This Week in Classical Music with Randy Kinkel 03/25/18

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Hope Named MD of New Century Chamber Orch;

My Lai Opera

 

It’s “This Week in Classical Music”- An update on what’s happening in the Classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.

 

British violinist Daniel Hope has been named the new music director of the San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra.

His appointment officially begins at the start of the 2018-19 season, and will run five years.

With the appointment, Hope, a virtuoso soloist who also directs other ensembles as concertmaster, becomes New Century’s fourth music director, Hope said he was delighted with the job: “The connection I felt with each and every member of this fine orchestra was immediate from the first moment we played together,” he said.

Former New Century Chamber Orchestra MDs include Stuart Canin (1992-99), Krista Bennion Feeney (1999-2006) and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (2008-17.)

Hope brought the Zurich Chamber Orchestra to the Scottsdale center this weekend for Vivaldi’s 4 seasons.

 

The 50th anniversary this month of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War is being commemorated with performances of the chamber opera My Lai with the Kronos Quartet.

The chamber opera’s libretto, by Harriett Scott Chessman, is a character study of Chief Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, Jr, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot who tried to intervene during the massacre.

It features tenor Rinde Eckert as Thompson, reflecting on the war as he is dying of cancer in a V.A. hospital, and the Vietnamese-born musician Van-Ahn Vo, who accompanies Kronos on three Vietnamese instruments, the dan bau and dan tranh (two types of zithers), and the t’rung, a helix-shaped xylophone.

Stanford University Music Professor Jonathan Berger, who composed My Lai, said he was in his early teens when he read articles about the massacre, “Hearing the story of Hugh Thompson was a life-changing moment.” He says.

Berger pitched the opera to Kronos violinist David Harrington, who said the opera  “felt perfectly aligned with the work we’ve done all these years.  It felt very natural to me.”

Performances have been held in Los Angeles and Iowa City; Harrington also said Kronos plans to record My Lai.

 

For more on these and other items and events, go to the website, K-B-A-C-H dot org; Be listening each week at this time for another update. Follow us on Facebook and twitter, and also listen every weekday at Noon for the Most Wanted Hour with Linda Cassidy, playing your top 100 classical hits.  I’m Randy Kinkel for KBACH’s “This Week in Classical Music”; Member supported 89.5 KBAQ Phoenix and HD, a service of Rio Salado College and Arizona State University.