New music nirvana. If the music is new, nifty, and noteworthy, chances are Spoleto's resident conductor John Kennedy knows about it, and is wracking his bountiful brains to figure out a way to bring it to us during Spoleto. And winnowing down the best contemporary music is no easy task, given the fact that there are more active composers around right now than have existed throughout all of human history.
Art reflects (even tragic) life. And a prime example of that will happen in the opening program, offering U.S. premieres of music for chamber orchestra by leading Japanese tunesmiths Toshi Ichiyanagi, Toshio Hosokawa, and Somei Satoh. Two of the scheduled works were inspired by the horrific 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The fourth and final program will explore instrumental "dramas" by Chinese master Guo Wenjing and British sensation Tansy Davies.
Achtung! Back by popular demand for the second program will be the fabulous Bowed Piano Ensemble, with 10 furiously busy musicians playing music by Stephen Scott on a single prepared grand piano. We last thrilled to their enchanting sounds in Spoleto 2007. Lots of folks got turned away from that event, so this appearance is moving to a larger venue, the Memminger. Speaking of who's back, the third program will offer a piano-laced conversation with Philip Glass, composer of Kepler, this year's big opera — celebrating both Glass' long Spoleto history and his 75th birthday.