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Gunther Schuller Tribute Concert by BMOP and Odyssey Opera 11/22

October 29, 2015 | By AMT PR
When: Sunday, November 22 at 3:00 p.m. (pre-­concert talk 2:00 p.m.) Where: Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA, T: Green to Symphony Tickets: General $20-­$50/Students $10. To purchase, contact BMOP at BMOP.org or by telephone 718.324.0396. Also available from the Jordan Hall box office in person or online at tix.com.

Boston, MA — Two of Boston’s leading musical ensembles—the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) and Odyssey Opera—unite onstage for a special concert honoring the great Pulitzer­winning composer Gunther Schuller (1925-­ 2015). Between them, these two organizations have a repertoire spanning a wide array of genres, and this program will offer the distinctive sound of Schuller’s fusion of jazz vernacular with the symphonic and operatic world. Gil Rose will lead BMOP in two enjoyable narratives for all ages, Schuller’s Journey Into Jazz and The Fisherman and His Wife, joined by Gunther’s sons Ed Schuller (bass) and George Schuller (drums) as special guest artists, and Odyssey Opera, featuring Met Opera regular, mezzo-­soprano Sondra Kelly. Rounding out the program will be Schuller’s sinfonietta work Games. Continuing its 20th anniversary season, BMOP is thrilled and humbled to be presenting works by Schuller, the orchestra’s longtime collaborator and friend. “There was no more prodigious and passionate master of the musical 20th century in America than Gunther Schuller,” says Gil Rose, Artistic Director, Founder, and Conductor of BMOP and Odyssey Opera. “He was American music making at its best.”

Ranking among the most eclectic of his generation or any other, Schuller combined jazz and classical music in new ways. In the 1950s, Schuller’s revolutionary, hybrid style became know as “Third Stream,” and entered the classical music mainstream. Schuller served as President of the New England Conservatory, where he established a successful degree-­granting jazz program, from 1967-­1977. He made his home in Newton, MA, and passed away on June 21, 2015 in Boston at the age of 89.

Opening the program is Schuller’s Games (2013)—written at age 90—for wind quintet and strings, offering a lighthearted, rapid-­--fire amalgam of ideas, rhythms, and tongue-­in-­cheek quotations that is a classic display of the composer’s trademark nimbleness and wit. The organic fusion of contemporary classical music and modern jazz that characterizes the Third Stream is front and center in Journey Into Jazz (1962), a strong aesthetic statement about the porous nature of musical boundaries and the shared fundamentals of good musicianship. In the manner of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Journey Into Jazz features a narration by famed jazz critic and author Nat Hentoff that tells the story of a young classically-­trained trumpeter who evolves into a jazz improviser and, ultimately, an artist with his own, individual sound. BMOP is thrilled to welcome Gunther’s sons Ed Schuller (bass) and George Schuller (drums) as guest artists for this special tribute performance. Audiences can listen to BMOP perform Journey Into Jazz on BMOP/sound’s eponymous recording of 2008. Of that disc, Gramophone wrote “Under Gil Rose’s caring direction, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and stellar instrumental soloists give performances that are not likely to be surpassed for some time.”

Also on the program is another work of Schuller’s that centers on narrative, the one-­act opera The Fisherman and His Wife (1970), which received its first performance by the Boston Opera Company under the direction of Sarah Caldwell. With a libretto by John Updike, the work is derived from the German fairy tale popularized by the Brothers Grimm and is appealing for all ages. A simple fisherman (performed here by tenor Steven Goldstein) is convinced by his wife (performed here by mezzo-­soprano Sondra Kelly) to ask for more and more favors from a great fish he has captured and thrown back into the sea. When the wife asks to play God, she and her husband are reduced to their original poor state, having learned some lessons along the way.

About BMOP The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) is the premier orchestra in the United States dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording music of the twentieth and twenty-­first centuries. A unique institution of crucial artistic importance to today’s musical world, BMOP exists to disseminate exceptional orchestral music of the present and recent past via performances and recordings of the highest caliber. Founded by Artistic Director Gil Rose in 1996, BMOP has championed composers whose careers span nine decades.

Each season, Rose brings BMOP’s award-­--winning orchestra, renowned soloists, and influential composers to the stage of New England Conservatory’s historic Jordan Hall in a series that offers orchestral programming of unmatched diversity. The musicians of BMOP are consistently lauded for the energy, imagination, and passion with which they infuse the music of the present era. For more information, please visit BMOP.org.

About Odyssey Opera

Founded in 2013 by Artistic Director/Conductor Gil Rose, Odyssey Opera presents adventurous and eclectic works that affirm opera as a powerful expression of the human experience. Its world-­--class artists perform the operatic repertoire from its historic beginnings throughlesser-­--known masterpieces to contemporary new works and commissions in a variety of formats and venues. Odyssey Opera sets standards of high musical and theatrical excellence and innovative programming to advance the operatic genre beyond the familiar and into undiscovered territory. Odyssey Opera takes its audience on a journey to places they’ve never been before. For more information, please visit odysseyopera.org.


Conductor: Gil Rose Musicians: Boston Modern Orchestra Project

Journey Into Jazz

Conductor: Gil Rose Musicians: Boston Modern Orchestra Project, guest artists Ed Schuller (bass) and George Schuller (drums)

The Fisherman and His Wife

Conductor: Gil Rose The Wife: Sondra Kelly (mezzo-­--soprano) The Fisherman: Steven Goldstein (tenor) The Fish: David Kravitz (baritone) The Cat: Katrina Galka (soprano) Musicians: Boston Modern Orchestra Project


For more information, visit BMOP.org.

For artist interviews, ticket requests and all other media queries, contact April Thibeault, AMT PR, 212.861.0990, april@amtpublicrelations.com



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