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  • October 30, 2009
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Ursula Oppens Performs World Premiere of Tobias Picker’s Three Nocturnes for Ursula

Renowned pianist Ursula Oppens performs the world premiere of Tobias Picker's Three Nocturnes for Ursula this month at City University of New York's Elebash Recital Hall in Manhattan. A longtime Picker collaborator and close friend, Oppens will also engage in a discussion with the composers featured on the program as part of the concert proceedings.

Picker elaborates on the piece's inception:

After I wrote Old and Lost Rivers in 1986, I dedicated it to Ursula Oppens and left the piano manuscript with her doorman as a surprise on her birthday. In February, 2009 I decided to surprise Ms. Oppens once again and gave her these nocturnes on the occasion of her 65th birthday.

Old and Lost Rivers employs the entire keyboard and wide intervals within the key of D flat major. Three Nocturnes for Ursula explores the key of D Major in a similar way but it has an inner voice whose plaintive melody never strays beyond an octave or so.

Three Nocturnes for Ursula also exists in versions for alto flute, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola and cello all accompanied by piano. In these versions the solo instrument plays the inner melody and the pianist, in the composer's words, "has a much easier time of it!" The concert takes place on Wednesday, November 11 at 7PM.

On November 15, Tobias Picker's opera Emmeline sees its European Premiere in its new chamber orchestration, which just had its world premiere at Dicapo Opera Theatre in September. The European premiere takes place at Hungary's National Theatre and will be broadcast to over 40 countries on Mezzo Television.

 

For more on the music of Tobias Picker, please visit www.schott-music.com and www.tobiaspicker.com.

Click here for precise ticketing information on the concert.

 

Tobias Picker
Three Nocturnes for Ursula (2009)
for solo piano
15'

Emmeline (1995)
an opera in two acts
libretto (En) by J.D. McClatchy
for 4 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, dramatic contralto, 2 tenors, 2 baritones, 2 bass and women's chorus
1(pic).1(ca).1(bcl).1-2.1.1.0-timp-hp.pno-str
120'

 

  • September 15, 2009
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Tobias Picker’s Emmeline in New Chamber Orchestration

Emmeline completed its four-night run at New York's Dicapo Opera Theatre on Sunday, September 13, in a new chamber orchestration. The opera and Dicapo's production garnered widespread critical acclaim. The New York Times' Steve Smith comments:

The story is timeless in its Oedipal implications, yet relatable in scale, and Mr. Picker effectively expresses character nuances and plot twists with powerfully direct vocal lines. His potent orchestral writing evokes atmosphere, underlines conflict and conveys emotional tone with an emphatic directness. Mr. Picker's musical vocabulary is unapologetically conservative but never merely decorative, trivial or dull.

Conducted by Samuel Bill and directed by Robert Alföldi, Artistic Director of Hungary's National Theatre, and featuring soprano Kristin Sampson in the title role, Dicapo's production of Emmeline travels to Szeged, Hungary for its European premiere on November 15 and 16 where it will be telecast to over 40 countries by Mezzo TV.

Visit www.tobiaspicker.com and www.schott-music.com for more on the music of Tobias Picker.

Go to www.operacompetition.hu for more on the European Premiere.

Tobias Picker
Emmeline (1996)
opera in two acts
libretto (En) by J.D. McClatchy
for 4 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, dramatic contralto, 2 tenors, 2 baritones, 2 bass and women's chorus
reduced version: 1(pic).1(ca).1(bcl).1-2.1.1.0-timp-hp.pno-str
120'

 

  • September 9, 2009
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Tobias Picker’s Emmeline Receives World Premiere in New Chamber Orchestration at Dicapo Opera Theatre

Emmeline returns to the New York stage at Dicapo Opera Theatre for four performances September 10 through September 13.  The Dicapo run marks the world premiere of Tobias Picker's landmark American opera in its new chamber orchestration. With a libretto by J.D. McClatchy based on the novel by Judith Rossner, Emmeline relates the true story of a woman ostracized by those in her hometown of Fayette, Maine after a shocking, long held secret becomes public. The opera, Picker's first, is a work that transcends melodrama to lay bare the raw beauty of love. Emmeline premiered at the Santa Fe Opera in 1996 to international critical acclaim.

