Available June 10 for download – Mason Bates’ ‘Anthology of Fantastic Zoology,’ Riccardo Muti conducting, on CSO Resound
This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
CSO RESOUND RELEASES MASON BATES: ANTHOLOGY OF FANTASTIC ZOOLOGYCONDUCTED BY RICCARDO MUTI
Digital-Only Release Available June 10.
CHICAGO—The digital-only release of the next CSO Resound recording, Mason Bates: Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, is available through download and streaming services beginning Friday, June 10. The recording is available for pre-order exclusively on iTunes beginning May 10. The recording features former CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates’ Anthology of Fantastic Zoology which was a CSO commission and received its world premiere in Chicago under the baton of Music Director Riccardo Muti during his June 2015 residency.
“Anthology of Fantastic Zoology” is a 35-minute acoustic work that can be described as a concerto for orchestra, drawing its subject matter from the strange creatures found in Jorge Luis Borges’ book of magical realism by the same title. This 11-movement work contains short musical depictions of fantastic creatures, from sprites, nymphs and sirens, to gryphon, naga (evil snakes) and a Zaratan—an animal which is an island. Between these picture-pieces are transitional movements which take the listener deeper into the forest world that these surreal creatures populate—and further into the night—all culminating in an epic episode with all the creatures in motion at the witching hour just before dawn. Though Bates is widely known for his use of electronica and recorded material in his compositions, no electronic sounds were used in this piece. Instead the colorful orchestration and playful motifs give the music an almost “electronic” sound, all the while drawing on the virtuosic abilities of the CSO’s musicians, many of whom Bates had in mind as he composed Anthology.
Mason Bates’ “Anthology of Fantastic Zoology” was performed and recorded live in June 2015 on CSO subscription concerts at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Written as a farewell to the CSO after five years of serving as one of two Mead Composers-in-Residence alongside Anna Clyne, the piece was dedicated to Music Director Riccardo Muti, whose “unique abilities as a musical dramatist” Bates credited as his inspiration, “from beginning to end.” Of the 2015 world premiere performance, Chicago Tribune music critic John von Rhein noted, “how brilliantly engineered and integrated are the score’s sly sonic quirks and how beautifully the music plays to the strengths of the Chicago musicians,” also calling it a “grand, playful, surprising, exuberantly colorful concerto for orchestra.” Anne Midgette of The Washington Post added that Bates “writes big pieces for orchestra that are essentially 21st-century tone poems, or musical narratives…. In short, he forges into new territory, but on terms that the establishment can embrace.”
Prior to the performances of “Mason Bates’ Anthology of Fantastic Zoology,” Muti and the CSO gave the 2012 world premiere of Bates’ “Alternative Energy” for orchestra and electronics, commissioned by the CSO. The so-called “energy symphony” also received performances by the CSO in 2012 concerts in Michigan, California and at New York’s Carnegie Hall led by Muti and was included in a digital-only CSO Resound recording released along with Anna Clyne’s “Night Ferry” in 2014.
American composer Mason Bates currently serves as the first composer-in-residence for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Bates was appointed Mead Composer-in-Residence at the CSO in 2010, a position he held for five years concluding in 2015. With works championed by such leading conductors as Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, and Riccardo Muti, Bates has quickly become a staple on contemporary music programs, recently being recognized as the second most-performed living composer in a survey of the 2014/15 orchestral season released by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With a varied compositional style which draws from his work in electronic music as a DJ and his interest (and degree) in literature, Bates has established himself as a multifaceted and innovative composer.
Recorded live in June 2015 at Orchestra Hall, “Mason Bates: Anthology of Fantastic Zoology” was engineered by Emma Dayhuff and produced by Grammy® Award winner David Frost. Previously with the CSO, Frost produced albums of music by Berlioz and Prokofiev, as well as Verdi’s Messa da Requiem and “Otello,” all conducted by Riccardo Muti, and a collection by the CSO Brass.
Muti and the CSO’s first recording together—Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, released in 2010—won two Grammy® awards for Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance. Their second, Verdi’s “Otello,” also with the Chorus, was released in 2013, and won an International Opera Award. Muti’s third and fourth recordings with the CSO, “Riccardo Muti Conducts Mason Bates and Anna Clyne,” and “Prokofiev: Suite from Romeo and Juliet” were both released in 2014. Muti’s latest recording with the CSO, of Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique” and “Lélio,” was released in September 2015.
The CSO’s commercial recording history began 100 years ago on May 1, 1916. More information can be found here.
