Voilinist Rachel Barton Pine returns to Idaho in March to perform with Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra. This is a rare chance to see this renowned artist in an intimate chamber setting. LISA-MARIE MAZZUCCO
It’s lucky 13 for Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra. The group landed renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine for its 13th season. She will perform with Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra in March.
This marks the renowned violist’s sixth time in Boise and second engagement with Boise Baroque. A favorite of local audiences, she last played with this chamber group in 2013 for its 10th anniversary.
Pine is a rare and unconventional artist. A true virtuoso, she can soar on a concerto and shred with her heavy metal band Earthen Grave. She also can fiddle like the devil and play the heck out of “Happy Birthday” (see the video below).
In March, she will play Locatelli’s Violin Concerto in D and Vivaldi’s Concerto for Viola d’amore.
Viola d’amore is a Baroque-era instrument that is similar to a violin, yet even sweeter and warmer in sound. Pine’s playing of it is spellbinding.
Other season highlights include Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in February and Vivaldi’s “Gloria” in October with the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale.
Boise Baroque also will join Ballet Idaho for its “Winter Repertory” concert, playing Bach’s Double Violin Concerto for the company’s performance of Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco” at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at the Morrison Center.
By Dana Oland
Jim Cockey. Photo by Hollenbaugh Photography
by DANA OLAND in the IDAHOSTATESMAN
When Boise Baroque Orchestra artistic director Dan Stern commissioned a piece inspired by the Jewish liturgy from Jim Cockey, the composer had no idea of the personal journey he would embark upon.
The early discussions about the work began centering on the Holocaust as a possible topic because April is Holocaust Remembrance Month.
“I just ran with that,” Cockey says, but it took him somewhere he didn’t expect. Cockey realized that he is Jewish, a fact that was hidden by his mother when he was growing up.
“I remember when I was very young my brother told me we were Jewish and not to tell anyone because if something bad happened they would come for us,” Cockey says. “I realized my mother in Idaho in the 1950s was still terrified of what might happen. It helped me understand the power (the Holocaust) has to affect generations.”
The piece for orchestra, baritone and choir starts in darkness and transcends toward hope through the stories and poetry of Holocaust survivors. Cockey’s score mixes musical lyricism with contemporary dissonance, inspired by Eastern European folk music.
Boise Baroque Orchestra, Opera Idaho Chorus and baritone Jason Detwiler will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 24 and 2 p.m. April 26 at the Cathedral of the Rockies, 717 N. 11th St., Boise. $25 general, $20 seniors and students at boisebaroque.org and at the door.
Boise Baroque Orchestra artistic director Dan Stern suffered a stroke in early August. He's now in recovery, and he'll share the podium this weekend with Boise Philharmonic music director Robert Franz for the chamber orchestra’s opening concert.
“Once my schedule fell into place, it was an easy yes,” Franz says. “Helping a colleague like Dan is important. Both Dan and Jim (Ogle) did so much get the philharmonic to where it is today. It’s the least I can do.”
For BBO’s season opener on Sept. 19 and 21, Franz will conduct Bach’s Suite No. 3, in D Major, and Gabrielli’s “Canzon in Double Echo.” Stern will lead the closing Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 with guest pianist Victor Steinhardt.
A violinist, Stern is in his 10th season as Boise Baroque’s conductor. He was the music director of the Boise Philharmonic from 1974 to 1987. Ogle led the Boise Phil from 1987 to 2006, when he stepped down after suffering a stroke. Franz took the helm in 2008 after a year-long search for a new music director by the company.
“It’s been historic. I never would have imagined that the philharmonic director would ever lead the Baroque,” Stern says. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Stern went in for a hip replacement Aug. 4. The surgery went fine, but the next day he suffered a stroke shortly before he was scheduled to go home. He spent three more weeks in the hospital.
“It was terrifying,” Stern says. “I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t know who I was. I couldn’t move or let my wishes be known. My wife (violinist Paula Stern) and daughter (Frances) stayed with me the whole time in the ICU.”
Since then, Stern’s recovery has been steady, he says.