"The New York City Opera should put Emmeline in its permanent repertory. It is a model of its kind."
– Bernard Holland, The New York Times

"The Santa Fe Opera struck gold with the world premiere of Emmeline."
– Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal

"The unquestionable hit of the festival, however, was Picker's Emmeline. Picker's music...is accessible, exquisitely crafted, and it always serves the drama as both accompaniment and commentary... A hugely enjoyable occasion that I would gladly relive."
– Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times (London)

"Emmeline is fine theatre carried along by imaginative melodic music."
– Leo Wieland, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

"Emmeline will enter the world repertoire."
– Hella Boschmann, Die Welt

Conducted by Samuel Bill and directed by Robert Alföldi, Artistic Director of Hungary's National Theatre, and featuring soprano Kristin Sampson in the title role, Dicapo's production of Emmeline travels to Szezged, Hungary for its European premiere on November 15 and 16 where it will be telecast to over 40 countries by Mezzo TV.

For more on the music of Tobias Picker, visit www.tobiaspicker.com and www.schott-music.com.

For precise ticketing information on Dicapo Opera Theatre's production of Emmeline, go towww.dicapo.com.

Tobias Picker
Emmeline (1995)
an opera in two acts
libretto (En) by J.D. McClatchy
for 4 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, dramatic contralto, 2 tenors, 2 baritones, 2 bass and women's chorus
1(pic).1(ca).1(bcl).1-2.1.1.0-timp-hp.pno-str
120'

 

  • February 2, 2009
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Tobias Picker’s Thérèse Raquin in Production at Opera Institute of Boston University

Boston University's Opera Institute presents four performances this month of the chamber version of Tobias Picker's Thérèse Raquin. With a libretto by Gene Scheer based on the novel by Émile Zola, Picker's opera is a gritty tale of adulterous love and tragedy set in Paris in the late 1800s. The chamber version ofThérèse Raquin premiered in March of 2006 at the Linbury Studio of the Royal Opera House followed by its US premiere one year later at New York's Dicapo Opera Theatre. The work garnered strong reviews along the way, as Anne Midgette wrote in the New York Times:

[An] appropriate darkness emanates from Mr. Picker's adroit music, of a sinister tonality. The vocal writing is sympathetic, particularly in the effective ensembles, while beneath it the orchestra outlines the unspoken tension in taut layerings of figures, turning the emotional screws to echo the increasingly dissonant plot.

The New York Post added:

Inspired work...A worthwhile contemporary American opera. The music of Thérèse Raquin... has real merit, with its Parisian undertones and its fascinating Benjamin Britten-like interwoven ensembles standing out in a score that reveals intriguingly complex dissonance amid hints of atonality.

Conducted by William Lumpkin and directed by Jim Petosa, the performances take place on February 19, 20, 21 and 22 at the Boston University Theatre.

 

For more information on Tobias Picker, visit his website at www.tobiaspicker.com or www.schott-music.com.

To purchase tickets to the Boston University Opera Institute production of Thérèse Raquin, visitwww.bostontheatrescene.com.

 

Tobias Picker
Thérèse Raquin
 (2000)
opera in two acts
2 Sopranos, mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, baritone and bass
1(pic).1(ca).1(bcl).1(cbsn)-2.0.1(btbn).0-perc(timp)-hp.pno-str
110'
performed in Boston in the new chamber opera version

 

  • December 2, 2008
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World Premiere of Tobias Picker’s String Quartet No. 2 in New York

The American String Quartet performs the world premiere of Tobias Picker's String Quartet No. 2 on January 17 at Merkin Concert Hall of New York City's Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts, presented by the Manhattan School of Music. The composer elaborates on the piece's inception:

Following the premiere of my opera An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera, the President of the Manhattan School of Music, Robert Sirota, called me and told me that the American String Quartet had asked him to commission me as part of the school's 90th anniversary celebration. I was very excited because this meant that the first new music I would write after my largest piece ever would be a string quartet for my alma mater. I had originally thought to give the American String Quartet a transcription of some songs, but after hearing them play so beautifully I decided to create something entirely new (at least for me) and to take advantage of the opportunity to re-invent myself through the genre of the string quartet. I embraced the chance to return to chamber music with gusto because I saw this not only as an opportunity to incorporate everything I'd learned writing four grand operas into an intimate genre but also as the starting point of a new direction in my compositional thinking. 20 years separate my first and second quartet and it is not difficult to hear the evolution between the two.

The American String Quartet performs String Quartet No. 2 in two follow up performances at Brooklyn's Bargemusic on January 24 and 25.

 

To find out more on the music of Tobias Picker go to www.schott-music.com and www.tobiaspicker.com.

Visit www.kaufman-center.org to learn more on the American String Quartet's performance of String Quartet No. 2.

