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It’s a ‘sister act’ for California Chamber Orchestra’s season debut

By in Press Enterprise on November 2, 2017

By Sherli Leonard

California Chamber Orchestra’s season-opening concert on Saturday will be a “sister act,” with the ensemble presenting music by composers Nadia and Lili Boulanger and performances by the Jung Trio.

“This concert will celebrate and explore the influence of some very famous sisters in classical music,” said Dana Zimbric, the orchestra’s artistic director and conductor. “The Boulanger sisters were among the most important musicians of the 20th century.”

Nadia and Lili Boulanger, circa 1913

Twentieth century composers from around the world traveled to France to study with Nadia Boulanger, who taught composition at the Paris Conservatory. Students included Aaron Copland, Philip Glass, Quincy Jones, Astor Piazzolla, and Burt Bacharach.

“She also worked with Igor Stravinsky, whose work, ‘Dumbarton Oaks’ Concerto, we will perform at the concert,” Zimbric said. “They collaborated so closely that Boulanger was the first person to conduct the concerto premiere when Stravinsky fell ill and she took over.”

Her gift was guiding the composers to find their own voice, she added. “Piazzolla, for example, had composed symphonies, operas and chamber music, yet he was still being ignored by the music world. When Boulanger heard him play and listened to his compositions, she told him that the tango was his gift. She helped him and others to find the core of their art.”

The orchestra will perform Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” and also two short works by Lili Boulanger, who, in 1913, was the first woman to win the Rome Prize for composition.

Lili died at age 24 from longtime health complications. Nadia lived into her 90s.

Also on the program is a work by Louise Ferrenc, a 19th-century composer who attained note even though most musicians at the time believed a woman could not handle composing counterpoint. The orchestra will perform her piece, “Nonet in E-Flat Major.”

Performing as soloists with the orchestra will be […]    

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