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                                                                                                          July 2011 e-newsletter

Summer festivals issue

In This Issue
Jessica Rivera wins praise for Górecki & Adams
Alessio Bax: Duo-on-the-Road
Takesha Meshé Kizart stars at Sydney Opera House
Joyce Yang's whirlwind summer
Stefan Jackiw: from Aspen to Asia
Julian Kuerti's "new release"

July 2-16: London, UK

James Valenti

Royal Opera, Covent Garden

Madama Butterfly (Lt. Pinkerton)


July 3: Stony Brook, NY

Alessio Bax  

International PIano Festival


July 4-14: Fort Worth, TX

Alessio Bax

Mimir Chamber Music Festival


July 7-8: Boulder, CO

Jessica Rivera

Colorado Music Festival

Górecki: Sym. 3


July 9: Bellingham, WA;

Stefan Jackiw

Bellingham Festival

Sibelius: Violin Cto.

July 10: Aspen, CO

Joyce Yang

Aspen Music Festival

Beethoven: Piano Cto. 3

Jul 11 & 13: Seattle, WA

Stefan Jackiw

Seattle Chamber Music Society

Mozart, Kodaly


July 12: New York, NY

Brooklyn Rider

River to River Festival

w/Kojiro Umezaki


July 12-Aug. 9: Sydney 

Takesha Meshé Kizart

Opera Australia

Puccini: La Bohème (Mimi)


July 14: Sewanee, TN

Brooklyn Rider

Sewanee Summer Music Festival


July 16: Aspen, CO

Stefan Jackiw & Joyce Yang

Aspen Music Festival

Stravinsky, Copland, Brahms+      

Jul 19:  Aspen, CO

Stefan Jackiw

Aspen Music Festival

Baroque Evening

w/Daniel Hope


July 21: Camden, Maine

Stefan Jackiw

Bay Chamber Concerts

Brahms: Violin Sonatas


July 21:Napa, CA

Joyce Yang

Festival del Sole

Brahms: Piano Quartet in c


Jul 22: Katonah, NY

Joshua Roman

Caramoor Festival

Prizing the Pulitzer I

Sheng: 4 Mvts. for Piano Trio


Jul 23: Concepción, Chile

Julian Kuerti 

Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 


Jul 23:Greensboro, NC

Stefan Jackiw 

Eastern Music Festival

Sibelius: Violin Cto.


July 24: Menlo Park, CA

Alessio Bax


Carte Blanche Recital


Jul 24:Napa, CA

Joyce Yang

Festival del Sole

w/Russian National Orch.

Rachmaninov: Piano Cto. 2


July 26: Menlo Park, CA

Alessio Bax


Harbison, Brahms+


Jul 27 & 29: Seattle, WA

Stefan Jackiw

Seattle Chamber Music Society Schumann; Sarasate, Bach


Jul 28-29: Boulder, CO

Kelley O'Connor

Colorado Music Festival             Ravel: Shéhérazade


Jul 29: Brevard, NC

Joyce Yang

Brevard Music Center

Rachmaninov: Piano Cto. 2


July 29: Menlo Park, CA

Alessio Bax


Chamber music: Bach, Vivaldi


Jul 31: Katonah, NY

Joshua Roman

Caramoor Festival

Prizing the Pulitzer II

Menotti, Barber


August: Bellingham, WA

Joshua Roman

Marrowstone Festival



Aug 3:Vail, CO

Joyce Yang

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival

Two Piano Extravaganza

w/Anne-Marie McDermott+


Aug 4-6: Sioux Falls, SD

Alessio Bax

Dakota Sky Festival

Masterclasses & recital


Aug 6-28: Asia tour

Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore,

Hanoi, Bangkok, Hong Kong,

Taipei, Tokyo

Stefan Jackiw

Asian Youth Symphony

Saint-Saens, Sarasate, Sibelius


Aug 9:Santa Fe, MN

Joyce Yang

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Recital: Liebermann, Debussy, Schumann


Aug 10-14: Santa Fe, NM

Joyce Yang

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

4 concerts; Dalbavie premiere


Aug 11: Bridgehampton, NY

Brooklyn Rider

Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival

C. Jacobsen, Byron, Glass


Aug 14: La Jolla, CA

Joshua Roman

La Jolla SummerFest

w/Assad brothers


Aug 14: Westport, CT

Alessio Bax

Westport Arts Center

w/Lucille Chung


Aug 15-21: Lexington, KY

Alessio Bax

UBS Chamber Music Festival

Daniel Kellogg premiere+


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 inquiries regarding
21C Artists To Watch, please contact:
Wende Persons
Artists To Watch Program Director
Phone (917) 691-1282; click here to e-mail


