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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

April 14, 2009
CONTACT: Edie Stern
410-516-6542, cell: 410-913-0745

HSO Season Finale: Marimba and Brahms

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 Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 4.

Music director Jed Gaylin conducts "...Ex Machina's" original soloists, pianist Cristina Valdes and marimbist Makoto Nakura. The concert will be presented on Sunday, April 26, at 3 p.m. in Shriver Hall Auditorium on the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.

"...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." Like the sculptures, the composer says that his music is precisely engineered but precarious, simple yet intricate, and a little funny. He will show videos of the machines during a pre-concert 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 to 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 two master's degrees in composition, from the Peabody Conservatory and Yale, and a Ph.D. 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 "Gir ndula" and "Five Pieces for Orchestra."

Pianist Cristina Valdes grew up in New Jersey and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts 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 Company, Parsons Dance Company, and Antares. She now lives in Seattle, where she founded and directs the SLAM Festival and is a Jack Straw artist-in-residence.

Internationally renowned marimbist Makoto Nakura splits his time among New York City, his native Japan, and his alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he now teaches. He was the first marimbist to win the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He recently won the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs' National Arts Festival New Artist Award and the BMI/Carlos Surinach Fund Marimba Commission. A champion of contemporary music, he commissioned "...Ex Machina."

Jed Gaylin, now completing his 16th season as HSO music director, also directs the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and the Cape May Music Festival, both in New Jersey. He is principal guest conductor of the National Film and Radio Philharmonic in Beijing.

The Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, a program of the Johns Hopkins University, is the only community orchestra in Baltimore City. Each year, the HSO offers four symphonic and three chamber concerts, and a special children's concert. HSO members are Johns Hopkins students, alumni, faculty and staff, as well as talented Baltimore-Washington area musicians.

The Hopkins Symphony Orchestra is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges, and universities for arts activities.

Among the works planned for the HSO's 2009-2010 season are:

♦ Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Terrence Wilson, and Sibelius' Symphony No. 2, the evening of Saturday, Oct. 24

♦ Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass and opera selections, the evening of Saturday, Dec. 5

♦ A world premiere by Canadian composer/pianist Lee Pui Ming, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010 (children's version on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 27)

♦ Berg's Violin Concerto with Stefan Jackiw, and Franck's Symphony in D Minor, the afternoon of Sunday, April 18, 2010.

Admission to the April 26 concert is free for Johns Hopkins University 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. Campus parking for $5 is available in the South Garage, 3101 Wyman Park Drive, Baltimore, Md. 21211. (Use the South Garage address for Web- or GPS-generated driving directions.)

For information about all HSO programs, call (410) 516- 6542, write to hso@jhu.edu, or visit www.jhu.edu/jhso. High-resolution digital photos are available upon request to hso@jhu.edu.

Related Web site
- www.jhu.edu/jhso