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  • WDCH
  • Feb. 14, 2005
  • Green Umbrella Series Includes Sonatas by Debussy and Three West Coast Premieres of Sonatas Influenced by Debussy


    This program is supported by a grant from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella series presents The Debussy Project featuring Emanuel Ax, piano, and Anssi Karttunen, cello, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group at Walt Disney Concert Hall on February 14 at 8 p.m. The program consists of Debussy's three Sonatas, alternating with the West Coast premieres of three sonatas by contemporary composers: Steven Stucky's Sonate en forme de preludes; Marc-André Dalbavie's Axioms; and Je sens un deuxième Coeur by Kaija Saariaho.

    Near the end of his life, Debussy planned a series of six sonatas for diverse instrumentation but only actually composed three. In The Debussy Project, launched in 2003 by Emanuel Ax as part of Carnegie Hall's "Perspectives" series, three living composers, strongly influenced by Debussy, were commissioned to compose the three sonatas that Debussy did not live to write. On this Green Umbrella program, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's New Music Group performs Debussy's three complete sonatas and the three commissioned sonatas by Stucky, Dalbavie and Saariaho, written for the instrumentations that Debussy planned.

    Stucky's Sonate en forme de preludes for oboe, horn and harpsichord, offers a double homage to Debussy, not only in its scoring, but also in its form as a sequence of preludes. French composer Marc-André Dalbavie's wrote Axioms for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, and piano based on the instrumentation Debussy sketched for his fifth sonata. Kaija Saariaho's Je sens un deuxième coeur (I Feel a Second Heart), composed in 2003, totals fifteen minutes and was inspired by an opera she is currently working to finish. The five-movement chamber work depicts Saariaho's fascination with the connection between a mother and her unborn child.

    The Green Umbrella series showcases new music ranging from solo works to chamber opera, performed by members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group. Concerts take place at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group are made possible in part by the Attiyeh New Music Fund, the Brady New Music Fund, the Freeman Fund for Contemporary Music, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from Deborah Borda, Ernest Fleischmann, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

    EMANUEL AX is renowned not only for his poetic temperament and unsurpassed virtuosity, but also for the exceptional breadth of his performing activity. Each season appears with major symphony orchestras worldwide, gives recitals in the most celebrated concert halls, participates in a variety of chamber music collaborations, commissions and performs new music, and adds to his acclaimed discography on Sony Classical. He has been an exclusive Sony Classical recording artist since 1987, making his debut on that label with a collection of Chopin scherzos and mazurkas. Ax's third volume in his cycle of Haydn's Piano Sonatas received a Grammy Award in February 2004 - the previous recording in the cycle also won a Grammy. Throughout the 2003-04 season at Carnegie Hall, Ax focused on Debussy, his music and his influences. This season-long "Perspectives" series featured Ax in performances with the Boston Symphony under Bernard Haitink, and the Juilliard Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, in three chamber music concerts at Zankel Hall, and in a solo piano recital. These programs featured world premieres of three Carnegie Hall commissions, the sonatas heard on this Green Umbrella program.

    The Finnish cellist ANSSI KARTTUNEN is one of the most versatile performers on his instrument. He performs on modern cello, classical and baroque cellos, and on violoncello piccolo. Karttunen leads a busy career as a soloist and chamber music player, performing extensively all over the world. Anssi Karttunen performs all the standard cello works, but has also discovered many forgotten masterpieces and arranged a number of pieces for cello. He is a passionate advocate of contemporary music and his collaboration with composers has led him to give a great number of world premieres of works by composers such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, and Tan Dun. The recordings of Anssi Karttunen range from the complete Beethoven works for cello and fortepiano and 20th-century works for solo cello to concertos with the London Sinfonietta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is a founding member of, a non-profit organization for the production and sale of CDs on the Internet.


    MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2005 8 PM

    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group

    Emanuel Ax, piano

    Anssi Karttunen, cello

    DEBUSSY Sonata for flute, viola, and harp

    STUCKY Sonate en forme de préludes for Oboe, Horn, and Harpsichord (West Coast premiere)

    DEBUSSY Sonata for violin and piano

    DALBAVIE Axioms for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, and piano (West Coast premiere)

    DEBUSSY Sonata for cello and piano

    SAARIAHO Je sens une deuxième coeur for piano, viola, and cello (West Coast premiere)

    This program is supported by a grant from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place one hour prior to each concert in BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are free to all ticket holders.

    Tickets ($15 - $41) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($15), will be released for sale to selected Philharmonic, Colburn Celebrity Recital, and Baroque Variations performances beginning at noon on the Tuesday of the second week prior to the concert. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422