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  • WDCH
  • Oct. 21, 2005
  • Evening Also Features Esteemed Latin Producer/Artist Gustavo Santaolalla and Engaging Ensemble eighth blackbird

    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2005, AT 8 PM

    This concert is presented in association with KCRW 89.9 FM.

    American soprano and three-time Grammy winner Dawn Upshaw sings Ayre, the most recent major work from composer Osvaldo Golijov, on Friday, October 21, at 8 p.m., at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Also featuring performances by Gustavo Santaolalla, ranked among Time magazine’s 25 most influential Hispanics in America, and the celebrated new music ensemble eighth blackbird, this evening’s concert opens the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association’s 2005/2006 World Music Series at the Frank Gehry-designed venue.

    Ayre, a song cycle inspired by Pan-Mediterranean folk songs, unites traditional Jewish, Arabic and Christian folk melodies and lyrics. Ayre, released on Deutsche Grammophon on September 27, has been hailed by The New Yorker as “an ecstatically beautiful piece…If a modern classical work could ever crack the Top 40, this is it.” Upshaw, a frequent collaborator with Golijov, is renowned for her operatic work, her concert performances, and for championing numerous new works created for her, such as Ayre, commissioned by The Carnegie Hall Corporation through the generosity of The Maria and Robert A. Skirnick Fund for New Works at Carnegie Hall.

    Santaolalla, a Grammy-winning producer/songwriter and president of Surco Records (a joint-venture with Universal Music Group), is an important figure in Latin alternative rock for his accomplishments as a musician, as well as his work as a producer and industry executive.

    Santaolalla has released three albums, in addition to composing original music for the films North County, Motorcycle Diaries and 21 Grams. He is touring with Ayre, performing in the piece. In addition, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, he is also performing his own music as one of the artists on the bill.

    Described by The New Yorker as “friendly, unpretentious, idealistic and highly skilled,” eighth blackbird is widely lauded for its performing style – often playing from memory with virtuosic and theatrical flair – and its efforts to make new music accessible to wide audiences. A New York Times reviewer raved, “eighth blackbird’s performances are the picture of polish and precision, and they seem to be thoroughly engaged…by music in a broad range of contemporary styles.” The sextet is in residence at the University of Richmond in Virginia and at the University of Chicago. They will perform Derek Bermel’s Tied Shifts, a new work based on Bulgarian and Thracian folk music.

    Regarded as one of the premier new music groups in the world, eighth blackbird has established a reputation for its provocative and engaging performances. The winners of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, where they were the first contemporary ensemble to win first prize, the group is also a three-time recipient of the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. Other awards include top prizes at the Fischoff and Coleman National Chamber Music Competitions. The group has been featured on CBS' Sunday Morning and was the subject of an extended profile in The New York Times. The ensemble is currently in residence at the University of Richmond and the University of Chicago. Highlights of eighth blackbird's 2005/06 tenth anniversary season include a California tour, with stops in Los Angeles, La Jolla, Stanford, and Davis; a performance at New York's 92nd Street Y; and the group's debut concert at Boston's Celebrity Series. eighth blackbird will showcase its virtuosity in three innovative programs during the season. A tenth-anniversary program, "lucid, inescapable rhythms," features significant works honoring the ensemble's mentors and collaborators. A tour of Osvaldo Golijov's Ayre with soprano Dawn Upshaw, and a special collaboration with the Blair Thomas & Co. puppet theater and soprano Lucy Shelton, performing a fully memorized and staged cabaret-opera version of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, round out the trio of presentations. Since its founding in 1996, eighth blackbird has been active in commissioning new works from eminent composers - most notably Frederic Rzewski, George Perle, and Joseph Schwantner - as well as ground-breaking works from Jennifer Higdon, Derek Bermel, David Schober, Daniel Kellogg, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, David Ludwig, and the Minimum Security Composers Collective. The group received the first BMI/Boudleaux-Bryant Fund Commission and the 2004 NEA/CMA Special Commissioning Award, and has received grants from BMI, Meet the Composer, the Greenwall Foundation, and Chamber Music America. The ensemble recently signed a three-record agreement with Cedille Records. eighth blackbird is active in teaching young artists about contemporary music and has taught master classes and conducted outreach activities throughout the country. The group derives its name from the eighth stanza of the Wallace Stevens poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

    GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA's professional music career started at the age of 16, when he wrote, recorded, and produced his first single. Shortly thereafter he founded Arco Iris (1967), a pioneer fusion band of rock and Latin American folk that represented the early wave of Argentine alternative music. In 1978, frustrated with the political and social situation in Argentina, Santaolalla moved to the USA. In Los Angeles, the punk fever and the more refined New Wave movement inspired Santaolalla to start a new band, Wet Picnic, which he formed with Anibal Kerpel, his music partner to this day. Fueled by this music's new edge, he surprised everyone back home with Santaolalla (1981), his first solo album, followed by two more solo projects, GAS (BMG-Ariola, 1995), and an instrumental album, Ronroco (Nonesuch, 1998), a charango-based gem where Santaolalla shows his mastery of the Andean string instrument. As a producer, Santaolalla recorded two albums with the Maldita, one of the bands flourishing in the new Mexican rock movement, including the groundbreaking El Circo (1992), considered an essential album of rock en español. Santaolalla has become a leader in uniting the traditionally separate worlds of the Mexican and Argentine rock movements, resulting in superstar producer status, gold and platinum album sales, and numerous Grammy awards and nominations. Parallel to his work as a producer, Santaolalla created original film scores to Amores Perros and 21 Grams, to great critical acclaim. In 1997 Santaolalla launched Surco, his own record label, in a joint venture with Universal. He and Kerpel signed groups such as Molotov, Juanes, and the trend-setting Bajofondo Tango Club, selling millions of records and garnering numerous Latin Grammy awards.

    Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, DAWN UPSHAW has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. Her acclaimed performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles (Pamina, Ilia, Susanna, Despina) as well as modern works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Messiaen. From Salzburg and Paris to the Metropolitan Opera, where she began her career in 1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances, Dawn Upshaw has also championed numerous new works created for her including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison; L'Amour de Loin by Kaija Saariaho; John Adams' nativity oratorio El Niño; and Osvaldo Golijov's chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre, recently recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. Upshaw opened her 2005/06 season at the Santa Fe Opera in a new Peter Sellars production of Ainadamar, which will be revived in January as part of Lincoln Center's Great Performers festival "The Passion of Osvaldo Golijov." The festival also features Upshaw in Ayre, which she tours in October with the instrumental ensemble eighth blackbird. Other season highlights include the world premiere of John Harbison's Milosz Songs with the New York Philharmonic and Robert Spano; performances of John Adams' El Niño at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen; a first-time collaboration with Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra; a European tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Richard Tognetti; and a U.S. recital tour with pianist Gilbert Kalish. She is a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Richard Goode, the Kronos Quartet, James Levine, Sir Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with composers, Dawn Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 40 works in the past decade. From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, unusual contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music. She furthers this work around the country in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories, and liberal arts colleges. She is a member of the faculty at the Tanglewood Music Center, and in 2006 begins an association with the Bard College Conservatory of Music for which she has designed a master's degree program in the vocal arts.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music — Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2005 at 8 PM

    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    World Music Series

    DAWN UPSHAW, vocals

    GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA, guitar and vocals

    eighth blackbird


    SANTAOLALLA ¿Porque?

    SANTAOLALLA De Ushuaia a La Quiaca

    SANTAOLALLA Guirnalda de Ambar

    SANTAOLALLA Y Siete También

    BERMEL Tied Shifts

    GOLIJOV Ayre

    This concert is presented in association with KCRW 89.9 FM.

    Tickets ($82-$28) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. 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:

    Libby Huebner, 562.799.6055; Cathy Williams, 213.972.3689; Photos: 213.972.3034