April 2, 2009

Music, Art, and Film come together in an intellectually engaging and multidisciplinary presentation of Philip Glass's long-awaited Violin Concerto No.2 "The American Four Seasons," to be performed by world-renowned violinist and Glass champion Robert McDuffie. "The American Four Seasons" will receive its world premiere December 9, 2009 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, its European premiere with the London Philharmonic April 17, 2010, and its United States premiere at the Aspen Music Festival in July, 2010.

"The American Four Seasons" makes its world premiere after several years of development and collaboration between Glass and McDuffie. "It has been a great pleasure to work with Bobby on this project," Philip Glass says. "The prospect of having a soloist of his caliber and international standing to premiere the work has served as an additional inspiration for me, and we are both very excited that this idea has developed into a multi-faceted presentation."

Of his new composition, Glass explains, "The original idea was that this new work would be somewhat based on Vivaldi's Four Seasons. I used Vivaldi's piece as a point of inspiration, but there are many differences between Vivaldi's work and 'The American Four Seasons' that allow the new composition to not be defined solely by the original work." For instance, Glass's new concerto maintains the orchestration of Vivaldi's masterpiece, with the exception of a Synthesizer in place of a Harpsichord. The 37-minute piece is a single work comprised of four movements, unlike the twelve movements that comprise Vivaldi's original suite.

American artist Spencer Finch has been commissioned to create an environmental light installation which will be incorporated into each premier concert hall and tour venue. Furthermore, the compositional and artistic process of creating "The American Four Seasons" will be captured in a documentary film prouduced and directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Oren Jacoby, the documentarian behind such acclaimed films as Sister Rose's Passion and The Shakespeare Sessions.

To both celebrate Glass's new work and honor Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Mr. McDuffie will play with and lead the Venice Baroque Orchestra when they embark on a 35-city United States tour presenting the two works side-by-side in the Fall of 2010. As is its traditional practice, the Venice Baroque Orchestra will play Vivaldi's Four Seasons on period instruments and bows, but will switch to contemporary instruments for "The American Four Seasons." During the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons, Robert McDuffie will continue to present this program in European and Asian tours. Details regarding specific cities and participating ensembles will be announced at a later date.

"The American Four Seasons" is a co-commission between five organizations presenting its performance: Toronto Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival and School, Krennert Center for the Performing Arts at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The Krennert Center will host the first concert of "The American Four Seasons" United States tour on October 14, 2010, followed by the Carlsen Center's presentation on October 16, 2010. To coincide with the United States tour, Telarc will release the premier recording of "The American Four Seasons" in the fall of 2010.

Robert McDuffie has appeared as soloist with most of the major orchestras of the world, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Chicago, San Francisco, and Atlanta Symphonies and the Philadelphia, Cleveland, North German Radio, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and the Santa Cecilia Orchestras. His 2008-2009 season is highlighted by performances of the Rozsa Concerto and the Bernstein Serenade with the Jerusalem Symphony in Jerusalem, followed by a 16-city tour of the United States. Robert McDuffie is a Distinguished University Professor of Music at Mercer University in his hometown of Macon, Georgia. The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University had its official opening at the beginning of the 2007-2008 academic year. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Rome Chamber Music Festival and returns there each year. The Mayor of Rome has recently awarded Mr. McDuffie the prestigious Premio Simpatia in recognition of his contribution to the cultural life of that city. On Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 8:00pm EST, Mr. McDuffie will perform with the National Symphony Orchestra at the annual National Memorial Day Concert. The concert will take place on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington DC, and will be aired live on PBS as well as over armed services radio and television networks to troops serving overseas. Click here for additional information.

Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times. His operas play throughout the world's leading houses, and rarely to an empty seat. Glass has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as The Hours and Martin Scorsese's Kundun. Indeed, Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music. Although the musical style that Glass contributed to developing was eventually dubbed "minimalism," there has been nothing "minimalist" about his output. In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; eight symphonies; two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; film soundtracks; string quartets; and a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, and Doris Lessing, among many others. He presents lectures, workshops, and solo keyboard performances around the world, and continues to appear regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble.

Spencer Finch is an American artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world. The first retrospective of Finch's work, which ended in March 2008, was assembled at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Spencer Finch graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in comparative literature from Hamilton College 1985. He then pursued an M.F.A in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1989. Finch currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Spencer Finch's installations take form in a variety of different mediums, but he is best known for his work with fluorescent light. In many works, Mr. Finch attempts to recreate the exact color and intensity of light that existed at a specific place and time. For examp'le, Moonlight (Luna County, New Mexico, July 13, 2003), replicates the exact light of the full moon that shone over the desert of Luna County, New Mexico on the evening of July 13, 2003.

Oren Jacoby is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who has made award-winning films recognized by the American Film Institute, the Sundance Institute, Britain's Royal Television Society, as well as the Motion Picture Academy. His film, "Sister Rose's Passion", was winner of Best Documentary Short Film at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festivaland was nominated for a 2005 Academy Award.Recent credits include, among others, "The Topdog Diaries" with the 2002 Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks, and performances by Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright, and "The Shakespeare Sessions" starring Kevin Kline, Cynthia Nixon, Liev Schreiber, and Charles S. Dutton. Jacoby has directed plays at Theater for the New City, the Williamstown Theater Festival, Ensemble Studio Theater, the West Bank Café and regional theaters, including new works by Richard Dresser, Quincy Long, and Franz Xavier Kroetz. His stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" was performed in a reading at the 2004 Tribeca Theater Festival, in a co-production with the Classical Theater of Harlem.

Philip Glass, Composer
Robert McDuffie, Violin
Spencer Finch, Light Installation

A co-commission by Toronto Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival and School, Krennert Center for the Performing Arts at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas


World Premiere
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Maestro Peter Oundjian
Roy Thomson Hall

European Premiere
Saturday, April 17, 2010
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Maestra Marin Alsop
Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre

United States Premiere
July, 2010
Aspen Music Festival and School
Maestro Dennis Russell Davies
Additional details to be announced

Details regarding United States, European and Asian tours will be announced at a later date

Robert McDuffie website
Philip Glass website
Spencer Finch website

For more information please contact Kirshbaum Demler & Associates at 212-222-4843 or info@kirshdem.com

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