Lasting just 90 minutes, the most recent concert by PostClassical Ensemble, presented on Nov. 16 in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, was relatively modest: no singers, dancers, actors or narrators; no film screening or live illustration; no gamelan orchestras (that only happened once, in 2019) […] To explore the relationship between classical music and architecture, five musical works, chronologically shuffled, had been chosen.
A bold, eccentric program at Kennedy Center brings together two art forms and discovers new ideas about concepts they share.
In an extraordinary collision of flamenco rhythms and Anatolian melodies, Maestro Angel Gil-Ordonez will orchestrate an epic journey of cultural convergence in Türkiye for the first time, forging unbreakable bonds between Türkiye and Spain in a mesmerizing symphonic celebration organized by the Spanish Embassy in Türkiye.
Though he is probably the best-known Spanish composer, in this country Manuel de Falla isn’t a marquee name. Many of his compositions are piano pieces, chamber music works or zarzuelas — light operas rarely presented here […] PostClassical Ensemble’s two dozen expert players followed Gil-Ordóñez’s every move, giving a flawless, thoroughly nuanced performance.
A play on the relationship between the composer and the poet and a recreation by director Ángel Gil-Ordóñez of El retablo de Maese Pedro commemorate in the U.S. capital the centenary of the musical piece inspired by Don Quixote.
Wednesday night, I was at the John F. Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater to review the debut presentation of a wildly bold experiment headed up by the eclectic and accomplished PostClassical Ensemble in an orchestral program, Entwined: A Double Feature. […] As an audience member, you could enter this evening’s alchemic collaboration through any of the parts represented, but, taken as a whole, it proved a dazzling feast.
One of the most unique […] evenings of the year was the PostClassical Ensemble’s “A Wicked New Look,” which presented a captivating concert at the Kennedy Center of miniaturized Mahler favorites custom-cut to accommodate the lowing, glowing bass trombone of classical experimentalist David Taylor. Under conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez, the ensemble wryly turned the composer’s natural and psychological landscapes inside out, with Taylor’s trombone lending the music something between sonic slapstick and brute pathos.
Pianist Drew Petersen joined Angel Gil-Ordóñez’s adventurous orchestra for a rousing evening of Ravel, Satie and Bechet […] On paper, “Paris at Midnight: Jazz and Surrealism in the 1920s” sounded like something lifted from my undergrad course load; in practice, this immersive history lesson felt like a model for how classical music — and the other sounds that swirl around it — can be engagingly presented.
Bass trombonist David Taylor joins the ensemble for a program of miniaturized Mahler and big surprises […] PostClassical shrunk these landscapes down to a set of snow-globes, offering a suite of Mahler in miniature — a program of various pieces arranged for 14-piece chamber ensemble. Music director Angel Gil-Ordóñez offered his own arrangements of the Funeral March from Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, as well as “Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht” (from his 1884 “Songs of a Wayfarer”) — the latter recomposed to showcase the bass trombone of guest David Taylor.
From start to finish, PostClassical proved itself an orchestra in fighting shape, with compelling storytellers across its ranks. Not least of all Gil-Ordóñez, who lent the “Work Song” a living, breathing vitality, with the heft and permanence of a monument you regularly pass but only just noticed. From its opening lonely trumpet, it gathers and gains; a lowing cello calls, and the orchestra responds. The eight or so minutes that follow — their harmonic surprises and melodic mementos, their climbing strings and slumping horns — had a time-capsule magic to their unfolding.
PostClassical Ensemble was lucky. “An Armenian Odyssey: The Color of Pomegranates,” the chamber orchestra’s major spring production, preceded — barely — the ban on public gatherings intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. Apart from any then-unknown health risks, which we hope were minimal, the audience of two or three thousand, including a large subset of D.C.’s Armenian American community, was lucky too. Because the concert, presented on March 4 at Washington National Cathedral, was a powerful, moving and musically exquisite experience.
Armenia, the first country to declare Christianity its state religion, has a long and glorious cultural history. PostClassical Ensemble’s latest cultural festival, “The Color of Pomegranates,” is honoring that tradition with a series of events, which reached a pinnacle Wednesday night with a spectacular multimedia performance filling the nave of Washington National Cathedral.
La página de crítica especializada Washington Classical Review, liderada por los críticos de The Washington Post Lawrence A. Johnson y Charles T. Downey, publicó un recuerdo de los mejores momentos musicales de 2019, un ranking que encabeza el concierto del conjunto PostClassical Ensemble, del que Ángel Gil-Ordóñez es director musical.
The sound of the gamelan, the traditional ensemble of mostly percussion instruments from Indonesia, profoundly moved Debussy and many other composers. This memorable concert featured music by Debussy, Messiaen, Poulenc, McPhee, Alves, and Harrison, alongside performances by gamelan ensembles of the Javanese and Balinese varieties. The echo-prone nave of National Cathedral resonated with wild colors.
Extending for 530 feet, the nave of Washington National Cathedral, the world’s sixth largest, can easily accommodate several orchestras. On Jan. 23, it held three: PostClassical Ensemble, directed by Angel Gil-Ordóñez; the Indonesian Embassy Javanese Gamelan, directed by Pak Muryanto; and the Indonesian Embassy Balinese Gamelan, directed by I. Nyoman Suadin.
At our performance, the chorale was consecrated by stained-glass windows. Angel Gil-Ordóñez is a sovereign conductor of all and any slow-motion music. Our exceptional concertmaster, Nati Draiblate, was the violin soloist.
These days, the word fusion, especially in the context of food but also in discussions of the arts, has become a cliché. But here was a vivid, persuasive argument in favor of embracing a fluid world culture.
Adventurous programming is a hallmark of the Post-Classical Ensemble. This “experimental music laboratory,” now in its 15th year, explored the profound influence that gamelan has had on Western classical composers in a three-hour concert at the cathedral, its new home, on Wednesday night.
The Perspectives Ensemble, established in 1993 by the flutist Sato Moughalian, lives up to its name by emphasizing the historical and cultural contexts of the works it performs. This program focusses on the distinguished Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, whose deft balance of folkloric, antiquarian, and modernist elements is illuminated by two well-loved pieces.
A cathedral is a house of worship, but it’s also traditionally a place of community. That’s a message Washington National Cathedral has been emphasizing, and it’s a message that was underlined on Thursday night when the PostClassical Ensemble gave its first concert as an official resident group of the cathedral, and the cathedral’s choir, dressed in street clothes and marching up the aisle carrying their own chairs, sent not hymns but songs of proletariat revolution into the echoing spaces of the nave.