Anthology of Fantastic Zoology
1 Forest:Twilight— 00:57
2 Sprite 03:15
3 Dusk— 00:53
4 The A Bao A Qu 03:19
5 Nymphs 02:48
6 Night— 00:34
7 The Gryphon 05:47
8 Midnight— 00:49
9 Sirens 05:02
10 The Zaratan— 01:10
11 Madrugada 10:11
Producer: David Frost
Recording Engineer: Emma Dayhuff
Editing and Mixing: David Frost
Mastering: Tim Martyn
Recorded live in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, Chicago June 2015
Riccardo Muti (riccardomutimusic.com)
Riccardo Muti, born in Naples, Italy, is one of the preeminent conductors of our day. In 2010, when he became the tenth music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), he already had more than forty years of experience at the helm of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Philharmonia Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Teatro alla Scala. He is a guest conductor for orchestras and opera houses all over the world: the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera, and many others.
Muti studied piano under Vincenzo Vitale at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella in his hometown of Naples, graduating with distinction. He subsequently received a diploma in composition and conducting from the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, also graduating with distinction. His principal teachers were Bruno Bettinelli and Antonino Votto, principal assistant to Arturo Toscanini at La Scala. After he won the Guido Cantelli Conducting Competition—by unanimous vote of the jury—in Milan in 1967, Muti’s career developed quickly. In 1968, he became principal conductor of Florence’s Maggio Musicale, a position that he held until 1980.
Herbert von Karajan invited him to conduct at the Salzburg Festival in Austria in 1971, and Muti has maintained a close relationship with the summer festival and with its great orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, for more than forty years. When he conducted the philharmonic’s 150th anniversary concert in 1992, he was presented with the Golden Ring, a special sign of esteem and affection, and in 2001, his outstanding artistic contributions to the orchestra were further recognized with the Otto Nicolai Gold Medal. He is also a recipient of a silver medal from the Salzburg Mozarteum for his contribution to the music of W.A. Mozart. He is an honorary member of Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of the Friends of Music), the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Vienna State Opera.
Muti succeeded Otto Klemperer as chief conductor and music director of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra in 1973, holding that position until 1982. From 1980 to 1992, he was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in 1986, he became music director of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. During his nineteen-year tenure, in addition to directing major projects such as the Mozart–Da Ponte trilogy and Wagner’s Ring cycle, Muti conducted operatic and symphonic repertoire ranging from the baroque to the contemporary, also leading hundreds of concerts with the Filarmonica della Scala and touring the world with both the opera company and the orchestra. His tenure as music director, the longest of any in La Scala’s history, culminated in the triumphant reopening of the restored opera house with Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta, originally commissioned for La Scala’s inaugural performance in 1778.
Throughout his career, Muti has dedicated much time and effort to training young musicians. In 2004, he founded the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini (Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra), based in his native Italy. He regularly tours with the ensemble to prestigious concert halls and opera houses all over the world. In 2015, he founded the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy in order to train young conductors, répétiteurs, and singers in the Italian opera repertoire.
Since 1997, as part of Le vie dell’Amicizia (The paths of friendship), a project of the Ravenna Festival in Italy, Muti has annually conducted large-scale concerts in war-torn and poverty-stricken areas around the world, using music to bring hope, unity, and attention to present day social, cultural, and humanitarian issues.
Muti has received innumerable international honors. He is a Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Italian Republic, Officer of the French Legion of Honor, and a recipient of the German Verdienstkreuz. Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on him the title of honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded him the Order of Friendship, and Pope Benedict XVI made him a Knight of the Grand Cross First Class of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great—the highest papal honor. Muti also has received Israel’s Wolf Prize for the arts, Sweden’s prestigious Birgit Nilsson Prize, Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts and the gold medal from Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his promotion of Italian culture abroad. He has received more than twenty honorary degrees from universities around the world.
Considered one of the greatest interpreters of Verdi in our time, Muti wrote a book on the composer, Verdi, l’italiano, published in Italian, German, and Japanese. His first book, Riccardo Muti: An Autobiography: First the Music, Then the Words, also has been published in several languages.