Jessica Rivera wins praise for Górecki & Adams

Rivera Jessica_ATW2 Soprano Jessica Rivera is winning a lot of acclaim as an inspired interpreter of 20th- and 21st-century composers, from Benjamin Britten (in whose "Spring" Symphony she joined Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony and was declared "radiant" by Atlanta critic Pierre Ruhe) to Henryk Górecki and John Adams. "Jessica embodies the music she sings," says conductor Michael Christie, with whom the Californian performed Górecki's Symphony No. 3 ("Symphony of Sorrowful Songs") at the Colorado Music Festival (July 7 & 8). "She brings out the humanity of this music and touches the heart with it."  Read the review: "Orchestra, Rivera, stunning in minimalist symphony" --Daily Camera, 7/8/11


Praising Rivera's late May performances of the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" with Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic, Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times referenced Dawn Upshaw's iconic Nonesuch recording of the piece.  He wrote that Rivera's "soprano soared...and conveyed continual intensity. ...A young singer who has worked closely with Upshaw, she now owns Górecki's Third."


Rivera also received raves for reprising the leading role of Kumudha in Cincinnati Opera's recent staging of A Flowering Tree by John Adams. Productions of A Flowering Tree have taken her to three continents, and she is featured on the Nonesuch CD conducted by Adams himself.  The Cincinnati Enquirer said of Rivera's June-July portrayal: "Rivera gave a deeply moving performance as Kumudha, both vulnerable as the young bride and tragic in the darker moments. She fully inhabited her role, and sang radiantly."  Read Q&A with Rivera and view video clip from Cincinnati Opera.  



For more information, visit, her YouTube channel or the IMG Artists web site.   


Alessio Bax: Duo-on-the-Road

AlessioBax_LucilleChungPianist Alessio Bax is making news this summer for his new Rachmaninov album, his globe-trotting solo career (with concerts in Germany, Iceland, Cyprus, New York and Texas just in the past month) and for his especially harmonious piano duo with his wife, Lucille Chung.  The pair played Stravinsky's Petrouchka with a puppet theater in Guatemala in May and performed a two-hour live broadcast on Chicago's WFMT in June, and they have concerts scheduled together across the U.S. this summer and in Bax's native Italy in September.


In a charming, disarming interview with Get Classical's Ilona Oltuski, Chung describes their seemingly effortless blend of the personal and professional, something that translates to audiences: "I don't mean to sound corny," she says, "but I do feel that people get drawn into it when we play together. Our romantic relation comes through in our playing in a positive, harmonious way." Read more: Pianists Lucille Chung and Alessio Bax: Sharing their lives at the piano


In other news, Bax was interviewed at length by San Francisco Classical Voice as a preview for his Music@Menlo "Carte Blanche" recital (July 24) and chamber music concerts (July 26-29): Pianist Alessio Bax; Making Time for Menlo, and for a June 20 Playbill Arts Q&A about his "dream come true" recording for Signum Classics, Rachmaninov: Preludes and Melodies.   It is a collection of what he calls "visions and landscapes," including as its centerpiece the Russian's Preludes Op. 23. Bax says, "The moods here are inspired by the elements, the Earth, and by human emotions. He was an incredibly human composer."


For more information, visit, his YouTube channel or the Barrett Vantage Artists web site.   


Takesha Meshé Kizart stars at Sydney Opera House

Kizart DiamondsSoprano Takesha Meshé Kizart is touring the globe with Puccini - starring, just since May, as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly at Deutsche Oper Berlin, in the title role of Tosca at Oper Frankfurt, and as Mimi in a new production of La bohème for Opera Australia, first in Melbourne and now at the Sydney Opera House (July 12-August 9).  A review of the Melbourne production in The Australian enthused over Kizart's "glorious full-throated sound," while the Herald Sun praised the Chicago native's "restrained power and dignity." Theatre People commented, "Was there ever a performer so completely attractive in person as in their head shot?"


From appearances on Australia's ABC TV and the quiz show "Spicks & Specks" to a photo spread in the August issue of Marie Claire magazine, Kizart is in demand as a diva on the rise. But Opera Australia's artistic director Lyndon Terracini makes plain that her star quality is backed up by vocal excellence and dramatic versatility: "She is an extremely special talent. She has a unique ability to be able to sing every performance differently.  Every time, she does something that surprises you. It's so fabulous to see. She is literally being in the moment."


