News Coverage

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Stereophile reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Medias Res
March 1, 2011 — Lisa Bielawa is a major new voice in music, and this two-disc set contains some of the most blindingly beautiful and original works I have heard in a while. Time Out New York describes Bielawa as possessing a "prodigious gift for mingling persuasive melodicism with organic experimentation," and that well captures my feelings. Her In medias res (Concerto for Orchestra) combines traditional harmonies with shifting tonalities.
Stereophile Full review
American Record Guide reviews Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse
March 1, 2011 — Steven Mackey's Dreamhouse (2003) is and odd assemblage dealing with, as the title suggests, the building of a perfect home, with a libretto filled with architectural details improvised on by Mr Mackey and tenor and fellow librettist Rinde Eckert. In addition to Mr Eckert, who sings not only as tenor but with falsetto, and functions as speaking actor as well, the work is scored for a small Hilliard Ensemble-type vocal consort, an electric guitar quartet, and large orchestra. The music is varied in its influences, but is unambiguously American in tone and aesthetic stance.
American Record Guide Full review
Boston's Grammy Award Nominees Prepare For Their Big Night
February 11, 2011 — The Grammy Awards are Sunday night in Los Angeles, and sure, big national music names like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Neil Young will be waiting to hear if they’ve won. But Boston’s talent will be well-represented, too. And The Nominees Are… Harpist Sarah Schuster Ericsson It was a big decision, but harpist Sarah Schuster Ericsson finally settled on what to wear to the ceremony in LA — a long, light-gray silk gown with a scooped back. She even modeled it for me in her bedroom.
WBUR Full coverage
Steven Mackey: Composer, Guitarist, Musical Omnivore!
February 10, 2011 — Steven Mackey is a busy guy. In addition to playing the guitar and teaching music at Princeton, he composes some very large scale musical works, like Dreamhouse, his piece for singer/actor, vocal quartet, electric guitar quartet, and orchestra, which was commissioned for the Holland Festival in 2003. The Boston Modern Orchestra Project's recording of this work is nominated for four GRAMMY© awards: Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, Best Engineered Album, Classical and Producer Of The Year, Classical, for producer David Frost.
Miss Music Nerd Full interview
Professor Brody's "Monsters" scare some but inspire many
February 2, 2011 — Were music a liquid, the music performed in the "Monsters of Modernism" concert would be a steaming mug of black coffee. And don't even think of asking for milk and sugar. Boston Modern Orchestra Project's Jan. 29 concert, led by conductor Gil Rose, turned heads with its unconventional music. The composers were "uncompromising," Rose said. "They wrote the music that they believed in," regardless of what the popular norms were. Among the contemporary composers featured was Wellesley Music Professor Martin Brody.
The Wellesley News Full review
Not at All Monsters of Modernism
February 2, 2011 — Gil Rose, who has included Tufts University as one of the bases of his Boston Modern Orchestra Project, brought a group of nineteen of Boston's best freelancers to Distler Hall on Sunday afternoon, January 30, for a program of vivid (and not at all monstrous) American works for small orchestra and chamber groups. BMOP gave the same program at Bowdoin College and Wellesley College before this well-seasoned wrap-up. The audience was smaller than it ought to have been, but the weather was certainly much to blame for that.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Gramophone reviews Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse
February 1, 2011 — Musical works are often analysed and described in architectural terms, but how many are actually about architecture? Steven Mackey's Dreamhouse takes up the subject with explosive and ethereal imagination. Scored for vocal quartet, electric guitar quartet and orchestra, the piece is a rumination on the design and construction of the eponymous house, complete with Architect as speaking and singing narrator.
Gramophone Full review
Martin Brody: A New 'Monster' of Modernism
January 29, 2011 — Wellesley College music faculty member Martin Brody will premiere his anticipated new work, "Touching Bottom," in tonight's concert entitled "Monsters of Modernism." The evening’s event commences a semester of performances from Wellesley College faculty and students in collaboration with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), which is in residence at the college for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Wellesley Patch Full interview
BMOP ensemble to premiere contemporary compositions
January 28, 2011 — Tonight, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will be performing its second program of a three-part series at the College. BMOP, directed by Gil Rose, plays a diverse repertoire of contemporary music. This particular program, entitled "Monsters of Modernism" is comprised of pieces from the latter half of the 20th century. "When we think about concert music, we have this image of powdered wigs and classical composers [such as] Beethoven and Mozart," said Associate Professor of Music Vineet Shende. "This program offers a completely different side to that common notion."
The Bowdoin Orient Full coverage
A Double Dose of BMOP
January 28, 2011 — For classical music nerds, the term 'Double Concerto' might likely bring to mind Vivaldi‘s many works for pairs of violins or other instruments, or for the more romantically-inclined, Brahms' Double Concerto for violin and cello. But there are many examples in the 20th and 21st centuries as well, for all kinds of instrument combinations. Last Friday night, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project gave a diverse sampling of the genre entitled Double Trouble, featuring four works composed between 1938 and 2010.
Miss Music Nerd Full review
BMOP Tackles Double Concertos with Trouble
January 25, 2011 — The double concerto, pace Brahms, is a creature of the Baroque era, really a special version of the concerto grosso with a concertino of only a couple of players blending with and emerging from the ripieno. The restructuring of large-scale composition around sonata form deprived composers of the natural recurrences of melodic strands that fueled the concerto grosso, making solo concertos a more logical way to achieve timbral contrast within the continual-development process of the more modern forms; yet, some Classical-era composers could not let go.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Bottom's Up in 'Midsummer' Musical Revamp
January 25, 2011 — Martin Brody writes music, he says, in the decidedly modern idiomatic zone of composers like Igor Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, and Elliott Carter. But, though he doesn’t know exactly why, Brody, a music theory and composition professor at Wellesley College since 1979, has always had a fondness for Felix Mendelssohn.
The Chronicle of Higher Education Full coverage
BMOP has no trouble with multiple double concerti
January 24, 2011 — Virtuosity, in its traditional sense, is musical performance at its most outgoing; the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's Saturday concert — "Double Trouble," a quartet of double concerti — revealed a plethora of extroverted strategies. The plurality of styles was a showcase for the flexibility of conductor Gil Rose's group, switching channels with ease, burnished and rhythmically rigorous in a program marked by wide-ranging gregariousness.
The Boston Globe Full review
Audiophile Audition reviews Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse
January 24, 2011 — First, I will clarify what I went straight to the booklet notes to find out. Rinde Eckert is the co-author of the libretto and sound design for this very unusual, not unpleasant – just kind of weird - project. In this sense, then, he does deserve credit and kudos for the project; a kind of "architect" in the sense of the piece as well as the figurative "architect" of the "dream house" of the title.
Audiophile Audition Full review
The San Francisco Chronicle reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Media Res
January 9, 2011 — The wealth of beautiful and inventive music on this double CD is the outgrowth of a three-year residency by composer Lisa Bielawa with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. It's a wonderful document, not only for the works included, but for the portrait it offers of a rewarding artistic collaboration.
The San Francisco Chronicle Full review
Fanfare reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Media Res
January 1, 2011 — The more new music I review, the more I am amazed by how much good music there actually is (yes, and bad). Lisa Bielawa has the phenomenal orchestral chops to warrant a two-CD set, including one full CD of music performed by the notable Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Bielawa's ability to write for full orchestra alone is admirable, but this composer is gifted with much more than technical competency – and she's accessible without being trite, fun without being light, serious without being dull.
Fanfare Full review
American Record Guide reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures
January 1, 2011 — Concerning Virgil Thomson, Leonard Bernstein was right when he said, "He is a son of the hymnal." Listening to this recording, that seems like a severe limitation. His melodies remain almost structurally naïve, akin to the more unsophisticated guitar hymns that arose once the vernacular replace Latin in the Catholic Church; their melodies sound like the notes of arpeggios with awkward harmonizations.
American Record Guide Full review
Fanfare reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures
January 1, 2011 — For many (myself included), the music of Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) is an acquired taste. Originally I was rather put off by the harmonic simplicity (and occasional banality) of his dominant musical language – a language built almost exclusively upon simple hymnal harmonies and American folk rhythms. However, as the years have passed, I have come to deeply admire music of his work, and several pieces have become true favorites that I listen to often.
Fanfare Full review
Fanfare reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures
January 1, 2011 — Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) is an American composer often talked about and referred to, but infrequently performed. The major record labels have pretty much ignored him, though smaller labels have done a reasonable job in representing his music. This disc, from the label of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, is a significant addition to the Thomson discography.
Fanfare Full review
CLOFO names Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures a Best of 2010
December 26, 2010 — BEST ORCHESTRAL FINDS OF 2010 Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures (BMOP/sound 1018) THOMSON: Three Pictures Thomas Meglioranza, baritone Kristen Watson, soprano Rose/Boston Modern Orchestra Project [BMOP/sound 1018]
Classical Lost and Found Full coverage
Lisa Bielawa's Double CD Release Concert Is Characteristically Captivating
December 21, 2010 — Sunday at Galapagos composer/singer/multi-instrumentalist Lisa Bielawa and an inspired cast of indie classical types played a stunningly eclectic mix of new material from her two latest albums, Chance Encounter (with the Knights and soprano Susan Narucki) and In Medias Res (with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose).
Lucid Culture Full coverage
Jeremy Eichler's top classical albums of 2010
December 19, 2010 — The artistic fruits of Lisa Bielawa’s recent tenure as BMOP’s composer-in-residence are beautifully presented on this two-disc set, including her Double Violin Concerto and her Concerto for Orchestra, both of which place her hauntingly lyrical yet restlessly inventive compositional voice on full display. © Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company
The Boston Globe Full review
BMOP's Luminous Noise at Wellesley
December 13, 2010 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, conductor, is in residence this year at Wellesley College and presenting three concerts, of which the first, entitled, "Luminous Noise: Three Women Compose," was presented on Saturday, December 11, at the Houghton Chapel. The acoustics there have always been excellent — the venue is often used for recording projects — and continue to be so after the recent renovation. This concert was one of three performances of the same program at Bowdoin College and Tufts University on this same weekend.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Women's works illuminated by Boston Modern Orchestra Project
December 13, 2010 — A chamber-size contingent of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and director Gil Rose visited Wellesley College on Saturday (part of a weekend tour that also stopped at Bowdoin College and Tufts University) with an all-female-composer program called "Luminous Noise." Such a deliberate spotlight is, hopefully, not quite the necessary corrective to a predominantly male compositional culture that it would have been all too recently, but it still invited consideration of what it does — and does not — mean to be a female composer in the world of classical music.
The Boston Globe Full review
BMOP to perform modern classical compositions tonight
December 10, 2010 — Performing numerous modern compositions of the 20th century, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), under the direction of Gil Rose, will make its first ever appearance on the Bowdoin campus today in Studzinski Recital Hall, where the orchestra will perform the first program of a three-part series. Since 1996, BMOP has been producing and performing contemporary compositions, especially at Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory.
The Bowdoin Orient Full coverage
City Artists Nominated for Grammy Awards
December 7, 2010 — Local musicians have seized four nominations at this year's prestigious Grammy awards, presented every year by the American Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Mariinsky label's recording of Rodion Shchedrin's opera The Enchanted Wanderer performed by the Mariinsky Theater Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under Valery Gergiev is a finalist in two categories: "Best Opera" and "Best Work by a Contemporary Classical Composer."
The St. Petersburg Times Full coverage
IODA Congratulates Labels On More Than 45 Grammy Nominations
December 6, 2010 — IODA, the global leader in digital distribution, marketing, and technology solutions for the independent music industry, today announced that among the 53rd annual Grammy nominations, 49 are from the IODA family of rightsholders. The nominations reflect the success of more than 35 artists from more than 25 independent record labels distributed by IODA. IODA clients received nominations in more than 15 genres, showcasing the significant contributions and success of independents across the music industry.
IODA Full coverage
Grammys Show Some Spunk
December 3, 2010 — With the announcement of this year's nominees, the Grammys had two words for its conservative past: "(expletive) You!" Founded by aging icons (Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, etc.) threatened by rock 'n' roll barbarians, the traditionally buttoned-down music awards embraced the indecent and irreverent on its Wednesday night nominations TV special. The show rolled out a few startling contenders, giving Cee Lo Green's profanity-powered smash "(expletive) You!" five nods and Eminem's vulgar-and-violent raps a leading 10 nominations.
The Boston Phoenix Full coverage
30 classical labels to compete in 53rd Grammy Award nominations
December 3, 2010 — Nominations for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony have been revealed. In the 14 categories in which classical recordings are eligible, 30 record labels received a total of 67 nominations between them, with Naxos, with a tally of 11, receiving the most nominations. Attracting six nominations each, Harmonia Mundi and the Winchester, Virgina-based independent Dorian Sono Luminus were the next most successful labels, while Decca was nominated five times.
The Classical Review Full review
Grammy Nominations Announced
December 2, 2010 — So many categories, so many shiny gold statues to be distributed! The Grammy award nominees have been announced, with Michael Daugherty's Metropolis Symphony; Deus Ex Machina (Naxos) disc picking up six nominations and Steven Mackey's Dreamhouse snagging three. In the "Best Classical Contemporary Composition" category (given to a "contemporary classical composition composed within the last 25 years, and released for the first time during the eligibility year"), the nominees are: * Daugherty: Deus Ex Machina (Naxos)
NewMusicBox Full coverage
Small Labels, Superman Symphony Dominate Classical Grammy Nominations
December 2, 2010 — Independent labels such as Naxos, Harmonia Mundi and Dorian, have earned more than 20 Grammy nods, edging out major, legacy labels like RCA, EMI and Sony. Michael Daugherty's Metropolis Symphony (on Naxos) is at the top with five nominations.
NPR Full coverage
And the Grammy nominees are
December 2, 2010 — The 53rd Annual Grammy nominations have been announced (list of nominees in the Classical category here). Lots of contemporary classical represented, even in the more general categories. Congratulations to Steve Mackey and Michael Daugherty: both are up for Best Classical Album. The ensembles that recorded their works, BMOP and the Nashville SO, respectively, are also up for Best Orchestral Performance.
Sequenza21 Full coverage
Club BMOP's Alternative Narratives
December 2, 2010 — Gil Rose presented Boston Modern Opera Project’s first Club Concert of the season on Monday evening, November 29. These evenings, which began at the Club Café in Boston in 2003 and this year moved to the Oberon in Cambridge, are hosted by BMOP's Score Board (New England composers) whose members take turns "curating." On this occasion it was Curtis K. Hughes who introduced each work, with pianist Sarah Bob introducing Hughes's own composition.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Grammy Awards nominations: Michael Daugherty, Steve Mackey lead classical categories
December 1, 2010 — The classical nominations for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards feature a sprawling mix of musicians and composers from around the world. Leading the nominations are Michael Daugherty's Deus Ex Machina, for piano and orchestra, with five nods, and Steve Mackey's Dreamhouse, an eclectic orchestral work, with three nods.
Los Angeles Times Full coverage
Holiday Gift Guide: Classical Music
November 28, 2010 — Someday the naysayers will be right, of course. Nothing lasts forever. But classical CDs and DVDs remain plentiful, and it was a great year. Buy, wrap, and give the real thing while you still can. Downloads make lousy gifts. Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures Thomas Meglioranza, baritone; Kristen Watson, soprano Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose (BMOP/sound 1018); $16.99
Los Angeles Times Full coverage
CLOFO reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures
November 22, 2010 — RECOMMENDED The Harvard music department has certainly produced its share of distinguished American composers, including John Knowles Paine (1839-1905), Arthur Foote (1853-1937), John Alden Carpenter (1876-1951), and Walter Piston (1894-1976). But none was more influential than Mid-Westerner Virgil Thomson (1896-1989), who went on to study with Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) in Paris during the 1920s.
