Without a doubt, one of Dallas’s most revered musical crown jewels is the Nasher Sculpture Center’s trailblazing concert series,
Soundings: New Music at the Nasher.
This month Soundings embarks on its seventh season, with five intriguing and challenging concerts scheduled between December and April.
Under the knowing artistic directorship of Seth Knopp,
this season represents a watershed moment for the series, with the April arrival of Soundings’s firsttime-ever composer-in-residence, Jörg Widmann.
Munich-born Widmann is a phenomenon, internationally acclaimed both as a groundbreaking contemporary composer and as a clarinet virtuoso.
With a creative aesthetic that spans the avant-garde, classical, romantic,
and other eras, Widmann is the perfect choice to be Soundings’s inaugural composer-in-residence,
the very personification of the series’ unique orientation of blending innovation and tradition.
Soundings’s founder and Artistic Director, Seth Knopp, and Widmann have worked together before, and their mutual admiration is palpable.
In the summer of 2015, Widmann was in residence at Yellow Barn,
CHANGE OF SEASON the Vermont-based chamber music center; Knopp has been its artistic director since 1999.
“Jörg’s residency at Yellow Barn was really transforming for the festival, and we became very good friends,” Knopp recalls.
“He seemed to be drawn to the kind of programming that was done there
and very willing to come to Dallas to spend time there, both with his work and with his playing.”
For his part, Widmann enthuses, “My experience at Yellow Barn was one of the happiest times of my life.
I spent several weeks there—I was composing a lot, and the sheer level of preparation of all the musicians was really amazing.
And with someone like Seth, and his spirit—he lived it.
It was a pure pleasure.” Widmann’s Soundings residency is sculpted to highlight his versatility over three nights of concerts.
Friday, April 7th’s 7:30 performance at the Nasher is Widmann himself in a bravura solo clarinet recital.
He studied clarinet with Gerd Starke in Munich and with Charles Neidich at the Juilliard School, and he continues to concertize with major orchestras around the globe.
“His playing is so transformative in its beauty,” Seth Knopp rhapsodizes, “It’s quite wonderful.
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