Posts From Author: john adams

Review: Scheherazade.2 (World Premiere)

Scheherazade.2 — Dramatic Symphony for Violin and Orchestra (2014) by John Adams New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall; conducted by Alan Gilbert; soloist Leila Josefowicz World premiere: Thursday, March 26, 2015 Insights at the Atrium — Artist and Muse: John Adams and Leila Josefowicz David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center Monday, March 23, 2015 John Adams isn’t sure if his latest composition can be played by a man. Scheherazade.2, described as a “dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra,” emerged from a collaboration with the violinist Leila Josefowicz, and after seeing her play it, it’s certainly difficult to imagine the same work essayed by a male soloist. In a talk ahead of the world premiere, Carol Oja, the New York Philharmonic’s Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence, suggested to Adams that he had written “a feminist concerto.” And while he confessed that he never had a coherent “libretto” for the piece in his head, he did concede that she’s “like Isolde or Elektra. I can’t think of a concerto that’s that dramatically specific.” (To note, he rejects “concerto,” preferring the Berliozian construction “dramatic symphony”.) In Scheherazade.2,  the line between actor and violinist blurs. To perform it, Josefowicz prepared much as an opera singer would. She memorized the work, internalized it, began thinking of it […]
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Bloody Brilliant Michael Friedman

Michael Friedman is the composer and lyricist behind an astonishing range of theatrical output over the last fifteen years. He wrote his first musical for The Civilians, a downtown theatre group he helped co-found in 2001. Canard, Canard, Goose? was also The Civilians’ first show, taking as its subject alleged geese abuse on the set of the Hollywood movie Fly Away Home. The Civilians’ method of working is a little like verbatim theatre in that the shows are based on interviews with real people. What’s different is that the final product is a heightened version of what emerged from those interviews, as you can probably tell from the sublimely silly Canard (the plot of which effectively disintegrates when the Civilians team realises that the movie wasn’t in fact shot in the hamlet where it was set but in Ontario). You can hear the whole show in this podcast recording of the 10th anniversary concert performance at Joe’s Pub. Canard set the offbeat tone for an eclectic career. Friedman went on to write the music for a series of shows, some with The Civilians, some not, including In the Bubble, based on the John Travolta movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble; the children’s show Katie Couric’s The Brand […]
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