Carnegie Hall Plans South Africa Festival This Fall

The New York Times | Michael Cooper:


A three-week festival of the music and arts of South Africa, a series featuring the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and a monthlong Before Bach celebration of early music will be among the highlights of Carnegie Hall’s 2014-15 season, announced on Wednesday.

 Carnegie Hall

Ubuntu: Music and Arts of South Africa, will run from Oct. 10 through Nov. 5 and feature the music of Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Abdullah Ibrahim and others as well as a program featuring films by the visual artist William Kentridge with the music of Philip Miller, a South African composer.

Clive Gillinson, the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, noted in an interview that the festival would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the first elections in which South Africans of all races were allowed to take part. It “seemed absolutely the right time to do it,” he said. “It’s such an unbelievably diverse nation with so many different cultures, we just thought it was a really good time to bring together that real kaleidoscope of what the country is.”

Carnegie Hall also plans six performances featuring the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, including its opening-night gala on Oct. 1, at which the Berlin Philharmonic will be conducted by Simon Rattle. That concert, and others featuring the Berlin Philharmonic playing a complete Schumann symphony cycle, music by Stravinsky and new work, were announced last month.

The composer Meredith Monk will have a season-long residency that includes five concerts. And the hall’s new Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Education Wing, with rooms and studios for music education, is set to open in September with events for families, young musicians, students and teachers.

Ms. DiDonato, whose career has been exploding in recent years, will be featured in four performances with a wide array of repertory: a concert version of Handel’s “Alcina” with the English Concert, conducted by Harry Bicket; a piano recital of Venice-theme works; a chamber concert with the Brentano String Quartet featuring music by Jake Heggie; and an evening of bel canto backed by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Ms. DiDonato said she was overwhelmed by the opportunity to create her own series. “It’s like being given a blank check at Carnegie Hall,” she said of the season announcement. “An artistic blank check.” she clarified, laughing.

The Before Bach festival will include an all-Purcell program by Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec; Jordi Savall playing the viola da gamba, and leading Le Concert des Nations in a program of French music; two concerts by the Tallis Scholars; and John Eliot Gardiner conducting the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir on a concert version of Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo.”

Leading orchestras from around the country and the world will be making stops at Carnegie. The Boston Symphony Orchestra will give its first New York concerts led by its new music director, Andris Nelsons, three performances that will include the music of Gunther Schuller, Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mahler. The hall will also present the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, led by Riccardo Muti; Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra; James Levine and the Met Orchestra; Pablo Heras-Casado and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra; Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony; and Daniele Gatti and the Vienna Philharmonic.

Gianandrea Noseda will lead the Teatro Regio Torino in a concert performance of Rossini’s “William Tell” featuring the soprano Angela Meade.

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