Classical Lost and Found Full review
Fuse Classical Reviews BMOP's "Virtuosity’s Velocity"
November 20, 2010 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) kicked off its season with a Jordan Hall program on November 13. Entitled "Virtuosity’s Velocity," the concert was devoted to five American works for chamber orchestra. The music was demanding and difficult, but conductor Gil Rose did indeed elicit plenty of virtuosity from his ensemble.
The Arts Fuse Full review
All-American Electricity
November 15, 2010 — For its seasonal opener "Virtuosity's Velocity," on Saturday, November 13 at Jordan Hall, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project chose to present an all-American program in a chamber-orchestra size. (In the old days, there were more players on stage than audience members.) The program included works by John Coolidge Adams, Arthur Berger, Ross Lee Finney, and Scott Wheeler. All these composers except Wheeler flirted with serial techniques, only to abandon them later.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Vigorous BMOP romps through Adams symphonies and more
November 15, 2010 — For its season-opening concert, "Virtuosity's Velocity," the Boston Modern Orchestra Project trained its sights on the chamber orchestra — an ensemble whose unique flexibility can incorporate the weight and timbral range of the orchestra and the responsiveness of chamber music. All the music was American, creating a sort of microhistory of the genre's many iterations.
The Boston Globe Full review
Literary Triumph in CD form
November 12, 2010 — What composer and vocalist Lisa Bielawa does with text might be considered the exact opposite job of a music critic. Instead of putting music into words, she turns words into music — not just setting them for songs, but using them as the jumping-off point for much of what she does.
The Star-Ledger Full review
'Pictures' Seldom Played
November 12, 2010 — For those who like to stump their musical friends with the old guess-the-composer game, a good puzzler would be "Sea Piece With Birds." This 1952 orchestral work, some four minutes of somber, heaving music, is thick with chromatic chords that move in big parallel blocks, with skittish atonal themes mingling hesitantly above. The atmospheric orchestral colors suggest strangely updated Debussy. A frenetic climax sounds like some ornery blast of Varèse. The composer?
The New York Times Full review
American Record Guide reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Media Res
November 1, 2010 — Prix de Rome recipient Lisa Bielawa (b. 1968, daughter of composer Herbert) has recently been composer in residence with Gil Rose's Boston Modern Orchestra Project (2006-09). Ms. Bielawa (brought up in San Francisco but now living in Manhattan) is a Yale graduate, but her degrees are in literature and critical studies; she is also a performing soprano, making for an interesting and quite striking list of accomplishments. This collection documents the product of the three Boston seasons and includes some earlier music.
American Record Guide Full review
Audiophile Audition reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures
October 28, 2010 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project is currently represented in the catalog on about 33 releases, most well-worth investigation by those interested in the trends of contemporary music, and good contemporary music at that. It is time they turned their attention to one of the most misunderstood and really neglected composers: Virgil Thomson—critic, pianist, organist, and often vitriolic pundit. At least that is what the composers of the atonalist school thought; though no one was completely free from his often dead-on and yet highly provocative verbal barrages.
Audiophile Audition Full review
Leonard Link reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pieces
October 24, 2010 — Regular readers of this blog will know that one of my favorite singers is the baritone Thomas Meglioranza. I'm pleased to report a new recording by Mr. Meglioranza of music for baritone and orchestra by Virgil Thomson on the Boston Modern Orchestra Project label. He sings the Five Songs from William Blake and The Feast of Love, and joins with soprano Kristen Watson in Collected Poems, a witty setting of words and phrases by Kenneth Koch.
Leonard Link Full review
ClassicalCDReview Reviews John Harbison: Full Moon in March
October 1, 2010 — Tour de force. I've been wading through a lot of contemporary dramatic music these days, mostly from a sense of duty—a very bad reason for learning—from Robert Grey's "Navajo oratorio" Enemy Slayer to Daron Hagen's Shining Brow, an opera on Frank Lloyd Wright's marital irregularities and the awful horrifying destruction of the first Taliesin. I don't consider either of these examples obviously terrible, but I would feel better for the current state of contemporary music if they were. Both show great craft and at least some talent.
ClassicalCDReview Full review
La Folia review Ken Ueno: Talus
October 1, 2010 — I listen to a lot of contemporary music and like to think I have it all figured out. And along comes Talus which greets us with a blood-curdling scream more appropriate to Hitchcock's Psycho. Then follow Ueno's overtone vocalizations akin to Tuvan throat singing. I admit it, I smiled. Three trips through this disc have dulled the surprises. Beyond the shock value and clever rhetorical gestures, the mild results don't equal the multifaceted intents. Possibly I come to this music with my own baggage—I've thought seriously about Asian identities and composing (here and here).
La Folia Full review
CLOFO reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Media Res
September 10, 2010 — RECOMMENDED
Classical Lost and Found Full review
Time Out New York reviews Ken Ueno: Talus
September 7, 2010 — In the early 1990s, when so-called CNN operas based on actual historical events became all the rage, you'd occasionally come upon a new classical CD stickered with a warning label due to bad language and racy situations.
Time Out New York Full review
American Record Guide reviews Ken Ueno: Talus
September 1, 2010 — The first time I saw Ken Ueno was at the 2004 performance of Philip Glass's Music in 12 Parts at Alice Tully Hall; he seemed excited and intense, and also strangely disarming. His music is like that, too. We've corresponded a few times and I'm always interested in what he's doing.
American Record Guide Full review
American Record Guide reviews William Thomas McKinley: R.A.P.
September 1, 2010 — William Thomas McKinley (b. 1938) studied with Foss, Copland, and Schuller, and has performed as a jazz pianist with Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Eddie Gomez, and others. These three pieces owe a lot, in McKinley's own words, to his love for Stravinsky, Ives, and Varese.
American Record Guide Full review
Audiophile Audition reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Media Res
September 1, 2010 — Contemporary American composer Lisa Bielawa (b.1968) majored in literature at Yale University and her love for the written word is one source of inspiration for her music. She values her relationships with the musicians she works with, and many of the compositions on this disc are dedicated to the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), where she completed a three year residency project in 2009. She tours with the Phillip Glass Ensemble and is the winner of the 2009 Rome Prize.
Audiophile Audition Full review
Sounds Heard: Lisa Bielawa – In medias res
August 31, 2010 — Boston Modern Orchestra Project has long been forging ties with contemporary composers and developing new audiences for modern music in the concert hall and beyond. Every season since 2000 BMOP has hosted a composer-in-residence and in 2008 it launched house record label BMOP/sound, focusing on new and otherwise unrecorded orchestral works. For three years beginning with the 2006-07 season, composer Lisa Bielawa served as the BMOP resident composer, and her BMOP/sound CD In Medias Res draws a map through her time working with the musicians of this group.
NewMusicBox Full review
Sequenza21 reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Media Res
August 8, 2010 — Lisa Bielawa is a phenomenon. The perky San Francisco native who, judging from her booklet photo, appears to be very much on the sunny side of life, started her career as a singer. After touring with the Philip Glass ensemble from 1992 and founding in 1997 the MATA Festival to promote the work of new composers, she began writing her own music about ten years ago. Right from the beginning, she showed a decided preference for the larger forms of music.
Sequenza21 Full review
Opera News reviews Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale
August 1, 2010 — Dominick Argento's Jonah and the Whale, completed in 1973, is an idiosyncratic, colorful, stylistically varied musical version of the well-known Biblical tale. The work is scored for narrator, tenor, bass and mixed chorus, accompanied by the unusual forces of three trombones, three percussionists, piano, harp and organ—a "trio of trios," as the composer points out in his informative notes.
Opera News Full review
Stereophile reviews Derek Bermel: Voices
July 1, 2010 — Wonderful new music, all of it. Dust Dances is charming and jazzy, and reminiscent of Bernstein at his most relaxed. Thracian Echoes is exotic and atmostpheric, conjuring up visions of John Fowles' The Magus. Elixir is a moving and soothing interlude with wonderful antiphonal effects. Voices, a conversational concerto, features a range of interchanges between the composer's solo clarinet and the orchestra, with an almost raunchily bluesy conclusion. Performances are tip-top, and the sound clear and immediate. One of the most refreshing discs in a while.
Stereophile Full review
American Record Guide reviews Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale
July 1, 2010 — Dominick Argento's Jonah and the Whale (1973), for narrator, two soloists, chorus, and a small chamber group of three trombones, three percussionists, piano, harp, and organ, cobbles together the story through the 14th-century poem "Patience, or Jonah and the Whale" interspersed with 4th-century Vulgate Psalms, 17th-century Protestant hymns, 19th-century work songs and sea shanties, and vaguely lyrical 20th-century Britten-esque 12-tone declamation set against a firm tonal background.
American Record Guide Full review
Fanfare reviews Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale
July 1, 2010 — Dominick Argento delivers a vivid account of this Bible story. Completed in 1973, it is an early contribution to a genre—the large-scale choral work—in which Argento (b. 1927) has increasingly worked.
Fanfare Full review
Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa's solo and orchestral music on 2-cd set
June 6, 2010 — Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa's solo and orchestral music will be released as a 2-CD set entitled In medias res by BMOP/sound in June 2010. Performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), conducted by Artistic Director Gil Rose, the first disc, an SACD, includes four orchestral works: Roam (2001); Double Violin Concerto (2008) featuring violinist/vocalist Carla Kihlstedt and violinist Colin Jacobsen; unfinish'd, sent (2000) featuring the composer as soprano soloist; and In medias res, Concerto for Orchestra(2009).
Interchanging Idioms Full review
A pacy performance of a vivid retelling of the old Bible story
June 1, 2010 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project's newest recording vibrantly illustrates Dominick Argento's ability to merge myriad artistic sources. Jonah and the Whale was inspired by an Albertus Pictor painting on the ceiling of a church in Härkeberga, Sweden. Scored for chorus, instrumental nonet, narrator and soloists, the work exemplifies the American composer's colorful and discerning aesthetic, as well as his heightened gifts in the vocal realm.
Gramophone Full review
Classical Music Review: Boston Modern Orchestra Project
June 1, 2010 — The Jordan Hall stage was crammed full of seventy players for the season's final concert by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) on May 28. Under its artistic director Gil Rose, we heard music by five composers, the earliest dating from 1989. For two works the distinguished baritone Sanford Sylvan (b. 1953) was the soloist.
The Arts Fuse Full review
BMOP's Feast of New Music
May 31, 2010 — After giving each orchestra section a spotlight concert this season, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and artistic director Gil Rose brought a full symphonic complement to Jordan Hall on Friday, with a program to match: five canvases of splashy instrumentation. The complement was in fine form indeed, zealous and bold. New-music advocacy doesn’t get more luxurious.
The Boston Globe Full review
BMOP's Feast of New Music
May 31, 2010 — After giving each orchestra section a spotlight concert this season, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and artistic director Gil Rose brought a full symphonic complement to Jordan Hall on Friday, with a program to match: five canvases of splashy instrumentation. The complement was in fine form indeed, zealous and bold. New-music advocacy doesn’t get more luxurious.
The Boston Globe Full review
BMOP proves that new music can be moving
May 29, 2010 — On Friday, May 28, in Jordan Hall, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, a.k.a. BMOP, presented its last concert of the season -— five works composed in the past 25 years, two of which featured the great baritone Sanford Sylvan. BMOP's past season had featured concerts showcasing groups within the orchestra (strings in "Strings Attached," percussion and keyboards in the "Big Bang" concert, winds in "Band in Boston"). For this concert, deploying the full orchestra, BMOP presented works by four living composers, all in attendance, and Orchestra Piece by Leon Kirchner, who died last fall.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Stylus reviews Full Score
May 28, 2010 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project commissions, performs, and records music of the twentieth and twenty first centuries exclusively, allowing listeners to hear full-sized orchestral performances of modern compositions, previously performed more typically by small groups like the Kronos Quartet and the Chameleon Arts Ensemble.
Stylus Full review
Audiophile Audition reviews Derek Bermel: Voices
May 21, 2010 — Clarinetist and composer Derek Bermel has donned the motley hat of eclecticism early in his career. For the most part, it's a happy fit. His Voices CD showcases multiple styles and influences and succeeds in presenting him as an individualist composer.
Audiophile Audition Full review
Fanfare reviews David Rakowski: Winged Contraption
May 1, 2010 — In her program notes pianist Marilyn Nonken observes that David Rakowski "asks us, as only a serious composer can, to come and play." That instinctive urge, be it expressed in science, mathematics, or art, is often thought to underlie our species' creativity. In music, a composer can transform whimsical, transitory, impulsive, or improvisatory materials into a "serious" work, or he can choose to inject humor via parody, quotation, or even rude noises.
Fanfare Full review
Sequenza21 reviews Ken Ueno: Talus
May 1, 2010 — Big ups to my composer compadre Ken Ueno. He's had a heck of a busy year. In addition to an active teaching schedule at University of California-Berkeley, where he's an Assistant Professor of Composition, he's been busily composing, performing, and supervising recordings of his music.
Sequenza21 Full review
Jonah and the Whale delivers a morality tale for the ages
April 30, 2010 — Given the short shrift faced by choral music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, it's surprising that Dominick Argento has attained the status he has. Argento's creative output includes a vast array of operas, choral works and song cycles (one of which, From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, earned him the Pulitzer Prize in music in 2004), yet a surprisingly small output of orchestral works: a relatively small number of symphonies and concerti, and practically no chamber works.
The Tech Full review
What's New
March 23, 2010 — The timely highlight of Gil Rose's latest BMOP (Boston Modern Orchestra Project) concert, "Strings Attached," was a new/old piece (2004, revised 2009) for two string orchestras by Scott Wheeler now called Crazy Weather — the new title taken from a John Ashbery poem that begins, "It's this crazy weather we've been having." Thunderous snaps of antiphonal bass strings set off pizzicato raindrops that turn into Allegro sheets of musical rain. Of course, it's an emotional landscape, as the exquisite Adagio makes even clearer.
The Boston Phoenix Full review
The Hidden Life of Strings
March 19, 2010 — The string section is a staple of any orchestra: The largest of the instrumental sections, the strings are the most prominently displayed. Strings are usually the most constant factor in any orchestral score, while woodwinds, brass, percussion are the variables. Perhaps it is ironic that the fate of the string section is to play some of the least sonically interesting parts. Strings are often consigned to betraying their vast range of timbre and tone color to complement and support more strident colors of other sections of the orchestra.
The Tech Full review
String Theory
March 10, 2010 — I was feeling a little, well, strung out this weekend (having seen both Itzhak Perlman and the Artemis String Quartet), so perhaps I simply wasn't in the mood for "Strings Attached," the latest concert by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (last Saturday at Jordan Hall). Or then again, maybe the concert was simply as mixed a bag as it seemed. At any rate, it proved a rather rambling evening, with perhaps no very deep lows, but only one real high.
The Hub Review Full review
For Modern Orchestra, strings tie it all together
March 9, 2010 — It was probably the touchy economy, in part, that inspired Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project to build concerts this season around subsections of the orchestra rather than the full group; on Saturday, it was works for strings. And the orchestra's most homogeneous group, its lyricism and opulence self-reinforcing, made for pretty classy thrift.
The Boston Globe Full review
Strung Out: BMOP's "Strings Attached"
March 9, 2010 — As the BMOP nears the close of its season, Boston lowbrow was treated to–in keeping with the "instrumental" theme of their programming this year–a concert of string music with the paronomastic title "Strings Attached." Saturday night started with Stained Glass (2009), a brand new short and accessible piece by NEC grad student Nathan Ball–a smooth start to the night with its passages of shuddering violins and folky vibrato.
