The Carlos Surinach Centenary 2015
Born in Barcelona in 1915, composer Carlos Surinach is a powerful symbol of the artistic cross-currents between Spain and America. In his native city, the composer studied with Enric Morera and later in Germany with Max Trapp and Richard Strauss. He developed impressive credentials as a conductor as director of the Orquesta and the Liceu Opera. A highlight of his conducting career was his direction of the Spanish premiere of Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra with the composer and Alicia de Larrocha as soloists.
In 1951, Surinach immigrated to the United States and became a U. S. citizen in 1959. iThe composer settled eventually in New Haven, CT, where he died in 1997. Most notable among the achievements of his American years were a series of collaborations with choreographer Martha Graham and the Joffrey Ballet resulting in his scores for Embattled Garden, Acrobats of God, The Owl and the Pussycat, and Feast of Ashes.
Surinach’s lean, acerbic musical style owed little either to his Catalan roots or his adopted American identity. Rather, it was the gypsy music of Andalusia which seemed especially to intrigue the composer, who frequently employed the octatonic scale to approximate the exotic idiom.
Part of Surinach’s legacy continues to live on through his generous bequest to the BMI Foundation to endow the Carlos Surinach Commissions. This fund provides to special assistance to gifted young American composers and helps to promote musical creation in the composer’s second homeland.
In the upcoming centenary year of Surinach’s birth, I am planning to undertake a project to perform and record the composer’s complete output for solo piano, a discographic first. Part of the project will involve research into unpublished scores, many of which are archived at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. I invite visitors to this site to click the link below to hear a live performance of mine of a suite from Surinach’s ballet Acrobats of God from a recital at the Academia Marshall in Barcelona on July 4, 2013.
Suite from Acrobats of God, performed by Adam Kent live in Barcelona.
Stay tuned for more information about fundraising for this project.
2016 & 2017: A Granados Celebration
Enrique Granados (1867-1916) was one of Spain’s leading composers. His piano music weds lush romantic textures and harmonies to a keen awareness of his native culture and folklore. The artwork of Francisco Goya became a major preoccupation of Granados, who sought to translate his impressions of the painter’s lavish canvasses into musical terms. Granados met with a tragic end, when the S.S. Sussex, which carried the composer and his wife across the English Channel during their return from the United States was torpedoed by Germany during the war.
Formal Shots: Michael Dames and James Keyser
Candid Shots in Spain: Joel Weinberg
Candid Shots of Damocles Trio: Sibylle Johner
Carnegie Hall Shots: Young Jang