Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Constella Festival - two new choreography works and a new composition

Inspired Improvisations and Stravinsky

Presented by Constella FestivalWednesday, October 30, 2013 7:30pm @ Freedom Center, Harriet Tubman Theater“...raw, robust choreography...” – Cincinnati Enquirer
Choreographers Heather Britt & Jimmy Cunningham with Dancers of the Cincinnati Ballet. In collaboration with the Cincinnati Art Museum, artist Sandra Gross and festival musicians.

An innovative production featuring ballet dancers, musicians and art installation on the same stage. Heather Britt and James Cunningham, Cincinnati’s exciting rising star choreographers will each present a world premiere work. Set to the music of Stravinsky and musical improvisations, this project features Cincinnati Cincinnati Ballet dancers, art installation by glass artist Sandra Gross and musicians Tatiana Berman, Eddie Kwon and Elena Kholodova.

A very special exhibition featuring prints from the “Ballet Russe” costume drawings collection will be on display at the venue for these events on loan from the Cincinnati Art Museum


Stravinsky: Suite Italienne for Violin and Piano (World Premiere)
Jimmy Cunningham, choreographer
Tatiana Berman, violin; Elena Kholodova, Piano
Dancers: Danielle Bausinger, Sirui Liu, Abigail Morwood, Joshua Bodden, and James Gilmer

“Habitual” original composition by Gabriel Gaffney Smith titled 7.28.13
Heather Britt, choreographer
Dancers : Janessa Touchet and James Gilmer

Improvisation (World premiere)
Tatiana Berman, Eddy Kwon, violins

1. The Lover, Poem by Paul Eluard
Heather Britt, Choreographer
Dancers: Sirui Liu and James Cunningham

2. The Earth is blue like an orange by Paul Eluard
James Cunningham, Choreographer
Dancer: Abigail Morwood

3. I love you
Paul Éluard (1895-1952)
James Gilmer, Choreographer
Dancers: Danielle Bausinger and Joshua Bodden

All Too Wonderful (2009) music by Peter Adam
Heather Britt, choreographer
Dancers: Danielle Bausinger, Jacqueline Damico, Sirui Liu, Abigail Morwood, Joshua Bodden, James Cunningham,  and James Gilmer
For more information please visit www.constellafestival.org/tickets or call 513.621.2787

CincyChic Spotlight October 20, 2013


Cincy Chic Spotlight: Tatiana Berman
Written by Sara Elliott   
Sunday, 20 October 2013 22:05

Chic Spotlight: Tatiana Berman
We chat with the founder and artistic director of Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts, which brings a variety of genres to the Tri-State for the musical and arts experience of a lifetime.

Tatiana Berman, Founder and Artistic Director of Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts.
Photo by Annette Navarro. 

Cincy Chic: What is the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts?
Tatiana Berman, Founder and Artistic Director of Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts: Constella was created to showcase and celebrate the depth and breadth of musical and artistic life in Cincinnati. Constella presents unique collaborations between international artists of the highest caliber, in partnership with many of the city’s finest performing arts organizations, to spotlight the rich and vibrant musical fabric of Cincinnati. Aside from traditional chamber music, Constella Cincinnati brings world premieres of several ground-breaking works to audiences, interweaving music, visual art and dance into multi-sensory artistic performances. The festival is comprised of several performances and installations that take place in October and early November in conventional and unusual venues and surroundings to make for a truly intriguing, unexpected and exciting experience.

Cincy Chic: What inspired the musical festival and when did it first launch?
Berman: I love the idea of bringing people and ideas together in this particular constellation. This year marks our third season and we’ve presented more than 25 new works in just two seasons here in Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Constella?
Berman: We currently have a festival team, a board and a group of loyal supporters who all come together to present this amazing music festival each year.

Cincy Chic: What makes Constella so different and unique?
Berman: The thing that makes Constella so different and unique is that there’s no other festival like this in the region. We present more than 20 events in a variety of styles of a very high quality including dance, jazz, classical music and art. Every performance is an event and an adventure. People who have never been to a classical music concert enjoy our events as much as chamber music, jazz and art lovers.
Our more intimate venues, small world-class ensembles, many world premieres and unique music and art combinations create an exceptional experience. We present original art exhibitions that are great pairings with performances. By bringing in internationally-renowned performers, we aim to bring attention to the Tri-State’s local artists and musicians.