 

Tobias Picker
String Quartet No. 2 (2008)
Commissioned by Ruth Widder for the Manhattan School of Music and the American String Quartet
13'

 

  • December 2, 2008
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Tobias Picker’s Suite for cello and piano and Collected Works for Solo Piano Now Available in Edition Schott

Schott Music is proud to announce new publications of Tobias Picker's Suite for cello and piano, edited by cellist Lyn Harrell and pianist Simon Mulligan, and his Collected Works for solo piano edited by Ursula Oppens, now available in Edition Schott. The Suite for cello and piano was commissioned for Lyn Harrell by a consortium of ten organizations including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, the Ravinia Festival, San Francisco Performances and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Inspired in part by poems of E.E. Cummings, Salvatore Quasimodo and W.D. Merwin, the work received its world premiere by Mr. Harrell in San Francisco's Herbst Theater in January 1999.

The Collected Works for solo piano encompasses the diverse range of Tobias Picker's writing for piano from the virtuosic challenges of his Four Etudes for Ursula to the lyrical simplicity of Old and Lost Rivers... when soft voices die ..., and The Blue Hula. An ideal companion to this new piano anthology is the newly released Wergo recording Keys to the City, the complete solo piano works of Tobias Picker performed by Ursula Oppens. Picker comments on his long time collaboration with Ms. Oppens:

My life-long friendship with the legendary pianist Ursula Oppens began in 1973. I was 19. She was 29. We met in New York when she attended a performance of an early chamber concerto of mine. Ursula was the principal pianist for Speculum Musicae, then the premier new music ensemble in the United States. I heard her perform often and saw a great deal of her socially as she, along with many other renowned musicians, was also a friend of my composition teacher at the time, Charles Wuorinen. A few years later during a post-concert party at the pianist Paul Jacob's New York apartment following Speculum's premiere of my Sextet No.3, Ursula took me aside and asked me if I would write a piece for her. I was 22 and thrilled to have another commission. That piece would become "...when soft voices die...".

 

Contact your favorite online music retailer to order Tobias Picker's Suite for cello and piano, and theCollected Works for solo piano.

Go here to order the Wergo recording Tobias Picker - Keys to the City.

To learn more on the music of Tobias Picker, go to www.schott-music.com and www.tobiaspicker.com.

 

Tobias Picker
Suite (1999) ED 30004
for cello and piano
edited by Lyn Harrell and Simon Mulligan

Tobias Picker
Collected Works ED 30009
for solo piano
edited by Ursula Oppens

Tobias Picker - Keys to the City WER 66952
Four Etudes for Ursula *
Old and Lost Rivers
Three Pieces
 *
Where the Rivers Go *
... when soft voices die ...
The Blue Hula *
Keys to the City (version for two pianos)*

* First Recordings

 

  • September 8, 2008
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Wergo Releases New Recording of Tobias Picker’s Solo Piano Music

Following its European release on Wergo in June, Tobias Picker - Keys to the City sees its North American release on September 9, distributed by Harmonia Mundi. Featuring pianist Ursula Oppens, this comprehensive recording traces an evolution in Tobias Picker's writing for piano from the virtuosic challenges of his Four Etudes for Ursula and the jazzy, urbane landscape of Keys to the City to the lyrical simplicity of Old and Lost Rivers... when soft voices die ..., and The Blue Hula. Listeners will also have a rare opportunity to hear the composer performing in the two piano version of Keys to the City. Picker comments:

My life-long friendship with the legendary pianist Ursula Oppens began in 1973. I was 19. She was 29. We met in New York when she attended a performance of an early chamber concerto of mine. Ursula was the principal pianist for Speculum Musicae, then the premier new music ensemble in the United States. I heard her perform often and saw a great deal of her socially as she, along with many other renowned musicians, was also a friend of my composition teacher at the time, Charles Wuorinen. A few years later during a post-concert party at the pianist Paul Jacob’s New York apartment following Speculum’s premiere of my Sextet No.3, Ursula took me aside and asked me if I would write a piece for her. I was 22 and thrilled to have another commission. That piece would become “…when soft voices die…”.

Upcoming for Tobias Picker this season is the world premiere of the new reduced version of his wonderful family opera Fantastic Mr. Fox based on the beloved Roald Dahl story at Dicapo Opera Theatre in New York in December as well as the world premiere of his String Quartet No. 2. by the American String Quartet at Merkin Concert Hall in New York on January 17.

 

To learn more on the music of Tobias Picker visit www.tobiaspicker.com and www.schott-music.com.

