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Web BannerOther Minds Presents
Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa
Music for Two Pianos, a benefit concert for Other Minds
Thursday, October 11, 2007
7 pm - Panel Discussion • 8 pm - Concert

Herbst Theatre
War Memorial Performing Arts Center
401 Van Ness Avenue (at McAllister) San Francisco, California
Tickets $20-$50 (now available online from City Box Office)

City Box Office
180 Redwood Street, Suite 100
San Francisco, CA  94102
Walk-Up Window M-F 9:30 am - 5:30 pm
Phone (415) 392-4400 M-F 9:30 am - 5:00 pm, Sat 10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Renowned conductor and pianist Dennis Russell Davies will be joined by partner Maki Namekawa in a special recital of works for two pianos by Philip Glass and J. S. Bach (transcriptions by György Kurtág). The concert, a benefit for the Bay Area's leading new music organization, Other Minds, will also feature the U.S. Premieres of works by Balduin Sulzer (Austria) and Chen Yi (China/US), and a recent work by San Francisco composer Adam Fong. The pianists, along with Glass, Chen and Fong, will share their thoughts about the music in a pre-concert discussion hosted by Other Minds Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian.

ProgramAbout the PerformersAbout the Composers


You can hear excerpts from some of the pieces. They are linked to mp3 files below.

Six Scenes from Les Enfants Terribles
            The Bedroom
            Paul Sleepwalking
            Snow Falling in the Playground
            Elizabeth Chooses a Career           
            Death of the Twins / Finale

Philip Glass (1937- )

Dialogue for Two Pianos (2007)
U. S. Premiere

Balduin Sulzer (1932- )

"Sunlight" from Elementary Studies (2004)
West Coast Premiere

Adam Fong (1980- )


From Bach-Transkriptionen
            "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbest Zeit"
                        Sonatina from Actus tragicus (BWV 106)
            "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir" (BWV 687)
                        in memoriam Joannis Pilinszky
            "O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig" (BWV Deest)

J. S. Bach (1685-1750) arr. György Kurtág (1926- )

China West Suite for two pianos (2007)
            I. Introduction
            II. Meng Songs
            III. Zang Songs
            IV. Miao Dances
U. S. Premiere

Chen Yi (1953- )

About the Performers

DRD & Maki
Dennis Russell Davies & Maki Namekawa

Other Minds will host Dennis Russell Davies in recital with partner Maki Namekawa. This acclaimed piano duo has released four-hands recordings of The Magic Flute and Fidelio (both arranged by Alexander Zemlinsky) on the Avi label, as well as Music 4 Hands on Orange Mountain, featuring Piano Phase by Steve Reich and Six Scenes from Les Enfants Terribles by Philip Glass. Formed in 2003, the duo has been lauded for their "gracefully ornamented readings" of Kurtág's Bach transcriptions, and the "beautifully tactile quality" of their arrangements of Glass's opera (NY Times).

DR Davies
Dennis Russell Davies

Acclaimed for his "interpretive boldness, technical precision and penetrating intellect," Dennis Russell Davies is known as a masterful conductor, as well as a superb pianist. Recognized for his command of both traditional and contemporary music, Davies, who is considered at the forefront of the orchestral and operatic worlds, is sought out by orchestras, composers and artists alike for his imaginative collaborations, and is regarded as an innovative force in classical music.

A frequent guest conductor with major orchestras and opera companies worldwide, Davies is Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Bruckner Orchester Linz, and Chief Conductor of the Linz Opera. He is also Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and is the Conductor Laureate of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. In the United States, he holds the title of Conductor Laureate of the American Composers Orchestra, which he co-founded 30 years ago.

Maki Namekawa
Maki Namekawa

Maki Namekawa is a leading figure among a group of young artists in Germany today who have brought new music by leading international composers into the mainstream of German concert activity. As a soloist and a chamber musician equally at home in classical and contemporary repertoire, Namekawa performs regularly at international venues, and frequently records for major German radio networks. Her past and upcoming engagements as a soloist include performances of Schnittke’s Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra (Stuttgart), Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto (Linz), Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Munich), Carter’s Piano Concerto “Dialogues” (Basel) and Ligeti’s Piano Concerto (Linz).

Namekawa studied piano at the Kunitachi Conservatory with Mikio Ikezawa and Henriette Puig-Roget (Conservatoire de Paris). She has continued her studies with Werner Genuit and Kaya Han (University of Music Karlsruhe), Edith Picht-Axenfeld, György Kurtág, Dr. Stefan Litwin (University of Music Saarland), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Hochschule für Musik Köln) and Florent Boffard (Ensemble Intercontemporain). In addition to her performance schedule, Namekawa teaches at the Music Universities in Karlsruhe and Saarbrücken, and in 2002 premiered several new compositions as an instructor at the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt.