Riccardo Muti’s vast catalog of recordings, numbering in the hundreds, ranges from the traditional symphonic and operatic repertoires to contemporary works. His debut recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, released in 2010 by CSO Resound, won two Grammy awards. His second recording with the CSO and Chorus, Verdi’s Otello, released in 2013 by CSO Resound, won the 2014 International Opera Award for the Best Complete Opera. In 2014, CSO Resound released Riccardo Muti conducts Mason Bates and Anna Clyne, featuring two of their CSO commissions. The next year, Mason Bates dedicated his CSO commission of Anthology of Fantastic Zoology to Muti to mark the end of Bates’s residency with the CSO.
During his time with the CSO, Muti has won over audiences in greater Chicago and across the globe through his music making as well as his demonstrated commitment to sharing classical music. His first annual free concert as CSO music director attracted more than 25,000 people to Millennium Park. He regularly invites subscribers, students, seniors, and people of low incomes to attend, at no charge, his CSO rehearsals. Muti’s commitment to artistic excellence and to creating a strong bond between an orchestra and its communities continues to bring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to ever higher levels of achievement and renown.
Recently named the second most-performed living composer, Mason Bates currently serves as the first composer-in-residence of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His music fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, the harmonies of jazz and the rhythms of techno, and it has been the first symphonic music to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds. Leading conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Leonard Slatkin have championed his diverse catalogue. He has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships such as his residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or through his club/classical project Mercury Soul, which has transformed spaces ranging from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls into exciting, hybrid musical events drawing over a thousand people. In awarding Bates the Heinz Medal, Teresa Heinz remarked that “his music has moved the orchestra into the digital age and dissolved the boundaries of classical music.”
Bates’ activities as a DJ have highly informed not only his compositional approach, but his distinctive curating projects. As part of his multi-year residency, he will work with the Kennedy Center’s broad range of artistic constituents, from performances with the National Symphony to appearances with Jason Moran on Kennedy Center Jazz, often integrating electronica artists into the Center’s unique spaces. He is launching a new-music series, KC Jukebox, that will feature the immersive production and eclectic programming for which his curating projects have become known.
The 2015-2016 season marked the release of much of his music on CD. As part of the San Francisco Symphony’s Beethoven & Bates Festival, the SFS released three of his largest works, Alternative Energy, Liquid Interface, and The B-Sides. A CD by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project complemented this with some of his most-performed works, from Mothership to Rusty Air Carolina. Also this season, the San Francisco Symphony premiered Auditorium, which incorporated the sounds of ancient instruments into the orchestral palette. The premiere performance was streamed live on Facebook in April 2016.
His music’s dramatic realization of narrative forms has recently attracted the attention of artists in dramatic forms, such as famed film director Gus Van Sant, and he is composing an opera on the topic of Steve Jobs to be premiered at Santa Fe Opera in 2017. Continuing performances of his music have demonstrated that electronic sounds can be a welcome addition to the orchestral palette with minimal logistics. While Bates often performs the electronica onstage with orchestras, dozens of repeat performances of his symphonic music happen without him. For more info, go to www.masonbates.com and www.mercurysoul.org.
Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Since 2010, the preeminent conductor Riccardo Muti has served as its 10th music director. Yo-Yo Ma is the CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, and Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek are its Mead Composers-in-Residence.
From baroque through contemporary music, the CSO commands a vast repertoire. Its renowned musicians annually perform more than 150 concerts, most at Symphony Center in Chicago and, each summer, at the suburban Ravinia Festival. They regularly tour nationally and internationally. Since 1892, the CSO has made 59 international tours, performing in 29 countries on five continents.
People around the globe listen to weekly radio broadcasts of CSO concerts and recordings on the WFMT radio network and online at cso.org/radio. Recordings by the CSO have earned 62 Grammy Awards, including two in 2011 for Muti’s recording with the CSO and Chorus of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem (Muti’s first of four releases with the CSO to date). Find details on these and many other CSO recordings at www.cso.org/resound.
The CSO is part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, which also includes the Chicago Symphony Chorus (Duain Wolfe, Director and Conductor) and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a training ensemble for emerging professionals. Through its prestigious Symphony Center Presents series, the CSOA presents guest artists and ensembles from a variety of genres—classical, jazz, world, and contemporary.
The Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO offers community and education programs that annually engage more than 200,000 people of diverse ages and backgrounds. Through the Institute and other activities, including a free annual concert with Muti and the CSO, the CSO is committed to using the power of music to create connections and build community.
The CSO is supported by thousands of patrons, volunteers and institutional and individual donors. Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the CSO. The CSO’s music director position is endowed in perpetuity by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation. The Negaunee Foundation provides generous support in perpetuity for the work of the Negaunee Music Institute.