To order Tobias Picker - Keys to the City, go to www.wergo.de or purchase at your favorite online retailer.

 

Tobias Picker - Keys to the City
Four Etudes for Ursula
 *
Old and Lost Rivers
Three Pieces
 *
Where the Rivers Go *
... when soft voices die ...
The Blue Hula *
Keys to the City (version for two pianos)*

* First Recordings

 

  • April 3, 2008
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Tobias Picker’s Suite for Cello and Piano in World Choreographic Premiere

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This month Tobias Picker's Suite for Cello and Piano receives its choreographic premiere on April 26 and 27 at New York's Dicapo Opera Theatre. The new Ballet, entitled Seguiti (Moving On), features choreography by rising choreographer Dario Vaccaro who remarks, "Seguiti reveals the moments when change becomes a necessity. The dancers disengage themselves from reality to unveil the lonely truth of desire." The music to the suite will be performed by cellist Caroline Stinson and pianist Simon Mulligan.

Commissioned for Lynn Harrell by a consortium including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival and San Francisco Performances, the Suite for Cello and Piano received its world premiere by Lynn Harrell and Simon Mulligan at San Francisco's Herbst Theater as part of the music series San Francisco Performances in 1998. Picker then adapted the music from the suite for his Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, commissioned by the BBC Proms and premiered at Royal Albert Hall in 2001 by the conductor David Robertson with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and cellist Paul Watkins. TheSuite for Cello and Piano will be available at music stores everywhere this summer in a new Edition Schottversion, edited by Lynn Harrell and Simon Mulligan (ED 30004).

 

For more information on the music of Tobias Picker, visit www.schott-music.com andwww.tobiaspicker.com.

For precise information on Seguiti at Dicapo Opera Theatre, go to www.dicapo.com.

 

Tobias Picker
Suite for Cello and Piano (1998)
27'

 

  • January 31, 2008
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The Music of Tobias Picker Showcased at Dicapo Opera Theatre

On Saturday, February 2 at 8:00 PM New York's Dicapo Opera Theatre presents The Music of Tobias Picker: a full evening of selected scenes and arias from the composer's acclaimed operas Emmeline,Fantastic Mr. FoxTherese Raquin and An American Tragedy.

Following a successful run of Therese Raquin in its chamber version last February, Picker was appointed to the position of Artistic Advisor to Dicapo. The Music of Tobias Picker is Dicapo's first presentation of Picker's music since his appointment. The scenes and arias will be performed by the young singers in Dicapo's Resident Artists program. In addition to his counsel on repertoire and artistic planning, Mr. Picker has been actively working with the Resident Artists in developing their craft. For the February 2 program, Mr. Picker selected each of the singers and has personally coached them for this performance. Accompanying the singers on February 2 will be British pianist and composer Simon Mulligan.

In other Picker happenings, the composer's lush orchestral tone poem Old and Lost Rivers will be performed by the Redwood Symphony of Belmont, California, under conductor Eric Kujawsky on Wednesday, February 9 and his Suite, for cello and piano, can be heard at Temple University's Rock Hall in Philadelphia with cellist Jeffrey Solow and pianist Charles Abramovic on Tuesday, February 5.

 

For more information on the music of Tobias Picker, please visit www.schott-music.com orwww.tobiaspicker.com.

For ticket inquires about The Music of Tobias Picker at Dicapo Opera Theatre, please visit www.dicapo.com.

 

Tobias Picker
Suite (1998)
for cello and piano
27'

Old and Lost Rivers (1986)
for orchestra
3(pic)2.3(bcl)3-6301-timp.perc-hp.pno-str
6'

  • December 5, 2007
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Tobias Picker Featured in Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks

In his new book Musicophilia, renowned neurologist and author Oliver Sacks provides detailed accounts of people with peculiar aural afflictions in an effort to contribute to our understanding of music and further illustrate the workings of the human mind. One such case he uses to illustrate this purpose involves our own Tobias Picker. Though he lives with Tourette's Syndrome, Dr. Sacks notes that Mr. Picker can still write in every mode, and can shift between compositional styles with consummate ease. Mr. Picker tells Dr. Sacks that the syndrome has shaped his imagination, "I live my life controlled by Tourette's but use music to control it. I have harnessed its energy - I play with it, manipulate it, trick it, mimic it, taunt it, explore it, exploit it, in every possible way."

 

Please visit www.nytimes.com to read Michiko Kakutani's review of Musicophilia.

For more information on the music of Tobias Picker, visit www.schott-music.com or www.tobiaspicker.com.

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