Performance Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | 7:30 PM

Making Music: James MacMillan

Zankel Hall
MacMillan’s best-known works—from The Confession of Isobel Gowdie to his St. John Passion—are grand in scale with a powerful religiosity. But his music also has a degree of intimacy, a quality that comes through in the chamber music on this program. MacMillan will be on hand to discuss his music with Carnegie Hall Director of Artistic Planning Jeremy Geffen.


  • Brentano String Quartet
    ·· Mark Steinberg, Violin
    ·· Serena Canin, Violin
    ·· Misha Amory, Viola
    ·· Nina Lee, Cello
  • Cristina Zavalloni, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Eric Ruske, Horn
  • Inon Barnatan, Piano
  • James MacMillan, Conductor
  • Jeremy Geffen, Series Moderator
  • The Zankel Band


  • Piano Sonata
  • Horn Quintet (US Premiere)
  • Raising Sparks (US Premiere)


  • Brentano String Quartet

    Mark Steinberg, Violin
    Serena Canin, Violin
    Misha Amory, Viola
    Nina Lee, Cello

    In recent seasons, the Brentano String Quartet has traveled widely, appearing across the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia. It has performed in the world's most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington, DC; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Konzerthaus in Vienna; Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and the Sydney Opera House. The quartet has also participated in summer festivals, including Aspen, Music Academy of the West, Edinburgh, Kuhmo, Taos School of Music, and Caramoor.

    Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. Within a few years of its formation, the quartet garnered the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In addition to performing the entire two-century range of the standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano String Quartet has a strong interest in both very old and very new music. It has performed many musical works pre-dating the string quartet as a medium, among them madrigals of Gesualdo, fantasias of Purcell, and secular vocal works of Josquin. The quartet has also worked closely with some of the most important composers of our time, among them Elliott Carter, Charles Wuorinen, Chou Wen-chung, Steven Mackey, Bruce Adolphe, and György Kurtág. The quartet celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2002 by commissioning 10 composers to write companion pieces for selections from Bach's The Art of Fugue, the result of which was an electrifying and wide-ranging single concert program. The quartet has also worked with the celebrated poet Mark Strand, commissioning poetry from him to accompany works of Haydn and Webern.

    The Brentano String Quartet is named for Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars consider to be Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved," the intended recipient of his famous love confession.
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  • Cristina Zavalloni

    Cristina Zavalloni was born in Bologna, Italy. Capitalizing on her strong background in jazz, she expanded her studies to classical bel canto technique, composition, and classical and modern dance. Ms. Zavalloni has performed at Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Free Music Festival (Antwerp), Moers Festival (Germany), Bimhuis (Amsterdam), Umbria Jazz and the London Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Teatro alla Scala, Palau de la Música (Barcelona), the Barbican (London), New Palace of Arts (Budapest), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome), and Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles). She has appeared with London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome), Asko | Schoenberg, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, singing under the batons of Martyn Brabbins, Stefan Asbury, Reinbert de Leeuw, Oliver Knussen, David Robertson, Jurjen Hempel, and Georges-Elie Octors.

    Ms. Zavalloni has collaborated with composers Louis Andriessen, Michael Nyman, Cornelis de Bondt, Paolo Castaldi, Gavin Bryars, Carlo Boccadoro, Fabrizio Cassol, and Alain Platel, and she performs regularly with Gabriele Mirabassi, Mario Brunello, Andrea Lucchesini, Andrea Rebaudengo, Monica Germino, and Hamilton de Holanda. Her repertoire includes contemporary music, 20th-century music, Mozart, and Baroque music. A composer and jazz bandleader herself, Ms. Zavalloni records for the Italian label EGEA.

    In April 2010, Ms. Zavalloni performed in the New York premiere of La Commedia in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage and also appeared in Weill Recital Hall, both performances part of Louis Andriessen's series as holder of The Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.
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  • Eric Ruske

    Born in Chicago in 1963, Eric Ruske graduated from Northwestern University. Previously a member of The Cleveland Orchestra and the Empire Brass quintet, Mr. Ruske is currently a horn soloist and Professor of Horn at Boston University. As a soloist, he has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. His numerous arrangements and transcriptions, including a complete edition of the Mozart horn concertos, are now available from Cimarron Music. His discography includes five releases on the Albany Records label: a recording of the Strauss and Glière horn concertos, two discs of virtuoso transcriptions for horn and piano, a disc of solo horn repertoire entitled Just Me and My Horn, and a disc of music for horn, violin, and piano entitled Music by Three. He has also recorded the complete Mozart horn concertos for Telarc.
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  • Inon Barnatan

