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  • WDCH
  • Apr. 5, 2007

    APRIL 5 - JUNE 3, 2007

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic's Shadow of Stalin festival - a series of concerts, symposia and other ancillary events throughout April, May and early June - offers an intense exploration of the profound effects of government decisions on creativity and the resulting aesthetic choices made by Soviet composers before and after the infamous "anonymous" editorial attacking Shostakovich's opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, appeared in the Communist newspaper, Pravda. Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the orchestra in three of the seven programs, which are supported through the collaborative efforts of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the University of Southern California's Slavic Languages and Literatures department and ArcLight Theaters.

    Shadow of Stalin closely scrutinizes the intricacies and influences provoked by the Pravda editorial on the music composed during this period by such visionaries as Shostakovich and Prokofiev, as well as the generation that followed them, through a thorough exploration of musical expression that takes an in-depth look at the issue of politics vs. art:

    • The Shadow of Stalin begins with a chamber music program focusing on works for small ensembles from this tumultuous period with Prokofiev's Overture on Hebrew Themes and Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 56, Ustvolskaya's Clarinet Trio and Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2, performed by members of the Philharmonic on Tuesday, May 8, at 8 p.m.

    • A Green Umbrella program, Music After the Thaw, led by Associate Conductor Alexander Mickelthwate, explores music by late-Soviet composers, including Gubaidulina's Concordanza and In croce, as well as Schnittke's Symphony No. 4, on Tuesday, May 15, at 8 p.m.

    • Indie-gypsy-folk DeVotchka, and special guest Saul Williams, explore the compelling and controversial underground musical movement known as the Russian Chanson on Thursday, May 24, at 8 p.m.

    • Salonen and the Philharmonic are joined by soprano Tatiana Pavlovskaya, tenor Vladimir Grishko, baritone Vladislav Sulimsky, and bass Benjamin von Atrops in Music Before the Crackdown, a pre-Pravda article program that includes Popov's Suite from Komsomol: Patron of Electrification; a Suite from Shostakovich's rarely-performed opera, The Nose; Act 1, Scene 3 from the controversial Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk; and Mosolov's Iron Foundry on Friday, May 25, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 27, at 2 p.m.

    • An extraordinary lineup of DJs, VJs, artists and live musicians, including Amon Tobin, Cut Chemist, DJ Spooky and Peanut Butter Wolf, along with special guests dublab soundsystem, Norton Wisdom, Christoph Bull, Thomas Golubic and a special appearance by a ten theremin orchestra, dissect the sounds, sights and philosophies of the Stalin-era Soviet Union for PRAVDA in an all-night multi-media event on Saturday, May 26, from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

    • The Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, led by conductor Sean Newhouse and featuring violinist Jennifer Frautschi, performs Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10 on Sunday, May 27, at 7:30 p.m.

    • Salonen and the Philharmonic showcase Music from Behind the Iron Curtain with Ligeti's Concert Românesc, Husa's Music for Prague 1968 and Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra on Thursday, May 31, and Friday, June 1, at 8 p.m.

    • Salonen closes the season and the festival, by leading the orchestra in Music After the Crackdown with Prokofiev's score to the landmark film, Alexander Nevsky, while the film plays on screens Saturday, June 2, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 3, at 2 p.m.

    Another probing look is taken into the artistry born in the shadow of Communist oppression and in conjunction with the Shadow of Stalin through two day-long symposia offered by the University of Southern California (USC). "Beauty and the Beast: A Symposium on Stalin in the Arts" features panelists well-versed in the topic such as J. Arch Getty of UCLA and Vladimir Paperny of Vladimir Paperny and Associates, as well as additional presentations on artifacts from USC's Ferris Collection of Russian and Soviet Culture, on Thursday, April 5, beginning at 10 a.m., at USC's Leavey Library and Auditorium. "We are Conquering Time and Space: A Symposium on Culture and Power in the Soviet Union" includes noted panelists such as Simon Morrison of Princeton University; Laurel Fay, festival scholar-in-residence; Vladimir Paperny; Nicoletta Misler of Istituto Orientale; and John E. Bowlt of USC, on Saturday, May 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Additionally, contemporary Russian films including Russian Ark and Burnt by the Sun are part of the ArcLight Film Festival in Hollywood on Monday, April 30, and Tuesday, May 1. The film festival is hosted by Shaz Bennett, senior programmer for the American Film Institute.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events are free to all ticket holders and take place in BP Hall one hour prior to the following concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall: Tuesday, May 15; Friday, May 25; Sunday, May 27; Thursday, May 31; Friday, June 1; Saturday, June 2; and Sunday, June 3. The moderators include scholar-in-residence Laurel Fay (May 25 and 27; June 2 and 3) and Philharmonic Consulting Composer for New Music Steven Stucky (May 31 and June 1).

