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Nicholas Tolle, cimbalom and artistic director of the Ludovico Ensemble, is joined by violinist Lilit Hartunian for solo and duo works by György Kurtág and Ludovico composer-in-residence Mischa Salkind Pearl. Salkind-Pearl's Palm's Soft Terrain for cimbalom, Where I'm Likely to Find It for violin, and the premier of a new piece (Lines and Traces of Desire) for the duo are paired with Kurtág's Splinters for cimbalom, Signs, Games, and Messages for violin, and Eight Duos.
GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Splinters op.6c (1973)
MISCHA SALKIND-PEARL: Where I’m Likely to Find It (2012)
I. if not
II. the sound
III. the wind
GYÖRGY KURTÁG: 8 Duos for Violin and Cimbalom op.4 (1961)
GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Sings, Games, and Messages [excerpts] (1989-2004)
Hommage à John Cage
… féerie d’automne …
The Cerenza Jig
MISCHA SALKIND-PEARL: Palm’s Soft Terrain (2018)
I. Undulating Herringbone
II. Basket Weave
III. Mary Ann Ostrander Pattern [Elaboration on Brahms’ Ballade op.10, no.4, mm.47-73]
MISCHA SALKIND-PEARL: Lines and Traces of Desire (2022)
V. Sonata in E Major: Adagio (Blasco de Nebra)
The three pieces presented on this concert all aim toward some representation of searching. Where I’m Likely to Find It takes as its seed the yearning to uncover something unknown, without even knowing where to begin: the aspiration, resignation, patience, determination, and waiting. The violin meanders, assembling scraps of melody that rarely coalesce, as if held to the strings by gravity. In composing Palm’s Soft Terrain the act of designing the score was a link to practices outside of my own—specifically this piece deals with patterns of traditional American weaving patterns, interpreting their characteristics loosely through notation. The third movement adopts a cutting from Brahms; based on a traditional double-weave pattern—in which two patterns are woven simultaneously, on top of one another—this movement unweaves and stretches Brahms’ material, overlaying it with a contrasting pattern. Writing this was a means of touching a practice to which I’m no longer connected. Lines and Traces of Desire is a duo for two voices seeking a shared tongue. Two movements are gestural, statements that never form a thought; a unison movement refuses to allow either voice to lead; in another the utterances are fragmented but continuous, a kind of stream of consciousness. The final movement establishes a vocabulary as the two voices excavate the memory of an early-Classical sonata and leave fingerprints in the dust.
About the Artists
Nicholas Tolle, cimbalom, is one of America's premiere cimbalom artists. In 2019 he won 3rd prize in the Budapest Music Center International Cimbalom Competition where he was the only finalist from North America. In August 2019 he made his eleventh visit to the Lucerne Festival to perform the works of Wolfgang Rihm and Heinz Holliger. He has performed as soloist in Pierre Boulez’ Repons with the composer conducting at the Lucerne Festival in 2009, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal with Péter Eötvös in 2012, and with Steven Schick at UC San Diego in 2017. He has appeared as a soloist with Collage New Music and Orchestra 2001 performing Steve Mackey’s 5 Animated Shorts, and with numerous orchestras performing Kodály’s Háry János Suite. He has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, and the New York Philharmonic. A leading interpreter of new cimbalom music, he frequently performs with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Signal, and the Talea Ensemble.
Inspired to study the cimbalom by György Kurtág’s music, Nicholas is deeply committed to expanding the instrument’s repertoire. He has commissioned numerous solo and chamber works, has worked with composers such as Louis Andriessen, George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, and Hilda Paredes, and has had pieces written for him by Marti Epstein, John Harbison, Brad Lubman, Juri Seo, Andy Vores, and many others. He has presented lectures on composing for cimbalom at Princeton University, Tufts University, the Hartt School, and the Eastman School of Music. A Tanglewood Music Center fellow in 2006 and 2007, Nicholas studied percussion at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, New England Conservatory, and Boston Conservatory. He is featured performing Boulez’s Repons in the EuroArts documentary Inheriting the Future of Music: Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Academy, and in Kurtág's music for cimbalom and voice on soprano Susan Narucki's 2019 album The Edge of Silence, which was nominated for a 2020 Grammy award. His recording of Kurtág’s Seven Songs from The Edge of Silence was named one of the best classical tracks of 2019 by the New York Times.
Lilit Hartunian, violin, performs at the forefront of contemporary music innovation, both as soloist and highly in-demand collaborative artist. First prize winner in the 2021 Black House Collective New Music Soloist Competition, Ms. Hartunian’s "Paganiniesque virtuosity" and “captivating and luxurious tone” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) are frequently on display at the major concert halls of Boston, including multiple solo performances at Jordan Hall and chamber music at Symphony Hall (Boston Symphony Orchestra Insights Series), as well as at leading academic institutions, including the New England Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory, Brandeis University, and Tufts University, where she often appears as both soloist and new music specialist. Described as “brilliantly rhapsodic” by the Harvard Crimson, Ms. Hartunian can be heard on Mode Records, Innova Recording, SEAMUS records, New Focus Records, and on self-released albums by Ludovico Ensemble and Kirsten Volness. She has appeared as soloist in the SEAMUS, SCI, NYCEMF, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, Open Sound, and Third Practice festivals. Ms. Hartunian frequently performs works written for her by leading composers, including a world premiere by Guggenheim Fellow Marti Epstein, duo recitals with composers John McDonald and Ryan Vigil, and both audio album and special video projects with composer Sid Richardson. A long-time collaborator with the the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Ms. Hartunian curated and performed a season of chamber music paired with visual art in the museum’s collection in her one-year chamber music residency, Vellumsound, and has also given numerous solo recitals at the museum, including an innovative online performance that reached over 20,000 viewers and was picked up by Forbes Magazine. As collaborative artist and ensemble musician, Ms. Hartunian regularly performs with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, A Far Cry, Sound Icon, Emmanuel Music, Callithumpian Consort, Guerilla Opera, and Ludovico Ensemble, and recently performed as guest artist with the Lydian Quartet and the Arneis Quartet. For recordings, photos, and news, visit www.lilithartunian.com.
