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Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in new articles, News | 0 comments

The Knights and Tenor Nicholas Phan Join Forces in New York and Chicago This Summer

The Knights and Tenor Nicholas Phan Join Forces in New York and Chicago This Summer

The Knights resume their annual two-concert summer collaboration with Central Park’s Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, now in their fifth consecutive season, with a program led by co-founder and artistic director Eric Jacobsen on July 30, featuring the world premiere of the innovative orchestra’s own group composition Chaconne, and a collaboration with tenor Nicholas Phan. Recently hailed as a “major new Britten interpreter” by the New York Times, Phan joins The Knights and hornist Michael P. Atkinson to honor the Britten centennial with a rendition of the English composer’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, which they will then reprise at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival onSeptember 3. This second collaboration is part of an extended Chicago-based Britten residency for Phan, beginning with the starring role in a Britten church parable, performed with soloists from the Chicago Symphony (Aug 17), then as Artistic Director of Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago’s Britten-centenary themed 2013 Collaborative Works Festival (Sept 11-15), and culminating in a solo Britten recital with The University of Chicago Presents (Oct 18).

The Knights launched the 2013 Naumburg Orchestral Concerts season with aplomb last month, prompting the New York Times’ Anthony Tommasini to observe:

“Though the weather was sticky and humid, the music was anything but. … Camaraderie and shared enthusiasm for playing music are what drive the ensemble, and those qualities came through on Tuesday in an adventurous program.” 

For its second appearance in the open-air summer series, the orchestra will debut Chaconne, a group composition inspired by Italian Baroque composer Tarquinio Merula’s Ciaccona, which is founded on a ground bass. As Knights bassist Zach Cohen explains,

“Listening to The Knights’ Chaconne, you will hear musical sections influenced by salsa, Irish reels, gypsy, raga, and free jam all tied together by Merula’s bass line in its different incarnations and variations.” 

Unlike traditional concert music, Cohen continues,

“The Knights’ Chaconne is not a fixed composition but will vary as the musicians who are its composers change and evolve. We hope that this collectively composed piece achieves a synthesis of our diverse musical ideas.”

The world premiere performance of this new group composition shares the program with Britten’s Serenade, featuring guest vocalist Nicholas Phan; contrasting works for strings by C.P.E. Bach and Stravinsky; and J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin, with The Knights’ own oboistAdam Hollander and violinist Johnny Gandelsman as soloists.

Before rejoining The Knights in September, Phan looks forward to premiering a new commission from Ray Lustig, who was recently awarded the Charles Ives Fellowship by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Partnered by pianist Alessio Bax, First Prize-winner in both the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions, the tenor will couple Lustig’s new piece with Schubert’s song cycle Schwanengesang on August 24, as the highpoint of his three-concert residency at the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington in Kentucky.

In recital with Idaho’s Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Phan – who already has two hit Britten albums to his name – juxtaposes the composer’sCanticle I: “My Beloved is Mine” with arias by Handel and Bach (July 28). Then at New York’s Bard Music Festival, the tenor graces a rare concert presentation of Stravinsky’s little-known first opera, the one-act bedroom farce Mavra, with Leon Botstein directing the American Symphony Orchestra (Aug 11). And for the first of his two engagements at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, Phan stars as Nebuchadnezzar in Britten’s church parable The Burning Fiery Furnace, with Chicago Symphony soloists led by James Conlon (Aug 17).

Finally, to close out the summer, Phan revisits Britten’s Serenade with The Knights at Ravinia on September 3. Besides presenting the Chicago premiere of Chaconne and reprising the Bach and Stravinsky works from their New York concert, the orchestra also undertakes works by two preeminent Americans: Copland’s Quiet City and Steve Reich’s Duet for Two Violins and Strings. The soloists in Reich’s double concerto – violinistsAriana Kim and Guillaume Pirard – will once again be drawn from The Knights’ own ranks. 

 

The Knights and Nicholas Phan: upcoming summer engagements

 

July 30 

New York, NY

The Knights and Nicholas Phan

Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park

Naumburg Orchestral Concerts

The Knights / Eric Jacobsen

C.P.E. Bach: Sinfonia in C, WQ 182 No. 3

Stravinsky: Concerto in D

J.S. Bach: Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C minor, BWV 1060

   (with Adam Hollander, oboe; Johnny Gandelsman, violin)

Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings

   (with Nicholas Phan, tenor; Michael P. Atkinson, horn)

The Knights: Chaconne (world premiere)

 

Aug 11 

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Nicholas Phan

Bard Music Festival

American Symphony Orchestra / Leon Botstein

Stravinsky: Mavra (The Hussar)

 

Aug 17

Highland Park, IL

Nicholas Phan

Trinity Episcopal Church

Ravinia Festival

Soloists from the Chicago Symphony / James Conlon

Britten: The Burning Fiery Furnace (Nebuchadnezzar)

 

Aug 23

Lexington, KY

Nicholas Phan

Fasig-Tipton Pavilion

Chamber Music Festival of Lexington

Vaughan Williams: Merciless Beauty

Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge

 

Aug 24

Lexington, KY

Nicholas Phan

Fasig-Tipton Pavilion

Chamber Music Festival of Lexington

Schubert: selections from Schwanengesang

Ray Lustig: world premiere of CMFL commission

 

Aug 25

Lexington, KY

Nicholas Phan

Fasig-Tipton Pavilion

Chamber Music Festival of Lexington

Schubert: selections from Schwanengesang

 

Sept 3

Highland Park, IL

The Knights and Nicholas Phan

Martin Theater

Ravinia Festival

The Knights / Eric Jacobsen

Reich: Duet for Two Violins and Strings

   (with Ariana Kim, violin; Guillaume Pirard, violin)

J.S. Bach: Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C minor, BWV 1060

   (with Adam Hollander, oboe; Johnny Gandelsman, violin)

Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings

   (with Nicholas Phan, tenor; Michael P. Atkinson, horn)

Copland: Quiet City

Stravinsky: Concerto in D

The Knights: Chaconne (Chicago premiere)

 

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