced. In an interview with the New York Times, the Met's new Music Director Yannick Nézet Séguin revealed that Hamlet and Eurydice will run in the 2021/22 season.
Hamlet received its world premiere at Glyndebourne in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim, with the production heralded as "heart-wrenchingly beautiful", "reverent but mischievous" and "an ingenious deconstruction of Shakespeare". At the Met it will be conducted by Nicholas Carter.
Aucoin's Eurydice is a Met commission and will be conducted by Nézet Séguin. The opera is adapted from Sarah Ruhl's 2003 play of the same name, which retells the story of Orpheus from his wife Eurydice's perspective. Ruhl herself supplies the libretto.
Click here to read the interview in the New York Times.
Matthew Aucoin makes Santa Fe Opera debut conducting Doctor Atomic
Matthew Aucoin makes his conducting debut at Santa Fe Opera on 14 July 2018, conducting John Adams Doctor Atomic in a new production staged by the opera’s librettist Peter Sellars.
Doctor Atomic focuses on the lead up to the detonation of first atomic bomb in the summer of 1945, and the text is a mosaic drawn from declassified government documents, participant letters and interviews, poetry by Baudelaire and Muriel Rukeyser, John Donne’s Holy Sonnets, the Hindu Bhagavad Gītā, and a hauntingly prophetic Native American song.
Aucoin comes to Santa Fe Opera directly from his recent successes at LA Opera, where he conducted Rigoletto and the west coast premiere of his second opera Crossing as Artist in Residence:
"Aucoin, in the pit, leads Rigoletto on electrifying ride"
Classical Voice America
"The score is contemporary and muscular, with a prominent use of percussion including piano, xylophone and marimba, yet lyrical and expressive too... It did not take long to become immersed in the composer’s sound world."
There are subsequent performances of Doctor Atomic at Santa Fe Opera on 18 and 27 July, and 2, 7 and 16 August.
Matthew Aucoin's Evidence receives East Coast premiere at the Caramoor Festival
Matthew Aucoin’s Evidence receives its East Coast premiere this month, as Ludovic Morlot conducts the Orchestra of St Luke’s at Caramoor Festival on 30 June 2018. Evidence was premiered by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in 2016 to critical acclaim:
“Aucoin conducted with a show of intent certainty… the color and character of 'Evidence' give evidence of a remarkable compose…”
Fellow Intermusica artist Benjamin Beilman also joins the concert to perform Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and the programme is completed by Smetana Dance of the Comedians and Tchaikovsky Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture.
Matthew Aucoin conducts Rigoletto and Crossing as LA Opera Artist in Residence
Matthew Aucoin returns to Los Angeles Opera in his second season as Artist in Residence to conduct Verdi Rigoletto and the West coast premiere of his second opera Crossing.
Rigoletto is directed by Mark Lamos and, amongst others, stars Juan Jésus Rodríguez, Lisette Oropesa and Craig Colcough.
The production opened on 12 May to critical acclaim:
“Aucoin, in the pit, leads Rigoletto on electrifying ride”
Classical Voice America
Aucoin also conducted the West coast premiere of his Crossing on 25 and 26 May at Bram Goldsmith Theater:
“"Crossing" is a sad and powerful almost traditional operatic love story. On a deeper level, and the level in which it functions most effectively, it is a sad and powerful anti-war statement.”
Rigoletto runs for five performances on 12, 19, 27 and 31 May, and 3 June.
Chanticleer tours Matthew Aucoin's Treating Shadows as Solid Things in California
Matthew Aucoin's new choral work Treating Shadows as Solid Things receives its world premiere on 9 June 2018 from acclaimed chamber choir Chanticleer. The performance at St. Isidore's Church, Danville, is followed by a five-concert tour of the Bay Area in the following week.
Treating Shadows as Solid Things is a three movement work for chorus, based on texts by renowned Italian poet Dante. Chanticleer next present the East Coast premiere at Caramoor Festival on 26 July.
Treating Shadows as Solid Things was commissioned for Chanticleer by Sarah Billinghurst Solomon.
Matthew Aucoin signs with Intermusica
Intermusica is delighted to announce the signing of composer, conductor and pianist Matthew Aucoin.
Matthew Aucoin is an exciting new talent quickly establishing himself as one of the leading new voices in the operatic and musical world.
Aucoin has been hailed as “the most promising operatic talent in a generation” by the New York Times, and is Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles Opera. The position was created specially for Aucoin, fusing his work as composer and conductor, and plans include a new opera for premiere in a future season. Aucoin has worked as composer and conductor with the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Salzburg Landestheater and Music Academy of the West and is co-founder and Artistic Director of AMOC (American Modern Opera Company).
“...prodigiously talented… The orchestral writing is intensely rich, thick, and sometimes relentlessly full of ideas.”
“Opera’s Great 25-Year-Old Hope… his promise as a composer, conductor, pianist, poet and critic extends well beyond opera or any other single form.”
New York Times
His works are performed internationally and recent premieres include Evidence, commissioned by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Soft Power for the Brentano Quartet. He is currently at work on a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater’s New Works programme.
Born in Boston, Aucoin is an English literature graduate of Harvard University and an accomplished writer. While studying composition at the Juilliard School he was appointed the youngest Assistant Conductor in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, and from 2013 to 2015 he was the Solti Conducting Apprentice at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, making his CSO debut in 2014 as substitute for Pierre Boulez. Aucoin remains an active pianist and regularly collaborates with instrumentalists and notable opera singers including Renée Fleming, Rod Gilfry and Anthony Roth Costanzo.