New Music Under the Green Umbrella

With last year’s glut of new-music festivals--headed by the Los Angeles Festival, the New Music Los Angeles Festival and the Fringe Festival--it’s possible that the Green Umbrella series may have been overlooked. Yet, unlike the one-shot affairs of 1987, Green Umbrella has emerged again this year and looks as if it may turn out to be an important annual event.

“John Harbison deserves a lot of credit for this series, but we often forget William Kraft, who started the New Music Group years ago,” says Steven Stucky, the new composer-in-residence with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Stucky, who took his new position in September, resides in Ithaca, N.Y., where he teaches at Cornell, but says he plans a move to the West Coast--sometime.

Following the departure of former director Harbison, the second Green Umbrella series will take place under the guidance of a foursome who this year have left many of the programing decisions to the guest conductors. The four are Stucky; Rand Steiger, assistant Philharmonic composer-in-residence; Ernest Fleischmann, Philharmonic managing director, and Ara Guzelimian, the orchestra’s artistic administrator.


“The biggest advantage to this series is that the combined forces of the Philharmonic New Music Group and the New CalArts Twentieth Century Players enables some ambitious programming,” Stucky observes. “This year, the John Adams concert (on Dec. 5) will be the biggest event.”

The first concert will take place Monday at the Japan America Theatre with Peter Ioannou conducting the Twentieth Century Players. Included on the program will be world premieres of works by composers Mark McGurty and Amy Reich, as well as music by Davidovsky, Varese and Henze.

Other concerts this season under the Green Umbrella--continuing through May--will include a program by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the United States premiere of Morton Feldman’s final opus, “For Samuel Beckett” and the West Coast premiere of “Fearful Symmetries” by John Adams, conducted by the composer. Among guest conductors will be Oliver Knussen, Stephen Mosko, David Alan Miller and Pierre Boulez.

“Most of the programming is the influence of the guest conductors, but all of us primarily share the same common goals--and we negotiate,” admits Stucky. “The Philharmonic organization has also been very helpful because they see new music as an important subject and it’s reassuring to know that they are emphasizing the right things.”


CELLO RECITAL: Janos Starker, the 64-year-old Hungarian-born cellist, is replacing the previously announced violinist, Nathan Milstein, in the Great Performances Series at Ambassador Auditorium on Tuesday. The concert will consist of works by Haydn, Beethoven, Debussy, Cassado, Falla and Bartok, with pianist Shigeo Neriki as accompanist. Last month’s announcement of the substitution said the 80-year-old Milstein was indisposed.

A PAIR OF REQUIEMS: At the Pasadena Civic this afternoon, William Hall will conduct the William Hall Chorale and Orchestra in Dvorak’s Requiem. Soloists will be soprano Katya Roemer, mezzo Catherine Stoltz, tenor William Davis and bass Louis Lebherz. . . . Tonight at St. Cyril’s Church in Encino, Roger Wagner will conduct the combined forces of the Roger Wagner Chorale, St. Cyril’s Choir and St. Philip’s Choir along with a full orchestra in a performance of Requiem by Maurice Durufle. On the same program, pianist Jeannette Owens will perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto.

CHOREOGRAPHER/COMPOSER OPPORTUNITY: Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions is offering an $800 honorarium to local choreographer/composer teams for works no longer than 40 minutes in length that involve some form of live musical performance. Interested parties should submit written proposals, by Jan. 2, to LACE, 1805 Industrial St., Los Angeles 90021.

YOUNG SINGER STIPENDS: The Charles Ives Center for the Arts in Danbury, Conn., will present an award every year in the name of contralto Marian Anderson to gifted young American concert or opera singers. The panel to select the recipients will be headed by violinist Isaac Stern and will include Vladimir and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz, Harry Belafonte and Itzhak Perlman. The center hopes to raise $500,000 for a permanent fund to finance these annual awards.

PEOPLE: Local dancer/performance artist Tim Miller is one of recipients of the second annual American Choreographer Awards, sharing $25,000 with Ann Carlson, Pat Graney, Bebe Miller and Clark Tippet. . . . Dancer Veronica Tennant has announced her retirement from the National Ballet of Canada at the conclusion of the current season. Her last performance with the company will be as Juliet, Feb. 12. . . . George Manahan has been named principal conductor of Minnesota Opera. . . . William Kanengiser has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, enabling 15 recital presenters to engage the Los Angeles-based guitarist during the 1989-90 season. Kanengiser is a member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and teaches at USC. . . . Guus Mostart, formerly of Netherlands Opera, has been appointed artistic director of Vancouver Opera, effective with the 1989-90 season. . . . ABT dancer Julio Bocca will join the Royal Danish Ballet for a two-month period beginning Thursday. He will give about 10 performances there, dancing in productions of “La Sylphide” and “Don Quixote.”