Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Stephen Montague Birthday Celebrations

Stephen Montague
Tuesday 12 March sees St John's Smith Square, London playing host to composer Stephen Montague's 70th birthday celebrations with events at 1.05pm and 7.30pm. Born in New York state, but resident in the UK for almost 40 years, Montague's music is transatlantic in flavour and the birthday concerts will illustrate both Montague's range, and the influences on him with references to Cage, Cowell and Ives. There is a 'happening' at lunchtime with music reflecting on Cage's 100 anniversary. Then in the evening a mammoth number of performers, including 30 triangles, gather to celebrate in style.

Lunchtime sees a performance of A Dinner Party for John Cage for 13 singers, written last year for ENO's celebrations of Cage's 100th anniversary. Montague worked with Cage on numerous occasions betwen 1975 and 1990 including interviewing Cage for his 70th birthday. Nor for Montague's 70th birthday we can hear his Cage inspired dinner party. Also at lunchtime will be the world premiere of Insectus for organ 'as an insect'. Distinguished pianist (and exponent of the toy piano) Margaret Leng Tan will be one of the featues pianists in the concert.

The evening concert will feature a myriad of performers, 40 percussionists, triangles, wine glasses, radios, electronics, air raid sirens as well as instrumental and choral forces. Intrada 1631 features brass, percussion and 30 triangles. There will be the premiere of Night Tracks a new work for string orchestra and organ. The evening's finale will be Montague's threnody for Hiroshima, Dark Sun - August, 1945 performed by over 100 musicians. Performers from all over the UK, Europe and the Americas will be joined by conductors Gregory Rose, Simon Bainbridge, Richard Heason, David Wordsworth and Montague himself.

The concert hall's blog has a fascinating blog post by Montague reflecting on turning 70.

Further details from the St. Johns Smith Square website.

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