New Music, Old Instruments for an Oratorio on Judas

Music Director Nicholas McGegan and the Phiharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

Music Director Nicholas McGegan and the Phiharmonia Baroque Orchestra. (Photo: Suzanne Karp/PBO)

The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (PBO) specializes in old music, work by Purcell and Rameau, Mozart and Bach, written for what the musicians call period instruments — the Model Ts and Packards, as it were, of the string section. But the PBO has a new initiative, “New Music for Old Instruments,” for which they’ve commissioned fresh compositions by women composers. The PBO opens its season on Oct. 4–8 with the first of these projects, The Judas Passion by Sally Beamish, an oratorio with a libretto by David Harsent. It’s a co-commission with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

My Do List co-host this week, Matias Tarnopolsky, really likes Beamish’s work, especially the way she writes for voices. And Harsent’s libretto sounds intriguing, interrogating the concept of Judas as a betrayer unworthy of God’s love. PBO Music Director Nicholas McGegan tackles these big projects with great pizazz — he led the world premiere in London Sept. 24, and takes the podium for these U.S. performances with the PBO moving from Bing Hall at Stanford, to the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and the First Congregational Church in Berkeley. Details here.  

 

New Music, Old Instruments for an Oratorio on Judas 27 September,2017Cy Musiker

Author

Cy Musiker

Cy Musiker co-hosts The Do List and covers the arts for KQED News and The California Report.  He loves live performance, especially great theater, jazz, roots music, anything by Mahler. Cy has an MJ from UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, and got his BA from Hampshire College. His work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists with their Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Journalism. When he can, Cy likes to swim in Tomales Bay, run with his dog in the East Bay Hills, and hike the Sierra.

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