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  • WDCH
  • Oct. 26, 2002
  • Adams Conducts West Coast Premiere of Derek Bermel's Voices
    with Bermel as Soloist;

    Pianists Gloria Cheng & Grant Gershon Play Hallelujah Junction

    Concert Sponsored by KMZT 105.1 FM

    On Saturday, October 26 at 8 p.m. at UCLA's Royce Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and UCLA Live present composer/conductor John Adams and Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen leading the orchestra in works by Adams and Derek Bermel. Salonen conducts Adams' highly acclaimed Naive and Sentimental Music; Adams conducts the West Coast premiere of Derek Bermel's Voices, with the composer/clarinetist as soloist. The concert opens with Adams' Hallelujah Junction performed by pianists Gloria Cheng and Grant Gershon. The event is the first concert in the Philharmonic's 2002/2003 Green Umbrella Series and the first in Adams' On Location residency program with the Philharmonic this season.

    American composer John Adams began writing his 48-minute, three-movement orchestral work, Naive and Sentimental Music, in the spring of 1998 and finished the piece in the winter. He dedicated the ambitious symphonic work to Esa-Pekka Salonen, due to his admiration for Salonen as both a composer and a conductor. In February 1999, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic performed the world premiere of Naive and Sentimental Music, which was co-commissioned by the Philharmonic in collaboration with the Ensemble Modern, Sydney Symphony, and Vancouver Symphony. The orchestra and Salonen subsequently recorded the work for the Nonesuch label and it was released this summer. Adams wrote Hallelujah Junction, a work for two pianos, for Gloria Cheng and Grant Gershon in 1996.
    Derek Bermel's Voices is a three-movement work for clarinet and orchestra, commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) with support from the Cary Trust and dedicated to the composer's father. It received its premiere by the ACO, conducted by Tan Dun, at Carnegie Hall in May 1998 with the composer as soloist. The BBC Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and the Albany Symphony Orchestra have since performed the piece. The first movement, "Id," evokes the sounds of shouting, laughing, and mumbling. The second movement, "She Moved Thru the Fair," borrows inflections from Irish music, including the vocal technique keening. The final section, entitled "Jamm on Toast," replicates funk and big band vocal stylings. The composer performs as soloist in the work.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella Series features new music performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    John Adams' On Location residency with the Los Angeles Philharmonic is in two parts. In addition to this concert, Salonen leads the first performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic of Adams' masterwork, El Niño, on March 13, 15, and 16. Salonen will also lead both works in New York City when the orchestra is presented by Lincoln Center's Great Performers series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (March 20 and 22; El Niño) and at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall (March 24; Naive and Sentimental Music). In addition to the subscription and Green Umbrella performances, Adams will participate in pre-concert discussions and symposia in both Los Angeles and New York, as well as make visits to local Los Angeles School Partners classes. A program in the Philharmonic's Chamber Music series will also be devoted to his music.

    JOHN ADAMS was born in Massachusetts on February 15, 1947; he earned his graduate and undergraduate degrees at Harvard University. Moving to California in 1971, he quickly rose to prominence in the Bay area's vibrant musical scene, serving as teacher at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for 10 years, as producer of new music events, and as the San Francisco Symphony's new music adviser and composer-in-residence (1979-1985). Adams' creative output spans a wide range of media: orchestral works, opera, video, film, and dance, as well as electronic music. His music has been programmed by every major orchestra in the United States as well as by ensembles throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has won worldwide acclaim as composer of the operas Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer, and the Nativity oratorio El Niño. Increasingly active as a conductor of his own and other contemporary century music, John Adams has appeared on the podiums of the Los Angeles, New York, and Israel philharmonics, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, and the San Francisco and Montreal symphonies. In September, Adams' newest work, On The Transmigration of Souls, a 24-minute work for chorus, children's chorus, orchestra and prerecorded sound commemorating the loss of lives on September 11, 2001, opened the New York Philharmonic season, conducted by Music Director Lorin Maazel.

    DEREK BERMEL, born in 1967, is active as a composer of concert music, as a classical clarinetist, conductor, jazz and rock musician and vocalist, and music director of TONK, a Dutch-American arts collective, whose performances meld poetry, music, and dance. In addition to studying composition at Yale and the University of Michigan, Bermel studied ethnomusicology and orchestration in Jerusalem, and Lobi xylophone in Ghana; he also studied conducting and clarinet at University of Michigan. Bermel has received several major awards, including a Guggenheim award, a Fulbright Fellowship, several ASCAP Young Composer awards, and was a resident at Tanglewood, Banff, and Yaddo. The Albany Symphony, the Faber Music Millennium Series, De Ereprijs (Netherlands), the Birmingham Royal Ballet (U.K.), and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble have recently commissioned Bermel for various works. His music has been featured at many festivals including Tanglewood, Interlochen, and Banff. In 1999, Bermel was awarded one of three Ford Foundation Conducting Awards.

