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Photograph by Sebastien Chambert 
Here's Osvald: Noted 'St. Mark Passion' composer Osvaldo Golijov is one of 10 artists in residence at this year's Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

Stars on Church Street

The Cabrillo Festival in downtown Santa Cruz gears up for a contemporary tour de force

By Scott MacClelland

ONE OF today's most talked-about composers makes his debut appearance at this summer's Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz. Osvaldo Golijov joins nine other composers in residence who will gather to witness their own works spread across six orchestral programs--one more than last year's five. Free events and open rehearsals start Aug. 2; concert performances will be staged Aug. 7-16.

Argentine-born Golijov, now recognized worldwide for his St. Mark Passion and the opera Ainadamar, was represented in absentia with two works at last year's festival. The composer, who has assimilated classical and vernacular styles from all over, is coming to Cabrillo to hear his cello concerto, Azul, played by the young star of the instrument, Alisa Weilerstein (daughter of the Cleveland Quartet's founding principal violinist, Donald Weilerstein, and pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein). A critically acclaimed artist on the international scene, lauded for her power and intensity, Alisa Weilerstein has performed Azul many times, including a prior collaboration with Cabrillo Festival music director Marin Alsop. For the piece, they will be joined by hyperaccordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman. This festival-opening program includes the U.S. premiere of Australian composer Brett Dean's Amphitheatre and the world premiere of British composer David Heath's Rise From the Dark, both men joining Golijov in residence.

At the Aug. 8 concert, composers Erico Chapela will hear his inguesu, Avner Dorman his Spices, Perfumes, Toxins! and Dean his Moments of Bliss, all local premieres. Other composers in residence are Aussie Matthew Hindson; Americans Lee Johnson, Ingram Marshall and Kevin Puts and Brit Joby Talbot. On Aug. 9, in honor of the 14th anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death, Alsop and the orchestra will gratefully serve up a benefit performance of Lee Johnson's popular Dead Symphony no. 6.

Finland-born Magnus Lindberg, the New York Philharmonic's composer-in-residence-in-waiting, is represented by his Seht die Sonne (Behold the Sun), which has attracted acclaim in Europe and America and got a rave last year from San Francisco Chronicle critic Joshua Kosman (the same critic who denounced the composer's Concerto for Orchestra after hearing it at the 2005 Cabrillo Festival). Other eagerly anticipated works on the Lindberg program are James MacMillan's symphonic suite from his opera The Sacrifice and the U.S. premiere of Talbot's Desolation Wilderness, inspired by the desert side of the Sierra Nevada. The Festival finale, at Mission San Juan Bautista, is no less intriguing, offering George Tsontakis' homage to French music, Clair de lune, Marshall's "spiritual" Kingdom Come, Puts' Two Mountain Scenes and Aaron Jay Kernis' Invisible Mosaic III.

THE CABRILLO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC is Aug. 2-16 in Santa Cruz. For more info visit

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