Cincy Chic: How much does it cost to attend?
Berman: The cost of a ticket ranges from $25 to $85 and students can purchase tickets for just $10.
Berman highlights her skills as a professional violinist.
Photo by Annette Navarro.
Cincy Chic: What are you looking forward to in the future for Costella?
Berman: We’re looking forward to many projects being planned for next and and to utilize our knowledge from past festival presentations to make the experience ever better for our audience!

Cincy Chic: Do you have anything new on the horizon for Costella?
Berman: We’re already in the planning process for the next season, so you’ll have to stayed tuned.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about Constella or to purchase tickets?
Berman: Readers can visit www.constellafestival.org to learn more. To purchase tickets, visit the Aronoff Center Box Office, our website or call 513-621-2787.
Sara Elliott -
Sara is the assistant editor at Cincy Chic. Send her an email atselliott@cincychic.com.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Review: Berman, Järvi deliver stunning world premiere performance

Review: Berman, Järvi deliver stunning world premiere performance

Oct. 11, 2013   |  

Tatiana Berman: 'Music and art drive me'
Tatiana Berman: 'Music and art drive me': Tatiana Berman, the founder of Cincinnati's Constella Festival, takes us inside her East Walnut Hills condo for a tour of her art and a musical performance
It’s no mean feat to direct a music festival and also star as the soloist in a world premiere performance.
But multi-tasking violinist Tatiana Berman, who is also founding director of the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts, delivered impressively in both areas in Thursday’s festival program entitled “Queen City Connections.”
Indeed, there were multiple Queen City connections in play. Returning to conduct was Paavo Järvi, music director laureate of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Berman’s former husband.
Filling every inch of Memorial Hall’s stage, the chamber-sized orchestra included a number of members of the Cincinnati Symphony. And the collaborating composer, Charles Coleman, has strong ties to the Cincinnati Symphony, which has premiered and recorded several of his pieces.
Järvi’s program included Stravinsky’s ballet score “Apollon Musagète” and Mozart’s Symphony No. 33 in B-flat Major, K. 319. The main event, Berman’s premiere of Coleman’s Violin Concerto, came last.
It was worth the wait. Coleman, born in New York in 1968, writes in a style that is vibrant and urban – it is music of today. His substantial, three-movement Violin Concerto combined minimalist techniques (the repetition of motives and rhythms) and a romantic gift for melody.
The piece was instantly appealing. The first movement opened with a long, sinuous melody for the violin in a duet with a cymbal. It evolved into a palette that was bright and busy, with bubbling winds set against glowing orchestral textures. Berman crouched as she tackled its soaring, angular themes with a seamless, lyrical tone.
The slow movement was atmospheric, with soulful themes for the violin and lush orchestral accompaniment. Its ebb and flow included a brief nod to jazz, and a Mozart-like wind ensemble. As the orchestra played a sustained river of sound, the violinist’s tones floated above. A captivating clarinet solo (Jonathan Gunn) had the last word.
The finale was an edgy perpetual motion, with the violinist interjecting both long melodies and rapid figures. Järvi and the musicians supported the soloist well, although here, perhaps due to the hall’s boomy acoustics, the violinist didn’t project as well.
Berman’s playing was top-notch, and she ended with a flourish. As the crowd stood for an enthusiastic reception, the couple’s two little daughters delivered bouquets to their parents.
Järvi opened with Stravinsky’s rarely-played, neo-classical “Apollon Musagète” (Apollo, leader of the Muses), a ballet in two scenes for strings.
Written for the impresario Diaghilev in 1928 (Järvi led the 1947 revision), it is basically a suite of dances. Its movements are variations for three muses, framed with variations for Apollo and ending with a delicate pas de deux.
It was by turns austere and lush, and there were many stunning moments. Concertmaster Anna Reider performed an elegiac solo with immense beauty of tone, and string sonorities were rich. Järvi found character in each of its movements, and the musicians responded with terrific playing.
That sense of discovery continued in the Mozart, notable for its momentum, lightness and detail given to every phrase. Nothing was predictable, and even though this was a “pick-up” orchestra, Järvi knew just how to bring out the best in his players.
Downstairs at Memorial Hall, the Constella event included a casually displayed exhibition of art by pop artist Andrew VanSickle, outsider artist The Rev. Howard Finster and celebrity photographer Gary Lee Boas.
The Constella Festival continues through Nov. 7. Information: 513-621-2787, www.constellafestival.org.