    Pianist GLORIA CHENG has appeared as a soloist and chamber artist at major festivals worldwide, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Ars Musica Brussels, Tanglewood, the Ojai Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival. As a guest artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its New Music Group, she has been featured in concerts honoring Elliott Carter, György Ligeti, Toru Takemitsu, Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams, Witold Lutoslawski, and Magnus Lindberg. She appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1998 performing two of Oliver Messiaen's works: Oiseaux exotiques and Couleurs de la Cité céleste. Cheng was a longtime member of the California E.A.R. Unit, and is a member of the Piano Spheres concert series and the chamber ensemble Xtet. Composers who have written works for her include John Adams, Pierre Boulez, David Raksin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Chinary Ung. She has recorded work by Olivier Messiaen, John Adams, and Terry Riley; her newest recording comprised of 20th-century dances for piano was released in 2000. Cheng studied at Stanford University, and has graduate degrees in music from UCLA and USC.

    Renowned conductor, pianist, and vocalist GRANT GERSHON became Music Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale in July 2001. He is equally at home conducting and performing choral and symphonic music, opera, and musical theater. He served as Assistant Conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and L.A. Opera. While at the latter, he garnered a reputation as one of the country's exceptional vocal coaches. Gershon has been guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the New York Choral Artists, and the London Sinfonietta Voices. He has appeared as guest conductor of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera, Juilliard Opera Theater, and the Finnish chamber orchestra Avanti! Gershon has led performances at the Edinburgh, Vienna and Helsinki Festivals, and in July 2001 conducted performances of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Aspen Music Festival. As a pianist, Gershon has appeared in recitals with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Peter Schreier, Audra McDonald, Rodney Gilfry, and Sanford Sylvan. He conducted the world premiere performances of John Adams' opera/theater piece I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky, directed by Peter Sellars and was vocal director on the Nonesuch recording of the work. Gershon studied at the University of Southern California and was named Outstanding Graduate of the University's School of Music.

    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, the tenth conductor to head the Los Angeles Philharmonic, began his tenure as Music Director in October 1992. Salonen made his American debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in November 1984, and he has conducted the orchestra every season since. Among the many highlights of Salonen's activities with the Philharmonic have been world premieres of new works by composers John Adams, Bernard Rands, Rodion Shchedrin, Steven Stucky, and Salonen himself, well-received Ligeti and Stravinsky Festivals, appearances at the Ojai Festival, eight critically acclaimed international tours since 1992, and his extensive discography with the Philharmonic for Sony Classical. Salonen was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1958. He made his conducting debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1979, and he has been one of the world's most sought-after conductors since his debut in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra in September 1983. He served as principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia from 1985 to 1994 and as principal conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1985 to 1995.

    An internationally acclaimed producer and presenter of music, dance, and theater, UCLA Performing Arts' dynamic program, UCLA Live, brings hundreds of outstanding and provocative artists to Los Angeles each year. Committed to supporting the development of new work, UCLA Live has commissioned pieces by major and emerging artists including Pina Bausch, the Kronos Quartet, Bill T. Jones, Philip Glass, and Robert Wilson. Lectures, residencies, and extensive outreach programs expand the impact of its unparalleled performances that include a lively mix of distinguished masters and innovators from around the world.


    Saturday, October 26, 8 PM


    Royce Hall, UCLA


    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor

    JOHN ADAMS, conductor

    DEREK BERMEL, clarinet

    GLORIA CHENG, piano

    GRANT GERSHON, piano

    Adams:  Hallelujah Junction

    Bermel:  Voices (West Coast premiere)

    Adams:  Naive and Sentimental Music

    This concert is sponsored, in part, by KMZT 105.1 FM.

    Tickets ($60, 45, 35, and $15 for UCLA students with valid I.D.) are available at the UCLA Central Ticket Office at the southwest corner of the James West Alumni Center, online at and at all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information or to charge by phone, call 310. 825.2101.

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  • Contact:

    Elizabeth Hinckley, 323/850-2047; David Barber, 323/850-2023