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August 11, 2009
The New Music continues by the sea....

Marin Alsop[1].JPG

Rarely does a new music festival fire brightly on all cylinders, but that is exactly what the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music pulled off on opening night.

And though it is hard to predict which piece will captivate an audience when, it's safe to say that the possibility of a new work thrilling an audience looms large for the remaining two days left at this Santa Cruz-based contemporary music festival.

Next Saturday will see the U.S. premiere of Joby Talbot's "Desolation Wilderness". The piece was inspired by a visit that the London-based Talbot made to Northern California's Desolation Wilderness.

"Joby is a new composer, and I've been wanting do this piece since I heard a demo tape of it seven years ago," said Marin Alsop, conductor and artistic director of the festival.(pictured, right).

It's orchestration seemed perfect for the festival. Alsop said she was keen on the three-movement work because it showcases the virtuoso talent of Cabrillo Festival Orchestra trumpet player Craig Morris.

"The work was commissioned for the English trumpeter, Alison Balsom," said Talbot via the telephone from England. "But when you hear what a player like Craig Morris can do, the idea of a trumpet concerto becomes a very exciting prospect."

That work will be programmed with the one-movement "Behold the Sun" by Magnus Lindberg and James MacMillan's "The Sacrifice:Three Interludes".

One of the more interesting, poignant and musically retrograde pieces offered this year is Ingram Marshall's "Kingdom Come". This will be a long lost return for Marshall, who had a work performed at Cabrillo in the 1970's.

With "Kingdom Come," Marshall is harkening back to his taped electronic music days, but this time the tape player has been replaced by the ubiquitous laptop. The piece is a memorial for his brother-in-law Frances Tomasic, a journalist who died in a mine explosion during the Bosnian war, said Marshall.

"It uses recordings I drew from Yugoslavian music and Serbian Orthodox Church music that uses disconnected hymns, as well as liturgical music from the Roman Catholic church," he said.

That work will be performed at Mission San Juan Bautista and shares a program with George Tsontakis' "Claire de Lune" as well as works by Aaron Jay Kernis and Kevin Puts.

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music
WHEN: through Aug. 16
WHERE: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz; Mission San Juan Batista, 406 Second St., San Juan Batista
TICKETS: $30-$45
INFORMATION: (831) 426-6966 or

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