Composer and pianist Timo Andres performed the Impromptu in F minor, Op. 142, No. 1a of Franz Schubert at a Sunday Concerts performance in January. Mr. Andres paired several of these Impromptus with new Etudes by Philip Glass, proposing that the composers share more in common than just their birthdays (January 31st), generations apart.
(left) Dec 6, 1942 program from the Music Department permanent archives (right) Feb 21, 1943 program from the Music Department permanent archives
In honor of Veteran’s Day this week, the Phillips celebrates military musicians serving in the Army Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps Bands. Nearly 100 performances were held in the Phillips’s Music Room between 1939 and 1945, making Sunday Concerts the longest continually-running series in Washington, DC.
Of the many fine military musicians performing at the Phillips, GRAMMY-winning American pianist Earl Wild (1915–2010) was one. Wild is renowned as one of the greatest pianists and all-around musicians in history, and one Harold Schonberg called Wild a “super-virtuoso in the Horowitz class.”
We are proud to boast several Phillips Camerata musicians who presently serve in the US Marine Corps Band, including violinist Karen Johnson and cellist Charlie Powers. On our 75th season anniversary, we honor the legacy of Armed Services musicians in two concerts during our 2015/2016 season, featuring Navy Sea Chanters and the USMCB string ensemble.
Caroline Mousset, Director of Music
Classical music programming is increasingly becoming a vibrant world of experimentation. The familiar paradigm of large Classical and Romantic works concentrated together in a comfortable succession has been shifting for some time. Many performers interject modern works between the old warhorses, illustrating the connections and similarities that unite often disparate sounding musical styles. Some go even further as last Sunday’s performers, Pekka Kuusisto and Nico Muhly, did. Their program interlaced the movements of Bach’s partita for solo violin, No. 2, between works by Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, and some of Muhly’s own chamber music. The effect created a musical thread, a journey for the listener in which each piece led naturally to the next with clarity of purpose and musical vision. Kuusisto and Muhly also spun their take on two traditional Finnish folk songs, music that felt entirely at home with that of Bach, creating the sense that all music shares a fundamental commonality. This simple, humble message was left to the audience to explore in any direction their imaginations chose to take them.
Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto and American composer/pianist Nico Muhly perform at The Phillips Collection. Photo: Joshua Navarro
Read Anne Midgette’s review of the concert in the Washington Post.
Jeremy Ney, Music Specialist