Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Last Tango at Cabrillo

It's Marin Alsop's last season at Cabrillo, capping 25 years of leading the festival. I'm going to make this the media roundup and random comment post.

I need to poke around the Cabrillo web site and see whether the handy chronological performance archive they used to have is still there; I printed it out one year just to count how many works composed by women had been performed. (The answer: not many.) Among other things, I'm curious about how much that might have changed under Alsop, and I'd like to know how many composers' works she performed.

My general sense of her tenure, based on admittedly inconsistent attendance over the last decade, is that there is a post-minimalist, high-energy style that she favors. It's crowd-pleasing and not too too dissonant. My own taste is more varied than that: yes, I like Adams, and Norman, and Puts, and a fair number of the other composers she has championed over the years, but I also like Birtwistle and Carter and serialist composers. I'm less of a Bates and Daugherty fan than Alsop. I would have liked to hear more Ad├Ęs, but this is where I first heard his violin concerto, Concentric Paths. If I were programming the festival....well, things would have been different, but you could say that about anyone programming a festival.

What's next for Cabrillo? Well, Alsop announced her retirement from the festival last year, and it's entirely possible that the music director search started before that. Presumably there will an announcement soon. We don't know whether the Cabrillo board has chosen or will choose someone similar to Alsop, that is, with her taste, or someone different. My preference would be for a change.

What I'd most like to see, after a great conductor: a better venue. The acoustics of the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium suck, not to put too fine a point on it. There is almost no resonance in the room. Also, the seating is awkward and uncomfortable - I mean, you're sitting in basketball bleachers built goodness knows how long ago.

Okay, enough of that. The reviews:
I swear that there was no discussion of Alsop or the Saturday concert between myself and Joshua Kosman, and I wrote this post before I read his review, but we are thinking along similar lines.


Michael Good said...

For works composed by women, 2014 had works by Clarice Assad, TJ Cole, Stacy Garrop, Jennifer Higdon, and Gabriella Smith. 2015 had works by Ana Lara, Hannah Lash, and Missy Mazzoli. This year has works by Anna Clyne and Jennifer Higdon. So it varies year by year. (I only counted composers on the main orchestral programs.) Have you heard / will you hear any of these concerts?

The Cabrillo program states that the new music director will be announced in the Fall. The program also includes a progress report on the "much-hoped-for" Civic Auditorium renovation project.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thank you!

Saturday was my one and only this year. Good news about improvements to the Civic Aud. I have not read the program in full because i find the design distracting and hard to read. Too much white on gray, too many fonts, very busy layout....