Boston lowbrow Full review
Boston Modern Orchestra Project: Strings Attached
March 8, 2010 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) presented its third full concert of the season at Jordan Hall on Saturday night, March 6, exclusively featuring the strings in an extensive, fairly eclectic program of music for string orchestra. The program, tagged "Strings Attached" was the counterpart to BMOP's prior concert in January featuring music exclusively for winds. The pieces performed included two monuments of the 20th-century canon, Bartók's Divertimento and Babbitt's Correspondences for string orchestra and synthesized tape.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Fanfare reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
March 1, 2010 — John Cage composed these short dances in 1951, to accompany choreography by Merce Cunningham. In fact, according to Cunningham, much of the movement and rhythmic impetus came first, to which Cage coordinated musical phrases drawn from a chart of 64 different sonorities.
Fanfare Full review
American Record Guide reviews Elliott Schwartz: Chamber concertos I-VI
March 1, 2010 — The American composer Elliott Schwartz (b. 1936) has carved out a niche in the postmodern movement through his synthesis of 20th-century idioms into a highly individual voice. A native New Yorker and a longtime professor at Bowdoin College in Maine, Schwartz has enjoyed no shortage of international performances, and he has been widely praised for his innovative use of juxtaposition, collage, theatrical gestures, and orchestral color.
American Record Guide Read More
Fanfare reviews Elliott Schwartz: Chamber Concertos I-VI
March 1, 2010 — Elliott Schwartz's music uses collage to a great degree. Juxtaposition can be stark, including the use of tonal against the non-tonal. Quotations may be present. He also uses "frame notation" extensively, a technique possibly most famously used by Lutosławski.
Fanfare Full review
Fanfare reviews William Thomas McKinley: R.A.P.
March 1, 2010 — R.A.P., the title work of Thomas McKinley's newest CD, is a hugely entertaining romp for clarinet and orchestra, jazz orchestra actually, which combines the exciting improvisatory abandon of jazz with the motivic concentration and rhythmic sophistication of classical composition. Although I haven't listened to progressive big bands in a while, I remember hearing music that veered off in similar non-traditional, rhythmic directions while still retaining a tenuous link to what we think of as jazz.
Fanfare Full review
William Thomas McKinley: Searching for Transcendence
March 1, 2010 — William Thomas McKinley (Tom to his friends and family) is a protean personality, a composer of more than 300 works of great diversity, who embraces the classical and jazz worlds with equal proficiency and gusto. His is a restless, exploratory mind that ceaselessly seeks to expand the boundaries of musical form and substance without abandoning the essential building blocks of melody, rhythm, and harmony.
Fanfare Full review
Genius, Explained: Firing Up the Canon
March 1, 2010 — Back in 1996, conductor Gil Rose felt that "95 percent of what orchestras were playing had been written by people who’d been dead for more than 100 years." Looking for a niche amid Boston's crowded classical scene, he launched the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, devoted to contemporary music. More than 80 concerts later, BMOP has become the Hub's most dynamic classical troupe. Its tag line: The Music Formerly Known as Classical. "We stole that from Prince, of course," Rose says.  THE MISSION
Boston Magazine Full coverage
Gil Rose talks to Michael Miller about contemporary music, BMOP, and the Opera Boston premiere of Madame White Snake
February 23, 2010 — Gil Rose is best known for his leadership of two high-profile Boston organizations, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), one of the major supporters of contemporary music in America, and Opera Boston, which specializes in musically outstanding performances of operatic masterpieces which have been neglected by the mainstream houses. I know I'll be eternally grateful to him and Opera Boston for my first opportunity to see Weber's Der Freischütz, universally regarded as a seminal work in the history of opera and a great one, but rarely performed today.
The Berkshire Review Full coverage
Sequenza21 reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
February 21, 2010 — Sixteen Dances comes at a transitional time in Cage's career. Completed in the beginning of 1951, it intimates the importance of chance in his works from then onwards, but still retains a fascination for serial procedures and precompositional planning: a remnant of his 1940s studies of Webern. The overall plan of the piece involves a constantly morphing 8×8 array, albeit one which Cage deployed freely and in a wide variety of permutations.
Sequenza21 Full review
Things that go BMOP in the night
January 29, 2010 — If you attended a performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra last fall, chances are pretty good that you heard one or more of Beethoven's symphonies. The BSO, widely recognized as one of the world's most elite orchestras, presented a complete set of these vaunted works throughout October and November and has several additional performances scattered throughout their concert season. My hometown orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, dedicated this, their 116th season, to the theme "Beethoven and Beyond." Their concerts are centered around a complete series of the nine symphonies.
Brandeis Hoot Full review
Classical Music Review: BMOP's 'Band in Boston'
January 26, 2010 — Time was when Boston had a City Censor, and books and plays drummed up trade by having them "Banned in Boston." The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, headed by conductor Gil Rose, came up with the deliciously punning title "Band in Boston" for its Jordan Hall concert on January 22. Indeed there was not a bowed string instrument to be seen on stage all evening – nothing but 36 wind players, plus five percussionists, a harpist, and three pianists.
The Arts Fuse Full review
BMOP: Band in Boston
January 25, 2010 — The BMOP continued its season last Friday with their Band in Boston concert, celebrating 20th and 21st century music for wind ensemble with two repertoire mainstays by Stravinsky and Percy Grainger, as well as some newer compositions by Harold Meltzer, Wayne Peterson, and Joseph Schwantner. Robert Kirzinger's excellent program notes make the case that band music has lost some of its historical prestige because the bands (military, university, etc.) have themselves lost their prestige, despite their ability, popularity, and cultural and social significance.
Boston lowbrow Full review
BMOP Does Band
January 24, 2010 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project is known for exploring a wide variety of 20th- and 21st-century instrumental music. On January 22nd at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall, under the baton of music director Gil Rose, the group forayed into wind ensemble territory with a program of varying styles and with mixed effectiveness.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Mighty Winds and Brass!
January 23, 2010 — If you saw sparks flying over Boston's Back Bay last night, it might have been the result of the energy and excitement generated by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project during their performance in Jordan Hall. BMOP's primary mission is to commission, perform and record new orchestral work. They also perform 20th-century "classics" with great gusto.
Miss Music Nerd Full review
New Sounds
January 6, 2010 — For this New Sounds, listen to John Schaefer's completely personal and opinionated look at the ten best new music releases of 2009. There just might be something by a death jazz piano trio, a banjo player, and perhaps an indie rocker's tribute to a major thoroughfare, along with some big band music. … Artist Derek Bermel Recording Derek Bermel: Voices Cut Elixir Catalog BMOP/sound 1008
WNYC Full coverage
Mercury News names Derek Bermel: Voices a Top Classical CD of 2009
January 1, 2010 — My shot at the best classical recordings of 2009 turns out to be top-heavy with pianists and French composers. Funny how that happens: You begin a process with what seems like scrupulous fairness, sorting through hundreds of discs, aiming for balance, trying to demonstrate one's wide-openness to the whole musical universe. But somehow, the results wind up reflecting personal preferences, anyway.
Mercury News Full review
American Record Guide reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
January 1, 2010 — This work is from the 1950's and relates to Cage's Sonatas and Interludes in that it concerns the emotions of Indian aesthetics. It's also his last work before he committed himself seriously to the composition of music using chance operations. But like the contemporaneous concerto for prepared piano, it was made by beginning with a chart with rows and columns containing cells of fixed sounds, which he assembled into continuity by making moves about the chart.
American Record Guide Full review
Schwartz's eclectic concertos are ably and attractively presented by BMOP
January 1, 2010 — This is a fine tribute from the highly acclaimed Boston Modern Orchestra Project to 30 years of Elliott Schwartz's idiosyncratic output. Each of the six chamber concertos, four in first recordings, features a single soloist in a continuity ranging from monologue to free-ranging superimposed textures. Schwartz describes his technique as "different strategies for dealing with the 'concerto' principle—six variations, not on a theme, but on a genre." An essential part of his idiom is quotation from older styles, actual or implied but often unobtrusive.
Gramophone Full review
Jeremy Eichler's top classical albums of 2009
December 20, 2009 — LA PASSIONE Music of Louis Andriessen Cristina Zavalloni, mezzo-soprano; Monica Germino, violin; Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Gil Rose, conductor (BMOP/sound 1011) It was another strong year for the homegrown BMOP label, and this disc devoted to the major Dutch post-minimalist composer Louis Andriessen telegraphs the quality and integrity of the series as a whole. © Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
The Boston Globe Full coverage
Music from Other Minds Plays Sixteen Dances
December 17, 2009 — Sixteen Dances by John Cage, a work from 1951, in a new release by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. We'll hear dances seven thru sixteen.
KALW 91.7 Full coverage
MUSO reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
December 1, 2009 — The title itself, The Prairie, gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect. Copland-esque open harmonies abound, proto-Bernstein fugues wind their way in, and Carl Sandburg's 1918 poem is very much a product of its time (although the notes make the point that its now toe-curling treatment of Native Americans was far in advance of Hollywood's at the same time).
MUSO Full review
BMOP takes on Cage's masterpiece and comes out dancing
December 1, 2009 — John Cage's 1951 Sixteen Dances was constructed by using a table of 64 different sounds arranged into eight rows of eight columns. Only one of the sounds could appear at any point in the piece. The chart's contents gradually change as the piece progresses, as the sounds are grouped into musical phrases. Sometimes the music is as spiky and pointillistic as Webern, yet other times repeated melodic fragments bubble up to the surface, only to dissipate just as your inner ear assumes that rhythmic groove might transpire.
Gramophone Full review
Music Web International reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
December 1, 2009 — While we are now fairly used to the idea of the chance operations in his music, it all had to start somewhere for John Cage, and Sixteen Dances is seen as a turning point in his career. This was the last work Cage composed before he committed himself entirely to the use of chance operations. It also represents an intermediate step on the way towards Cage's deployment of techniques that work with predefined collections of sounds.
Music Web International Full review
The Rest is Noise Recommends Sixteen Dances
December 1, 2009 — Articles, a blog, and a book by the music critic of The New Yorker Recommended New CDs - Edward Elgar, Cello Concerto (arr. Tertis/Carpenter), Schnittke, Viola Concerto; David Carpenter, Christoph Eschenbach conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra (Ondine) - John Cage, Sixteen Dances; Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP/sound) - Bernstein, Mass; Marin Alsop conducting the Baltimore Symphony (Naxos)
The Rest is Noise Full coverage
Classical Fusion - Elliott Schwartz: Chamber Concertos I-VI Released by BMOP/sound
December 1, 2009 — Classical music as we know it is evolving on a daily basis. Orchestras across the world are developing new musical techniques—blending centuries-old practices with modern innovations and creating sounds that bring Bach and Beethoven with 20th century Modernism. At the forefront of these efforts is Boston's BMOP/sound, the nation's foremost record company launched by an orchestra. The record company already has a dozen albums under its belt and is celebrating its 13th album— Elliott Schwartz: Chamber Concertos I-VI.
Encore Boston Read More
Records International review Elliott Schwartz: Chamber Concertos I-VI
December 1, 2009 — These six little concerti are typical of Schwartz's gleefully eclectic style, the presentation of the many facets of which is facilitated through his espousal of a deep- and wide-ranging use of 'collage' technique. What this means in practical terms is that the music presents a kaleidoscopically shifting assemblage of layers of material, which can range from literal quotations of classical or romantic models in their original tonal language to reminiscences of the styles of earlier music (of many kinds) to frankly atonal, abstract and complex gestures.
Records International Full review
A Gift of Song for the Holidays
November 30, 2009 — Given the large number of fine recordings released in the past year, a first-time visitor to Planet Earth would hardly suspect that the record industry is in the doldrums. Nor will the music lovers on your holiday gift list think anything is amiss, if you present them with one or more of the sonic goodies in the guide that follows.
San Francisco Classical Voice Full review
The New York Times 2009 Holiday Gift Guide
November 23, 2009 — Eclecticism is everywhere now, but Derek Bermel makes his style-hopping colleagues seem lazy in this set, which includes works based on Ghanian xylophone figures (Dust Dances), Bulgarian folk music (Thracian Echoes) and an ear-catching blend of speech melodies, Irish tunes and contemporary jazz (Voices, a clarinet concerto with Mr. Bermel as the soloist).
The New York Times Full review
Classical Music Review: BMOP's 'Big Bang'
November 16, 2009 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) began its season in Jordan Hall on November 13 with an unusual and enthralling concert that it advertised as a "Big Bang" event. In all three works on the program the emphasis was on a huge assortment of percussion instruments both familiar and exotic.
The Arts Fuse Full review
A congress of noise convened in Jordan Hall
November 16, 2009 — The human desire to produce a loud noise by striking one object with another must be as old as communication itself, and like all histories, it has its high points and lows. The period between the two world wars, for instance, was a very good time for the art and science of banging. The Boston Modern Orchestra Project reminded us of this fact on Friday night with a memorable concert that was in equal parts ambitious musical event, cultural time warp, and sonic magical mystery tour.
The Boston Globe Full review
With Hammer and Feather BMOP Goes Percussive
November 15, 2009 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project has been all over the news for the promise of hearing the Boston premiere of the near-original version of George Antheil's Ballet mécanique, which it delivered under the direction of Gil Rose at Jordan Hall on Friday the Thirteenth. About that more later, but the real story of this concert was the variety of sound and expression of which percussion ensembles are capable.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Ballet mécanique
November 15, 2009 — The avante-garde and complexity of George Antheil's Ballet mécanique probably explains why it hasn't been performed for a live audience since 2001 and why it's only been performed a few times since its original composition in 1924.
Object-Idea Full review
Unusual arsenal for 'Big Bang'
November 13, 2009 — Eight player pianos, two grand pianos, four bass drums, four xylophones, an air-raid siren, and a gamelan that weighs nearly a ton - that's just some of the equipment that the Boston Modern Orchestra Project will have on the Jordan Hall stage for "Big Bang," tonight's percussion-heavy season-opening concert. It's a bang big enough to cause some logistical headaches, says BMOP's music director, Gil Rose. "My orchestra manager decided she won't kill me, but there has been some discussion of it," he says, sounding not entirely unserious.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
Big Bang: Music of Antheil, Varèse, and Harrison
November 13, 2009 — This performance earns a near perfect score for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) It's not often that we hear George Antheil's notorious Ballet Mécanique, partly because it is scored for sixteen synchronized player pianos. Back when Antheil wrote it, there was no way these speedy automatons could be synchronized; but now, in the electronic age, they can be. And they were. While this performance featured only eight player pianos, they effectively produced the intense sound Antheil could only dream about.
Stylus Full review
Disklaviers, Propellers, and Electric Bells: BMOP Offers Antheil Program
November 8, 2009 — BMInt interviewed Paul D. Lehrman, composer, author, consultant, educator, one of the world’s leading experts on MIDI, computer music and expert on George Antheil, whose Ballet mécanique will be performed by Boston Modern Orchestra Project on November 13th at Jordan Hall. George Antheil is infamous as a "bad boy" composer. Is his Ballet mécanique music? Should we bring ear plugs?
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full interview
Andriessen: At seventy, a composer finds new muses
November 5, 2009 — Composer Louis Andriessen turns seventy this year. In a disc celebrating the composer's septuagenarian status with a quartet of recent works, the Boston Modern Orchestra project, conducted by Gil Rose, suggests that several through-lines between established tendencies and new collaborators have kept the Dutch composer's work fresh, vibrant, and engaging.
Sequenza21 Full review
American Record Guide reviews Louis Andriessen: La Passione
November 1, 2009 — Cristina Zavalloni is a mezzo with backgrounds in both jazz and classical music, whose work is particularly beloved of Louis Andriessen. She is the main protagonist for three of the four works here.
