Sonatas and Soundscapes

Katherine Escobar / Escobar Photography

It’s a common plot for an opera: an endangered female character awaits rescue from the male lead.  But Ludwig van Beethoven wasn’t generally one to settle for common.

In his opera Fidelio, it is the female protagonist who saves the day. Disguising herself as a prison guard named “Fidelio,” the courageous Leonore rescues her ailing husband, Florestan, from his imprisonment.

http://sepf.music.sc.edu/

Entering its sixteenth year, the Southeastern Piano Festival will once again bring rising talents and seasoned performers alike to the University of South Carolina School of Music and other venues around the city of Columbia. The festival, which takes place from June 17th-23rd, is comprised of a series of performances, learning opportunities, a community outreach event, piano competition, and winners’ recital.

Pedja Muzijevic.
pedjamuzijevic.com

At home performing the sonatas of both Joseph Haydn and John Cage, Pedja Muzijevic is a versatile musician. Pedja’s skills as a pianist and harpsichordist make him an important part of the Spoleto Festival USA Bank of America Chamber Music Series at Dock Street Theatre, which features works from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century over the course of eleven programs.

This year, Pedja is taking his talents beyond the Dock Street’s stage to the Charleston Gaillard Center, where he’s performing a piano concerto by his favorite composer for the genre: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Reggie Workman at the Charleston Jazz Academy.
Leigh Webber

Working with jazz legends like John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, and numerous others has given double bassist Reggie Workman more than a little perspective on music-making. On Monday, June 4th, the eighty-year-old exponent of hard bop and avant-garde jazz shared some of that perspective with students through a lecture/demonstration at the Charleston Jazz Academy. The academy, located on West Montague Avenue in North Charleston, absorbed the Leonard School of Music in 2017, and is the educational arm of Charleston Jazz.

Peter Moore
Twitter @peter_moore

With string quartets, piano trios, and woodwind quintets often receiving the spotlight, the trombone is seldom a contender for pride of place among instruments featured in chamber music programs. If included at all, it’s often sharing the stage with four other instruments as part of a brass quintet.

But for this year’s Spoleto Festival USA Chamber Music Series, the trombone is representing the brass family all by itself.

Spoleto Festival USA presents the US premiere of Liza Lim's Tree of Codes, based in part on Jonathan Safran Foer's book.
Nina Jua Klein

Among the featured operas of the 2018 Spoleto Festival is Tree of Codes, a 2015 work by Australian composer Liza Lim.  The opera received its US premiere on May 26th at Dock Street Theatre, and is being performed there through June 7th under the direction of Ong Keng Sen. Performing Tree of Codes is the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, conducted by John Kennedy. Singers Elliot Madore and Marisol Montalvo fill the two on-stage roles.

The JACK Quartet
Shervin Lainez

Coordinated playing is essential for the members of an internationally-recognized string quartet... coordinated choreography, not so much.

Unless that quartet is taking on Mark Applebaum’s Darmstadt Kindergarten.

Composer, double-bassist, Doug Balliett
metropolisensemble.org/

From playing double bass, to teaching historic performance at Julliard, to writing poetry and works of music, contemporary American composer Doug Balliett stays busy. As composer-in-residence for the chamber music series of the forty-second Spoleto Festival USA, Doug is not only providing original works, arrangements, and guidance on their interpretation, but is also a performer in a majority of the series’ thirty-three concerts. The series runs through June 10th, with all performances held at the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston.

Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company presents Cimarosa's opera at the Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston, May 28 to May 30. Members of the Westminster Choir will accompany the opera.
Photo courtesy of Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company

With its humorous situations, tangle of love interests, and recognizably-flawed characters, Domenico Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto (The Secret Marriage) is an emblematic example of eighteenth-century opera buffa. A feel-good production of its day, Il Matrimonio Segreto was the type of work that had those in an audience laughing as much at themselves as the cast members before them. In other words, relatability was one of its hallmarks.

For pianist Paolo Gualdi, variety is an important part of being a well-rounded musician. 

According to the Francis Marion University professor, “It’s a great advantage to be open to many, many different kinds of music. It doesn’t matter what you’re listening to, as long as it’s high-quality, as long as there’s something interesting about it.”

Sonatas and Soundscapes will be featuring performances from the 2017 Bank of America Chamber Music Series performances at the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, SC. These broadcasts will continue through Friday, June 16.

It may go without saying that Ken Lam, music director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, is well-versed in matters relating to the study and performance of some of the world's greatest works of music--several conducting awards and time spent learning from maestros like Leonard Slatkin are proof enough of that. What might be more surprising is that his resume also includes an economics degree from Cambridge and a decade of experience in law.

As Observatory Manager at the South Carolina State Museum, Dr. Matthew Whitehouse is keeping busy with a few preparations for the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st—he has even written a piece of music inspired by the event. The astronomy educator is also an organist and composer, and doesn’t mind taking an interdisciplinary approach when it comes to celestial phenomena. In fact, merging seemingly separate fields is one of his major interests.

Bela Fleck Talks About the Juno Concerto

Nov 10, 2016
Bela Fleck
Courtesy of the artist

Alfred Turner had a chance to talk with musician and composer Béla Fleck a few days before his visit to Columbia, SC, to perform his new banjo concerto, the Juno Concerto. Beck was scheduled to perform the work on November 13, at the Koger Center, with the South Carolina Philharmonic, under music director Morihiko Nakahara. Just in case you aren't familiar with Béla Fleck, there are some who say he's the world’s premier banjo player. 

Carter Callison grew up in the Upstate of South Carolina but recently completed his graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Carter is a double bassist, composer and inventor of Scordatura Pedals for the bass. In this podcast, Carter shares about his varied influences and his inventions.