“My stamina isn’t what it was, but I realize your average 71-year-old guy in rehab has no real reason to go home because they can’t do the things they love to do,” Stern says. “I’m lucky. I have Mozart to come back to. It was a motivation.”
The Boise Baroque Orchestra was founded in 2003 under conductor Richard Roller. Stern took over in September 2005 and has led the group since. BBO has grown over the years and includes many members who also play with the Philharmonic and enjoy the chance to play chamber music, which is a very different animal from symphonic music.
“It’s been great for me, because I get to conduct Bach two weeks in a row,” Franz says. The philharmonic will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 at its opening concert Sept. 26 and 27.
DANA OLAND - DOLAND@IDAHOSTATESMAN.COM
By Tara Morgan for Boise Weekly
For its second production of the year, Ballet Idaho is teaming up with the Boise Baroque Orchestra to present Baroque!, a selection of three ballets set to traditional Baroque music with four performances over three days at the Boise State Special Events Center.
"There's no comparison in terms of the audience experience," Ballet Executive Director Julie Numbers Smith said of a performance with live music. "To have live music triples the magic the audience can experience by seeing beautiful movement and hearing the live strings ... That's the magic of live theater, you can't replicate that."
The first ballet on the program, Trianon, features choreography by Artistic Director Peter Anastos set to traditional French dance music from the Palace of Versailles, while the second ballet, Violin Concerto #3 is based around music by Johann Sebastian Bach with choreography by Ballet Master Alex Ossadnik. Finally, Handel in the Strand (Concerti Grossi, Op. 6) is a high-energy celebration of the music of George Frederic Handel choreographed by Anastos.
And it's all performed to live music.
Davie Thiel for Boise Weekly
If you think that a baroque orchestra is restricted to playing the music of 17th- and 18th-century composers like Bach, Handel and Telemann, think again.
This evening, the Boise Baroque Orchestra and the Langroise Trio will perform the world premiere of "Concerto Grosso for String Trio and Orchestra," a never-before-heard piece of music by Idaho composer Jim Cockey.
Cockey, who has a gold album for his work with the Moody Blues and who has previously composed music for the Langroise Trio and the Darkwood Consort, was thrilled when Boise Baroque Music Director Dan Stern approached him with the idea of composing a piece for his orchestra.
"This was an exciting opportunity because I have a personal connection to the Langroise Trio and string trios in general," said Cockey. "Also, I feel a special association with chamber orchestras."
As Cockey set out to compose the piece, which seeks to bridge the Baroque and Romantic Periods, one goal was to create solos that would showcase the considerable talents of the Langroise Trio (Geoffrey Trabichoff, David Johnson and Samuel Smith). While many elements influence and constrain the direction a composer takes, because of Cockey's long-time relationship with the Trio, the musical personalities of the soloists were major factors as he composed their solos.
"Writing for Geoffrey is a blast because I'm also a violinist and we just seem to speak the same musical language," said Cockey. "He interprets and plays music exactly the way I imagined."
Violist David Johnson presented an entirely different challenge. "As I considered David's solo parts, I must remember that he's an incredibly melodic player," Cockey said.
Last but not least, it should be apparent at the concert that Cockey had the most fun writing for cellist Samuel Smith. "I can definitely go left field with Sam because he has a personality and a breadth of musical interests that allow me to go wild," Cockey said. "I definitely give it to Sam in the last movement and let him run. Sam calls the solo 'funkadelic.'"
You might expect a composer to feel some doubt and anxiety as an orchestra prepares to debut an entirely new piece of music to a discerning audience who will undoubtedly compare it to masterpieces that have survived and flourished over the millennium.
Not Cockey. "I'm especially proud of the second movement, which is titled 'Air.' It came out really, really nice. It's absolutely gorgeous, and I think everyone will like it."
In addition to the world premiere, the evening's program will also feature Karlin Coolidge, flute, during Bach's "Overture (Suite) No. 2, in B minor," and will conclude with Mozart's "Divertimento No. 11."
"The Bach piece is a tour de force for flute," Stern explained. "And I'm constantly amazed by Mozart, who, even when writing what is essentially music for a social gathering, can turn out incredible gems like the 'Divertimento.' This program spans four centuries of music, and I hope we will delight our audience."