American Record Guide Full review
Fanfare reviews Louis Andriessen: La Passione
November 1, 2009 — The music of Louis Andriessen (b. 1939) becomes ever more fascinating as he grows older. A contemporary of Glass and Reich, he hit the big time in 1976 with De Staat, a wild, aggressive choral-instrumental minimalist masterpiece. Always an original ("I like the impossible, to put myself in a difficult situation. I see composing as an experiment."), he produced a few noisy loudnesses along the way. I remember a large-ensemble piece at Tanglewood with, I think, eight double-bass clarinets growling and clattering away.
Fanfare Full review
Spirited and pliable performances of subtle, emotive European minimalism
November 1, 2009 — In his book The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross calls Louis Andriessen "the only major European minimalist." You wouldn't know that from the four works on this disc. True, there's repetition, but not in the Glass/Riley/Reich sense of the word. Scored for percussion and three keyboards, the opening work, Bells for Haarlem, is built from long sustained chords that strike at unpredictable intervals, with a subtle melody taking shape as the piece progresses.
Gramophone Full review
ClassicalCDReview reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
November 1, 2009 — From the near-sublime to the ridiculous. BMOP has issued this performance by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project directed by Gil Rose of Sixteen Dances by John Cage. This dates from the early 1950s when Cage collaborated with the late Merce Cunningham on a "big new piece" with this title. According to CD notes, in this "music" Cage uses chance, a new approach to musical composition, utilizing charts on which he wrote rhythmic structures. Scoring is for flute, trumpet, four percussionists, piano, violin and cello.
ClassicalCDReview Full review
BMOP Records Schwartz's 6 Chamber Concertos
November 1, 2009 — These works were composed over a span of 30 years from 1976 to 2007; 3 of them (Nos. III, V, and VI) were revised (with one, No. III, now with the subtitle "Another View," having been essentially completely reconstructed) for the performances and subsequent recording by BMOP over the past 2 years. The result is a set of very compelling eclectic pieces that make for enjoyable repeated listening.
Classical Voice of New England Full review
Recording wonderfully preserves 'Nixon' opera
October 28, 2009 — The classical CD world may be down, but it's not out. To a great extent, recording companies are recycling older material, yet there is a lot of good, new stuff out. Here are a few that captured my attention. … La Passione and other works by Louis Andriessen, with Gil Rose conducting the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Andriessen is a Dutch minimalist whose many compositions include stage and dance works. His style borrows from Stravinsky, jazz, and American minimalism and especially Terry Riley. His music is anti-German and anti-romantic.
Door County Advocate Full review
CD of Elliott Schwartz concertos merits multiple listens
October 18, 2009 — The long-awaited CD of all Maine composer Elliott Schwartz's chamber concertos has finally been released by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP/sound, 1013) and it lives up to expectations. Conductor Gil Rose and his orchestra are among the foremost interpreters of modern music, and their performances of these six works, from 1976 to 2007, with the composer's input, can be considered definitive.
Portland Press Herald Full review
Retired music professor compiles concertos for CD release
October 16, 2009 — After a 43 year stint at the College, former Robert K. Beckwith Professor of Music Eliott Schwartz has one more accomplishment to add to his list: the recent release of an album featuring six chamber concertos of his own composition. The album is titled Elliot Schwartz: Chamber Concertos and will be released through the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) label this month. Schwartz, an internationally regarded composer, retired from Bowdoin's faculty in 2007, with 12 of his 43 years in the music department spent as department chair.
The Bowdoin Orient Full review
BMOP CD: Rakowski's Serious Fun
October 2, 2009 — Composer David Rakowski's jocularity is well known. His many piano etudes (88 at last count) feature a number of sly allusions to other styles and works, as well as more overt zaniness; one even requires the performer to play pitches with their nose! His previous concerti have featured various subterfuges in which the soloist is upstaged by the orchestra. And, famously, goofiness abounds on his website. But alongside Rakowski's penchant for light-hearted expression are consummate craftsmanship and music of considerable poignancy.
Sequenza21 Full review
The Choral Journal reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
October 1, 2009 — While the recent passing of Lukas Foss (1922-2009) strikes a sad note for many of us, the release of this superb recording of The Prairie serves to both celebrate and elucidate his unique genius and extraordinary life. Born Lukas Fuchs in Berlin, Germany, Foss received his early training as a pianist and composer with Julius Goldstein (who, upon emigrating to the United States, changed his last name to Herford and ultimately became one of the most significant teachers of conducting and score study in American history).
Choral Journal Full review
Music Web International reviews Derek Bermel: Voices
October 1, 2009 — As clarinetist and composer alike, Derek Bermel is a product of the contemporary accessibility of, and fascination with, the diverse musics of the world. Gone are the days when the Austro-Hungarian, or even the wider European, traditions could constitute any kind of workable definition of 'serious' music. Just as, once upon a time, European literature woke up to – and creatively embraced – literatures far beyond the previously monolithic Latin and Greek tradition, so Western music has widened its horizons enormously.
Music Web International Full review
Gramophone reviews David Rakowski: Winged Contraption
October 1, 2009 — There are marvelous ideas in David Rakowski's music. At the very end of the slow movement of his Piano Concerto (2006), for instance, the soloist suddenly switches to a toy piano to play a flourish that's at once otherworldly and mischievous. Similarly, the jazzy syncopations and riffs in the movement that follows convey simultaneous feelings of playful spontaneity and lurking menace.
Gramophone Full review
MUSO reviews Louis Andriessen: La Passione
October 1, 2009 — Dutch composer Louis Andriessen is known for his eclectic, experimental style. This collection - released to mark his 70th birthday, features two of his muses, Italian jazz and new music singer Cristina Zavalloni and American violinist Monica Germino.
MUSO Full review
BMOP Releases One of John Cage's First Chance Works
October 1, 2009 — "My purpose is to eliminate purpose."
Classical Voice of New England Full review
Florestan, BMOP Offer Sublime Tribute to Vocal Music
September 29, 2009 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project had a good idea last weekend. They paired with the Florestan Project, a superb vocal group, to present three days of concerts named "Voice of America" at Tufts University’s Distler Performance Hall. Florestan presented the complete songs of Samuel Barber, some 75 in number. The Sunday afternoon concert I attended then featured a chamber-music-sized BMOP with concerted songs of Samuel Barber and Virgil Thomson. Florestan and BMOP together offered a sublime tribute to the voice.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
More from the Voice of America
September 29, 2009 — I've been slow to post my thoughts on the second half of the "Voice of America" concert I heard last Friday, but that doesn't mean I wasn't enthusiastic about it. Indeed, this was probably the most rewarding Boston Modern Orchestra Project concert I've yet heard. Although I confess I don't often hear this group; to me, there's sometimes a problem built right into their concerts - they're funded by the composers being played. I don't mean to criticize this as a way of getting new music out before the public, and to be honest, what I've heard at BMOP has always been highly accomplished.
The Hub Review Full review
The Barber Songbook
September 27, 2009 — Samuel Barber (near left, with his lover Gian Carlo Menotti) once described himself as "a living dead composer," and indeed, for most his life his commitment to romantic feeling in the modern age consigned him to the dustbin of critical opinion. But history has a way of upending that dustbin, and Barber's gift for lyrical simplicity, cemented in the popular mind by his Adagio for Strings, has enabled him to outlast his detractors.
The Hub Review Full review
Kicking off a vocal fest at Tufts
September 26, 2009 — The conductor Gil Rose, after curating last year's Ditson Festival of Contemporary Music, is admirably keeping alive the vision of a local new-music festival in late September. This year's iteration, entitled "Voice of America," is underway at Tufts University's Granoff Music Center. It does not have the Ditson Fund's generous backing so it paints on a necessarily smaller canvas, but last night's opening performances made clear that it should be a richly rewarding weekend of American vocal music.
The Boston Globe Full review
Florestan and BMOP Join Forces to Celebrate American Vocal Repertoire
September 25, 2009 — This evening's double concert in the Distler Performance Hall of Tufts' Granoff Music Center began a 3-day festival involving a partnership between the Florestan Recital Project and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project to highlight American vocal music. The former's presentation was the 1st of 3 concerts which together would span the entire vocal opus of Samuel Barber, aptly titled, "BarberFest," while the latter highlights contemporary compositions for vocalist(s) and chamber orchestra.
Classical Voice of New England Full review
Quiet month gets stimulus
September 24, 2009 — September is usually the quietest month of the year for local classical music, with the summer activity largely vanished and the fall tumult yet to descend. Last year was an exception, with the Alice M. Ditson Fund throwing a big new-music party for most of the established local ensembles over four days at the Institute of Contemporary Art. As groups collaborated and programmed on a broader canvas, the festival energized the local scene, and many musical insiders hoped it could become a fall tradition.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
Lucid Culture review Louis Andriessen: La Passione
September 5, 2009 — This is an important album – to the uninitiated, it may seem strange, but stay with it, there's a payoff at the end. Louis Andriessen is no stranger to adventurous listeners: he's been a fixture of the avant garde for over forty years. This album begins with a carillonesque instrumental and then a series of art songs, all but one based on poems by legendary, mad Italian poet Dino Campana. Campana spent much of his life institutionalized, including his final years: his surreal, twisted, horrific imagery and sense of anguish compare with Baudelaire at his most crazed.
Lucid Culture Full review
American Record Guide Reviews John Harbison: Full Moon in March
September 1, 2009 — Full Moon in March (1977) is John Harbison’s adaptation of a nasty Yeats "chamber play" dealing with the beheading of a filthy Swineherd (James Maddalena) who dares to court a bitchy virgin Queen (Lorraine DiSimone). His head winds up impaled on a stake, and the Queen does a hysterical dance (soprano DiSimone is replaced by a dancer). The piece is a small-scale but demonstrative Salome substitute set in Harbison's pungent 70s Princetonian-Stravinskian style, his scoring embroidered with colorful prepared piano sonorities in the small accompanying ensemble.
American Record Guide Full review
Voice of America Festival at Tufts
August 21, 2009 — Presented by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) in partnership with the Florestan Recital Project and Tufts University Department of Music, the Voice of America Festival will showcase a series of American vocal works, both new and unknown to Boston audiences, and bring an unprecedented diversity of American vocal music to Tufts University.
Classical Voice of New England Full coverage
Classical Voice of New England reviews Louis Adriessen: La Passione
August 1, 2009 — This new recording from Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project of music by Louis Andriessen carries a catalogue of disappointing turns and insipid organizational processes of otherwise promising musical events. The players themselves certainly deserve no rebuke. It is a sound, engaging, and artful execution that because of the clarity and precision of an accomplished performance, cannot help exposing some of the shortcomings in the writing itself.
Classical Voice of New England Full review
CD sales for contemporary classical music are the exception to flat sales in other categories
July 20, 2009 — The news sounds like a broken record: No one is buying CDs. Au contraire. Those who appreciate contemporary classical music are spending their money on new recordings, released by several independent labels. And, the dedicated owners of these CD indies are inundated with submissions from composers and performers. Music writer Joseph Dalton surveys the contemporary classical music scene in an online piece. Neva Pilgrim, a co-founder of the Society for New Music, took time from her busy schedule assisting with Cazenovia Counterpoint to comment on the article. Here's what she had to say:
Syracuse Post Full coverage
Spinning Local: A batch of new CDs from BMOP
July 19, 2009 — Meanwhile the city's other homegrown label, BMOP/sound, continues to impress. This scrappy in-house operation run by conductor Gil Rose and his Boston Modern Orchestra Project was launched early last year, and it has released a steady stream of impeccably produced, beautifully packaged discs with exacting and engaged performances of 20th- and 21st-century music. Several elegantly probing pieces by Brandeis-based composer David Rakowski were recently featured on a BMOP/sound disc called Winged Contraption, including his Piano Concerto in a strong performance by Marilyn Nonken.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
On Record – An Overview of the State of Contemporary Music Recording Part 1: Still Spinning
July 8, 2009 — "I am distressed about my CD sales, which have completely tanked. I talked to the head of my label about this, and he told me, 'No one's buying CDs.' In effect, he said, 'What makes you think you’re special?' Everybody's collapsing." - composer John Adams, Newsweek, February 5, 2009 "The recording industry is kaput." - violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Times Union (Albany, NY), February 8, 2007
NewMusicBox Full coverage
The Classical Voice of New England reviews John Harbison: Full Moon in March
July 1, 2009 — This recording from Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project includes two of John Harbison's prominent vocal works, the Mirabai Songs and his opera, Full Moon in March. The former is based on a text by a 16th-century Indian mystical poet and street-dancer, while the latter is loosely adapted by the composer from a play by William Butler Yeats. The last piece on this recording is an elegiac tribute to Calvin Simmons, a young conductor of the Oakland Symphony who died in a boating accident.
Classical Voice of New England Full review
American Record Guide reviews David Rakowski: Winged Contraption
July 1, 2009 — Born in Vermont in 1958, David Rakowski is best known for his long series of witty, extravagant piano etudes. They have been often performed, and recordings of them have been praised by ARG's reviewers: Bridge 9121 (July/Aug 2003), Albany 681 (Jan/Feb 2005), Bridge 9157 (Mar/Apr 2005). Rakowski has written much else, too, including three symphonies, five concertos, wind ensemble pieces, and chamber and vocal music.
American Record Guide Full review
Gramophone reviews Derek Bermel: Voices
July 1, 2009 — You might say that Derek Bermel (b. 1967) is the quintessential 21st-century musician. A composition student of Henri Dutilleux, Louis Andriessen, and William Bolcom (among others), Bermel is also an accomplished jazz clarinetist, has traveled the world exploring folk traditions, and performs (singing and playing keyboards and percussion) in a rock band. This staggering eclecticism is apparent in all four works recorded here.
Gramophone Full review
American Record Guide reviews Derek Bermel: Voices
July 1, 2009 — The American clarinetist and composer Derek Bermel is gaining increasing prominence as a postmodern force. His philosophy involves recreating the sounds of world music, jazz, rock, and funk in traditional instrumental genres, especially the symphony orchestra. This artistic viewpoint, of course, is hardly new; Mozart invoked the sounds of Turkish music, Debussy conjured the timbres of the Indonesian gamelan orchestra, and Bernstein was at home with jazz, Latin music, and the Western European canon.
American Record Guide Full review
Tempo reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
July 1, 2009 — Lukas Foss died aged 86 on 1 February 2009. His legacy as a composer is considerable and varied, and there were few areas of American musical life from the 1950s to the 1980s that did not feel his influence in some way. His important musical directorships, firstly at Buffalo and then at Brooklyn, Jerusalem, and Milwaukee, brought his controversial musical ideology into conflict with some of his audiences, performers and managers.
Tempo Full review
Vital Weekly reviews for BMOP/sound
July 1, 2009 — It remains a mystery why certain labels send their CDs to us. Like for instance BMOP/sound. It is a difficult job to cover these two of their new releases. They fall beyond the scope we usually cover. So I will be very descriptive only on these two. But first the label itself. It is the outlet of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. They perceive it as their mission to record important classical compositions of the 20th and 21st century. These two releases may illustrate this.
Vital Weekly Full review
AllMusic reviews John Harbison: Full Moon in March
July 1, 2009 — John Harbison's music is almost always engaging on an intellectual level—imaginative, ingeniously inventive, and distinctively orchestrated—but in spite of its essentially lyrical impulse, it can have a cold brilliance that doesn't leap out to touch the emotions. The three works recorded here, written in the late '70s and early '80s, appeal as much to the senses as to the intellect, making this one of the most attractive releases of the composer's music.
AllMusic Full review
Making Strides: The Boston Modern Orchestra Project Reaping New Harvest with Recordings
June 1, 2009 — In a world of Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach, it's not easy for modern composers to attract listeners. It's also often highly challenging for musicians to prepare, play, and record works by contemporary composers. Thanks to the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), both composers and musicians have an opportunity to share their music with the masses.
