Igor Stravinsky’s L'Histoire du Soldat: A Story for Today
May 8, 2021

In the wake of World War I, Igor Stravinsky was living in Switzerland, cut off from his family estate in Russia. He was receiving no royalties from his publisher in Berlin. Stage performances of his music by Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe were very infrequent. His concert works were virtually dormant. With the Swiss writer C. F. Ramuz, he conceived a small, portable entertainment, requiring neither a large theater nor a large orchestra, in fact suitable for outdoor performance. They imagined a small touring company of players – as an aspiration that proved impractical. But the work itself has vigorously survived.

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Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Violin and Percussion
February 7, 2021

A virtual performance available through March 5

Lou Harrison – the master American composer PCE has championed since 2011 – espoused “world music” before there was a name for it. His profound knowledge of non-Western idioms -- in particular, of Indonesian gamelan – made him the master musical practitioner of cultural fusion. His violin concerto may be considered the most memorable ever composed by an American. The solo part is both fabulously virtuosic and fervently expressive. The “orchestra” includes wash tubs, coffee cans, flower pots, and other “junk percussion” Harrison discovered rummaging with his San Francisco colleague John Cage.

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