By David Thiel for Boise Weekly
If you are a lover of classical music, don't miss the Boise Baroque Orchestra's '07-'08 season debut.
Conducted by music director, Daniel Stern, Idaho's premier chamber orchestra opens their fifth season with a performance tonight at the Nampa Civic Center with nods to the works of Bach, Boyce, Rameau, Barber and Hoffmeister. [split]
Also on display will be solo performances by Dawn Douhit, Karlin Coolidge, Jennifer Rhees and Jennifer Drake (pictured).
The ebullient Drake, who also plays with the Boise Philharmonic and the popular viola bass clarinet duo Darkwood Consort, will be featured during the Hoffmeister Viola Concerto.
"This is a great piece of music that you don't hear too often," Drake says. "As a whole it is upbeat and cheerful -; strongly resembling a Mozart violin concerto. Being the viola player makes it even better!"
Drake has given considerable thought to her cadenzas -; those unwritten passages which allow the soloist an opportunity to display their virtuosity and musical taste.
"Improvisation is fun, but the challenge is playing in the style of the composition. I've taken the time to write out my cadenzas."
Discussing the upcoming season, music director Daniel Stern notes that the orchestra's repertoire is not strictly limited to Baroque compositions.
"Although we perform masterpieces from the 17th and 18th centuries, the orchestra also plays classics written beyond the Baroque period," Stern says. "We always try to enrich the palette of music to which our audience is exposed.
By David Thiel for Boise Weekly
Many daughters might politely decline an offer to work for their father, but Rebecca Stern jumped at the opportunity.
As the Boise Baroque Orchestra's guest violin soloist this weekend, Rebecca will be performing under the baton of her father, BBO music director, Dan Stern.[split]
"It's a really comfortable situation," Rebecca says. "My father and I have a mutual respect for each other, so we can openly share ideas and discuss music. It's really fun for me to get back to Boise."
Currently a member of the Fort Worth Symphony, and having earned degrees from the University of Miami and the Eastman School of Music, Stern has had the opportunity to study with many accomplished violin teachers.
However, she proudly acknowledges the influence of her father, who began teaching her violin at the age of three.
"Quite literally," Stern says, "my father taught me everything I know!"
Among the selections featuring violinist Stern is Vitali's "Ciaccona."
"This piece is often performed with keyboard or continuo (cello and harpsichord) accompaniment," Stern says. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play it with the wonderful Respighi orchestration, which combines the best of the Baroque and Romantic styles."
The evening's repertoire will also include Frederick II's "Symphony No. 2 in G for Strings," J.S. Bach's "Concerto for Violin and Strings in E Major" and Telemann's "Tafelmusik III."
By David Thiel for Boise Weekly
If you are a lover of classical music, don't miss the Boise Baroque Orchestra's '06-'07 season premiere. Conducted by music director, Dr. Daniel Stern, Idaho's premier chamber orchestra enters their fourth season with a performance this evening at the Nampa Civic Center Auditorium. [split]
Discussing the upcoming season's program, Stern notes that the orchestra's repertoire is not strictly limited to Baroque compositions.
"Although we perform masterpieces from the 17th and 18th centuries, the orchestra also plays classics written beyond the Baroque period," says Stern. "We always try to enrich the palette of music to which our audience is exposed."
The evening's program will open with Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #5 and, as a continuation of Boise Baroque's tribute to the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, the finale will be Mozart's Serenade for 13 Winds, or the "Grand Partita."
In the 18th century, serenades were typically dance suites performed outdoors. They usually served to honor and entertain royalty at social events.
"What makes the Mozart serenade so beautiful," says Stern, "is that it contains a lyricism more typical of his vocal writing. Some of the slow movements in this piece are just heavenly."
Mozart fans may also recall Antonio Salieri's impassioned description of the "Grand Partita" from the movie Amadeus: "On the page it looked nothing. The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse -; bassoons and basset horns -; like a rusty squeezebox. Then suddenly -; high above it -; an oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, till a clarinet took over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! This was a music I'd never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing a voice of God."
