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Featuring (from left to right) Hannah Lash, Timo Andres, Michael Gandolfi, Martin Bresnick, Andrew Norman, Samual Carl Adams, Mohammed Fairouz, Ryan Francis, Mark Carlson, Marcos Balter, Caroline Shaw, David Kaplan, Robert Schumann, Augusta Read Thomas, Gabriel Kahane, Caleb Burhans, Michael Brown, and Ted Hearne.

Featuring (from left to right) Hannah Lash, Timo Andres, Michael Gandolfi, Martin Bresnick, Andrew Norman, Samual Carl Adams, Mohammed Fairouz, Ryan Francis, Mark Carlson, Marcos Balter, Caroline Shaw, David Kaplan, Robert Schumann, Augusta Read Thomas, Gabriel Kahane, Caleb Burhans, Michael Brown, and Ted Hearne.

In 2014, David Kaplan asked 16 composers he admired to write short pieces inspired by the Davidsbündlertänze, which is a collection of dance-like miniatures written early in the career of Robert Schumann, dedicated to his half imaginary band of musical acolytes. Each of the participating contemporary composers wrote an imaginative piece that engaged with Schumann’s original in a distinct way. The collection of pieces, interspersed and layered into Schumann’s score, form an album length set entitled: New Dances of the League of David.

Kaplan has performed this concert all over the country and abroad, including at the Ravinia Festival, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York. The premiere was hailed one of the “Top Classical Music Events of 2015” by The New York Times.

The commissioning project was sponsored by private support in collaboration with Lyrica Chamber Music, the Metropolis Ensemble, and Yamaha Artist Services.

The Kreutzer Affair:

an immersive theatrical concert program created by the Tesla Quartet with pianist David Kaplan, exploring how music was captured into words and then rebottled into music again.

In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary, 2019-2021

PROGRAM

BEETHOVEN Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 “Kreutzer”
JANÁČEK String Quartet No. 1 “The Kreutzer Sonata”
DVOŘÁK Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 87 TOLSTOY Excerpts from “The Kreutzer Sonata”

The program’s point of inspiration is the Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major by Ludwig van Beethoven, known simply as the “Kreutzer” Sonata. The piece is fiery and transcendent, written “in the style of a concerto,” and brought controversy almost from its inception. Originally written in 1803 for the renowned violinist George Bridgetower, Beethoven rescinded his dedication after a drunken argument and gave the honor instead to Rodolphe Kreutzer. Never mind that the great violinist despised and refused to play the piece— it would thereafter be known by his name.

Fast forward a century later, and the towering Russian writer Leo Tolstoy writes a controversial novella eponymous with the violin sonata, in which the music serves as vehicle for both its plot and its message. The emotional and physical violence of the story bristles, and the story was immediately banned when published in 1889.

Finally, we arrive at Leoš Janáček, the poignant and visionary Czech composer, whose First String Quartet recaptures Tolstoy’s searing narrative into the form of music, masterfully rendering the passion, contradiction, and tragedy of the novella.

In a continuous seventy minute performance, the Tesla Quartet and David Kaplan interweave the three movements of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata and Janáček’s String Quartet No. 1 with dramatic excerpts from Tolstoy’s novella, recited by the musicians themselves.

After intermission, the quartet and pianist join for a musical palette cleanser: Dvořák’s beloved Piano Quintet in A major, a piece that fuses German musical form with Czech spirit and language.

Under the influence

New PIano works, composed in dialogue by

ANthony CHeung + Christopher Cerrone

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Anthony Cheung

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Christopher Cerrone

 
 

Inspired by Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations…

…which weave a rich tapestry out of surprisingly humble thread, I am fascinated by the ways in which one composer’s music can utterly transform through the prism of another.

CHRISTOPHER CERRONE and ANTHONY CHEUNG are each composers whose music I have known and admired for well over a decade. Their musical voices are as different as their personalities, but equal in commitment, consideration, and effectiveness. Each has a particular flare when writing for the piano— Chris, with his alchemistic sense for resonance and pacing, and Anthony with his richness of ideas and, as an accomplished pianist himself, deeply idiomatic affinity for the keyboard. Each of these extraordinary composers will write a musical prompt for the other to use as the basis for a new piece for solo piano, commissioned by the UCLA Library, Hugo Davise Fund at the Herb Alpert School of Music. Like a cook-off between two chefs who challenge each other to dream up a dish with their respective signature ingredients, this unique collaboration promises to induce an engaging musical dialogue.