&ldquoAs Alsop faced the cellos and drew from them the most tremendously shaped phrases with every inflection of her baton, you were aware of being in the presence of greatness.&rdquo
Musicomh.com
18th July 2017

BSO New Music Festival 2017

One thing is sure. BSO music director Marin Alsop had a great idea and saw it through, giving Baltimore a little taste of what she presided over so successfully for 25 years in California as music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, which packs numerous world, U.S. and regional premieres into a couple of weeks…

Saturday’s intermissionless program provided a followup showcase for Agata Zubel and Kevin Puts, who were on Thursday’s lineup…

The Baltimore-focused video, which includes extensive footage of the Freddie Gray unrest, provides an affecting ode to the good and bad, the hopeful and defeating elements of this city — almost any city, really. And the music Puts created, so full of urgency and rich in atmosphere, sounded as vital as it did when the work was first performed. The BSO poured on the expressive steam, led with expert timing by Alsop.

A pair of East Coast premieres provided an opportunity to absorb different aspects of Zubel’s art…

Alsop conducted strongly etched accounts of both Zubel works, drawing a confident, pinpoint response from the BSO players.

A world premiere opened the evening — Malek Jandali’s “The Silent Ocean,” a score haunted by the appalling loss of life from the war in Syria. The composer outlines here a scenario of a young girl who flees the conflict on a boat and is drowned when it capsizes…

The music’s sincerity and heartache were underlined by Alsop in a performance that found the orchestra producing a darkly lyrical sound. Associate principal cellist Chang Woo Lee phrased the final moments with a poetic touch.

TIM SMITH, THE BALTIMORE SUN

17 JULY, 2017

 

Since taking the helm of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra 10 years ago, music director Marin Alsop has continued to champion contemporary composers and their creations. By commissioning new works and performing them regularly, the maestra has also cultivated an audience that is growing more open to modern compositions. Still, devoting an entire program to new contemporary music and billing it as such can be risky business. Fortunately for Alsop, her followers are both many and devoted, and it was gratifying to see them turn out in solid numbers Saturday evening at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall for the BSO’s inaugural New Music Festival.

GRACE JEAN, WASHINGTON POST

16 JULY, 2017

 

It’s too early to predict if Marin Alsop’s vision of an annual New Music Festival under the auspices of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will be fulfilled. But, judging from the inaugural concert Thursday night at the Peabody Institute, it sure deserves a shot…

The first concert, devoted to chamber works, was given in an intimate spot, Peabody’s Griswold Hall, and drew a full house to hear a mix of BSO players and guest musicians tackle a demanding, engrossing program with technical elan and expressive weight…

Alsop led an intrepid group in a gripping account of Rotae Passionis that found Fiterstein articulating with extra brilliance and terrific percussionists Svet Stoyanov and John Locke making the loudest and softest notes count equally.

TIM SMITH, THE BALTIMORE SUN

14 JULY, 2017