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Robert Aitken, artistic director

György Kurtág's KAFKA FRAGMENTS



Sunday March 26, 2017 (non-subscription event)
Tony Arnold soprano | Movses Pogossian violin
Doors open @ 7:00 | Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave. [MAP]
RSVP 416.961.9594 | The evening features a performance of the iconic work and video of György Kurtág coaching the performers.
Tickets $100 (2 for $150) include door prizes, gourmet delights and libations with proceeds
to benefit New Music Concerts. A charitable receipt will be issued for the CRA allowable portion.

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After early studies in his native Romania, György Kurtág (b. 1926) entered the Budapest Music Academy in 1946 where he was a fellow student of György Ligeti. In Paris (1957-1958) he met the psychologist Marianne Stein, studied with Olivier Messiaen and Darius Milhaud, followed the concerts of the Domaine musical, learned serial techniques and discovered the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen. These experiences provided a stark contrast to the tightly controlled, proletarian aesthetic policies of Communist Hungary. His musical approach is profoundly influenced by this period.

Kurtág’s meetings with Marianne Stein in Paris led to a creative epiphany. She guided him through a period of acute crisis that was both personal and creative. Kurtág continued to draw inspiration from her decades later and went on to dedicate the whole of Kafka Fragments to Stein. He summarized her significance as follows: “If my experience with her in Paris was marked by rigor on many levels, she later helped me greatly by doing the exact opposite: by teaching me to take my time and, as it were, to forgive myself. It made me freer.” Kurtág wrote a string quartet under her influence, which he named his Opus 1, rejecting his previous compositions as inauthentic.

Kurtág’s music, blending as it does serial technique, historical and traditional references, is characterized by fragmentation, small forms and formations, together with a particular care for the voice, semantics and prosody. A renowned teacher, he lectured at the Budapest Academy from 1967 to 1986. With increased freedom of movement in the 1990s he has worked increasingly outside Hungary, as composer in residence with the Berlin Philharmonic (1993-1994), with the Vienna Konzerthaus (1995), in the Netherlands (1996-98), in Berlin again (1998-99), and a Paris residency at the invitation of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.

Hailed by the New York Times as “a bold, powerful interpreter,” soprano Tony Arnold is recognized internationally as a leading proponent of new music in concert and recordings, having premiered over 200 works “with a musicality and virtuosity that have made her the Cathy Berberian of her generation” (Chicago Tribune). As the soprano of the intrepid International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Tony Arnold is a catalyst for dozens of groundbreaking projects. She is a frequent collaborator with Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW, Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella, JACK Quartet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Talea Ensemble, eighth blackbird and the George Crumb Ensemble. A strong advocate for the creation and commissioning of new music, Tony Arnold’s artistry has attracted many of the most gifted composers of our time, including major works written for her voice by Georges Aperghis, Philippe Manoury, George Crumb, Brett Dean, Christopher Theofanidis and John Zorn amongst many others. In the summer of 2017, she will join the vocal arts faculty of the venerable Tanglewood Music Center, followed by an appointment to the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory beginning September 2017. In 2015-16, she was the Kunkemueller Artist-in-Residence at the Boston Conservatory, and was simultaneously in residence at Brandeis University as part of the Brandeis Creative Arts Award.

A native of Armenia, violinist Movses Pogossian made his American debut performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Boston Pops in 1990. He is a prizewinner of the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Competition, and the youngest-ever First Prize winner of the 1985 USSR National Violin Competition. An active chamber musician, Mr. Pogossian has performed with members of the Tokyo, Kronos, and Brentano string quartets, and with such artists as Kim Kashkashian, Jeremy Denk, Lynn Harrell, Ani and Ida Kavafian, and Rohan de Saram. A committed proponent of new music, he has premiered over 30 works, and worked closely with composers such as G. Kurtág, A. R. Thomas, T. Mansurian, and V. Sharafyan. He has held teaching positions at Duquesne, Bowling Green, Wayne State, and SUNY Buffalo Universities and is currently Professor of Violin at the University of California Los Angeles. Movses Pogossian is a Founder and Artistic Director of the Dilijan Chamber Music Series in Los Angeles, a member of the new music group XTET, and a regular participant at several music festivals.