International Musician Full coverage
Orchestra dedicates itself to new music, thrives
May 27, 2009 — Some have said that symphony orchestras are becoming museums. Perhaps that is true, but in Boston, exciting things are happening. The Boston Modern Orchestra Project is a relatively new ensemble devoted to the performance of new music. While that term seems to scare a lot of people, the music it offers is quite accessible and is likely to become part of the standard repertoire.
Door County Advocate Full coverage
Premieres and a farewell for BMOP
May 25, 2009 — It seems odd to call a program with five brand new orchestral pieces commonplace. But somehow it seems apt when talking about the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, a group for whom the unexpected has become almost predictable. The five premieres on Friday's concert spoke in vastly disparate languages, each of which BMOP's fine orchestra and music director Gil Rose brought off as though it was a well-honed specialty.
The Boston Globe Full review
The New York Times reviews Derek Bermel: Voices
May 10, 2009 — Derek Bermel, like many composers born in the late 1960's, is a natural eclectic who uses classical forms and timbres as his principal medium and draws on jazz, pop, and world music when he wants a particular melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic twist.
The New York Times Full review
Fanfare reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
May 1, 2009 — Lukas Foss died on February 1 of this year at the age of 86. Composer, conductor, orchestra builder, virtuoso pianist, and respected teacher, Foss wore many hats after he made his first big splash with this audacious song of praise to the American spirit. He had been composing since age seven, but it was Robert Shaw's 1944 premiere of this work that brought him to the attention of the musical world. The Prairie was enthusiastically programmed by orchestras and choral societies throughout the country, and won the 1945 New York Music Critics' Circle Award.
Fanfare Full coverage
Gramophone reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant
May 1, 2009 — Exuberant performances of irrepressibly melodic, profoundly delightful music
Gramophone Full review
International Record Review reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
April 6, 2009 — The booklet informs us, 'Lukas Foss, b. 1922', but sadly, Foss passed away on February 1st of this year. So, a release which surely would have brought renewed attention to a worthwhile American composer now also must serve as a memorial.
International Record Review Full review
Emusic selects Derek Bermel: Voices as an "Editors' Pick"
April 1, 2009 — Here are some classical records that have been exciting us recently. Some are brand-new, some have been on the site for awhile, but we stand 100 percent behind all of them, and we hope you love them as much as we do. BMOP and Bermel get busy with several generations and cultures' worth of music:
Emusic Full coverage
ClassicalCDReview Reviews Derek Bermel: Voices
April 1, 2009 — The enterprising new label BMOP/sound has another winner in their disk of music of clarinetist, composer, and jazz/rock musician Derek Bermel. The four works show his interest in various folk influences (including Bulgarian folk music), jazz and depicting the human voice instrumentally. Dust Dances resulted from a 4-month visit to Northwest Ghana where Bermel learned to play the Dargara gyil, a 14-key xylophone related to the marimba; in this 9-minute work he attempts to turn the symphony orchestra into a gigantic gyil.
ClassicalCDReview Full review
Harbison's ambitious Winter's Tale arrives with spring
March 24, 2009 — John Harbison's music is so ubiquitous here that you might think there was nothing more to discover. Yet until Friday, Boston had never heard Winter's Tale, the Shakespeare-based opera he composed in the 1970s. The ever-intrepid Boston Modern Orchestra Project's concert performance took place, ironically, on the first day of spring.
The Boston Globe Full review
Mad Love
March 24, 2009 — The destructive power of jealousy makes a good subject for opera. One of Shakespeare's plays about this most irrational emotion, the tragedy Othello, has been turned into a very good opera by Rossini and a great one by Verdi and his best librettist, Arrigo Boito.
The Boston Phoenix Full review
NewMusicBox reviews David Rakowski: Winged Contraption
March 23, 2009 — About a year and half ago, we did a NewMusicBox cover on David Rakowski, in preparation for which I studied his then 80 solo piano etudes and became a hardcore devotee. These quirky pieces are a rare breed—they're pithy and some are even hysterically funny, no small feat to accomplish in the abstract, non-representational medium of music. As a result, pianists flock to them, and they are fast becoming staples of the contemporary solo piano repertoire. But all through our talk, David insisted that he's more than "the piano etude guy".
NewMusicBox Full review
The San Francisco Chronicle reviews Derek Bermel: Voices
March 22, 2009 — In listening to this magnificent collection of orchestral pieces by the Brooklyn composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel, it's difficult to know whether to be more knocked out by his stylistic versatility or his technical prowess. I'll settle for both. Bermel's music is intricate, witty, clear-spoken, tender and extraordinarily beautiful. It also covers an amazing amount of ground, from the West African rhythms of Dust Dances to the Bulgarian folk strains of Thracian Echoes to the shimmering harmonic splendor of Elixir.
The San Francisco Chronicle Full review
American Record Guide Reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
March 13, 2009 — I find it astonishing that this delicious oratorio hasn't been performed or recorded much. It's every bit a crowd-pleasure and very much in the tradition of middle-American composers of the 20s, 30s, and 40s, such as Roy Harris, Howard Hanson, and Aaron Copland. Lukas Foss was born in Berlin in 1923, then moved to Philadelphia as omens of war threatened Europe. He moved to American and studied with Sergei Koussevitzky for several years before attending Yale, where he studied with Paul Hindemith.
American Record Guide Full review
Scoredaddy reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
March 9, 2009 — The German-born, American composer Lukas Foss passed away several weeks ago after a long and distinguished career. Here is a recent recording of WWII-era work that is accessible yet complex, a delightful piece that truly deserves this high quality digital recording. I am glad to be back: enjoy.
Scoredaddy Full review
The Classical Voice of New England reviews Derek Bermel: Voices
March 2, 2009 — To count up the musical influences in the works on Derek Bermel's new album, Voices, featuring the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, would prove impossible. He is a composer as comfortable mixing jazzy trombone riffs with plunky, Asian harp-piano duets, as with combining eerie portamento violins and Stravinsky-like primitive rhythms. To say that Bermel's music is adventurous would be an understatement.
The Classical Voice of New England Full review
Music Web International reviews Eric Sawyer: Our American Cousin
March 1, 2009 — Just in time for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln comes this ambitious opera from American composer Eric Sawyer and librettist John Shoptaw. This is courtesy of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, an exciting program of releases focusing on modern American music.
Music Web International Full review
AllMusic reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
March 1, 2009 — Lukas Foss' 1944 oratorio The Prairie, based on a poem by Carl Sandburg, easily falls into the same category as extended American vernacular vocal works such as Kurt Weill's Down in the Valley (1948) and Aaron Copland's The Tender Land (1954). However, unlike these other pieces, The Prairie – which went a large way toward making the reputation of its composer -- was forgotten.
AllMusic Full review
Fanfare reviews BMOP's Release, Erickson: Auroras (New World)
February 27, 2009 — In Fanfare (31:2), I reviewed a Naxos release of chamber music by Robert Erickson (1917-1997), a California-based avant-garde composer and respected teacher. I found the music on that disc uncompelling, with the glowing exception of a late work for piano and chamber ensemble, Recent Impressions. In it, Erickson's obsessions with sonority, Asian music, Schoenbergian Klangfarbenmelodie, and Cage-like purity came together to produce something quite individual.
Fanfare Full review
Fanfare reviews Charles Fussell: Wilde
February 27, 2009 — These two orchestral works by Charles Fussell are new to me, as is his music in general. Wilde, Symphony for Baritone and Orchestra, was runner-up for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, a surprise not because of its merits or lack thereof, but because the style is not typical of most contenders from that era. Since the track record of Pulitzer decisions is decidedly mixed, runner-up status is considered a badge of honor among some new music aficionados.
Fanfare Full review
All About Jazz reviews Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz
February 1, 2009 — What might seem the most innocuous music is often the most avant garde, the most challenging, the spark that forces us to question the boundaries of what we might call jazz. Gunther Schuller's Journey Into Jazz, composed in 1962, is just that: a children's narrative, telling the story of one Eddie Jackson, "a boy who learned about jazz," a communal mode of music-making that is free, ostensibly, of all the restraints that come with genre labels.
All About Jazz Full review
MusicWeb International Reviews Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz
February 1, 2009 — The Variants for Jazz Quartet and Orchestra prove the point that jazz and straight music don't mix!
MusicWeb International Full review
AllMusic reviews Charles Fussell: Wilde
February 1, 2009 — New England composer Charles Fussell has specialized largely in symphonic and chamber music that features voices, and he writes for the voice comfortably and idiomatically. He has an authentic gift for text setting, and his vocal lines are unabashedly lyrical and expressive. Idiomatically, Fussell's music is eclectic, incorporating folk song as easily as serial techniques. His Wilde, symphony for baritone and orchestra, was conceived as a sketch for an opera about the British author, with a text by Will Graham.
AllMusic Full review
Boston Modern revels in conservatory connection
January 20, 2009 — That rather gaudy sign in Jordan Hall reading "New England Conservatory" is intended to remind audiences of the institution where this acoustic jewel is located. Rarely is its presence so apt as during the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's annual "Boston ConNECtion" concert, recognizing the ongoing relationship between the ensemble and the school. The 11th such performance, on Saturday, was a typically substantial affair, dexterously played by the ensemble and conducted with authority by Gil Rose.
The Boston Globe Full review
Six deserving to be heard in 2009 and beyond
January 2, 2009 — The best-of compilations that mark the end of each year can have the unfortunate side effect of relegating their contents to the past, treating them as relics that go into a shoebox in your closet marked "2008." But if these are the best of what a year had to offer, they should be coming with us, getting played, heard, and talked about after the calendar flips. So here are some "bests" from the past year to take with you into 2009 and beyond. Lee Hyla: Lives of the Saints/ At Suma Beach Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose - BMOP/sound
The Boston Globe Full review
La Folia reviews John Harbison: Ulysses
January 1, 2009 — As a grand ballet, Harbison's immense Ulysses is something of an enigma and an anachronism: The composer fills 80 minutes absent a hope for choreography with a lissome program and vocabulary that recall music of a less dissonant era. There's even an ondes Martenot -- for Circe of course. We detect throughout sly touches and eloquence the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) handles with aplomb. BMOP appears to have assumed the mantle once held by the Lousiville Orchestra, shepherding and recording a swath of modern, if not quite modernist, music.
La Folia Full review
American Record Guide reviews Charles Fussell: Wilde
January 1, 2009 — Charles Fussell (b. 1938) resume includes studies at Eastman with Bernard Rogers, in Berlin with Boris Blacher, a long stint as Virgil Thomson's "assistant," and a variety of posts in the Boston area (including the Boston University faculty). The two pieces in this collection are outgrowths of planned operatic projects, evidently not yet brought to fruition. High Bridge is meant to be a study for an opera based on the life of Hart Crane.
American Record Guide Full review
La Folia reviews Charles Fussell: Wilde
January 1, 2009 — Appearing in the outer movements, Slyvan's charisma enables Fussell's Wilde to soar. The work sets selections from Wilde's letters to Lord Alfred Douglas that reflect on the joys of fatherhood and his despondency after his trial and incarceration. Fussell folds in an artful Victorianesque tune, its temperament bending to suit the mood. The curtain raiser, High Bridge Prelude (alternately called High Bridge, Portrait of Hart Crane) is taken from a larger work commemorating Hart Crane.
La Folia Full review
ClassicalCDReview Reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
January 1, 2009 — Lukas Foss based his 53-minute cantata The Prairie on Carl Sandburg's poem of the same name from his collection of Americana called The Cornhuskers. Written in the summers of 1941 and 1942, music from The Prairie first was heard in an orchestral suite played by the Boston Symphony directed by Serge Koussevitzky Oct. 15, 1943, and May 15, 1944, Robert Shaw led the cantata's premiere in New York's Town Hall.
ClassicalCDReview Full review
Independent Labels Embrace a D.I.Y. Ethos
December 21, 2008 — The major classical recording labels, a few notable exceptions aside, seemed determined to continue their march toward irrelevance and oblivion this year. For independent outfits the prognosis was better: The budget-priced Naxos reigned supreme, while hardy concerns like Hyperion, Kairos, Testament and Bridge produced invaluable offerings. But some of the most robust activity in 2008 involved labels operated by those with the most to gain: musicians, orchestras, composers.
The New York Times Full coverage
Monotonous Forest reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie
December 20, 2008 — And from conductor Andrew Clark and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project comes The Prairie (1943) by Lukas Foss, using Carl Sandburg's poem from The Cornhuskers. This ambitious cantata includes four excellent soloists—Elizabeth Weigle, Gigi Mitchell-Velasco, Frank Kelley and Aaron Engebreth—and another chorus new to me, the Providence Singers (of which Clark is artistic director), all of whom make Foss's spacious landscape spring to life.
Monotonous Forest Full review
Grammy nods for local favorites
December 19, 2008 — Though the Grammy Awards have never held quite the same cachet in classical music as they do in pop, they still carry a good deal of weight, especially for listeners seeking to navigate a bewildering array of new compositional voices and a thicket of recordings of standard repertoire. And this year's nominations in classical categories, announced last week, include three with especially strong local connections.
The Boston Globe Full review
Harbison: Ulysses voted Best CD's of 2008 in Time Out New York
December 18, 2008 — A stellar disc of this epic work inaugurated the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's invaluable CD label.
Time Out New York Full coverage
Sanford Sylvan of Charles Fussell: Wilde is nominated for GRAMMY Award
December 4, 2008 — The 2009 Grammy Award nominations were announced today and among them was Sanford Sylvan, baritone soloist featured in BMOP/sound's Charles Fussell: Wilde. Sylvan has been nominated for Best Classical Vocal Performance, making this his fourth Grammy Award nomination.
GRAMMY Full coverage
Schuller: Journey Into Jazz voted Best Classical CDs of 2008 by NPR
December 1, 2008 — Just as the 2008 presidential election exposed and ultimately crossed gender, racial and generational barriers, many of the year's notable recordings explored and wrestled with different kinds of boundaries — some musical, some cultural, and some almost unimaginable if not for the power of music. Album: Gunther Schuller: Journey into Jazz Song: Concertino for Jazz Quartet & Orchestra Artist: Gil Rose
NPR Full coverage
Downbeat Best CDs of 2008
December 1, 2008 — Composers of today's Olympian jazz-classical concertos would do well to listen to these deceptively understated, coolly creative pieces that capture the zeitgeist of the 1960s. These three newly recorded 20-minute works (dubbed "Third Stream" by Gunther Schuller himself) explore and synthesize myriad interactions between a jazz combo improvising and a chamber orchestra reading a through-composed score with some big band gestures.
Downbeat Full review
ClassicalCDReview Reviews Charles Fussell: Wilde
December 1, 2008 — Nice. Charles Fussell has established his career in New England. He studied at Eastman with Thomas Canning and Bernard Rogers but has also worked with Boris Blacher and Virgil Thomson. His musical orientation is largely tonal (although structural elements of serialism hover at the edges), with no fear of dissonance.
ClassicalCDReview Full review
Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant voted Best CD's of 2008 in The New York Times
November 27, 2008 — The end of the CD era, we have long been told, is near. And it's true that the onetime flood has narrowed to a flow, sometimes steady, sometimes faltering. But a few major labels and many small ones keep putting out many excellent recordings, as represented by the two dozen examples here, chosen by classical critics of The New York Times as records of the year. Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose (BMOP/sound); $17.99
Y2K Compliant Full coverage
New looks at old images
November 18, 2008 — Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project present, more often than not, anthologized programming: one-night overviews of a single tradition, composer, or genre. Such concerts can veer toward stylistic diffusion, but Friday's collection of string-instrument concertos presented the opposite danger - a surfeit of similarity.
