Johns Hopkins Gazette | April 20, 2009
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 20, 2009 | Vol. 38 No. 31
Marimba and Brahms Close Out Hopkins Symphony Season

The Hopkins Symphony Orchestra will close its 2008-2009 season with the Maryland premiere of Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez's ...Ex Machina for Piano, Marimba and Symphony Orchestra, and Brahms' Symphony No. 4. Music director Jed Gaylin will conduct ...Ex Machina's original soloists, pianist Cristina Valdes and marimbist Makoto Nakura.

The concert will be presented at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 26, in Shriver Hall Auditorium on the Homewood campus.

...Ex Machina is a musical representation of Paul Klee's painting Twittering Machine and kinetic sculptures by such artists as Arthur Ganson and Rodney Brooks. The sculptures are reminiscent of Rube Goldberg's complicated inventions that do very little. Ganson, a self-described cross between a mechanical engineer and a choreographer, has inspired Sanchez-Gutierrez with such creations as Machine with Chinese Fan and Machine with Artichoke Petal. The composer says that his music, like the sculptures, is precisely engineered but precarious, simple yet intricate, and a little funny. He will show videos of the machines during a preconcert talk at 2 p.m.

The Symphony No. 4 in E minor was Brahms' last work for orchestra. This masterpiece ranges from passionate to soulful, boisterous to tragic. The unusual last movement is 32 variations on the theme of a Bach chaconne.

Composer Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez grew up in Mexico and graduated from the University of Guadalajara. He earned master's degrees in composition from the Peabody Conservatory and Yale and a doctorate from Princeton. Among his many awards are the Barlow, Guggenheim, Fulbright, Koussevitzky, Fromm and American Academy of Arts and Letters. He now teaches composition at the Eastman School of Music. The Hopkins Symphony premiered his Girandula and Five Pieces for Orchestra.

Pianist Cristina Valdes grew up in New Jersey and earned a doctor of musical arts degree at SUNY Stony Brook. A specialist in contemporary music, she has performed around the world as a member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Mabou Mines Theatre Co., Parsons Dance Co. and Antares.

Internationally renowned marimbist Makoto Nakura splits his time between New York City, his native Japan and his alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he now teaches. A champion of contemporary music, he commissioned ...Ex Machina.

Admission to the April 26 concert is free for Johns Hopkins students. Tickets are $8 for other students, seniors (age 60+) and Johns Hopkins faculty, staff and alumni. General admission is $10. Tickets will be available at the door.


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