Stay tuned:  Opera Australia's production of La bohème  - starring Kizart and set in 1920s Berlin, with stage design by Brian Thomson (of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert fame) - will be beamed from a taping at the Sydney Opera House to movie theaters worldwide in November by CinemaLive International HD.



For more information, visit TakeshaMeshé or the Askonas Holt web site, and view video clips


Joyce Yang's whirlwind summer

Joyce YangJoyce Yang spent the Fourth of July packing for two straight months on the summer festival circuit, mere days after performing concertos in Asia, and with no respite from her red-letter spring.  Following her Alice Tully Hall recital debut at Lincoln Center in May, she jumped in for an ill Yuja Wang as soloist in Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the NAC Orchestra. The Ottawa Citizen described Yang's performance as "gripping."  In June the 25-year-old Korean-American recorded her debut album, Collage, to be released this fall by Avie.


First in Yang's high-profile appearances this summer is the Aspen Music Festival where she performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Jaap van Zweden and the Music Festival Orchestra (July 10), and plays a recital with violinist Stefan Jackiw (July 16).  She is soloist in Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Russian National Orchestra at the Festival del Sole in Napa (July 24) and at Brevard (July 29), and joins artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott at Bravo! Vail Valley for a Two Piano Extravaganza" (Aug. 3). 


Yang makes her debut at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival in recital (August 9) and plays a quartet of chamber music concerts, including the premiere of Marc-André Dalbavie's Piano Quartet with the Orion String Quartet (August 10-14). She reprises the Dalbavie at La Jolla SummerFest and joins the Tokyo String Quartet for music by Cynthia Lee Wong (August 16-21).  For a look at Joyce Yang's glittering fingerwork, view this YouTube clip of a rehearsal of the Tchaikovsky Concerto with Edo de Waart in Hong Kong last month.



For more information, visit Joyce Yang's web site or the Opus 3 Artists web site.  


Stefan Jackiw: from Aspen to Asia

JackiwJeansA Kansas City Star preview for Stefan Jackiw's June concerts of Bruch's Scottish Fantasy with Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony encapsulate the violinist's rise: "Jackiw, 26, is one of those ridiculously talented prodigies ... He was a soloist with the Boston Pops at age 12 and three years later made his European debut with the Philharmonia of London ... He attended Harvard, where he majored in psychology before switching to music. In 2002, he received an Avery Fisher career grant, and over the years he has garnered almost universal critical acclaim."


The young violnist's packed summer includes concerts at the Aspen Music Festival with pianist Joyce Yang and violinist Daniel Hope (July 16, 19), an all-Brahms recital for Maine's Bay Chamber Concerts (July 21), the Sibelius concerto with Gerard Schwarz at North Carolina's Eastern Music Festival (July 23), and a return to the Seattle Chamber Music Society where "Jackiw has won over Seattle crowds with his boyish looks and sublime playing"(The Gathering Note).


Jackiw (pronounced jack-EEV) toured Finland and Ireland before embarking on a June tour of Korea - his fourth - with Ensemble Ditto, a wildly popular "boy band" of chamber musicians who bring classical music to broad audiences.  The intrepid frequent flyer returns to Asia at the end of the summer for an epic fifteen-date tour with the Asian Youth Symphony under James Judd.  He will perform Sarasate, Saint-Saëns and Sibelius in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan (Aug. 6-28).



For more information, visit, his YouTube channel or the Opus 3 Artists web site.


Julian Kuerti's "new release"

Julian KuertiCongratulations to Canadian conductor Julian Kuerti, whose son Maximilian Eduard was born on June 23.  Mother and son are healthy and doing well. Kuerti made his New York City Opera debut in April conducting a staged concert performance of Oliver Knussen's Where the Wild Things Are at Lincoln Center. The name of the opera's young protagonist? Max.


"In his City Opera debut, Julian Kuerti - a rising Canadian conductor who was an assistant to James Levine at the Boston Symphony Orchestra - drew a bustling, moody and colorful performance of Mr. Knussen's 50-minute score from the impressive City Opera Orchestra."

-The New York Times, 4/10/11 [Anthony Tommasini]


For more information, visit or the IMG Artists web site


Photos: Isabel Pinto (Rivera), Lisa-Marie Mazzucco (Bax & Chung), Maja Slavec (Kizart), Oh Seok Hoon (Yang), Lisa-Marie Mazzucco (Jackiw), Dario Acosta (Kuerti)