Photo by Sam Zaucher
This week’s Classical Californian is composer Adam Schoenberg, who has twice been in the top 10 listing of most-performed living composers by orchestras in the United States. He studied at Juilliard with composer John Corigliano, and now is a professor at Occidental College. He was introduced to several of the pieces that he’ll be playing this week back when he was an undergraduate at Oberlin Conservatory of Music – both in the classroom, and in the audience of a movie theater. A beautiful aria by Henry Purcell, a haunting duet by Messiaen, a few contemporary composers whose names might not be as familiar, the selections are works that have inspired and influenced him, or that he likes to teach his students.
He begins with the only pre-20th Century repertoire he’ll be playing, an aria from Henry Purcell’s King Arthur… Press the play button to listen to his introduction!
Then it’s on to the achingly beautiful fifth movement from Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, actually a duet for piano and cello.
The first of two works that appeared in films – John Corigliano (who Adam Schoenberg would later study with at Juilliard) wrote the score for The Red Violin.
Thomas Newman creates a perfectly off-kilter atmosphere for American Beauty in the opening track, “Dead Already” by using a mix of traditional and electronic instruments.
The French composer Henri Dutilleux wrote Métaboles with exquisite orchestration…
Michael Gandolfi’s The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is a recent work that was championed by conductor Robert Spano – we’ll hear it played with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
And finally, a piece by Sky Macklay that takes a comical look at Many Many Cadences. (Attention music theory nerds – you can follow along with the Roman numeral analysis on the score!)