2017-18 Artist Series
Jonathan Biss, piano
Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 / 8 p.m.
Pianist Jonathan Biss shares his talent, passion and intellectual curiosity with classical music lovers in the concert hall and beyond. Over nearly two decades on the concert stage, he has forged relationships with the New York Philharmonic; the Philadelphia, Cleveland and Philharmonia orchestras; the Boston, Chicago and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras; and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, among many others.
This season Biss continues his latest Beethoven project, Beethoven/5, for which the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has co-commissioned five composers to write new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven’s. The five-year plan began last season, with Biss premiering Timo Andres’s The Blind Banister, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music and which Biss is playing with the New York Philharmonic in the spring of 2017. This season he premieres Sally Beamish’s concerto, paired with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, before performing it with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. In the next three years Biss will premiere concertos by Salvatore Sciarrino, Caroline Shaw and Brett Dean.
Sasha Cooke, mezzo soprano
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 / 8 p.m.
Grammy Award–winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has been called a “luminous standout” (New York Times) and “equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness” (Opera News). Cooke appears frequently this season singing Mahler, whose works she has sung to great acclaim on four different continents. Sought after by the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies and chamber music ensembles for her versatile repertoire and commitment to new music, Cooke’s season continues to bring world premiere performances and unique artistic collaborations.
Cooke bookended her 2016–17 season with opera performances of Hänsel und Gretel at the Seattle Opera and a world premiere by composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell titled The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at The Santa Fe Opera. Throughout the season, her orchestral engagements include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Riccardo Muti leading Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible, Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Carnegie Hall and a staged version of Verdi’s Requiem with Houston Grand Opera under Patrick Summers.
Colin Currie, percussion
Friday, March 30, 2018 / 8 p.m.
Hailed as “the world’s finest and most daring percussionist” (Spectator), Colin Currie is a solo and chamber artist at the peak of his powers. Championing new music at the highest level, Currie is the soloist of choice for many of today’s foremost composers, and he performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors. A dynamic and adventurous soloist, Currie’s unrivalled commitment to commissioning and creating new music was recognized in 2015 by the Royal Philharmonic Society, which awarded him the Instrumentalist Award. From his earliest years Currie forged a pioneering path in creating new music for percussion, winning the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2000 and receiving a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2005.
Currie has premiered works by composers such as Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, HK Gruber, James MacMillan, Anna Clyne, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Ross Edwards, Jennifer Higdon, Kalevi Aho, Rolf Wallin, Kurt Schwertsik, Simon Holt, Alexander Goehr, Andrew Norman, Dave Maric, Julia Wolfe and Nico Muhly. Looking ahead, in the coming seasons Currie will premiere new works by Mark-Anthony Turnage, Harrison Birtwistle and Andy Akiho. Currie is artist in association at London’s Southbank Centre, where he was the focus of a major percussion festival, Metal Wood Skin, in 2014, featuring premieres by Steve Reich, Anna Clyne, James MacMillan Percussion Concerto No.2 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Louis Andriessen’s Tapdance with Asko-Schoenberg Ensemble alongside the school’s concerts and percussion workshops. Currie is also artist in residence with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra.
Joshua Roman, cello, with JACK Quartet
Saturday, April 21, 2018 / 8 p.m.
Joshua Roman has earned an international reputation for his wide-ranging repertoire, a commitment to communicating the essence of music in visionary ways, artistic leadership and versatility. As well as being a celebrated performer, he is recognized as an accomplished composer, curator and programmer.
Highlights of recent seasons have included a solo performance on the TED2015 main stage, performances with the Columbus Symphony and a program of chamber works by Lera Auerbach at San Francisco Performances with Auerbach and violinist Philippe Quint. He also served as alumnus in residence at the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. As artistic director of Town Music in Seattle, he has showcased his own eclectic musical influences and chamber music favorites, as well as promoting newly commissioned works. Under his direction, the series has offered world premieres of compositions by some of today’s brightest young composers and performances by cutting-edge ensembles.
The recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA’s Trailblazer Award and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, JACK Quartet has performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Lucerne Festival, La Biennale di Venezia, Suntory Hall, Festival Internacional Cervatino and Teatro Colón.
Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards and cellist Kevin McFarland, JACK is focused on new work, leading them to collaborate with composers John Luther Adams, Chaya Czernowin, Simon Steen-Andersen, Caroline Shaw, Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Reich, Matthias Pintscher and John Zorn. Upcoming and recent premieres include works by Derek Bermel, Cenk Ergün, Roger Reynolds, Toby Twining and Georg Friedrich Haas.
This concert is also a part of the New Music Series at Lawrence.