About the Composers

Chen Yi
Chen Yi

Born in Guangzhou, China in 1953, Chen Yi was the first woman to receive a master's degree in Composition in China, in June 1986 from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She furthered her composition study at Columbia University in New York City, with Chou Wen-Chung and Mario Davidovsky. Since relocating to the United States, Dr. Chen has served as a musical ambassador, presenting her music in major concerts in China, the US and abroad. Among her numerous honors are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts, major commissions from the Koussevitzky, Fromm, Ford, Rockefeller and Roche Foundations, first prize in the Chinese National Composition Competition, and awards from ASCAP, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, NYU and many other institutions. Dr. Chen currently serves on numerous boards and juries, and teaches composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Adam Fong
Adam Fong

Adam Fong, a 27-year-old San Francisco Bay Area native, studied music at Stanford University and California Institute of the Arts, where his mentors included James Tenney and Melissa Hui. He has also studied with Wadada Leo Smith, Christian Wolff, Stephen “Lucky” Mosko and Sara Roberts. Fong's work has focused largely on structural and material indeterminacy and its implications for scoring, performance practice, and analysis. His music has been performed in special concert presentations at REDCAT in Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Cowell Theater in San Francisco, in outdoor, public spaces from the US to Germany, and in numerous national and international festivals and university venues. Fong performs regularly in new music concerts (contrabass), and is an active producer as Associate Director of Other Minds, and member of a nationwide collective of young composers, The Collected.

Philip Glass
Philip Glass

Listen to Philip Glass interviewed by Charles Amirkhanian in 1985 for free at here.

Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass (b. 1937) has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times. His associations, personal and professional, with leading rock, pop and world music artists date back to the 1960s, including the beginning of his collaborative relationship with artist Robert Wilson. Indeed, Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music -- simultaneously. In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; eight symphonies (with others already on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’s documentary about former defense secretary Robert McNamara; string quartets; a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, and Doris Lessing, among many others. He presents lectures, workshops, and solo keyboard performances around the world, and continues to appear regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble.

György Kurtag
György Kurtag

Born in 1926, Hungarian composer György Kurtág studied piano, composition and chamber music at the Budapest Academy. In the mid-1950s he escaped the violent and tumultuous Stalinist regime of his native country, moving to Paris to study with Olivier Messiaen, Darius Milhaud and Max Deutsch. There he also consulted with Hungarian art psychologist Marianne Stein, whose advice would prove highly influential. After returning to Budapest in the 1960s, he taught at the Liszt Academy, where his pupils included András Schiff and Zoltán Kocsis. Meanwhile, Kurtág had developed a highly individual voice in his compositions, achieving international prominence with the Paris premiere in 1981 of his Messages of the late MIss R. V. Troussova op. 17 for soprano and chamber ensemble. His continued exploration of spatial effects, and setting of texts by authors including Blok, Sappho, Hölderlin and Kafka, have cemented his status as one of the most distinguished senior composers in the world today.

Balduin Sulzer
Balduin Sulzer

The Reverend Balduin Sulzer was born March 15, 1932 in Grossraming, Austria. In addition to his musical training at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz and the Papal Conservatory for Church Music in Rome, Sulzer studied philosophy and theology in Linz and Rome as well as history at the University of Vienna.

He has composed over 300 works including two operas, six symphonies, a Passion, 12 instrumental concertos, piano and chamber music, songs and choral music.

In addition to a very active career as composer, Balduin Sulzer has dedicated himself to the musical education of countless young Austrians at the high school level. Franz Welser-Möst and Heinrich Schiff are two of literally hundreds of superb Austrian musicians, whose early training was formed by Sulzer. He also has served as music director of the Linz Cathedral.

Unlike the typical theologian-composer, Sulzer's music ranges from the sublime to the raucous and provocative. His Fifth Symphony (2000-01), given its American premiere at Jackson Hall in the Mondavi Center at U.C. Davis by Dennis Russell Davies and the Bruckner Orchester Linz on November 18, 2005, was a remarkable event. The music seemed to fit more in line with the American experimental tradition of Edgar Varèse and Henry Brant than the orchestral music of Central Europe. The composer's witty use of an expanded percussion section provided one happy surprise after another, and the breathtaking orchestration and sheer volume of sound gave the rafters a good shaking.

C. Amirkhanian

Other Minds wishes to thank the Ross McKee Foundation and Sherman Clay & Co. for their generous support.