The Boston Globe Full review
Ueno's Memorable Talus, Boykan's Engaging Concerto, Erickson's Eclectic Fantasty, and Schwartz's Chamber Concerto
November 14, 2008 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project performed new works in Jordan Hall on Friday evening by Martin Boykan, Robert Erickson, Elliott Schwartz, and Ken Ueno. The concert closed with Shoenberg’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, a very liberal arrangement of a Handel Concerto.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
Jonah and the Whale Preview
November 6, 2008 — The Providence Singers continue their quest to bring forgotten choral works by American masters to the stage with a performance this weekend of Dominick Argento's Jonah and the Whale, an eclectic concoction that blends fugues, hymns and sea chanteys with a text that spans many centuries. Performances at Blessed Sacrament Church on Academy Avenue are slated for tomorrow night and Sunday afternoon, as part of the ongoing FirstWorks Festival.
The Providence Journal Full coverage
Still Swimming in the Stream
November 4, 2008 — During each of jazz's growth spurts, opportunity for greater complexity and freedom arose. When jazz went from Dixieland to hot, the improvisations and prominence of the soloist's voice grew. Then from hot to swing and the big band era, the arrangements began to take on a new complexity. The music during the big band era further absorbed colors for its palette from the modern classical music coming out of Europe. Groups lead by Claude Thornhill, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman were some of the main proponents of furthering the sophistication factor on the bandstand and in compositions.
Jazz Police Full review
A musical celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary
November 4, 2008 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project and director Gil Rose have cultivated a fascinating niche: aural snapshots of particular countries or national traditions. The past couple of seasons witnessed programs spotlighting France and Armenia; on Sunday, a concert sponsored by Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Judaica Division of the Harvard College Library celebrated Israel's 60th anniversary.
The Boston Globe Full review
BMOP Celebrates Israel at 60
November 2, 2008 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project performed alongside guest artist Kenneth Radnofsky to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence at Sanders Theatre on Sunday evening. The concert, "Israel at 60: Six Decades of Innovative Music," marked the world premiere of Israeli composer Betty Olivero’s composition Kri'ot, the first piece of Israeli classical music to join a solo saxophone—played by Radnofsky—and a string quartet. Oliveros's premiere received a five-minute standing ovation from the audience.
The Harvard Crimson Full review
Fanfare reviews Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz
November 1, 2008 — Gunther Schuller is not merely an award-winning composer, former principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, retired artistic director of the Tanglewood Music Festival, and member of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, he also wrote the book on jazz. Two books actually, Early Jazz and The Swing Era (both Oxford University Press), and over a long and acclaimed career he has collaborated with or performed music by such distinctive jazz artists as Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, and the Modern Jazz Quartet, among many others.
Fanfare Full review
Fanfare reviews Lee Hyla: Lives of the Saints
November 1, 2008 — Lee Hyla (b. 1955) writes a muscular music that is deeply rooted in classical practice, but also owes a lot to more roughhewn influences: to my ear, at least, the strongest is progressive/free jazz. In an interesting way, he's found a way to do what many composers have attempted but failed at—to produce a genuinely American form of Expressionism, freed from the trappings of fin de siecle Vienna.
Fanfare Full review
Fanfare reviews Eric Sawyer: Our American Cousin
November 1, 2008 — This is a wonderful surprise. When the Editor proposed the disc, from the title I suspected it would be about the Lincoln assassination, as Our American Cousin was the name of the play performed that evening in Ford's Theater. But I did not know the composer, Eric Sawyer (b. 1962), nor his librettist John Shoptaw, and knew nothing of this opera, which is truly "hot off the press," having been premiered in Boston just last year.
Fanfare Full review
Fanfare reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant
November 1, 2008 — Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956) is based in Boston, and has close ties, as both a former student and current faculty member, with the New England Conservatory and Tanglewood. This disc is a good introduction to his work, not only because it’s of high quality, but also because it shows the distinct development of his voice.
Fanfare Full review
Downbeat reviews Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz
November 1, 2008 — Composers of today's Olympian jazz-classical concertos would do well to listen to these deceptively understated, coolly creative pieces that capture the zeitgeist of the 1960's. These three newly recorded 20-minute works (dubbed "Third Stream" by Gunther Schuller himself) explore and synthesize myriad interactions between a jazz combo improvising and a chamber orchestra reading a through-composed score with some big band gestures. All the new recordings reward relistening.
Downbeat Full review
Gramophone reviews Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz
November 1, 2008 — The late 1940's to the early 1960's witnessed several cross-fertilizations of then-contemporary classical music and modern jazz fashions. Given Gunther Schuller's strong background in both worlds, it made sense for him to try and synthesize the two, decades before polystylism became a norm.
Gramophone Full review
American Record Guide Reviews Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz
November 1, 2008 — This fascinating recording is a window into one of the most underreported cultural stories of our time: the decisive effect of jazz on 20th Century classical music - greater in the long run, as Constant Lambert predicted in the 1930s, than the influence of serialism or neoclassicism. Written in the late 50s and early 60s for symphony orchestra and jazz ensembles, these rather austere but vital works by Gunther Schuller come in the middle of a phenomenon that began with Gottschalk and continues with Golijov.
American Record Guide Full review
American Record Guide reviews Eric Sawyer: Our American Cousin
November 1, 2008 — A glance at the above cast list might prove to be confusing. Here real people are juxtaposed with characters from a play. What kind of opera is this? A finely crafted, cleverly inventive one. Librettist John Shoptaw has combined a play (Our American Cousin by Tom Taylor, 1851) and real history (the assassination of President Lincoln, April 14, 1865). The assassination is told from the perspective of the actors performing the play at Ford's Theater in Washington. Backstage and audience realities alternate with (decidedly unfunny and rather too many) scenes from the play.
American Record Guide Full review
Ditson Festival Showcases Boston's Contemporary Music
November 1, 2008 — Boston, Massachusetts, is home to a tremendous amount of new music and composers. This fall Boston's new music ensembles joined together at the new Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) concert hall for a four-day festival. The Ditson Festival of Contemporary Music ran September 18-21 and featured eight cutting-edge concerts, with seven world premieres, supplemented by multimedia works, visual art collaborations, and special events.
International Musician Full coverage
Celebrating the Music of Israel
October 31, 2008 — Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. It is a date of obvious and deep importance, especially in the realms of politics and religion.
The Boston Globe Full review
Jazz Times reviews Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz
October 1, 2008 — If Third Stream music, the merger of classical music and jazz, never took hold within either musical world as it might have since its official inception in the late 1950's, the best examples of the genre still prove that it was more that just an academic pipedream.
Jazz Times Full review
ClassicalCDReview Reviews Eric Sawyer: Our American Cousin
October 1, 2008 — Don't expect the Tom Taylor comedy Lincoln attended the night he got shot. The opera tells the story of the Lincoln assassination seen through the viewpoints mainly of the actors in Ford's Theater. The effect comes close to what it would be like if Hamlet were told by the company of players. One notes a lot of talk about the Founding Fathers these days, and other than the cynical manipulations of those figures and their thought according to whatever party line, it probably goes through and over most people’s heads.
ClassicalCDReview Full review
Local Band Makes Good
October 1, 2008 — Not so long ago, a Boston concertgoer who loves large-scale music by living composers didn’t have a lot of options. They could look for freak occurrences on the schedules of local orchestras. Or they could Amtrak to New York to hear the American Composers Orchestra. Conservatory graduates trained to sightread literally anything—remember those crazy Solfège parties?—would start to wonder what it was all for, if their true destiny was to sleepwalk through the cello line in the Candide overture until Social Security kicked in.
N.E.C. Notes Full coverage
Concert Review: Matt Haimovitz and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at the ICA
September 22, 2008 — On Sunday, the Ditson Festival of Contemporary Music's last pair of concerts at the ICA began with two people and finished with over sixty, in a glass box on the harbor. The former were Matt Haimovitz, on cello, and Geoff Burleson, on (and in) piano. Children standing on the postmodern boardwalk outside pressed their faces against the window as Burleson hit keys with one hand and reached in with the other to pluck at the piano's viscera, as Augusta Read Thomas's Cantos for Slava (2008) required.
Bostonist Full review
American Record Guide reviews Lee Hyla: Lives of the Saints
September 1, 2008 — Two spiritually charged pieces from vastly different worlds by Lee Hyla, who has recently lefts his long-time post at New England Conservatory for an appointment at Northwestern University in Chicago. Both of these pieces were written for Nessinger while Hyla was in residence at NEC. At Suma Beach (2003) is a work in four sections for mezzo, solo clarinet, and chamber ensemble, based on the Noh play Matsukaze.
American Record Guide Full review
Fanfare reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant
September 1, 2008 — Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956) teaches at Tanglewood, so it is reasonable that his music should appear on the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's label. This band, under its music director and conductor Gil Rose, is dedicated to the performance and promotion of contemporary American music. The members have successfully recorded several CDs for other companies, but this program and a recording of John Harbison's ballet Ulysses are the inaugural releases on their home label. The fact has been a while in the offing. Well, it is here now, and the results are brilliant.
Fanfare Full review
American Record Guide reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant
September 1, 2008 — Three orchestral works by Michael Gandolfi, composer of The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (M/J 2008). In his highly useful notes, Robert Kirzinger knights Gandolfi "master of innumerable compositional approaches", purveyor of a technical and stylistic smorgasbord that will at least partly please everybody. As with Cosmic Speculation, there is great skill on display, though what this display of variety adds up to is anybody's guess.
American Record Guide Full review
Gramophone Reviews John Harbison: Ulysses
August 12, 2008 — John Harbison began composing a full-length ballet based on the legend of Ulysses in the 1980s without any prospect of a staged performance. The ballet's second act, "Ulysses' Bow", was played in concert and recorded by André Previn and the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1984 but the complete score didn't come off the shelf until 2003, when the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, led by Gil Rose, brought it to belated life. Their efforts were eminently worthwhile, as the recording of the entire work released on their own label confirms.
Gramophone Full review
Fanfare Reviews John Harbison: Ulysses
August 12, 2008 — One of the reasons John Harbison (b. 1938) is now probably our country's premier serious composer is the comprehensive range of his catalog. He has made a conscious effort to address all of the various classical genres, from a three-act opera to many kinds of miniatures, both vocal and instrumental.
Fanfare Full review
Ditson Festival of Contemporary Music at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art
August 4, 2008 — Inaugural Ditson Festival of Contemporary Music Features Boston's Leading Musicians, Composers, and Ensembles 2008 Ditson Festival is Co-Produced by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) and The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
All About Jazz Full coverage
American Record Guide Reviews John Harbison: Ulysses
August 1, 2008 — John Harbison's ballet Ulysses (1984, rev. 2003) was inspired by the final scenes from Monteverdi's Ritorno d'Ulisse, where the hero strings his bow and goes on to win back both his kingdom and his wife. The ballet is in two large parts, 'Ulysses' Raft', and 'Ulysses' Bow', the latter having been previously recorded by the Pittsburgh Symphony on Nonesuch. This is the first recording of the complete ballet, which (incredibly) still awaits staging.
American Record Guide Full review
ClassicalCDReview Reviews Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz
August 1, 2008 — Arnie the Hep-Cat. Gunther Schuller became a working musician at the young age of 16, picking up professional gigs as a horn player in New York. By the time he turned 18, he was principal horn of the Cincinnati Orchestra under Goossens. By 20, he had joined the horn section of the Met Orchestra. He also became a busy studio musician. Perhaps his most famous dates came to him as a player in the Gil Evans-Miles Davis Birth of the Cool sessions.
ClassicalCDReview Full review
This fall at the ICA: New music and the world's fastest dancer
August 1, 2008 — The Institute of Contemporary Art continues to push boundaries in its fall lineup of performances, and this year a lot of these boundaries are musical. "The artistic goal of our performing arts program is to present to Boston the full range of what artists are doing across disciplines," says David Henry, the ICA's director of programs. "For the first year and a half we highlighted dance. But you cannot ignore music."
The Boston Globe Full coverage
ClassicalCDReview Reviews John Harbison: Ulysses
July 1, 2008 — A Neo-Romantic smash. John Harbison has always commanded the respect of his fellow composers, although the public at large, I think, has yet to tumble to him. He has written music in every genre, including a few operas, concerti, sonatas, religious choral works, oratorio, and string quartets. He studied with Piston, Sessions, Kim, Blacher, and Dallapiccola, among others, and ended up going his own way. He has received the MacArthur "genius" award.
ClassicalCDReview Full review
Masterfully Modern
June 26, 2008 — Critic's Rating Perfomance: FIVE STARS Sound: FIVE STARS John Harbison's Ulysses ballet is undoubtedly one of his most colourful, accessible works, and a far cry from the cool convolutions of his Great Gatsby opera. Fragments of the ballet floated around the concert world during the 1980s, but the first complete performances and recording did not occur until the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Music Director Gil Rose undertook this truly heroic task in 2003.
BBC Music Magazine Full review
Big themes, big performances boost 'Our American Cousin'
June 23, 2008 — NORTHAMPTON - It is rare to encounter an opera premiere outside the big cities or big festivals but Amherst composer Eric Sawyer and Berkeley poet John Shoptaw have done the almost-impossible. They raised $100,000 (from foundations and generous individuals), enlisted the talent (some of it from Opera Boston), and produced their new opera, Our American Cousin, on Friday at the Academy of Music in this town. This was its first fully staged performance. The Boston Modern Orchestra Project was in the pit, led by Gil Rose.
The Boston Globe Full review
'Cousin' opera recounts Lincoln assassination
June 23, 2008 — NORTHAMPTON - In opera, anything can happen as long as you sing about it. In Eric Sawyer and John Shoptaw's new opera Our American Cousin, the events immediately surrounding President Abraham Lincoln's assassination were examined operatically through the eyes of the actors in the play the president came to Ford's Theater to attend that fateful evening. The opera premiered Friday evening at the Academy of Music Theater.
The Republican Full review
Recalling that fateful night at Ford's Theatre
June 20, 2008 — It sounds like the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question, history category: What was playing at Ford's Theatre the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated? The answer, for those not up on their Civil War-era minutiae, is Our American Cousin, a rather slight comedy of manners by British writer Tom Taylor.
The Boston Globe Full review
BMOP/sound Releases Its Fourth Album
June 17, 2008 — BMOP/sound, the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music recordings, announces the release of its fourth CD Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz. Representative of the "Third Stream" genre, a revolutionary style of music brought forth into the mainstream by Schuller in the 1950's, the three pieces on this album unite the structural complexities found in contemporary classical music with the improvisational elements of jazz.
All About Jazz Full review
'American Cousin' set for premiere
June 17, 2008 — Eighteen years since he and librettist John Shoptaw "tossed around" the possibility of writing an opera about the night President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, composer Eric Sawyer is about to see the full realization of that idea. The opera Sawyer and Shoptaw wrote, entitled Our American Cousin after the Tom Taylor Broadway comedy Lincoln and his wife were attending at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., that fateful night, receives its world premiere fully-staged performances on Friday and Saturday at the Academy of Music in Northampton
The Republican Full coverage
Singing the Union in peril: Opera goes behind the scenes at Ford's Theater
June 13, 2008 — Backstage at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. on the night of April 14, 1865, Ned Emerson is rehearsing his sneeze. Fellow actor Harry Hawk receives bad news. The man he paid to perform his service in the Civil War, ended just five days earlier, has died in combat. Actor John Wilkes Booth, a familiar face, though not in the cast that evening, approaches Jack Mathews with a sealed letter and a request to deliver it to John Coyle, editor of the National Intelligencer, the following day.
