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Well Fluted: R. Carlos Nakai helps out with Cabrillo's West Coast debut of Philip Glass' 'Lewis and Clark' concerto.

House of Glass

Cabrillo Festival announces summer lineup, including West Coast premiere of Philip Glass' 'Lewis and Clark' piano concerto

By Scott MacClelland

THE BEST WORD to describe Marin Alsop's 2005 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music lineup is "bold." Of course, boldness is nothing new to the first woman to conduct the legendary 117-year-old Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam or to become the first female music director of England's rapidly rising Bournemouth Symphony, now regularly streamed worldwide on BBC Radio 3, or—well, you take my point. During her tenure at the Cabrillo Festival, Alsop has trained her audiences to expect boldness, a quality that drew her to study with Leonard Bernstein and has plainly propelled her into the mighty handful of his star pupils.

During the first two weeks of August, the festival will attract subscribers as well as composers and performers to Santa Cruz to hear Philip Glass' commissioned bicentennial Lewis and Clark Piano Concerto, featuring its first executants (in 2004), pianist Paul Barnes and R. Carlos Nakai on Native American flute. This West Coast premiere is complemented by another, Kevin Puts' River's Rush, for which his description suggests you plan to wear a flotation device.

Opening night, Aug. 5, introduces the 22-year-old Dutch prodigy violinist and composer Marijn Simons playing in his own works, plus the concerto for violin, tape and ensemble, A Deep But Dazzling Darkness, by his composition teacher and Cabrillo laureate composer James MacMillan.

Electric guitarist Marc Ribot—who covers all styles—gets a solo recital at Santa Cruz's Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Aug. 12 and, a day later, plays the 2004 revision of Skvera, a four-movement concerto by Stewart Wallace, composer of the nothing-if-not-controversial opera Harvey Milk. That program will open with in-resident composer John Mackey's Redline Tango, referring to the train he takes from home to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and accelerating an engine beyond its blowout point. (You can download the full wind-ensemble version free from the Internet.)

More West Coast premieres will haunt the sacred precincts of Mission San Juan Bautista on Aug. 14: Dominick Argento's Reflections on a Hymn Tune, Aaron Jay Kernis' Air, featuring cellist Lee Duckles, and Magnus Lindberg's Concerto for Orchestra of 2003. Major works by the old men—John Adams, Steve Reich and Frank Zappa ("He became a rock star because that's what paid the cost for his habit of writing orchestral music," says his widow)—fill out Alsop's programs. Composers Kernis, Libby Larson, Mackey, Puts, Simons and Wallace are confirmed participants.


The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music runs Aug. 1-14 at various venues in Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista. For ticket information visit www.cabrillomusic.org or call 831.420.5260.


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From the April 13-19, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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