Written in 1719, music scholars believe that the Brandenburg Concerto #5 was composed to feature a new harpsichord that Bach had acquired in Berlin. The concerto is also perfectly suited to highlight the virtuosity of the player, because it contains one of the longest and most challenging solo cadenzas in the literature.
Confronted with this daunting assignment, Boise Baroque harpsichordist David Tacher has been diligently rehearsing the piece for several months.
"It contains some incredibly fast passages," says Tacher. "I'd include Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #5 among the most demanding pieces I've ever been asked to play."
By Sara Beitia for Boise Weekly
Now in their third season, Boise Baroque Orchestra has already had its first performance of the season with brand-new conductor, Daniel Stern. To find out more about this amazing chamber orchestra, its current season and what lies ahead, BW chatted with Stern and got the skinny on Boise Baroque.
BW: How did you come to be the orchestra's new conductor, and why were you interested in the position?
Stern: To make it very simple, they asked me. Richard Roller, who was the founding director and started the orchestra a couple of years ago, we knew each other--when Richard's regular employment took him out of state, the board of the orchestra approached me to replace him.
The principle area of my training was as a musician. I was a director of a philharmonic for many years and so forth. It's not what I do for a living now, but you never really leave it. Given an opportunity to conduct on a part-time basis, and to do it with a group of fine professionals such as these, was just an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
When my relationship with the [Boise] Philharmonic ended in 1987, my intention at that time was to go back into teaching. And, for lack of a better description, reality and I had an abrupt meeting in 1987--which was that in order for me to have done that after having been out for so long, I would have had to make several adjustments in my life, both geographically and financially, which made it ... highly desirable for me to stay here in Boise. And obviously there aren't that many jobs for conductors here in Boise, so I took the opportunity to expand my horizons and had a mid-life career change. I was approached by a friend who at that time was in the insurance business, and that's how I got into the financial world.
Really nothing until now [with Boise Baroque] came up that really attracted my interest all that much that was in the realm of something I could realistically consider.
There are things you do because they're meaningful to you and they're enjoyable. Musicians are especially good at doing something they enjoy not being paid very well for.
How is the season shaping up?
The orchestra is just a fine, fine group of people--fun to work with and able to do amazing things. I think people who have not heard us are going to be very surprised at what's available to the community that they may not have been aware of ... We have the product and we're out trying to build the audience, as compared to the other way around 30 years ago [with the Boise Philharmonic].
What are you looking forward to in working with Boise Baroque?
All of the musicians in Boise Baroque are there because they want to be, obviously. They're not there for any other reason. They're there because they enjoy making music and I'm there because I enjoy making music. No one gives up that many evenings for hardly more than it costs a babysitter to be there except if they truly enjoy what they're doing.
When you really enjoy something, you want to share it with people and our objective is to play beautiful music--that which is somewhat outside of the purview of the Philharmonic, due to size considerations. The Philharmonic, of necessity, concentrates mostly on 19th and 20th century music, with some forays into the 18th, but that's not where most of their repertoire lies. So we have a large bunch of music that if Boise Baroque doesn't do it, will probably not be performed here very often. This is very enjoyable, very accessible music and we enjoy playing it a great deal and more than that, we enjoy sharing it with people. So our challenge is to get people to know and hear what we've done and hope that they enjoy it so much that they come again and bring 10 friends. You have to share things that you really love.
Boise Baroque Orchestra doesn't play just baroque music ... ?
I think the people in New York had it right. There's an orchestra there called Mostly Mozart and they say, "This is our main objective and our main focus, but it's not our exclusive focus." Basically, we're a chamber orchestra, and occasionally we will wander from the baroque. ... Quite frankly, 2006 is the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth and we're not going to ignore that. Most of the time, if we do [non-baroque] composers, we will do works from their repertory that are not likely to be done by the Philharmonic. Typically, if Boise Baroque does a Mozart symphony, it would be one of his earlier works, one that normally the larger orchestras wouldn't do. Same thing with Hayden. Hayden wrote 104 symphonies and you hear maybe five of them.
How will you leave an imprint on Boise Baroque Orchestra?
My approach to baroque music is not to be overly fussy about authenticity on the hardware end, but to try to be as close to authentic, while at the same time, not having it be a distraction for the audience but rather something that enhances their enjoyment. And that's a compromise we have to make.
