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April 2010 e-newsletter
In this issue
James Valenti's Met Opera debut
Inon Barnatan at Wigmore Hall
Brooklyn Rider's winter tour
Joshua Roman between airplanes
21C Artists To Watch in the news
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April 17: NYC
James Valenti
Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast
La traviata (Alfredo)

April 20 & 24: NYC
James Valenti
Metropolitan Opera
La traviata (Alfredo)

April 15 & 16: France
Bordeaux & Mimizan
Pablo Heras-Casado
Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine
Fauré, Saint-Saens, Berlioz

April 16: Bethesda, MD
Joyce Yang
Washington Performing Arts Society
Schumann with Takacs Quartet

April 18: Baltimore, MD
Stefan Jackiw
Johns Hopkins Symphony
Berg: Violin Cto.

April 20: NYC
Joyce Yang
Juilliard Recital
Liebermann, Bach, Schumann+

Apr. 21-23: Albany, NY
Joshua Roman
Albany Symphony
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations

April 24: Porto, Spain
Pablo Heras-Casado
Orquesta Sinfónica de la Región de Murcia
Beethoven, Peixinho, Shostakovich

April 25: NYC
Joyce Yang
Performers of Westchester
Recital with Andy Simionescu

April 29: Murcia, Spain
Pablo Heras-Casado
Orquesta Sinfónica de la Región de Murcia
Walton, Prokofiev

Apr. 30, May 1 & 2: Albuquerque, NM
Joyce Yang
New Mexico Symphony
Rachmaninoff: Piano Cto. 2

May 4: Omaha, NE
Inon Barnatan
Tuesday Musical Concert Series
Recital with Alisa Weilerstein

May 5: Denver, CO
Inon Barnatan
Friends of Chamber Music
Recital with Alisa Weilerstein

May 5-9: Toronto, ON
Stefan Jackiw
Toronto Symphony
Mozart: Violin Cto. 3

May 9-13: Netherlands tour:
Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Groningen, Utrecht
Inon Barnatan
Brahms with Liza Ferschtman and Cora Burggraaf

May 16: London, UK
Inon Barnatan
Wigmore Hall recital
Ades, Schubert, Ravel

About 21C Artists To Watch
21C Artists To Watch is an image- and awareness-building program for artists on the brink of major careers in classical music.  Each month, 21C Media Group publishes an e-newsletter profiling several members of this select group and highlighting their recent and upcoming activities.  Read past newsletters here

For inquires regarding any of 21C Artists To Watch, please contact:

Wende Persons
Program Director
21C Media Group
ph (917) 691-1282
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James Valenti's Met Opera debut
James ValentiTenor James Valenti's Metropolitan Opera debut as Alfredo in La traviata was operatic onstage and off, and conductor Leonard Slatkin withdrew after the March 29 opening.  By the end of the run on April 24, the 32-year-old New Jersey native and his co-stars, soprano Angela Gheorghiu and baritone Thomas Hampson, will have sung eight performances with four different conductors.

Valenti's first appearance on the Met stage since winning the 2002 National Council Auditions "won a rousing ovation," writes Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times. "He is tall (over 6 feet 5 inches), handsome and physically agile: qualities reflected in his virile and attractive singing." 

James Jorden in the New York Post concurs: "Valenti revealed a sweet, even lyric tenor, an aristocratic way with a vocal line and easy confidence. It seems downright unfair that he also boasts the smoldering good looks of a male model."

Read Barbara Hoffman's interview with James Valenti in the New York Post: "Voice & Looks: A Perfect Tenor," and tune in on Saturday, April 17 for the Met's worldwide radio broadcast of La traviata

For more information, visit or the IMG Artists web site.  
Inon Barnatan at Wigmore Hall
Barnatan Thumbnail.jpgPianist Inon Barnatan's thoughts are dwelling in darkness these days.  Not because he turned 31 last month (with a hundred good friends at his Manhattan loft), but because Darkness Visible is the theme for his upcoming Wigmore Hall recital in London on May 16.