Amherst Bulletin Full coverage
Wagnerian leitmotifs meet Stravinskyian ostinati in Ulysses
June 11, 2008 — It's hard to believe that Pulitzer prizewinning composer John Harbison, who turns seventy this year, composed a full length ballet nearly a quarter of a century ago and it has yet to be staged. Ulysses (1984/rev, 2003), has been played piecemeal by various orchestras over the years; Andre Previn and the Pittsburgh Symphony recorded its second act, "Ulysses' Bow," for Nonesuch; but it wasn’t until 2003 that an orchestra performed the work in its entirety.
Sequenza21 Full review
The New York Times reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant
June 8, 2008 — MICHAEL GANDOLFI'S music has some of the rigor of the mid-20th-century atonalists, but it also draws on the richness of melody and timbre prized by the neo-Romantics. You would not put his work firmly in either category, and that's probably for the best, since much of its appeal is in the ease with which it moves between those poles. One moment you're taken with its braininess, its structural logic and textural intricacy; the next you're struck by the flow of fresh ideas, vivid orchestration and rhythmic vitality, all of which give it a visceral punch.
The New York Times Full review
John Harbison: Ulysses CD review
June 2, 2008 — Four out of five stars John Harbison's Ulysses has been a long delayed release, but, anxiously awaited, it was composed in 1983 and is also the inaugural release from the new music recording label BMOP/sound. Indeed it is a wonderful first CD by the new label.
Amazon Full review
MUSO reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant
June 1, 2008 — The Y2K doomsday scenario and all its associated satire had grown tiresome long before 1999 was up. Neverthless, this hasn't stopped composer Michael Gandolfi revisiting the topic with his latest release Y2K Compliant.
MUSO Full review
Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant CD review
May 30, 2008 — [5/5 stars] This is a wonderful collection of pieces. Although all 3 pieces are unique, they compliment each other well musically and thematically. A set of music that provides a welcome hour of enjoyment. Overall the CD has a variety of styles that each work for the individual pieces.
Amazon Full review
CLOFO reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant
May 30, 2008 — RECOMMENDED The music of American composer Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956) is the subject of another winning release from BMOP/sound (see the newsletter of 15 April 2008). Many will remember this composer for his large, extended orchestral work The Garden of Cosmic Speculation released last year, but here we have three of his smaller-scale pieces. If anything, they show he can do even more with less, and is a master colorist in the best sense of the term.
Classical Lost and Found Full review
In season finale, BMOP charts the Armenian experience
May 27, 2008 — Centuries of upheaval have made the Armenian diaspora one of the world's largest; by some estimates, almost three times as many Armenians live outside the country as in it. Charting Armenian music and inspiration, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's season finale, "Armenia Resounding," balanced perspectives from within and without.
The Boston Globe Full review
New Music from Lee Hyla and BMOP
May 26, 2008 — Four out of five stars This is modern music and sounds it. For the listener it is an undertaking. Containing themes of religion, diverse cultures, historic events, life's passage and Lee Hyla's personal understanding and weaving of these themes. Not like his previous collection of pieces in the Trans CD. This is a little less accessible than Trans going back to a more modern musical vision he had with earlier works.
Amazon Full review
A record label of one's own
May 11, 2008 — The news these days about the classical music recording industry is almost always bleak, so it's a pleasure to report a bright spot on that landscape: the Boston Modern Orchestra Project has finally launched its own record label called BMOP/sound.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
CD Picks of the Week: Y2K Compliant
May 5, 2008 — Classical compositions about technology can often be dry, rather charm-less affairs. But the Boston composer Michael Gandolfi has written a piece about computers that’s full of bright, quirky sonorities and bustling rhythms. It’s called Y2K Compliant, and, as the title implies, it’s a satirical response to all the doomsday predictions of the Y2K bug back in 1999. The piece was premiered in 2000 and it’s now just out on a CD by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
WNYC Full review
CLOFO reviews John Harbison: Ulysses
April 15, 2008 — Many of us remember a 1986 Nonesuch recording of an exciting orchestral piece by American composer John Harbison (b. 1938) called Ulysses Bow (later released on First Edition, but no longer available). However, upon reading the album notes, we discovered much to our chagrin that it was only the last half of a full-length ballet. With this enterprising release from BMOP/sound, we now have the complete score.
Classical Lost and Found Full review
With Orchestral Offerings, Festival Passes a Milestone
April 3, 2008 — The MATA Festival is celebrating its 10th season, partly by showing off how far it has come since its early days as Music at the Anthology, a new-music series resident at the Anthology Film Archives. Since the Anthology days the festival has traveled a circuit of churches and small halls, but for the last couple of years it has been ensconced at the Brooklyn Lyceum, an old public bath converted into a concert hall.
The New York Times Full review
Star Quality
April 3, 2008 — In the Times, Allan Kozinn provided a typically sagacious and deftly written account of the first major concert of the MATA—Young Composers Now! series at the Brooklyn Lyceum (on April 1). The concert closed with the New York premiere of Lisa Bielawa's Double Violin Concerto, which was played with saintly elegance by Carla Kihlstedt and Colin Jacobsen, backed by Gil Rose and the excellent Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
The New Yorker, Goings On Blog Full review
Five Things About BMOP @ MATA
April 2, 2008 — I caught the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) at the MATA Festival Tuesday night in Brooklyn. 1. Gil Rose and BMOP played a varied concert with conviction and panache Tuesday night. While there were wonderful soloists on the program, the ensemble really held the spotlight the entire night in the best possible sense - always blending well and making the most of lines, accompaniment and ensemble.
Sequenza21 Full review
For Modern Orchestra, a night of premieres
March 31, 2008 — Four world premieres in one night is ambitious even by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's standards, but Saturday's novelty at Jordan Hall was also an old-fashioned Boston tryout for a New York opening: This week, conductor Gil Rose and the group bring the program to Brooklyn's MATA Festival, an annual new-music showcase previously run by BMOP's current composer-in-residence, Lisa Bielawa.
The Boston Globe Full review
Bielawa, BMOP: Performance Provocateurs
March 31, 2008 — On Saturday night the New England Conservatory's teal and gilt Jordan Hall enjoyed the premiere of no fewer than four new works by living, breathing composers and performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, which parties where symphony orchestras fear to tread. Bucking both contemporary and traditional expectations, provoking appreciation and conversation, this was a night of risks that paid off handsomely.
The Boston Herald Full review
John Harbison: Ulysses
March 27, 2008 — Critics Rating: 4 out of 5 stars Since its 1996 inception, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP for short) has quickly pushed its way to the forefront of contemporary-music organizations in this country. Under the leadership of conductor Gil Rose, BMOP's founder and artistic director, the ensemble has presented nearly 40 premieres, half of which it commissioned. It has also been active on the recording front, issuing 13 discs on a variety of labels.
Time Out New York Full review
A Handful of World
March 23, 2008 — That's the title of Lisa Bielawa's impressive debut CD. Long known as a singer in Philip Glass's ensemble, she is now making her mark as a composer, one expansive collaboration at a time.
The Boston Globe Full interview
BMOP Goes Into the Record Business
March 21, 2008 — At a time when pundits continue to predict the death of physical recordings, the always-against-the-grain Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) has launched a new CD label, BMOP/sound. Their initial release is the first complete recording of John Harbison's 1984 ballet Ulysses. Nine additional releases are scheduled to come out a month at a time for the remainder of 2008.
NewMusicBox Full coverage
BMOP explores many faces of modern music
January 29, 2008 — Friday's wide-ranging Boston Modern Orchestra Project concert demonstrated how unhelpfully vague the umbrella term "modern music" can be. Some New England Conservatory link was the only correspondence among the disparate works, gathered under the title "Boston ConNECtion" (and performed under Jordan Hall's architecturally ill-mannered "New England Conservatory" signboard, which continues to intrude on the season's concert experience like a dinner-time telemarketer).
The Boston Globe Full review
Country for old men
January 29, 2008 — BMOP has become so popular, you have to look hard in the program to find its full name: Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Founder Gil Rose and his outstanding ensemble celebrated their 10th season at the New England Conservatory on Friday with their annual concert devoted to Boston composers. An enthusiastic and diverse audience (diverse especially in age) cheered, whistled, and hooted its approval for pieces, including two world premieres, by five composers also diverse in age. All the pieces were lively and (unlike Gerontius) fun.
Full review
BMOP Interview
November 19, 2007 — Catherine Stephan, Executive Director of Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) Tell us about the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, how it was formed, it's raison d'etre.
Composition Today Full interview
Thoroughly modern opening for new Bowdoin recital hall
November 14, 2007 — I wish that all the people who claim to hate "modern" music had been able to attend Saturday's concert of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at Bowdoin College's new Studzinsky Recital Hall. Works composed in the 21st century range from Renaissance harmonies through Romantic lyricism to the craggiest of dissonance. The writing varied in quality, but the program transfixed the large audience and held its interest throughout, appealing to the intellect and the emotions.
Portland Press Herald Full review
Boston Modern Orchestra Project Launches Own Label
November 14, 2007 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), an orchestra devoted exclusively to performing and commissioning new music, has announced it will launch an in-house record label, BMOP Sound, in January. BMOP Sound will release five world premiere CDs early next year: John Harbison's Ulysses, Michael Gandolfi's Y2K Compliant, Gunther Schuller's Journey Into Jazz (with the composer narrating), Lee Hyla's Lives of the Saints (with mezzo-soprano Mary Nessinger), and Charles Fussell's Wilde (with baritone Sanford Sylvan).
Playbill Arts Full coverage
Conductor stands Boston music on its ear
November 14, 2007 — A couple of weeks ago, conductor Gil Rose was sitting in a local Indian restaurant, looking improbably relaxed. As music director of Opera Boston, he had the opening night of Osvaldo Golijov's flamenco opera Ainadamar looming over his head, and as founder of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, he had four daunting contemporary scores waiting to be whipped into shape for a concert at Jordan Hall.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
A primer on reinventing the concerto
November 6, 2007 — "Re-Inventions," the opening concert of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's 11th season, promised "glorious and subversive music for keyboards." While none of the four pieces heard Friday night fully lived up to either adjective, they did present individual and strikingly resourceful ideas on how the concerto, a timeworn musical form, could be reimagined for the present.
The Boston Globe Full review
Ears wide open
October 28, 2007 — A couple of weeks ago, conductor Gil Rose was sitting in a local Indian restaurant, looking improbably relaxed. As music director of Opera Boston, he had the opening night of Osvaldo Golijov's flamenco opera Ainadamar looming over his head, and as founder of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, he had four daunting contemporary scores waiting to be whipped into shape for a concert that takes place this Friday night at Jordan Hall.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
Concertos, premieres for BMOP's new season
August 24, 2007 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project's 11th season will focus on concertos, pairing the orchestra with a wide array of local and international soloists. The season, announced today, offers BMOP's customary mix of the cutting-edge and the merely modern, including no fewer than 10 world premieres.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
Del Tredici, Oteri, Gil Rose and Imani Winds Receive 2007 ASCAP Concert Music Awards
May 24, 2007 — The eighth annual ASCAP Concert Music Awards will be presented this evening at 5:00 p.m in the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. Hosting the invitation-only event will be composer/performer/radio host/comedic luminary Peter Schickele will host the event. (He will not be appearing in the guise of the musicologist from the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople and authority on P.D.Q. Bach, though he likely to provide more than a few laughs nevertheless.)
Full coverage
Maestro, is that a DJ with your orchestra?
May 21, 2007 — Anyone who caught the Ben Folds performance with the Boston Pops last week and was struck by the thinness of the meeting of musical worlds should have been there on Saturday night at Sanders Theatre to hear the Boston Modern Orchestra Project tee off on three bracingly imaginative works infused with rock 'n' roll and other popular styles.
The Boston Globe Full review
Modern Orchesta blooms with Rose
May 19, 2007 — Gil Rose and his Boston Modern Orchestra Project are nothing if not adventurous, playing all sorts of new music and bringing classical music to pubs and bars. Tonight they take that spirit even further by performing Anthony De Ritis' Devolution: A Concerto for DJ and Orchestra featuring DJ Spooky the Subliminal Kid; Steven Mackey's Dreamhouse featuring electric guitars and vocalists; and the world premiere of Evan Ziporyn's Hard Drive. The program, at Sanders Theatre, is part of the Celebrity Series Boston Marquee performances.
Full coverage
Roll over, Beethoven
May 18, 2007 — In the basement of the Masonic Hall in Porter Square, conductor Gil Rose is giving members of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project fair warning. "This is going to get pretty loud," he says.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
Northeastern University Composer Bridges Musical Worlds With Unique Score Featuring DJ Spooky
May 16, 2007 — Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will perform Devolution, an original piece composed by Northeastern professor Anthony De Ritis and featuring DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller) on May 19th at 8 p.m. at the Sanders Theater, as part of the Bank of America Celebrity Series.
Full coverage
American tragedy receives a lyrical touch
March 29, 2007 — President Abraham Lincoln's assassination and the surrounding events are seen through the prism of musical drama in the world premiere of Our American Cousin, a new opera by Amherst College composer Eric Sawyer and librettist John Shoptaw.
The Republican Full coverage
Dulcimer, dances mark Fromm event
March 24, 2007 — CAMBRIDGE -- Pull enough threads in American contemporary music of the last 50 years and you'll arrive at the Fromm Foundation, which has funded commissions from many of the 20th century's most distinguished composers. Paul Fromm (1906-1987) was an emigre who fled Nazi Germany and settled in this country, establishing a successful wine importing business in Chicago and, later, a foundation pledged "to restore to the composer his rightful position at the center of musical life."
The Boston Globe Full review
A night at Ford's Theater: Opera revives Lincoln's assassination
March 23, 2007 — When Laura Keene took the stage of Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. to greet the audience on April 14, 1865, she had every good reason to anticipate a fine evening ahead. With her theater company, she was poised to present a sure crowd-pleaser, Broadway's first smash hit. The assemblage included distinguished guests President Lincoln and the First Lady. And five days earlier, the surrender of Confederate General Lee to U.S. Grant at Appomattox had ended the long nightmare of the Civil War that had split the nation in two.
Amherst Bulletin Full coverage
Surveying the musical landscape of France
March 13, 2007 — A few minutes into the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's performance of Pascal Dusapin's chamber-ensemble piece Coda, Gil Rose brought the music to a sudden halt. He calmly explained to the audience that he'd just encountered "every conductor's nightmare": He'd turned three pages in his score at once. And when that happens, he said with a small smile, there's nothing to do but start over.
The Boston Globe Full review
A Boston connection with style
January 31, 2007 — Now in its 10th season, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project is a vibrant presence on the city's new music scene, a group with omnivorous musical appetites and impressive collective chops. Its calendar this season is crowded with contemporary music, from the avant-garde of France to the avant-garde of New Jersey. But once a year, BMOP tunes its questing ears to the music produced specifically by local composers, or at least those with local ties. The group's annual "Boston Connection" program took place Saturday night in Jordan Hall.
The Boston Globe Full review
Change of venue is music to their ears
December 7, 2006 — On Tuesday night, I attended two richly satisfying concerts without stepping foot in a concert hall. The first was a new music program presented by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at the Moonshine Room of the popular Club Cafe in the South End; the second was a performance by the up-and-coming Parker String Quartet in the Lizard Lounge, a low-slung basement club space in Cambridge. Next month, the Firebird Ensemble will perform in a local barbecue joint.
The Boston Globe Full review
Letter from Boston: BMOP drops six more into the kitty
November 18, 2006 — BMOP (the Boston Modern Orchestra Project), now in its 10th season, is on the side of the angels when it comes to being good musical citizens. Can anyone doubt it? To begin with, when they use the word Project, that's exactly what they mean. Everything on their recent (Nov. 3) Jordan Hall concert - some six works by four composers - was slated for commercial recording immediately afterward. With this done, the BMOP discography will amount to an impressive 20 releases.