    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, the 10th conductor to head the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is currently in his 14th season as Music Director. He made his American debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in November 1984, and has conducted the orchestra every season since. His current tenure is the second-longest in Philharmonic history, and he recently extended his contract through the 2007/08 season. Alongside his activities as a conductor, Salonen has also won acclaim for his work as a composer. Among the many highlights of Salonen's activities with the Philharmonic have been world premieres of works by composers John Adams, Franco Donatoni, William Kraft, Witold Lutoslawski, Magnus Lindberg, Bernard Rands, Rodion Shchedrin, Steven Stucky, Tan Dun and Augusta Read Thomas, as well as his own works. He has led critically-acclaimed festivals of music by Ligeti, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Berlioz, and has served as Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival. He and the Philharmonic have toured extensively since 1992, including extended residencies at the Salzburg Festival and at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Salonen's latest orchestral work, Wing on Wing, received its world premiere in June 2004 as part of the Philharmonic's Building Music Festival. In March 2003, Salonen signed an exclusive four-year recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon; in February 2005, the label released Wing on Wing, a disc devoted to his recent works. Before signing with DG, Salonen recorded regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Sony Classical. A Sony disc of Salonen's compositions, including LA Variations, Five Images After Sappho, Giro, Gambit and Mania, has garnered critical acclaim throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Salonen and the Philharmonic's discography also includes the debut recording of John Adams' Naive and Sentimental Music - a work that the orchestra premiered - for the Nonesuch label. Salonen was born in Helsinki in 1958, and after studies at the Sibelius Academy in Finland and with private teachers Franco Donatoni and Niccolò Castiglioni in Italy, he made his conducting debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1979. He is the recipient of many major awards including the Siena Prize from the Accademia Chigiana in 1993, the first conductor ever to receive the prize; the Royal Philharmonic Society's Opera Award in 1995; and their Conductor Award in 1997. In 1998, he was awarded the rank of Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government; in 2003 he received an honorary doctorate from the Sibelius Academy in Finland.

    ALEXANDER MICKELTHWATE is the newly-appointed Music Director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and was recently promoted to Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the 2006/2007 season. As Assistant Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the past two years, Mickelthwate led the orchestra in programs at Walt Disney Concert Hall, appeared on the Green Umbrella new music series, education and community concerts, and at the Hollywood Bowl. In January 2006, following a performance of Boulez's Le Marteau Sans Maître with the Philharmonic's New Music Group, Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Alexander Mickelthwate has been a fearless assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mickelthwate conducted very much in the Boulez manner: calm under pressure, sure of ever-changing meters…" As a guest conductor, Mickelthwate has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Nashville, New Jersey, Oregon and Toronto; the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Eos Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa). Abroad, Mickelthwate made his European debut with the Hamburg Symphony in April 2006. During his tenure as assistant conductor with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which he completed at the end of the 2003-04 season, he co-founded the new music ensemble, Bent Frequency, which was hailed by Gramophone Magazine as "one of the brightest ensembles on the scene." Always striving to engage young people in music, he conducted more than 60 Young People's Concerts with the Atlanta Symphony, and organized an exchange between the Atlanta Youth Symphony and Berlin Youth Orchestra during the summer of 2003, hosting concerts in both cities.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music - Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association's involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    For a complete listing of Shadow of Stalin events, please visit:

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall one hour prior to select concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are free to all ticket holders.

    Tickets ($15-$135) are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($15) will be released for sale to selected Philharmonic, Colburn Celebrity Recital, and Baroque Variations performances beginning at noon on the Tuesday of the second week prior to the concert. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422,; Rachelle Roe, 213.972.7310,; Lisa White, 213.972.3408,; Photos: 213.972.3034