Berman a Star in Coleman Premiere

Berman a Star in Coleman Premiere

Mary Ellyn Hutton
Posted: Oct 12, 2013 - 4:13:29 PM in reviews 

"Red Tatiana," acrylic and silkscreen on canvas by Andrew VanSickle
“I feel like a rock star,” said Tatiana Berman after performing Charles Coleman’s Violin Concerto for the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts Thursday night at Memorial Hall.
And well she should.
It was a magnificent performance. Add to that, it was a world premiere.
.Berman is not only an internationally recognized violinist, but founder and hands-on artistic director of Constella, making her achievement that much more remarkable.
Coleman’s work shared the program with music by Stravinsky and Mozart (good company). The Constella Festival Chamber Ensemble, a 29-piece orchestra hand-picked by Berman from area musicians, was led by Paavo Järvi, music director laureate of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
taking a bow, left to right, Charles Coleman, Tatiana Berman and Paavo Järvi
Commissioned by Constella and written for Berman, the Concerto is an energetic work with a lovely, lyrical central movement. It is hard not to hear the big-city resonance of the work (as in Coleman’s “Streetscape,” commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2001 and premiered by Järvi), with its lively rhythmic interplay in the outer movements. Indeed, there was always a “buzz” in the first movement, which opened with the violin carefree and frisky, playing over the tapping of a cymbal. Berman crafted her lines with a pure, bright-as-a-laser tone that brought out the violin’s independence, yet unity with the orchestra, ending the movement with a flip little gesture, again over the ring of a cymbal.
The Larghetto second movement was an essay in beauty, Berman entering in a reflective mode after a faraway introduction by the orchestra. The music grew in intensity and there were some gorgeous textures, including, at one point, an ethereal one for violin, strings and piano. After a soaring climax, there was silence, then a kind of leave-taking, capped by a soulful passage by Berman, answered at the end by solo clarinet (there was total silence in the hall after this).
The third and final movement, a playful one modeled (on steroids) after the finale of Bach’s Violin Concerto in E Major, took off with an air of excitement (the movement is marked "Persistent"). This was generated (again) by its abundant rhythmic activity and by Berman’s technical panache and her ability to counter bright, high-lying passages with low, guttural ones for full tonal variety. Like a locomotive speeding along the rails, it came, however, to a surprise, abrupt ending. Järvi was fully her partner in the performance, leading the orchestra with zest.
Järvi, who held the orchestra in the palm of his hand(s) throughout the concert, opened with Stravinsky’s “Apollon Musagète.” Translated “Apollo, Leader of the Muses,” it is the score of a 1928 “white” ballet premiered at the Library of Congress and revived the same year by Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes in Paris. Scored for strings only, the 30-minute work unfolds in two tableaux and is a landmark of the composer’s neo-classical style. Järvi gave it a fluid reading, congenial and rich in voicing. Concertmistress Anna Reider was a vibrant soloist in the second tableau (“Variation of Apollo,” in which Apollo first meets the Muses). The three short variations for Calliope, Polyhymnia and Terpsichore (each less than two minutes long) were totally charming, the pas de deux of Apollo and Terpsichore was sweet and gentle, and the final “Apotheosis” was lush and infused with sentiment.
The good feelings continued in Mozart’s Symphony No. 33, an intimate work from his Paris years. Järvi crafted its lines expertly and invested considerable beauty in the Andante. There was a real kick in the Minuet, with its understated Trio, and the Allegro finale was light-hearted, with spirited playing by all.
The concert was followed by a reception on the lower level of Memorial Hall and an exhibition of art work by Andrew VanSickle, Rev. Howard Finster and Gary Lee Boas.

Järvi returns to Cincinnati in February, when he will conduct the CSO in the Symphony No. 4 by Mahler. Information at www.cincinnatisymphony.org

