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  • WDCH
  • Jan. 23, 2007
  • Green Umbrella Series Features Derek Bermel, Joanne Pearce Martin, Vicki Ray, and Theatre of Voices

    TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2007 AT 8 PM

    John Adams celebrates his 60th birthday by conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group in his two of his own compositions, Gnarly Buttons and Grand Pianola Music at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 8:00 p.m. Guest artists include composer/clarinetist Derek Bermel, Music Alive Composer-in-Residence of the American Composers Orchestra and recipient of a 2006 Copland Award; the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Principal Keyboardist, Joanne Pearce Martin; virtuoso pianist and founding member of California E.A.R. Unit, Vicki Ray; and Theatre of Voices, a Grammy Award nominee and the recipient of two Edison Prizes, prepared by Music Director Paul Hillier. The concert opens with Joanne Pearce Martin playing Adams' China Gates for solo piano.

    Gnarly Buttons was first performed by clarinetist Michael Collins and the London Sinfonietta under the composer's direction on October 19, 1996 at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. The piece is in three movements for clarinet and chamber ensemble. Derek Bermel is soloist in this performance. Grand Pianola Music was first performed February 26, 1982 by the San Francisco Symphony, Robin Sutherland and Julie Steinberg, pianists, John Adams, conductor. The work is for 2 pianos, 3 female voices, winds, brass & percussion.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall one hour prior to each concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are free to all ticket holders. Philharmonic Consulting Composer for New Music Steven Stucky is moderator.

    JOHN ADAMS is one of America's most admired and respected composers. A musician of enormous range and technical command, he has produced works, both operatic and symphonic, that stand out among contemporary classical music for the depth of their expression, the brilliance of their sound world, and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes. His music has played a decisive role in turning the tide of musical aesthetics away from the theoretical principles of European modernism toward a more expansive and expressive language, so characteristic of his New World surroundings. Born and raised in New England, Adams learned the clarinet from his father and played in marching bands and community orchestras during his formative years. He began composing at the age of ten, and heard his first orchestral pieces performed while still a teenager. The intellectual and artistic traditions of New England, especially the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Harvard University, helped shape him as an artistic and thinker. After earning two degrees from Harvard University, he moved to Northern California in 1971, and has ever since lived in the San Francisco Bay area. Adams taught for ten years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music before becoming Composer in Residence with the San Francisco Symphony (1982-85) and the creator of the orchestra's highly successful and controversial New and Unusual Music series. In April and May of 2003 Lincoln Center presented a festival entitled John Adams: An American Master, the most extensive festival ever mounted at Lincoln Center devoted to a living composer. Adams, who is the subject of three documentary films, has also served as Music Director of the Cabrillo Festival, as Artist in Association with the BBC Symphony, and as Creative Chair of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Cambridge University in England as well as an honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa. John Adams has twice been honored by California governors for his contribution to the culture of his state. Adams is currently working on a book of memoirs and commentary on American musical life. It will be released by Farrar Straus & Giroux in the U.S. and by Faber Ltd. in the UK. Just released is The John Adams Reader, Essential Writings on an American Composer, edited by Thomas May and published by Amadeus Books.

    Clarinetist and composer DEREK BERMEL studied ethnomusicology and orchestration in Jerusalem, and later traveled to Bulgaria to study the Thracian folk style, Dublin to study uillean pipes, and Ghana to Study the Lobi xylophone. From the complex Bulgarian melodies in Tied Shifts, to Irish bagpipes coupled by Led Zepplin-inspired riffs in Voices, Bermel infuses his music with the rhythms and inflections of myriad folk traditions while maintaining a sophisticated and distinctive style of orchestration, harmony, and counterpoint. As a performer, Bermel's clarinet playing has been hailed by the New York Times as "brilliant" and "first rate". Well-versed in the classical and jazz repertoire on clarinet and piano, he trained at Yale University and the University of Michigan, and later in Amsterdam, studying composition with William Albright, Louis Andriessen, William Bolcom, Michael Tenzer, and Henri Dutilleux. He premiered his own critically acclaimed clarinet concerto Voices with the American Composers Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, and revisited it with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Albany and Kalamazoo Symphonies, the BBC Symphony in London, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic with John Adams conducting. As a composer of concert music, Bermel currently serves as the 2006-2009 Music Alive Composer-in-Residence of the American Composers Orchestra and plays a lead role as curator for its ongoing series OrchestraUnderground: Composers Out Front. Bermel serves as co-artistic director of the Dutch-American interdisciplinary ensemble TONK, which he founded along with electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans. He is also the founding clarinetist of Music from Copland House, a creative center for American Music, and founder of his Brooklyn-based band, PEACE BY PIECE. Bermel's many awards include the Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Faber Music.