In Barnatan's words: "All three pieces in the Wigmore Hall program exhibit elements of darkness, but in very different ways. Thomas Adès's 'Darkness Visible' explores John Dowland's haunting song from 1610, 'In Darkness Let Me Dwell.'  Schubert's great A major Sonata provides a brief glimpse of a terrified and desperate soul in an otherwise sunny and lyrical piece, while Ravel's 'La Valse' whisks its dancers into a 'dance macabre,' at once joyful, frenetic and ominous."

New Yorkers got a preview of some of the pieces at the nightclub (Le) Poisson Rouge, as did the New Yorker's Alex Ross, who referred to Barnatan's "brilliant recital" and called him "a player of uncommon sensitivity." The Israeli-born pianist was pictured prominently in Ross's article about the New York nightclub.

The 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient will precede his return to London's exquisite recital venue, and his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra, with a series of solo and chamber music concerts in the Netherlands anchored by Brahms's F-A-E Sonata ("Frei aber einsam" - "free, but lonely"). With violinist Liza Ferschtman and mezzo-soprano Cora Burggraaf, Barnatan tours classic Dutch halls in the coming weeks in Rotterdam, Groningen, Utrecht and Amsterdam, including the Concertgebouw.

For more information, visit or the Opus 3 Artists web site
Brooklyn Rider's winter tour
BR_Angel Orensanz.jpgThe indefatigable musicians of Brooklyn Rider are back in their borough with a stack of rave reviews from a whirlwind two-month tour.  "The group's members may well be classical music's four greatest walking embodiments of hipster," writes Time Out New York's Olivia Giovetti. "You know what? We don't care. Brooklyn Rider is a damn fine quartet. And it had plenty to be proud of last night with a concert celebrating its latest album, Dominant Curve." [Now available on CD from In a Circle Records.]

The New York Times also previewed and reviewed the group's March 15 CD release event. "Among ensembles that have pursued trails blazed by the Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Rider stands out for its consistent refinement, globe-spanning stylistic range, do-it-yourself gumption and integration of standard repertory works into the mix," writes Steve Smith. And critic Allan Kozinn noted, "It is not until the propulsive, rhythmically and texturally fluid performance of the Debussy [Quartet] that you could see how technically polished and interpretively insightful this quartet is."
Three days later, Brooklyn Rider played in Austin, Texas with the distinction of being the only classical group at NPR's showcase at the South By Southwest festival. View the photo gallery.

After the final stop, a concert with Two Foot Yard at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Stearns summed up Brooklyn Rider perfectly: "My reaction on Saturday wasn't 'Isn't this interesting?' but 'Isn't this fun?'"

Visit, and read its winter tour press at the Opus 3 Artists web site.
Joshua Roman between airplanes
BR_Angel Orensanz.jpgFrom center stage in February with the San Francisco Symphony to second cello this week at Seattle's Town Hall, Joshua Roman is racking up two sets of frequent flier miles criss-crossing the country with his cello. 

San Francisco Chronicle critic Joshua Kosman called the other Joshua "a cellist of extraordinary technical and musical gifts. His Symphony debut, in fact, was striking in so many ways that it left a listener eager for something more." The "hot-hot 26-year-old cello sensation" (Bay Area Guardian) played Haydn's C major Concerto for his San Francisco debut. Kosman continues, "His technical command was equally impressive, especially in the virtuosic finale. It's rare to hear a cellist tear through this high-flying passagework so beautifully and precisely - with never a note out of tune or out of place - and rarer still to hear it done with such offhanded panache."