    Pianist Inon Barnatan is rapidly gaining recognition for his poetic and passionate music making, communicative performances, and engaging programming. Among the Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient's season highlights are debut performances with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as conductor and pianist for its US tour. He also returns to the Houston Symphony, with whom he made his US concerto debut in 2007, and performs recitals in Chicago, New York, Vancouver, and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. A former member of Lincoln Center's Chamber Music Society Two, he curated a festival of Schubert's late solo piano and chamber music works, presented by CMS last season. The project has been acclaimed at the Concertgebouw, the Festival de México, and at the Library of Congress. Mr. Barnatan has performed as soloist with the The Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and The Cleveland Orchestra, and has recently appeared at the festivals of Aspen, Music@Menlo, Spoleto, and Vail. Recital highlights include performances at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, London's Wigmore Hall, the Louvre Museum, the Rising Stars series at the Ravinia Festival, and Michigan's Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. He has performed at the 92nd Street Y, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Royal Festival and Queen Elizabeth halls in London, the Musikverein in Vienna, Shanghai Art Theatre, Salle Gaveau in Paris, and at the Verbier Festival.
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  • James MacMillan

    James MacMillan is one of today's most successful living composers and is also internationally active as a conductor. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience, and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian, and Eastern European music.

    His prolific output has been performed and broadcast around the world, placing him in the front rank of today's composers. His major works include percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, which has received more than 400 performances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich, large-scale choral-orchestral work Quickening, and three symphonies. Recent major works include his St. John Passion, co-commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Rundfunkchor Berlin. The 2010-2011 season brings several world premieres, including Mr. MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 3, Mysteries of Light for the Minnesota Orchestra with Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Osmo Vänskä, a trumpet concertino for Alison Balsom and the Scottish Ensemble at Wigmore Hall, and a chamber opera with Britten Sinfonia at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

    Mr. MacMillan's music has been the focus of many festivals and residencies over the years, and he held the position of affiliate composer of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra from 1990-2000, and artistic director of the Philharmonia Orchestra's Music of Today series from 1992-2002. In January 2005, Mr. MacMillan was the focus of a major retrospective in the BBC Symphony Orchestra's annual composer weekend at London's Barbican, where he conducted concerts with both the BBC Philharmonic and BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, Mr. MacMillan won the prestigious Ivor Novello Award and the British Composer Award for Liturgical Music. During the 2009-2010 season, the London Symphony Orchestra presented an artist portrait on Mr. MacMillan which, alongside the world premiere of his Violin Concerto, included him conducting the orchestra in the 2009 City of London Festival, a revival of the St. John Passion with Sir Colin Davis, and performances of his trumpet concerto Epiclesis, as well as an education project based on his work for ensemble and orchestra Into the Ferment, both conducted by Kristjan Järvi.

    In the 2010-2011 season, Mr. MacMillan begins his term as Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, following nine years as composer-conductor of the BBC Philharmonic. He has conducted the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and last season the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in his St. John Passion, a work which Mr. MacMillan conducts this season with the Brussels and Royal Liverpool philharmonic orchestras. Further conducting highlights of the 2010-2011 season include conducting the Gothenburg Symphony for a program that includes his Symphony No. 3, the world-premiere performances of his Oboe Concerto with Britten Sinfonia and soloist Nicholas Daniel, and an appearance with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for its Living Tradition series.
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  • Jeremy Geffen

    Jeremy Geffen has served as Director of Artistic Planning at Carnegie Hall since March 2007. In this position, his responsibilities include program planning and development, as well as the creation of a wide range of audience education programs. Prior to his appointment at Carnegie Hall, Jeremy served as vice president of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (2005-2007), and artistic administrator of the New York Philharmonic (2000-2005). In addition, he worked for the Aspen Music Festival and School as associate artistic administrator from 1998 to 2000. During that time, he also taught courses in music at Colorado Mountain College, hosted a weekly classical music radio show on KAJX, and became the Aspen Institute's youngest-ever moderator, creating and leading the seminar The Marriage of Music and Ideas with Dr. Alberta Arthurs in February and March 2000.

    Jeremy currently serves on the Artistic Committee of the French-American Fund for Contemporary Music, as well as advisory entities for both the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS Two and the Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has also served as an adjudicator for numerous auditions and competitions, including CMS Two auditions and The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

    A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Jeremy was raised in Newport Beach, California. While pursing a bachelor of music degree in viola performance at the University of Southern California, Jeremy developed problems with his right hand that led him away from performance and into artistic programming, which combines his curiosity for and love of the breadth of the classical repertoire, as well as the artists who bring that repertoire to life.
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MacMillan Raising Sparks
Jean Rigby, Mezzo Soprano / Nash Ensemble / Martyn Brabbins, Conductor 
Black Box

Sponsored by Ernst & Young LLP
This performance is part of Making Music.