Strings of Autumn: off-programme
3/11, 7 pm
A unique evening celebrating the dynamism, innovation, and variety of contemporary Americcan music, including a performance of Steve Reich’s iconic composition ‘Music for 18 Musicians.’ And harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani presents a selection of contemporary works by composers ranging from Lou Harrison to the world premiere of a new piece by Harold Metzer.
Mahan Esfahani – harpsichord / piano
Lou Harrison: Six Sonatas (1943)
Henry Cowell: Set of Four (1961)
Harold Meltzer: Six Toccatas (2019, světová premiéra)
Walter Piston: Sonata for Violin and Piano (1946), guest: Antje Weithaas
Mel Powell: Recitative and Toccata percossa (1951)
Steve Reich: Piano Phase (1968) harpsichord version authorised for Mahan Esfahani
Steve Reich: Vermont Counterpoint
Kristýna Farag – flute and sound tracks
Steve Reich: Music for 18 musicians
Prague Minimal Orchestra, Jan Rybář
A unique evening celebrating the dynamism and innovation in modern and contemporary American music and the diversity to be found therein: from the works of composers such as Harrison and Cowell, whose work called upon the music of America’s inidgenous populations and early colonial traditions, to the iconic ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ by Steve Reich, whose music harnessed his distinctly American energy to redefine musical language for all time. Six etudes by the contemporary composer Harold Meltzer, performed here by acclaimed Iranian-American harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, testify to the continuing seeking, exploratory spirit in American music. Other performers featured at this special event include Jan Bartos’s Prague Minimal Orchestra, violinist Antje Weithaas, and flautist Kristyna Farag
A co-produciton with Prague Music Performance, Hudba v souvislostech and Divadlo Archa.
6/11, 8 pm
Acclaimed omposer and co-founder of Bang on a Can Michael Gordon introduces selected string quartets and presents New York ensemble Mantra Percussion performing his famous composition ‘Timber.’
Composer Michael Gordon’s appearance in Prague represents both the centrepiece of the American Music Week and a cornerstone of the main festival programme. Following appearances by David Lang and Julia Wolfe at recent editions of Strings, their sometime collaborator and Bang on a Can stablemate Michael Gordon – himself one of the most acclaimed composers working today – comes to the festival in 2019. Gordon’s music has been celebrated for its imaginative boldness and fusion of elements that incorporate classical minimalism, a punk-rock edge, and the risk-taking spirit of free jazz. His Strings of Autumn concert will be an evening devoted to his work for smaller ensembles, featuring his iconic composition ‘Timber’ (for six percussionists, each playing a wooden simantra (or 2×4 wooden plank) ) performed by the American ensemble Mantra Percussion, who originally co-commissioned the work and recorded it for album release. The programme also presents examples of Gordon’s work for string quartet: the pieces ‘Clouded Yellow’ and ‘Potassium,’ originally written for Kronos Quartet, will be performed by one of the pre-eminent domestic ensembles, the Zemlinsky Quartet. Gordon himself will introduce his pieces from the stage and take questions from the audience after the concert.
7/11, 1 pm
Galerie HAMU, Malostranské nám.12, P1
Composer Michael Gordon and New York ensemble Mantra Percussion share their experience and expertise with students of the Academy of Music.
The New York ensemble Mantra percussion will play a section of Michael Gordon’s iconic composition ‘Timber.’ The ensemble, and Michael Gordon himself, will go on to discuss the technical and structural aspects of the work, as well as issues surrounding commissioning music from composers and the realities of working as professional musicians. Gordon and Mantra will take questions from the students, encouraging and open and wide-ranging discussion. This is a great opportunity for HAMU students to learn from and interact with a composer and ensemble at the top of the new classical world.
10/11, 6 pm
C. Bechstein Pianocentrum
In this special tribute to the legendary 20th-century composer John Cage, which will include the book launch of the Czech translation of Cage’s Selected Letters, Dennis Russell Davies (himself a recipient of two of the letters in the book) and Maki Namekawa perform a selection of the composer’s work for piano.
In collaboration with the Volvox Globator publishing house a C. Bechstein Pianocentrum