January 2017

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Winter Performance Preview

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Alan Gilbert (photo credit: Chris Lee)
The new year gets off to an exciting start with performances of Weill on the east and west coasts and festivals celebrating Weill’s life and work around the world.

The New York Philharmonic performs Kleine Dreigroschenmusik alongside the world premiere of HK Gruber’s Piano Concerto, conducted by music director Alan Gilbert, 5–7 January. Oper Halle presents a new production of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, opening 21 January and in repertory through 19 May. Also on 21 January, Oper Leipzig presents LoveMusik, the 2007 musical based on the letters of Weill and Lenya, featuring music by Weill, with a book by Alfred Uhry. The show runs through 11 June. 

Several other major events lie ahead this season:
  • Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Lift Every Voice Festival
14–28 January: The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra holds a three-week festival, “Lift Every Voice,” celebrating to the lives and work of Weill, human rights activist Rabbi Joachim Prinz, and Martin Luther King, Jr. On 21 and 22 January, Storm Large performs The Seven Deadly Sins, and violinist Daniel Hope gives the US premiere of the Song-Suite for Violin and Orchestra (arr. Bateman), conducted by Jeffrey Kahane. The festival also includes a chamber concert featuring Weill’s String Quartet No. 1, Op. 8, 15 January; a symposium at UCLA, with presentations by renowned Weill scholars Kim H. Kowalke, Stephen Hinton, and Tamara Levitz; and a concert featuring students of USC’s Thornton School of Music. The festival closes with two performances of Lost in the Stars on 28 and 29 January, starring past Lenya Competition prizewinners Lauren Michelle as Irina and Justin Hopkins as Stephen Kumalo, and directed by Anne Bogart. Jonathon Heyward, the 2016/2017 Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellow, will serve as assistant conductor for the production. Complete details and program can be found here.

  • 25th Kurt Weill Fest
This February marks the 25th annual Kurt Weill Fest in Dessau, Germany, Kurt Weill’s birthplace. Festival favorites Ute Gfrerer, HK Gruber, Ensemble Modern, James Holmes, and Kristjan Järvi and the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester all return in this banner year. Highlights include two new suites: selections from Der Kuhhandel, devised and conducted by James Holmes, and Chansons des Quais/Songs of the Waterfront, from Marie Galante, performed by Gfrerer, and the Ensemble Modern conducted by Gruber. Järvi leads the MDR in a performance of Die Verheißung, featuring past Lenya competition prizewinners. Complete information can be found on the Kurt Weill Fest website.

  • Kurt Weill’s America – DePauw University Street Scene
Producer and music historian Joseph Horowitz’s Music Unwound consortium continues this year in its fourth iteration with “Kurt Weill’s America”, a curated concert series exploring the composer's life and work through performances of his concert and stage works, a lecture series, and a cabaret concert. The first presentation will be offered by DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, as part of a semester-long interdisciplinary Weill festival. At the center of the festival is the university opera department’s production of Street Scene, 9-12 February.
“Kurt Weill’s America” later travels to the Brevard Festival in summer 2017, and in subsequent seasons to North Carolina Symphony, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, and the Buffalo Philharmonic.

To see the complete list of performances coming up this month and beyond, view the performance calendar.
Manuscript for Blitzstein's Cain Discovered

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As announced in our Fall Newsletter, a new manuscript piano-vocal score for Marc Blitzstein’s early ballet Cain was discovered this summer!

Composed in 1930 for a competition sponsored by the League of Composers, Cain retells the biblical story of Cain and Abel. The work is structured in twelve sections divided into two parts separated by an interlude and runs approximately 30 minutes. The ballet calls for twelve solo dancers plus an ensemble, a singer, and a lavish orchestra of sixteen winds, fourteen brass, two percussion players, piano, and strings. Despite the admiration of several of his colleagues, including Copland and Nadia Boulanger, and early interest from Stokowski, the work never received a complete public performance in Blitzstein’s lifetime.
The score was donated to the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, and is currently held in the Weill-Lenya Research Center. A similar score resides in the Blitzstein papers at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, which also holds the manuscript full score. Inquiries are encouraged and should be directed to wlrc@kwf.org. To learn more about the work and this exciting discovery, read the complete story at the official Marc Blitzstein website.
Lenya Competition Deadline
Less Than Three Weeks Away!

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The deadline for the 20th Annual Lotte Lenya Competition fast approaches! All completed applications and audition videos must be submitted by 23 January. Complete rules, guidelines, eligibility requirements can be found on our website. Also be sure to check out our Tips for Contestants and Suggested Repertoire.
Upcoming Performances

Kleine Dreigroschenmusik
The New York Philharmonic
Alan Gilbert, conductor
5-7 January

Die sieben Todsünden
Sinfonie Orchester Biel Solothurn, Biel
Lawrence Foster, conductor;
Stephanie Friede, Anna I
18 January

Song-Suite for Violin and Orchestra,
The Seven Deadly Sins
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Glendale
Jeffrey Kahane, conductor; Daniel Hope, violin; Storm Large, Anna I
21 January 
Also, Westwood, CA, 22 January.

Walt Whitman Songs
North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Tupelo 
Steven Byess, conductor; Ted Christopher, bass-baritone
21 January


Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
Oper Halle
Michael von zur Mühlen, director; Christopher Sprenger, conductor
21 January, in repertory through 19 May.


LoveMusik
Oper Leipzig
Cusch Jung, director; Christoph-Johannes Eichhorn, conductor
21, 22, 31 January. In repertory through Jun. 11


Symphony No. 2
Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa
Jonathan Webb, conductor
27 January


Lost in the Stars
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and CAP UCLA, Westwood
Anne Bogart, director; Jeffrey Kahane, conductor; Lauren Michelle as Irina; Justin Hopkins as Stephen Kumalo
28-29 January

KWF Performance Calendar