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Scenes from Childhood

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, at 8 pm

Dumbarton Concerts

Historic Dumbarton Church

3133 Dumbarton Street, NW

Washington, DC

Tickets: $30-$35

PostClassical celebrates the Wagner and Britten centenaries with a program featuring seraphic music by both composers, including Wagner’s sublime Siegfried Idyll in its original version, a little-known children’s song by Wagner and Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.

Also: the first performance since 1898 of the children’s chorus “Good Night,” composed by Wagner’s American disciple Anton Seidl.

A special pre-concert feature at 7 pm: Britten’s inflamed Solo Cello Suite No. 1, composed for Mstislav Rostropovich.

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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded PostClassical $200,000 in support of three planned festivals

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded PostClassical Ensemble $200,000 in support of three planned festivals: “Mexican Revolution” this Spring, “A Mahler Portrait” in Spring 2015, and a season-long American music festival in 2015-16.

The Mexican festival, which includes a concert, a conference, a gala, and a book club, will be hosted by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the Mexican Cultural Institute, and Georgetown University. The culminating event, on May 10 at the Clarice Smith Center, will feature the iconic Mexican film “Redes” (1935) with the soundtrack, by Silvestre Revueltas, performed live by a 50-piece orchestra. Concurrently, PostClassical Ensemble will create its third Naxos DVD – “Mexican Revolution,” incorporating “Redes” with a new soundtrack.

The Mahler festival will include concerts, a short play about the marriage of Gustav and Alma Mahler, and a conference at the Austrian Cultural Forum focusing on “Mahler in America,” and “Mahler and Jewishness.”

The American festival will link to the book “Classical Music in America” by PostClassical Ensemble Artistic Director Joseph Horowitz. As composer-in-residence, the Swiss-American composer/saxophonist Daniel Schnyder will compose a commissioned concerto for the pipa virtuoso Min Xiao-fen.

The new grant is the Ensemble’s second three-year $200,000 gift from the Mellon Foundation. The previous grant supported such projects as the Ensemble’s fully staged production of Manuel de Falla’s “El Amor Brujo,” which this March is seen in New York City as part of the New York Flamenco Festival. A forthcoming PostClassical Ensemble Naxos CD – “Dvorak and America,” featuring world premiere recordings of a “Hiawatha Melodrama” and Indianist works by Arthur Farwell – is also Mellon-supported.

In a joint statement, Horowitz and PostClassical Ensemble Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez said:

 “This is a challenging moment for American orchestras. Looking to the future, many find themselves faced with a choice between innovation and retrenchment. We founded PostClassical Ensemble a decade ago with a mission to explore fresh repertoire and new performance formats. The generous funding that we enjoy from the Mellon Foundation is crucial to our capacity to put our artistic mission first; it supports risks we could not otherwise afford. Thanks to the Mellon Foundation, we have been able to launch festivals of Stravinsky and Shostakovich incorporating theater and film. We’ve been able to collaborate with Georgetown University – our Educational Partner – on new productions of ‘A Soldier’s Tale’ and ‘El Amor Brujo.’ We’ve been able to create and record a “Hiawatha Melodrama” combining Longfellow’s poem with excerpts from three Dvorak works.

“We undertake projects of this kind in the conviction that they can impact both locally and nationally. And in fact most of the programming supported by the Mellon Foundation yields an afterlife outside the DC/Baltimore area. Our ‘Stravinsky Project’ generated a four-hour radio special produced and distributed by WFMT/Chicago. ‘Schubert Uncorked’ and ‘Amor Brujo’ have been adapted and produced in New York City and Seattle. Our scripted presentation ‘Charles Ives: A Life in Music’ has been seen in Seattle, and over the next three seasons will be adapted by four other American orchestras. We feel we can play a role in rethinking how symphonic programming can connect to audiences, universities, and communities.”

This season’s “Mexican Revolution” is a month-long immersion experience. The core participants include the Mexican singer Eugenia Leon, the Revueltas scholar Roberto Kolb, and the Georgetown University historian John Tutino. The “book club” event, at the Mexican Cultural Institute on April 5, will screen Elia Kazan’s film “Viva Zapata” for readers of John Steinbeck’s “Zapata.” The conference, at Georgetown University on April 11, will include presentations on social and cultural aspects of the Mexican Revolution in conjunction with a performance by the Georgetown University Orchestra. The Clarice Smith Center concert on May 10 will include performances by Eugenia Leon and a visual track created by the video artist Peter Bogdanoff.

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