- What they say about Angel
- Concert reviews
- Disc reviews
What they say about Angel
Invigorating… Gil-Ordóñez led a vital renditionAlex RossThe New Yorker (April 2017)
(…) one of the country’s most innovative music groups – the Post-Classical Ensemble (…)Philip KennicottThe Washington Post (February 2015)
Charismatic PCE Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez led a taut, unforgettable reading.Brett CampbellMusical America (March 2011)
The PostClassical Ensemble announced Friday that after 14 itinerant seasons, it has found a stable home — at Washington National Cathedral. Starting next season, it will become the cathedral’s newest ensemble-in-residence. This means that the ensemble, which calls itself “an experimental orchestral laboratory” and has performed in venues from the Indonesian Embassy to the Library of Congress, will present three of next season’s concerts at the cathedral, two of them in collaboration with the cathedral’s chorus. It will continue to perform in other locations around Washington as well.
PostClassical Ensemble: Full-on activists. Galvanizing issue: Diplomacy. “We’ve never practiced art for art’s sake,” Horowitz, 70, says of the cross-disciplinary organization created in 2003. “Our premise is that music is an instrument for human betterment.” Both men are international-minded: This spring, Gil-Ordóñez, 59, led an exchange that took his Georgetown University students to Cuba, and that brought visiting Cuban musicians to the Washington campus. “Instead of building walls, building bridges,” Gil-Ordóñez told Washingtonian magazine this spring.
If today we remember Redes, it’s because the Spanish conductor Ángel Gil-Ordóñez has recovered for the Naxos record label the original soundtrack of the film that was recorded and interpreted in a deficient way at the time, and because Gil-Ordóñez himself interprets it today, At 8 pm at the Teatro Monumental in Madrid.
Ángel Gil-Ordóñez (Madrid, 1957) has been giving all he’s got for years as director of the PostClassical Ensemble in Washington, an unorthodox orchestra where the members have a didactic and contextualized way of interpreting classical music.
Concert reviews 9
The piece de resistance, of course, was the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64, with Meyers and the Festival Orchestra, conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez. The Festival Orchestra, of students and faculty, just continues to get better. In this performance it was indistinguishable from a professional ensemble that has played together for years. There was a reversal of the usual balance problems, with the conductor having to turn down the volume to avoid drowning out the soloist.
The project devised by the Spanish orchestra conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez after Washington and Havana reopened their diplomatic relations was fulfilled this spring. “It seemed to me a magnificent opportunity to bring together young people from both countries to get to know each other better and to overcome stereotypes.” Inspired by the Israeli-Palestinian orchestra founded by Daniel Barenboim, he opted to bring together the interpreters of his Georgetown University Orchestra, students of diverse music disciplines, and musicians from the Lyceum Mozartiano of Havana.
I went to the Harman Center for the Arts to attend a PostClassical event entitled “Music Under Stalin: The Shostakovich-Weinberg Connection.” The group’s music director is Angel Gil-Ordóñez; its executive director is the scholar-impresario Joseph Horowitz, who, in the nineties, staged meaty festival weekends with the late, lamented Brooklyn Philharmonic.
In the context of the México se escribe con X Festival, the RTVE Orchestra dedicated last Friday a monograph to the great composer Silvestre Revueltas, one of the most extraordinary musicians in Mexico in the thirties. The forte of the concert was the presentation of the music composed for the film Redes, prepared and directed admirably by Angel Gil-Ordóñez.
Disc reviews 39
Three intriguingly special works, extremely well served by the performers. The recording is altogether first class and one superb homage to Lou Harrison for his 100th birthday.
Lou Harrison had a pioneer’s imagination, not least regarding what might be walloped in the name of music – his Violin Concerto calls for flowerpots, plumber’s pipes and clock coils in the percussion. What’s more striking in this performance by Tim Fain, the PostClassical Ensemble and conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez is the brilliance of his writing for violin, a collision between itchy dance rhythms and soaring lyricism.
Tim Fain plays the work skillfully, and Angel Gil-Ordóñez leads it with his usual flair and sure understanding of music that does not necessarily lend itself to ready comprehension… Gil-Ordóñez brings both knowledge and a sure hand in sound shaping to the performance.
Harrison wrote the first two movements of Concerto for Violin and Percussion in 1940, and revised them when he created the final movement in 1959. Astoundingly modern, it combines a wild battery of percussion with extremely challenging writing for the violin. Amidst its unbounded inventiveness and jollities, Grand Duo also reflects the gravity with which Harrison viewed the world. A proponent of boundary-less societies, he condemned war and violence, and promoted Esperanto as a universal language.
People respect you if you know what you are asking them to do. Then you have to be able to convey what you want. All simply. Through gestures and communication that goes beyond language. I think the orchestra is the most extraordinary achievement of humanity. Can you imagine something more sophisticated than that? One hundred people without verbal communication playing together for one hour? That goes beyond everything. Beyond thinking. To me [it] is the most incredible achievement. People making music together. It’s a miracle.
In March, 12 Georgetown University music students went to Cuba to work with musicians at Lyceum Mozartiano de La Habana. This Saturday, the Cuban musicians will return the favor, performing a free concert at Gaston Hall with their DC counterparts. Washingtonian spoke with Georgetown music director and professor Angel Gil-Ordóñez about the program.
One of Naxos’ April highlights is an all-Lou Harrison CD from the Washington, D.C.-based PostClassical Ensemble; the highlight of the CD is a recording of Harrison’s Concerto for Violin and 5 Percussionists.
This three-part podcast about Dvořák and America is part of PostClassical, a bi-monthly program that features performances by PCE’s music director Angel Gil-Ordóñez and artistic director Joseph Horowitz. Each program is thematic and reshapes the classical music experience through music and discussion. Bill McGlaughlin, host of Exploring Music, co-hosts with Horowitz and Gil-Ordóñez. These programs are recorded at Digital Island Studios in New York City and produced at the studios of WWFM – The Classical Network.
Angel Gil-Ordóñez talks with WWFM’s David Osenberg about conducting, the PostClassical Ensemble, Celibidache, and music in general.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the American composer Lou Harrison, who distinguished himself through his pioneering works in writing for percussion and integrating Western and Eastern idioms. “Everything in the world should be considered a legitimate influence,” he said. In his music, however, the sounds of the largely percussive Javanese gamelan matured from an influence into a complete fusion. Raymond Bisha introduces a new disc of his works, performed by violinist Tim Fain, pianist Michael Boriskin, the PostClassical Ensemble and conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez, who provides additional commentary.
This two-part podcast about Lou Harrison Centenary Celebration is part of PostClassical, a bi-monthly program that features performances by PCE’s music director Angel Gil-Ordóñez and artistic director Joseph Horowitz. Each program is thematic and reshapes the classical music experience through music and discussion. Bill McGlaughlin, host of Exploring Music, co-hosts with Horowitz and Gil-Ordóñez. These programs are recorded at Digital Island Studios in New York City and produced at the studios of WWFM – The Classical Network.
A group of Cuban musicians is set to join students from Georgetown University for a first-of-its-kind orchestra performance. News4’s David Culver reports how the concert is meant to bridge the longheld divide between two nations.