On the heels of the big Symphony No.5 performances in New York which were recorded and continue to be video streamed on the Trinity Wall Street website, the two big events happening this week are the opening of Les Enfants Terribles with Opera Parallele in San Francisco and the continuing tour of Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica and their performances of Philip Glass’ 2010 Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, & Orchestra.
Both events represent personal relationships in a way. Gidon Kremer’s relationship to the music of Philip Glass goes back to the 1980s. Around 1990, Kremer was among the first champions of Glass’ orchestra music. Despite his incredible stature as an international touring artists, Kremer discovered the reluctance of major orchestras to take on Glass’ new concerto. Undeterred, Philip Glass’ music has remained part of his performing and recording life from when he made the first recording of Glass’ Violin Concerto No.1 on DG with the Vienna Philharmonic (interestingly the orchestra recorded the work but never performed it live), and recently having recorded Violin Concerto No.2 with Kremerata Baltica. His group also made a stunning recording of Glass’ Company for String Orchestra. Makes one wonder how it could be that Glass has never directly written for Kremer having also composed a Violin Sonata (which Kremer at one time had programmed on a North American tour a couple of years ago before withdrawing the piece) and a Partita for Solo Violin.
The artistic director of Opera Parallele is la Québecoise Nicole Paiement. Paiement has had something to a dedication to the music of Philip Glass having done works not only operas like Orphée in San Francisco and Les Enfants Terribles, but also concert works which have not otherwise been heard in the Bay Area like the composers Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra. As such, Paiement has become the de facto champion of Glass’ music in San Francisco. Paiement’s star is on the rise. In 2014 she was named Principal Guest conductor of the Dallas Opera, she continues at Opera Parallele which she founded, and routinely conducts at companies like Glimmerglass and elsewhere.