Friday, 11 October 2013

Tatiana Berman, Constella Festival, Joshua Bell, City Beat

Home · Articles · Arts & Culture · Visual Art · Combining Artistic Energies

Combining Artistic Energies

The Constella Festival

arts1Josh Bell - Marc Holm
Last fall, as the economy continued its downward spiral and arts organizations laid off staff, Tatiana Berman started to map out plans for a new arts festival in Cincinnati, and this week — defying the odds — the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts debuts, aligning an impressive array of artists with the city’s major performing ensembles and arts venues. 
“Constella is Italian for constellation,” Berman says, “Collaborative artistic energy and ideas, coming together to form a complete festival constellation.”
Berman hopes Constella will become comparable to festivals in Santa Fe, N.M., Aspen, Colo., and Charleston, S.C., but her vision goes beyond a chamber music festival. Her goal is to showcase Cincinnati’s musical and artistic life and to foster collaborations between top performing artists and major arts institutions. It’s a huge risk and an even bigger opportunity for Cincinnati. There’s nothing comparable in the Midwest.
Between Constella, the Chamber Music Cincinnati, the CSO’s Chamber players and the Chamber Orchestra, the next three weekends are packed with unique combinations of music, dance, visual arts and more music. 
Berman could pass for a waif, but don’t let the wide eyes fool you. Working with Tyler Roe and Kameron Schlachter, she received a grant from ArtsWave and support from individuals to underwrite major performers and commissions. Festival manager LeAnne Anklan is the only paid staff member. Local design firm LPK contributed graphic design, and Cloudred created the website.  “Artistically, it all came together exactly as planned and more,” Berman says.
She calls the stellar lineup “friends, colleagues whom I’ve known for a while and who I admire.” An accomplished violinist herself, Berman trained in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia, and went on to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her contacts with the music world expanded when she married former CSO maestro Paavo Jarvi in 2004. Although the couple divorced in 2010, Jarvi serves as one of Constella’s artistic advisors.
Acclaimed violinist Hilary Hahn welcomes the addition of a new chamber festival. 
“Cincinnati already has so much to offer, and a festival is always greater than the sum of its parts,” Hahn says. 
The parts include chamber performances offered by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Linton Music Series, the Vocal Arts Ensemble and the Cincinnati Ballet, along with art exhibitions at the Weston Art Gallery and at Memorial Hall.
Hahn kicks off Constella with Bach and Beethoven violin sonatas, accompanied by Valentina Lisitsa.
The program includes premieres from her commissioned series “In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores.”  Taking inspiration from Hahn’s commissions, artists Sandra Gross and Lisa Merida-Paytes have created new work that will be exhibited at a reception following the concert.
New York Philharmonic principal oboist and former CSO principal Liang Wang returns Friday for a “candlelit” chamber concert at the Aronoff’s Fifth Third Bank Theater, performing with area musicians including Berman, flutist Jasmine Choi, violist Yael Senamaud-Cohen and CSO principal oboist Dwight Parry.
On Saturday, members of the Cincinnati Ballet perform works choreographed by local artists, including Heather Britt, who is collaborating with Jimmy Cunningham and Stephen Jacobsen to re-create a forgotten ballet with music by Prokofiev, performed by the innovative concert:nova. The original choreographers argued about the story line, “so we decided to tell our own version of the story, using the creative tension within our story line,” Britt says. 
Sunday’s action moves to the best new venue in town, SCPA’s Corbett Theater, for a recital by piano virtuoso Alexander Toradze and Nikita Abromisov, winner of the 2011 World Piano Competition. Artists from 5th Street Gallery will exhibit recent work at a reception following the concert.
Local chamber organizations take over the following week, with Chamber Music Cincinnati presenting the acclaimed St. Laurence String Quartet at CCM’s Werner Hall; the CSO’s Chamber Players at SCPA’s intimate Mayerson Theater; the superb Vocal Arts Ensemble in a program of works by American composers Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti; and, Oct. 16, Linton Music Series offers an afternoon of piano quartets featuring legendary pianist Menahem Pressler. Classical Revolution at Northside Tavern caps the weekend.
As October winds down, the early music ensemble Catacoustic Consort performs Baroque arias sung by countertenor Michael Maniaci, a CCM alum who performs in major venues throughout the world.
On Oct. 29, Jazz saxophonist and composer Ted Nash takes over the Blue Wisp to premiere a commissioned piece “Suite Ivette,” featuring string quartet, piano, bass, sax, drums and vibraphone and performed by local musicians, along with selections from his Rhymes and Reasons album. 
“I not only cross aspects of Classical and Jazz music, but South American as well,” Nash says. “A tango and habanera are mixed in and I even have the musicians playing percussion during the third movement.” 
Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra winds up the weekend back at SCPA with music of Mozart and Charles Ives, featuring Canadian violinist Phillipe Quint.
The festival closes Nov. 8 on the ultimate high note with superstar violinist Joshua Bell. With over 36 recordings and mild notoriety for busking in the Washington, D.C., Metro for oblivious commuters, Bell has a soft spot for Cincinnati, “one of the first places to bring me in as a soloist.” 
Like most of the featured performers, Bell is an old friend who played chamber music with Berman.  
“I envy her taking this on,” Bell says, momentarily forgetting that he’s the recently appointed music director of The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. “Any city that wants to have a lively arts scene needs a chamber music presence. It’s the epitome of music making.”

THE CONSTELLA FESTIVAL runs Thursday through Nov. 8. For a complete schedule and ticketing options, visit www.constellafestival.org