There are practical limitations [to period authenticity] when you don't live in London or New York. If we want to perform baroque music with original instruments--if we want a mandolin player, it's a little tougher for us to find one, or a basset horn player, or a viola da gamba player. And it's not enough to just find one; it wouldn't do us any good to have two authentic 17th century violins in the orchestra--you'd never hear them because the others wouldn't be authentic. So what I try to do is try to approach authenticity in other ways--through the ornamentation that we use, through the tempos we select, through the way the pieces are played. Yet we playing these pieces with modern instruments for modern audiences.
Boise Baroque Orchestra performs highlights from Handel's Judas Maccabaeus with the Boise Baroque Chorus on Fri., Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Caldwell at Jewett Auditorium, Albertson College of Idaho, 2112 E. Cleveland Blvd., and again in Boise on Sun., Nov. 13 at All Saints Episcopal Church, 704 S. Latah St., 344-2537.
By Sara Beitia for Boise Weekly
The Boise Baroque Orchestra has immense talent behind its 20-plus ensemble-members play with the Boise Philharmonic, Langroise Trio and Darkwood Consort-but just 11 prior performances to its credit in this its second season, before a June 17 performance at Albertson College. The group's professionalism was tried by a peculiar turn of events. They came through splendidly.
The draw of Friday's performance: The Boise Baroque Orchestra would present Mozart's violin concertos Nos. 2, 3 and 5, with special guest soloist Geoffrey Trabichoff on a Stradivarius violin.
Our audience of appreciative laypeople was especially excited to hear the talented Trabichoff play the 300-year-old Stradivarius. In a turn of events worthy of the Muir Mackenzie Strad's colorful history, the performance didn't happen as planned. Trabichoff, conductor Richard Roller and the orchestra learned minutes before showtime that the Strad was waylaid in Vienna, Austria (visiting a prospective buyer, promised to be returned in time). Backstage, disappointment was palpable and a similar audience reaction likely.
With nothing else to be done, Roller and Trabichoff joined the orchestra onstage and wordlessly began Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major. The audience was given no hint that anything was up, and it wasn't evident from the performance. From the playful Allegro, to the rending Adagio through the Rondeau, Trabichoff's violin sang over a beautiful foundation set by the orchestra.
Only after the standing ovation following the first piece was there any mention of the absent Stradivarius. Roller made a short, light and stoical announcement. From an audience perspective, this seemed a wise move, allowing people to purely enjoy the beauty of Mozart's composition and the virtuosity of playing, unclouded by disappointment. We were delightfully tricked into enjoying the show anyway. As Roller quipped, Trabichoff's virtuosity would shine through if he played a violin crafted last Thursday. Before resuming, Trabichoff also said a few words, some about his own violin, a wonderful instrument after the Stradivarius model.
Moving past the Strad tragedy, Roller gave some history about the evening's program. Written when Mozart was 19 and the concertmaster of the Salzburg Orchestra, the concerti demonstrate, as Roller put it, the young prodigy's "Eddie Haskell" side-prankishness getting the better of his court manners in these musically aggressive pieces. Concerto No. 5 in particular, defying the accepted style, was determined to shock. This explanation added a dimension to the performance, deepening our listening, understanding and enjoyment of the music we heard.
After Concerto No. 3 and the announcement, we were treated to Violin Concerto No 2 in D Major. There was a brief intermission, then the orchestra closed the evening with Concerto No. 5 in A Major, which given the history Roller provided, warranted a particularly attentive listen, trying to hear Mozart's youthful tricks in the notes.
Another particularly interesting feature of the performance were the cadenzas (solos that "show the virtuosity of the player," in Roller's words) improvised in each concerto, fascinating to hear Trabichoff coax from his instrument. Equally fascinating was the intuition of the conductor in bringing soloist and orchestra back together.
The final note of No. 5 came not with fireworks, but a breath-and the music seemed to float away. The fireworks came with the thunderous standing ovation. The Stradivarius was by then beside the point-with or without it, the evening's performance was truly beautiful and thoroughly enjoyed.