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Press Releases

The New England Philharmonic Opens 2015-16 Season with Tribute to Gunther Schuller

October 6, 2015 | By Dayla Arabella Santurri
BOSTON — The New England Philharmonic (NEP) under the direction of Richard Pittman will present “Stepping Stones of the 20th Century: Celebrating the Life and Music of Gunther Schuller” to open their 2015-16 season on October 25 at 3 p.m. at the Tsai Performance Center. The concert will pay tribute to the life and music of NEP’s Composer Laureate from 2013 to 2015, the late MacArthur Genius and Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Gunther Schuller who died this past summer at the age of 89.

The concert repertoire was selected by Mr. Pittman to reflect the musical styles of the 20th century that inspired Schuller. As Pittman admits, that leaves a lot of ground to cover. “Musically, whether through his work as a musician, a composer or as an educator, Gunther drew inspiration from every corner and for this concert we’ll go there as well.”

The evening will include Irving Fine’s Neoclassical “Toccata Concertante,” Anton von Webern’s twelve-tone “Six Pieces for Orchestra,” Maurice Ravel’s Impressionist “Shéhérazade,” featuring soprano Sarah Pelletier, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Russian symphonic poem “October.” The concert will also feature the Boston premiere of Schuller’s 1994 composition, “The Past Is in the Present,” as well as an 11-minute documentary “The Past Is in The Present: At Home with Gunther Schuller” * that features the legendary composer reflecting on his life and seven-decade career.

This concert was originally scheduled to celebrate Schuller on the eve of his 90th birthday (he would have turned 90 on November 22.) Schuller was in attendance at NEP’s 2014-15 season finale on May 2 when they performed his composition “Meditation.”

“I was comforted by the fact that Gunther was able to attend our performance in May of his very early work, ‘Meditation,’ and that he found the performance beautiful – very high praise from the consummate, demanding musician he was,” Pittman recalled. “The last words Gunther said to me came at the end of that evening, ‘Vielen, vielen, vielen Dank.’ (Many, many, many thanks.) Since he and I were both German speakers, our exchanges were often peppered with ‘Germanisms.’”

Tickets for the NEP’s “Stepping Stones of the 20th Century: Celebrating the Life and Music of Gunther Schuller” on October 25, 2015, at 3 p.m. at the Tsai Performance Center are available at www.NEPhilharmonic.org. *The film “The Past Is in the Present: At Home with Gunther Schuller” is presented courtesy of the film’s co- producers Paul Sanchez and Mary Trunk.

About the New England Philharmonic Now entering its 39th season, the New England Philharmonic (NEP), under the direction of Richard Pittman, is internationally renowned for its daring programming encompassing both contemporary and traditional works. The volunteer orchestra has earned nine ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming and was included in The Arts Fuse’s top 10 list of notable classical music performances of 2014. The orchestra’s illustrious past includes the installation of three landmark programs. The NEP became the first orchestra of its size to support a Composer-in-Residence (1985), introduce a Call for Scores Program (1985), and establish a Young Artist Competition (1994), legacies that endure today.

CONTACT: Dayla Arabella Santurri 781-479-6951 Dayla@DaylaArabella.com



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