Blair McMillen, one of the newest additions to our roster, is following up his remarkable inaugural season as an Ariel Artist with a spate of exciting new spring events and performances, building momentum towards an impressive fine for the 2012-2013 year.
Blair’s fall schedule included a sold-out performance as a soloist with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and a more intimate engagement at Manhattan’s (le) Poisson Rouge as part of piano supergroup Grand Band. This latter performance resulted in a memorable quip by the New York Times’s Zachary Woolfe, who noted “Grand Band is verily – and I don’t say this lightly – the Traveling Wilburys of New York’s new-music scene.”
This coming Tuesday, January 15, Blair will return with Grand Band to (le) Poisson Rouge, joining Vicky Chow, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Lisa Moore, and Isabelle O’Connell to play Simeon ten Holt’s “Canto Ostinato” on six keyboards. The piece, considered by many to be the recently-deceased Dutch composer’s magnum opus, is written to accommodate a variable number of keyboard instruments, and it has an unusual degree of openness in its articulation, leaving many elements of the piece to be brought to life by the imaginations and personalities of the artists performing it.
Also this spring, Blair will be working in collaboration with longtime duo partner and acclaimed violinist Miranda Cuckson in several performances and to create pair of recordings. Among the most exciting of these is the new Library of Congress McKim Fund commission of Harold Meltzer’s “Kreisleriana,” which had its world premiere at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. last year. At this 2012 premiere, Cuckson performed on Fritz Kreisler’s very own touring Stradivarius violin, permanently housed in the Library’s collection. Harold Meltzer has recently been revising and adding on to the piece. Blair and Miranda will be performing the new, expanded version on the water beneath the Brooklyn Bridge at the one-of-a-kind Bargemusic, among other venues, this coming February 15. This spring the duo will also perform and record the works of Jason Eckardt, Elliott Carter, and others.
On April 17 and 18, Blair will be performing at Lincoln Center in Ives’ 4th Symphony with the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert, and Joshua Bell. Later that month, Blair will return to (le) Poisson Rouge on April 29 to perform “Chiaroscuro” with fellow pianist Stephen Gosling in the John Corigliano 75th Birthday Celebration. “Chiaroscuro” was written for two pianos tuned one-quarter step apart, and the piece is the opening track on Blair’s critically-acclaimed 2009 recording “Multiplicities.”
Blair’s other performances and engagements for the spring season include appearances at PianoForte Foundation, the University of Chicago, Illinois State University, Vassar College, Amherst College, the Dimenna Center, Columbia University, and concerts with the Albany Symphony, the Bard Conservatory Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Be sure to mark your calendar for one or more of these remarkable upcoming performances by an artist The New York Times has described as “prodigiously accomplished and exciting,” and one of the piano’s “brilliant young stars.”
Explore other upcoming Ariel Artists events.
Learn more about Blair McMillen.
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