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New Golijov Work Coming to NEC


NEC Philharmonia’s  upcoming concert on October 26 will include the east coast premiere and second performance overall of Osvaldo Golijov’s Sidereus, conducted by returning NEC alumna Mei-Ann Chen, who led world premiere at Memphis Symphony, Oct  17. The work was commissioned to honor Henry Fogel, a leader in the field of orchestral management and advocacy and the organizer of the Commissioning Consortium of The League of American Orchestras. By the end of the year Sidereus will have been performed by 35 orchestras ranging in importance from Chicago and Baltimore Symphonies down to a dozen or more regional orchestras.

Mei-Ann Chen with Osvaldo Golijov

Scored for chamber orchestra, the new work has a somewhat mysterious title that may refer obliquely to Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius, a 400-year-old treatise on celestial observations made through a telescope. Golijov offered the following tantalizing comment about the name: “I was hoping for a giant object from outer space, floating ominously above us. I hope that with all the superlow instruments and the compressing and expanding accents in bass trombone and bass [clarinet], we can generate enough overtones and strange atmospheres there.”

Sidereus Nuncius cartouche from Galileo’s frontipiece

Osvaldo Golijov is one of Boston’s most accessible, prolific and popular composers. Some of the better known pieces from his varied output include:  Yiddishbbuk for string quartet, The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind for clarinet and string quartet, a folksong cycle Ayre, the opera Ainadamar, and a major BSO commission, La Pasión Según San Marcos. His Azul for cello and orchestra will be premiered this December with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Yo-Yo MA.

NEC publicist Ellen Pfeifer adds, “[Golijov] will bring in some new music to be inserted at the Monday morning rehearsal. So, Tuesday’s performance will be a kind of second premiere.” Also on the program are Dvorák’s Scherzo Capriccioso and Rimsky-Korsakoff’s Sheherazade. The violin soloist in the latter work, Quan Yuan ’12, a student of Donald Weilerstein, was the winner of a competition.

The concert at 8 p.m. in NEC’s Jordan Hall is free and open to the public.

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