Following a homecoming in Oklahoma playing film composer Miklos Rosza's Cello Concerto, Roman hit the west coast again for Golijovand Tchaikovsky in his Santa Barbara Symphony debut. The "Wunderkind of the West" (Santa Barbara News-Press) was spotted last week in violinist Daniel Hope's baroque ensemble at NYC's Highline Ballroom before heading off to Ohio this past weekend for a spin of the Haydn  Concerto with ProMusica Columbus. Then back to Seattle, where he is artistic director of the Town Music series, to join the Biava Quartet in Schubert's sublime C major Quintet.  

Somewhere between airports, the YouTube star uploaded more etudes to his online video series, The Popper Project, and proposed to his girlfriend. Congratulations to Joshua and Mi Ryung! 

For more information, visit or the Opus 3 Artists web site.
21C Artists To Watch in the news
The New York Times - 4/4/10 (James Valenti)
"La Traviata,Take 2: Same Cast, Different Conductor: James Valenti, the dashing young American tenor who made his Met debut on Monday as Alfredo under Mr. Slatkin, seemed liberated on Saturday night under Mr. Armiliato. His voice, which combines warm, appealing sound with robust, youthful energy, made an even better impression."- Anthony Tommasini

Philadelphia Inquirer - 3/28/10 (Brooklyn Rider)
"It grooves, moves and looks like an indy rock group, but Brooklyn Rider is indeed a string quartet, one easily embraced by anybody with a serious and not-all-that-adventurous pair of ears at the latest installment of the Kimmel Center's Fresh Ink series." - David Stearns

Philadelphia Inquirer - 3/26/10 (Stefan Jackiw)
"Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K. 218 doesn't offer the composer's greatest obvious potential for interpretive depth, but with Boston-born Stefan Jackiw, 24, the piece seemed to grow... His first-movement cadenza was the kind of triumph of personality you wanted to cheer, not so much for its heroism as a sound so saturated and vibrant it sounded like a living thing." - Peter Dobrin

The Birmingham News- 3/20/10 (Susanna Phillips)
"Two of the opera's tenderest moments came from the sumptuous voice of soprano Susanna Phillips. As Countess Almaviva, the Alabama native sang grievously about her husband's estrangement in 'Porgi, amor.' Her rendition of 'Dove sono' rested in pure beauty, and garnered the evening's longest applause." - Michael Huebner

Cincinnati Inquirer- 3/19/2010 (Stefan Jackiw)
"Violinist Stefan Jackiw showed how 'stirring' is done in a luminous, perfectly focused performance of Max Bruch's 'Scottish Fantasy'...Just 24, Jackiw (pronounced jack-eev) is without doubt a star of the future." - Mary Ellyn Hutton

The New York Times- 3/17/10 (Brooklyn Rider)
"Another string group unleashes its inner rock band" - Allan Kozinn

Los Angeles Times- 3/14/10 (Joyce Yang)
In between these works, de Waart conducted Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, with Joyce Yang, Silver Medalist of the 12th Van Cliburn International Competition, as the soloist... She played with a polished, pearly evenness that was remarkable for its ease up and down the keyboard." - Charles Pasles

Class Act, L.A. - 3/12/2010 (Joyce Yang)
"Yang's vehicle was Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor and she served notice that she's a lot more than just another competition winner... She is definitely a young pianist to keep your ear (and eye) on." - Robert D. Thomas

Bay Area Reporter- 3/4/10 (Joshua Roman)
"Week 1 brought some surprisingly measured and rich-sounding Haydn, framing the SFS debut of cellist Joshua Roman. Roman made a splash with his technical proficiency, and I admired his choice of music to introduce himself." - Philip Campbell

Slipped Disc- 3/4/10 (Pablo Heras-Casado)
"The young Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Cassado, very impressive in his first London run, manages to keep everyone on just about the same beat and when the curtain falls the eruption is louder than you hear on most first nights." - Norman Lebrecht

Photos: Dario Acosta (Valenti); Marco Borggreve (Barnatan); Keith Lew (Brooklyn Rider at Angel Orensanz); Jeremy Sawatzky (Roman)