A message from Robert Spano

Posted by Mark Gresham | 26 Sep 2014

Robert Spano, Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, has issued the following message in the wake of last night’s “A Deafening Silence” demonstration on the Woodruff Arts Center campus, in front of the south entrance to the Galleria of Symphony Hall. Last night was to have been the opening night of the ASO’s 70th anniversary season, but the orchestra is in the midst of a lockout by management, which has canceled the orchestra’s concerts through Nov. 8. The musicians, under the moniker of ATL Symphony Musicians, will instead perform a pair of back-to-back concerts at Kennesaw State University’s 620-seat Morgan Hall, Bailey Performance Center, at 7pm and 9pm. Spano’s statement was first published by ArtsATL in a longer article by Jenny Jarvie, less than a half hour ago, which includes a statement by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. See the full story on ArtsATL
Robert Spano (credit: Chris Lee)

Robert Spano (credit: Chris Lee)

I am a proud Atlantan. I have made my home here since 2001 and have loved the vitality and aspiration of my adopted city. I have also had the privilege and honor of being at the helm of one of the great musical institutions of our country.

The excellence that defines the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is rich with tradition: the profound legacy of Robert Shaw, a celebrated recording history — including 27 Grammy Awards — an historical and ongoing commitment to new and American music, path-breaking theatrical presentations, The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and Talent Development Program, whose alumni are testament to their importance, and standard setting performances of the choral-orchestral repertoire with the legendary Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. If this dynamic cultural institution is lost, it will be a blow to the musical life of our country and to music lovers everywhere. More importantly, for Atlantans, it will be a tragic loss for our city.

In the life of any great city beats the heart of a vibrant culture. The ASO has been a cornerstone of Atlanta for decades. Now we need no longer only imagine our city without the ASO. Concerts are currently canceled, and the brilliant and talented musicians who are the lifeblood of our orchestra are locked out. Many have dispersed to seek employment elsewhere.

As Atlantans, we must rise to the challenge of supporting and sustaining this treasure at the level of excellence we have known and are deservedly proud. The erosion of cultural life is a sure sign of the decay of civilization. But crisis can lead to opportunity, and ours is now. We can be the “shining city on a hill.”

~Robert Spano

Locked-out Atlanta Symphony musicians picket Woodruff Arts Center

by Mark Gresham | 8 Sep 2014

Locked out at the stroke of midnight on Saturday night, early this morning the musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra began picketing Woodruff Arts Center, the 501(c)(3) non-profit which serves as the umbrella organization for the orchestra, the Alliance Theater and the Lical chapter of Young Audiences. Here are some photos from the morning commute time on Peachtree Street in from of WAC, in which Symphony Hall is located. (All photos, credit: Mark Gresham.)
ASO_picket MG_1990_small (credit Mark Gresham)

ASO_picket MG_2022_small (credit Mark Gresham)

ASO_picket MG_1956_small (credit Mark Gresham)

ASO_picket MG_1979_small (credit Mark Gresham)

ASO_picket MG_2026_small (credit Mark Gresham)

ASO_picket MG_2029_small (credit Mark Gresham)

Fractured Atlas LogoThis post was made possible in part by funds from Fractured Atlas. Donations supporting the Fractured Atlas “Mark Gresham” project may be made online by clicking the linked logo on the right. Fractured Atlas is a 501(c)(3) public charity; all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Jazz artist Bradford Rogers casts his sails with cool covers at Callanwolde [ArtsATL]

By Mark Gresham | 20 aug 2014, ArtsATL

Rogers played flute and keyboards on a wide array of songs. (Photos by Mark Gresham)

Rogers played flute and keyboards on a wide array of songs. (Photos by Mark Gresham)

The weather on Friday evening was nearly ideal for the final installment of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center’s 2014 Jazz on the Lawn series. Contemporary jazz artist and Atlanta native Bradford Rogers was the concert’s marquee name, playing flute and a Yamaha keyboard, … • READ MORE on ArtsATL

Chamber Cartel makes strong showng with new music by Myers, Neal and Adams

by Mark Gresham | 10 Mar 2014

Dynamic Duo: Chamber Cartel's Amy O'Dell and Caleb Herron. (photo credit: Mark Gresham)

Dynamic Duo: Chamber Cartel’s Amy O’Dell and Caleb Herron.
(photo credit: Mark Gresham)

On Sunday evening, Chamber Cartel, one of the increasingly impactful forces in Atlanta’s “new edge” contemporary music scene, performed at Erikson Clock (aka Nelson Street Art Gallery) in the artsy Castleberry Hill district just southwest of downtown.

