Has the Reich Stuff at The Ojai Music Festival

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June 8, 2008


Bob Becker, Bill Cahn, Robin Engelman, Russell Hartenberger, Garry Kvistad

Has the Reich Stuff at The Ojai Music Festival

In a pair of towering programs at the Ojai (CA) Music Festival, NEXUS, the internationally acclaimed percussion ensemble, brought audiences to standing ovations with performances of  masterworks by Steve Reich, this year’s featured composer.  This was the second appearance by NEXUS at the Ojai Festival, just one-year after four very successful concerts in 2007.

1.  June 8, 2008 Morning Program  –  Masterworks of Reich, Ligeti and Varèse

The program featured NEXUS performing with Steve Reich, the So Percussion group, Ted Atkatz, Eric Huebner and conductor David Robertson.  The convcert began with Reich’s ‘Clapping Music’ performed by Steve Reich and NEXUS member, Russell Hartenberger. Two etudes from Ligeti’s ‘Etudes, Book I’ were played by Eric Huebner, followed immediately by Varèse’s ‘Ionisation’ in an electrifying performance conducted by David Robertson.  The program concluded with ‘Drumming’ by Steve Reich, with the composer joining in the ensemble.

‘The first half ended with an absolutely brilliant performance of the Varese Ionisation (1929-1931) in which the ensemble ‘Nexus’ was joined by ‘So Percussion’ .  .  . This was a great performance, totally convincing.  All by itself, to end the early concert was Reich’s Drumming (1970/1971). It was a treat to have the musicians of this skill as the sound changed color.’ – Sequenza 21 website

‘.  .  . [the] Sunday-morning concert: ‘Drumming,’ 75 minutes of a young (35)  man’s exhilarating arrogance that set music onto a magical pathway.  I’ll donate 75 minutes of my lifetime to that piece anytime. At Ojai furthermore, it got the all-star treatment: Nexus and So Percussion.’ – SoIveHeard website

2) June 8, 2008 Evening Program – Sacred Music by Pergolesi and Reich

In the first half of the concert, Dawn Upshaw and Kate Lindsey performed Pergolesi’s ‘Stabat Mater.’   NEXUS was joined by Ted Atkatz and members of So Percussion in the second half for a performance of Steve Reich’s ‘Tehillim,’ which according to the L.A. Times music critic, Mark Swed, ‘lifted the spirits high.’

Nexus acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

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