Sequenza 21 Full coverage
A classic start for composer with BMOP
November 7, 2006 — Founded a decade ago, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project has risen to the front ranks of American contemporary-music ensembles through its fire, precision, and commitment to new work. BMOP's 10th season opened Friday at Jordan Hall with a concert including two pieces by emerging singer and composer Lisa Bielawa, 38, inaugurating her three-year residency with the orchestra. BMOP's typically canny programming surrounded Bielawa's works with beautifully complementary compositions - two, like hers, inspired by literary sources.
The Boston Globe Full review
Angels in America
June 29, 2006 — By calling his drama Angels in America "a Gay Fantasia on National Themes," Tony Kushner implies that his two-part, seven-hour saga about America's response to Aids operates like a musical work; perhaps he even envisioned that it might one day be turned into an opera. That day came in 2004 when the Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös's opera had its premiere at the Châtelet in Paris. That a long play had been transformed into a shortish opera (2? hours) provoked little dissent, but critics held that Eötvös's music lacked a strong profile.
The Financial Times Full review
Some Angels: Opera Unlimited does Tony Kushner
June 21, 2006 — Whatever anyone thinks of the actual opera, congratulations are again in order to Opera Unlimited, the collaboration between music director Gil Rose's Opera Boston and his Boston Modern Orchestra Project, this time for bringing to Boston the American premiere of Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös's attempt to make an opera out of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, his Pulitzer-winning play about the AIDS epidemic and the collapse of public and personal values under Reagan (one remaining performance, June 24 at the Majestic Theatre).
The Boston Phoenix Full review
'Angels in America,' Already Operatic, Is Now Presented as an Opera
June 19, 2006 — Much of life is spent thinking about death. Primary in our thoughts are the rate of its approach and hour of its arrival. It is a little like driving a car whose accelerator and brakes are out of our control. This idea may explain the public's hideous and enduring fascination with executions and suicides, for in both cases time races and the date is set. People are in control.
The New York Times Full review
Soul-searching fills musical 'Angels'
June 17, 2006 — Tony Kushner's Angels in America is an epic, historical, political, personal , and apocalyptic drama that is also an opera waiting to happen. It is full of larger-than-life characters who deliver long aria-speeches of interior questioning; characters meet each other in dream landscapes and there are interwoven, simultaneous episodes that resemble operatic ensembles. There is even a grand death scene.
The Boston Globe Full review
Voices of 'Angels'
June 16, 2006 — Of all the works of art that arose out of the AIDS epidemic, none has so completely transcended its origins as Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Somewhere between its first productions in the early 1990s and now, Kushner's epic play ceased being a work about AIDS and became one of the great American dramas of the last 50 years.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
BMOP raps up another crowd-pleasing season
May 29, 2006 — Conductor Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project closed this season's subscription series Friday night with a good-time program of crossover music.
The Boston Globe Full review
Highbrow Big Band; Boston Modern Orchestra Project Swings both ways
May 24, 2006 — I believe I'm supposed to blame Theodor Adorno for this, but somewhere along the way in the 20th century's formative years, modern music got divvied up between "serious" and "popular" ears. As lame distinctions go, this one has proven particularly persistent, hanging around to this day in boiled-down form as an opposition between fun and not-fun. In any case, it has left us with an unnecessary schism in the way we understand American music.
The Weekly Dig Full interview
New Orleans benefit kicks off new Celebrity Series season
April 28, 2006 — The 68th season of Bank of America Celebrity Series opens with ''A Cajun Celebration" Oct. 15, featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in a benefit performance for the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund and the Celebrity Series Arts, Education and Community Program. The season brings 74 performances in 11 venues by performers including major dance companies, orchestras, pianists, singers, chamber music ensembles, and world music, jazz, popular, and folk artists.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
Grandeur and intimacy
April 26, 2006 — ...And in the Moonshine Room at the Club Café, one of the off-the-formal-concert-hall-beats of Gil Rose's Boston Modern Orchestra Project, we got a rich program, with extraordinary soloists. A percussion tour de force by Samuel Solomon in John Cage's paradoxically but accurately titled Composed Improvisation for Snare Drum (Solomon using not only his hands and drum sticks, but also a pencil, a gavel, pebbles, space change, and his breath). Rafael Popper-Keizer's powerful rendition of the last-movement Ciaccona from Benjamin Britten's Second Cello Suite.
The Boston Phoenix Full review
BMOP looks East for fascinating program
March 14, 2006 — To write a concerto for an indigenous instrument may be an obvious way to create a multicultural piece, but it is not the easiest. Most folk instruments don't have the power to compete with an orchestra, although electronics can help; most also involve tunings that can't mesh with the compromises of the well-tempered Western scale.
The Boston Globe Full review
Troupe to premiere "Angels"
February 17, 2006 — The centerpiece of Opera Unlimited's 2006 festival will be the first North American performance of Peter Eotvos's Angels in America, an opera based on the award-winning play by Tony Kushner. The opera was premiered at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris in 2004, and there was a subsequent production in Hamburg. There will be four performances in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts June 16-20.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
Performance of 'Saints' so good it was sinful
January 30, 2006 — The concert began with a composition set At Suma Beach, but a summa of a different kind highlighted this Pitt Music on the Edge event at Bellefield Hall in Oakland. Guest composer Lee Hyla's Lives of the Saints, a work for solo voice and chamber ensemble, not only took theology as its subject, but also amounted to a virtual musical treatise.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full review
'Connection' Proves Spirited and Spiritual
January 25, 2006 — An indelible image from Saturday's Boston Modern Orchestra Project concert was that of mezzo soprano Mary Nessinger, shouting through a megaphone some wisdom from St. Francis about perfect joy.
The Boston Globe Full review
Project brings death to life in "Trilogy"
November 18, 2005 — This season may bring no more important event than the American premiere of Louis Andriessen's Trilogy of the Last Day, which was at the center of last night's concert by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. This terrifying hourlong work gathers texts from an almost impossibly wide variety of cultures and eras to ask a daringly simple question: How do we represent death to ourselves?
The Boston Globe Full review
Stephen Paulus: The Five Senses-Windows of the Mind
November 7, 2005 — Admit it: You giggled when someone who certainly was no James Earl Jones whined out Peter and the Wolf or Copland's A Lincoln Portrait with your local community orchestra. Even worse was the suffering through the uppity soprano who mangled Pierrot Lunaire while you were in music school. And don't even get me started on the past-Weillian spoken chorus work in Blitzstein's Regina.
Sequenza 21 Full review
"Premiere is a work of complexity," The Boston Globe says of Andriessen's latest piece
November 4, 2005 — The Dutch composer Louis Andriessen has won the respect of warring factions within the contemporary-music world. At 66, Andriessen has kept his footing at the cutting edge of the avant-garde for more than four decades; at the same time, the imagination and precision of his workmanship rival those of the most mandarin masters of modernism.
The Boston Globe Full coverage
Tribute's mix of cultures unleashes stirring sounds from East and West
May 30, 2005 — Toru Takemitsu, nearly a decade after his death at 65, remains Japan's best-known composer. His many concert pieces and more than 90 film scores echo Debussy, Messiaen, and Webern, as well as traditional Japanese music. But the largely self-taught Takemitsu maintained that his ultimate masters were Duke Ellington and nature. Saturday night, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project presented a stirring tribute to Takemitsu, including two memorial pieces, one by up-and-coming Japanese-American composer Ken Ueno, the other by well-known, Chinese-born Tan Dun.
The Boston Globe Full review
BMOP salutes Toru Takemitsu
May 19, 2005 — Next Friday at Jordan Hall, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project will celebrate the 75th birthday of one of the most individual and iconoclastic composers of the 20th century. Not that Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) is a household name, even in classical-music circles. And it's hardly simple-minded to ask who exactly he was, since Takemitsu has been assimilated into Western tradition more fully than any other Asian composer.
The Boston Phoenix Full coverage
Bernard Rands: Canti Trilogy
May 2, 2005 — About a year ago, Arsis put a big advertising push behind a CD called Songs of Love that featured the music of Bernard Rands (b. 1934) and that of his wife, Augusta Read Thomas. I kind of blew hot and cold over that disc, but not this time. This is the real deal, a three-part work made up of what amounts to three independent song cycles, one for each of the vocalists, accompanied by either orchestra or, as here, a large chamber ensemble that is one of the most striking works I can recall hearing and one that only grows in my estimation each time I listen to it.
Fanfare Full review
Varied minimalism works are played to maximum effect
February 21, 2005 — "The greatest virtue of Friday's "Minimalism" concert by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project was to raise the question of whether the minimalism tag has outlived its relevance. Each of the four works the orchestra presented - three by minimalism's leading lights and one by BMOP's composer-in-residence, Elena Ruehr - adopted some conventions of the minimalist aesthetic, but each took them in such different directions that it's doubtful the label is now anything more than a convenient, generic shorthand. . .
The Boston Globe Full review
Rose Blooms in Unlikely Place
January 7, 2005 — "Is that a conductor's baton or a divining rod that Gil Rose waves around in front of the musicians of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project? . . .Thanks to a combination of Rose's savvy programming and the notable skill of the orchestra's musicians, BMOP is in its eighth season of orchestral concerts. But that divining rod keeps taking Rose and BMOP down even more unusual paths.
The Boston Herald Full coverage
BMOP Begins Season in Daring Style
October 3, 2004 — "The Boston Modern Orchestra Project filled Jordan Hall with song at its Friday-night season opener. The program, titled "Voices," featured music for voice and orchestra delivered by a stage full of Boston's finest musicians led by artistic director Gil Rose. . . . . .Rose and company then dazzled with their go-for-the-gusto playing of the wall-shaking Sacred Song of Reconciliation by George Rochberg. Set to a Hebrew text, the music portrays the fearsome power of the Old Testament God. Bass-baritone David Kravitz conveyed that power in a performance of staggering impact.
The Boston Herald Full review
BMOP Soars Through Graceful Season Finale
May 23, 2004 — "A dazzling world premiere by Evan Ziporyn and the appearance of not one but two celebrated guest soloists distinguished the final concert of this year's Boston Modern Orchestra Project season at Jordan Hall on Friday. Renowned "new music" pianist Ursula Oppens applied her unfailingly insightful curiosity and sublime graciousness of touch to Augusta Read Thomas's 2000 intermittently appealing Aurora. And master clarinetist Richard Stoltzman's playing impressed as usual in Stephen Hartke's 2001 Clarinet Concerto....
The Boston Globe Full review
Reza Vali: Flute Concerto; Deylaman; Folk Songs (Set No. 10)
March 30, 2004 — Reza Vali, who was born in Iran, will probably be a new name to most readers. Vali is now based in the USA and has been the recipient of several prestigious awards and commissions.
Classical Music Web Full review
Lee Hyla: Trans
March 8, 2004 — Lee Hyla writes in a tremendously compressed style in which shape and gesture stand in for conventional melody despite an often clear tonal orientation. Rhythm also plays an important role in activating his musical textures and maintaining linear transparency, and it's clear from a cursory listen to any of these three works that Hyla writes with a great deal of talent and confidence. The Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra begins sweetly with innocent murmurs, but the soloist evidently has anger-management issues and spends much of the work's 11 minutes wailing like a demented saxophone.
ClassicsToday.com Full review
High Flying, Risk Taking
January 1, 2004 — "The Boston Modern Orchestra Project is forever explaining its name. "BMOP" (pronounced BEE-mop) to its friends, the group's full name encapsulates its mission: a full-sized professional Orchestra, based in Boston, dedicated to performing Modern works. Within the "Project" element lies the group's true niche - expressing not only modern repertoire but also modern organizational structure. Artistic Director and Founder Gil Rose explains that "the whole thing was set up as an effort to create a different format for what an orchestra is.
Symphony Magazine Full coverage
The Best Classical CD's of 2003
December 21, 2003 — Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose (New World) "The Boston-based composer Arthur Berger died in October at 91, and this beautiful recording of his complete orchestral music makes a fitting testimonial. The five works range over 33 years, from the New-Classical Ideas of Order (1952) to the serialist Perspectives II (1985), and each abounds in pungent harmonic writing, transparent textures, and urbane sassiness." - Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
The New York Times Full coverage
Tod Machover: The Hyperstring Trilogy
August 12, 2003 — The music on this disc is so good, you'd be tempted to proclaim it one of the best new-music discs of the decade were the pieces not 10 or more years old. The M.I.T-based Machover spent the late 80's and early 90's developing hybrid electronic instruments, though this disc shows his greatest talent is that of a composer. More than Pierre Boulez, Machover composes for electronically generated sound as if it were his first language.
The Philadelphia Inquirer Full review
Tod Machover: The Hyperstring Trilogy
August 12, 2003 — Tod Machover's Hyperstring Trilogy, on the Oxingale label and by some distance the most exhilarating disc release of these otherwise drab summer months, sets off memories of the not-too-distant past and stirs up all kinds of hopes for a not-too-hopeless future.
LA Weekly Full review
BMOP's recording of Foss' Griffelkin receives perfect score
August 9, 2003 — Artistic Quality: 10 Sound Quality: 10 Lukas Foss composed Griffelkin for the NBC television network, which broadcast the opera on November 6, 1955. Although Griffelkin is based on a children's fable, Foss wanted it to appeal to listeners ages "8 to 80," so he wrote in a very accessible though not simplistic musical style--and the story has enough of a mature subtext to interest adults as well as children (as all good "children's" music must).
ClassicsToday Full review
Eric Chasalow: Left To His Own Devices
July 31, 2003 — New Jersey-born Chasalow is Professor of Music at Brandeis University, so unsurprisingly the nine works presented on this varied and satisfying album reference a diverse range of influences and styles, from the post-modern reworkings of Beethoven and Brahms idioms (1998's string trio Yes, I Really Did) to Jerome Kern (Crossing Boundaries), Dizzy Gillespie (Out of Joint), Eric Dolphy (In A Manner of Speaking) and the doyen of American academia Milton Babbitt.
Paris Transatlantic Magazine Full review
George Rochberg: Black Sounds; Cantio Sacra; Phaedra
January 30, 2003 — Black Sounds, written for a ballet depicting the act of murder, is an unrelentingly intense work that packs a good deal of violence into its 17 minutes. George Rochberg thought of the piece as an "homage" to Varèse, and indeed with its stark, near-atonal language, repetitive phrases, and broad, colorful percussion array, it sounds a good deal like the French/American composer's music, including its scoring for wind ensemble.
ClassicsToday Full review
A Bold Declaration: Experiencing BMOP's Modern Music
March 1, 2002 — ". . .if even a conductor gets lost in the dense leaves of the modern music tree, what hope is there for the rest of us? Well, [Gil] Rose's point is partly that no one should feel threatened by any piece of music since no particular style can claim "high ground" any longer. In other words, it is perfectly valid to simply rely on our gut feelings about which types of music we like; there is no danger of thereby committing any artistic faux pas. Yet, still, how can listeners put what they hear into some kind of meaningful context amidst such a cacophony of competing musical values?
ArtsEditor Full coverage
Poetry in Songs Reflecting Sun and Moon
March 30, 2000 — The Boston Modern Orchestra Project - as represented by the 11 players who appeared at Miller Theater under the group's founder and conductor, Gil Rose - is extremely able and musical. Performing Bernard Rands's three astronomical Canti of the late 1980s and early '90s last Thurday, Mr. Rose and his team filled the music with rich, decisive ensemble colors and magnificent solos in scores whose dominant expressive position is one of rapture, these musicians were rapturous....
The New York Times Full coverage