As they did with their previous concert there on February 15, the Cartel brought forth notable repertoire by a well-established composer that had not previously been performed in Atlanta, “Four Thousand Holes” (2010) by John Luther Adams. There were also two world premieres by younger composers of rising reputation: “…But I’m doing it anyway” by Boston-based guitarist Aaron Jay Myers and “Keys” by Atlanta native Adam Scott Neal.

Chamber Cartel often assembles a handful or so of performers for is shows, but this time the entire was performed by the duo of pianist Amy O’Dell and percussionist Caleb Herron. Offstage, lurking in the dark to one side, percussionist Victor Pons controlled and mixed necessary electronic sounds. Myers was present and spoke briefly before his piece, which was up first on the program.

The performance was one of Chamber Cartel’s strongest offerings to date, engaging and holding the attention throughout. One of the rare pluses for an alternative venue like Erikson Clock was the choice to rent a good grand piano, rather than accept a lesser rental instrument or a resident castaway. Expensive, surely, but in this case the non-compromise empowered O’Dell, who also played a toy piano, a melodica and a small, hand-held cluster of old door keys.

Chamber Cartel will perform all of the music again on Saturday, March 15, as part of the second annual Contemporary Music Festival at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where Neal is currently a PhD Fellow.

Pianist Wu Han and the Atlanta Symphony bring brilliance to Britten and Berlioz [ArtsATL]

By Mark Gresham | 24 Jan 2014, ArtsATL

Wu Han (with her iPad) and Spano take a bow. (Photo by Jeff Roffman)

Wu Han (with her iPad) and Spano take a bow. (Photo by Jeff Roffman)

Thursday evening’s concert at Symphony Hall by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra featured music by Britten and Berlioz, led by ASO Music Director Robert Spano with pianist Wu Han as guest soloist. The concert was repeated Friday night on the road …

A delightful chamber music weekend with Regency Piano Quartet at Spivey, Molly Blank Series at Breman [ArtsATL]

By Mark Gresham | 22 Jan 2014, ArtsATL

Atlanta Opera Orchestra String Quartet

Atlanta Opera Orchestra String Quartet

Atlanta’s chamber music scene is full of surprises. Such was the case on Saturday evening when a group billed as the Regency Piano Quartet performed at Spivey Hall. A completely unfamiliar ensemble name, the group was presented not by the Hall’s artist series but by …

Conductor Claudio Abbado dies at age 80

Claudio Abbado

Claudio Abbado   (www.ilpost.it)

[Reuters] MILAN – “Claudio Abbado, who decided to become a conductor after hearing a concert at La Scala at the age of eight and went on to lead the Milan opera company and top orchestras for more than half a century, has died aged 80, La Scala said on Monday. …” • Read the article by Isla Binnie at REUTERS (US Edition, Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:36am EST)

Minnesota Orchestra ends 15-month lockout with three-year agreement

MINNEAPOLIS – On Tuesday, the Minnesota Orchestra marked the end of the longest work stoppage for any symphonic orchestra in U.S. history with a new three-year labor agreement. The bitter lockout lasted a total of 488 days. Read the article by Graydon Royce in the StarTribune.

Note: At the time of this post, the last update of the article was January 14, 2014 at 11:09pm.

Review: Mark O’Connor spreads the cheer at Spivey Hall with “An Appalachian Christmas” [ArtsATL]

By Mark Gresham | 10 Dec 2013, ArtsATL

Mark O'Connor

Mark O’Connor

The cold, drizzly weather of Sunday afternoon could not thwart the holiday warmth and cheer inside a sold-out Spivey Hall, where Mark O’Connor and Friends brought their “An Appalachian Christmas” tour show, based mostly upon O’Connor’s 2011 album of the same name. …

Review: Chamber Cartel closes its season with world premiere of Yeats’ “The Shape Distance” [ArtsATL]

By Mark Gresham | 6 Dec 2013, ArtsATL

Marc Yeats is Chamber Cartel’s composer in association.

Marc Yeats is Chamber Cartel’s “composer in association.”

Chamber Cartel performed the final concert of its 2013 season on Monday at the Goat Farm Arts Center. The group’s “season” is unusual in that it is aligned with the calendar year rather than the academic year …