    Born in Allentown, PA, pianist JOANNE PEARCE MARTIN performs all over the world as soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist. Last season, she made nine solo appearances with the Philharmonic on piano, harpsichord, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ. Another highlight of the season was a performance of Beethoven's Triple Concerto at the Hollywood Bowl in September. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Joanne has performed as soloist with many other orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and England's Huddersfield Philharmonic. In great demand as a collaborative artist, she has given joint recitals with such artists as Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Iona Brown, Joseph Silverstein, and Julius Baker. Martin has performed at summer music festivals and on concert series spanning four continents. Numerous Southern California appearances include those with the L.A. Philharmonic's Green Umbrella and Chamber Music Society, Camerata Pacifica, South Bay Chamber Music Society, and the Ojai, Mainly Mozart, and San Luis Obispo Mozart Festivals. With Pacific Serenades she has premiered 13 new works. This season Joanne and her husband Gavin Martin have continued to perform the two-piano repertoire in multiple cities. She has performed on all the major U.S. television networks and recorded commercially for Centaur, Summit, and Albany records, as well as the Yamaha Disklavier Piano. She has also been the subject of a half-hour feature on The Learning Channel.

    Pianist VICKI RAY performs widely as a soloist and collaborative artist. She is a member of the award-winning California E.A.R. Unit and Xtet, and a founding member of Piano Spheres. A long-time champion of new music, Ray has had works written for her by composers John Adams, Morton Subotnick, Paul Dresher, Stephen Hartke, Kamran Ince, Shaun Naidoo, and many others. In 1989 she was the first place winner in the National Association of Composers USA competition for performers of contemporary music. Ray has been featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the German ensemble Compania, and the Blue Rider Ensemble of Toronto, with whom she made the first Canadian recording of Pierrot Lunaire. She has played on various national and international festivals including the Salzburg Festival, the Berlin 750 Jahre Festival, and the Ojai Festival, where she premiered a new concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle. Her solo recording from the left edge, a collection of works written for her by composers living in California, can be found on the CRI label. As a pianist who excels in a wide range of styles, Ray has made numerous recordings, covering everything from the semi-improvised structures of Wadada Leo Smith to the twisted groove base of John Adam's Road Movies, from the elegant serialism of Mel Powell to the austere beauty of Morton Feldman's Crippled Symmetries. Ray has been a member of the piano faculty at the California Institute of the Arts since 1991.

    THEATRE OF VOICES was created by Paul Hillier to explore the notion of a "theatre" where the scenery is the sound of voices and the action consists of words. Some of TOV's repertoire is experimental and obscure, while other music explores more familiar territory, especially the cross-roads between early and contemporary music. Theatre of Voices is flexible in design and seeks to utilize the talents of artists who are equally at home in the old and the new. Theatre of Voices has recorded extensively for Harmonia Mundi USA. Several prominent composers have written music for Theatre of Voices including John Adams who composed a composite role for three countertenors from Theatre of Voices in his oratorio El NiƱo, which they have performed in Paris, Berlin, Adelaide, San Francisco, and Los Angeles; and recorded on CD for Nonesuch and Art HausMusik for DVD. Music Director Paul Hillier is active both as a conductor and a singer. His wide musical interests range from medieval to contemporary music and encompass conducting, singing, composing and writing. In recent years Hillier has collaborated with a rich diversity of musicians, including the Kronos Quartet, Bobby McFerrin, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Andrew Lawrence-King, Nigel North, and members of his ensembles Theatre of Voices and the Pro Arte Singers.

    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.


    TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2007 AT 8 PM

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

    Green Umbrella Series


    JOHN ADAMS, conductor

    DEREK BERMEL, clarinet


    VICKI RAY, piano


    ADAMS China Gates

    ADAMS Gnarly Buttons

    ADAMS Grand Pianola Music

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall one hour prior to each concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are free to all ticket holders. Philharmonic Consulting Composer for New Music Steven Stucky is moderator.

    Tickets ($15-45) are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, 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, 213.972.3408,; Rachelle Roe, 213.972.7310,; Photos: 213.972.3034