The Ludovico Ensemble is a Boston-based chamber ensemble specializing in modern music. Founded in 2002 by percussionist Nicholas Tolle, the group is known for its carefully curated programs focusing on specific and often unusual instrumentations. From 2007-2014, the group held the position of Ensemble-In-Residence at the Boston Conservatory. In 2010, the group released its first album featuring chamber music by the late Dana Brayton, former composition teacher at the Boston Conservatory. The Boston Globe hailed Ludovico’s recording of Marti Epstein’s Hypnagogia as one of the best classical albums of 2015, and Alex Ross of The New Yorker called it a new release of interest. In 2016 the group released its third album featuring the music of Composer–In–Residence Mischa Salkind-Pearl. The group consists of many of the best freelancers and new music specialists in Boston, and its instrumentation varies wildly from concert to concert as the repertoire demands. In addition to their regular concerts in Boston, Ludovico Ensemble has been invited to perform at the ICA, Mass MOCA, Rockport Music, the Andy Warhol Museum (PA), and the Brattleboro Art Museum (VT). The group's name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fictional medical treatment featured in the Anthony Burgess novel and Stanley Kubrick movie "A Clockwork Orange," in which the protagonist is subjected to a classical conditioning regimen that induces nausea at the sight of violent or exploitative acts, but also, inadvertently, to the music of Beethoven.
György Kurtág was born at Lugos (Lugoj in Romania) on 19 February 1926. From 1940 he took piano lessons from Magda Kardos and studied composition with Max Eisikovits in Timisoara. Moving to Budapest, he enrolled at the Academy of Music in 1946 where his teachers included Sándor Veress and Ferenc Farkas (composition), Pál Kadosa (piano) and Leó Weiner (chamber music).
In 1957-58 Kurtág studied in Paris with Marianne Stein and attended the courses of Messiaen and Milhaud. As a result, he rethought his ideas on composition and marked the first work he wrote after his return to Budapest, a string quartet, as his opus 1.
In 1958-63 Kurtág worked as a répétiteur with the Béla Bartók Music Secondary School in Budapest. In 1960-80 he was répétiteur with soloists of the National Philhamonia. From 1967 he was assistant to Pál Kadosa at the Academy of Music, and the following year he was appointed professor of chamber music. He held this post until his retirement in 1986 and subsequently continued to teach at the Academy until 1993.
With increased freedom of movement in the 1990s he has worked increasingly outside Hungary, as composer in residence with the Berlin Philharmonic (1993-1994), with the Vienna Konzerthaus (1995), in the Netherlands (1996-98), in Berlin again (1998-99), and a Paris residency at the invitation of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Cité de la Musique and the Festival d’Automne.
Kurtág won the prestigious 2006 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his '...concertante...'. His opera Fin de Partie, based on Samuel Beckett's play, was premiered by La Scala Milan in 2018 and was acclaimed as his magnum opus.
Mischa Salkind-Pearl's music has been performed by ensembles around the U.S., Japan, Germany, and Italy. Boston Classical Review named his opera, Troubled Water, (September 2015, Guerilla Opera) the Best Premiere of 2015. Recent and upcoming projects include a second opera for Guerilla Opera, a collaboration with The Rhythm Method and Semiosis string quartets, and a new work for the Two-Way Street duo. Ensembles and soloists he has composed for include ensemble mise-en, Philipp Stäudlin, Tony Arnold, Lilit Hartunian, Transient Canvas, Diagenesis Duo, and Callithumpian Consort. His work, A Poppy of Erasure, was included in the exhibition "Intersections: Masters of Line and Space" at the Akron Art Museum. Mischa was founder and board member of Boston's Equilibrium, an ensemble that presented concerts highlighting the music of Boston's diverse contemporary music community. He is Assistant Professor of Core Studies and Composition at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. His music can be heard on Ludovico Ensemble's portrait CD of his work, I Might Be Wrong, on Transient Canvas’s Wired, and on Chen Li Music's 2017 CD, Pluralities. He is composer-in-residence for the Ludovico Ensemble. www.mischasalkindpearl.com.
Lilit Hartunian, violin
Nicholas Tolle, cimbalom
CONCERT OPERATIONS STAFF
Senior Manager of Performance Technology – Wes Fowler
Performance Technology Technicians – Goran Daskalov, Sara Pagiaro
Production Managers – Kendall Floyd, Nicoleta Savvidou, Yian Shen
Concert Operations Coordinator – Matthew Carey
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