Southern Nevada audiences are getting accustomed to hearing the Las Vegas Philharmonic perform music by living American composers, but they don’t often get to hear brand-new pieces by someone as renowned as Philip Glass.
Not only will the Las Vegas Philharmonic play Glass’ newest piece, Piano Concerto No. 3, during its concert on Saturday, November 3 at The Smith Center – the philharmonic also has a direct tie to the work.
In fact, the Las Vegas Philharmonic is among a consortium of 12 orchestras that commissioned Glass’ new piano concerto. This happened through a series of conversations that Donato Cabrera, music director of the philharmonic, had with the acclaimed concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who will perform the piece.
“It’s a huge honor to be a part of a consortium of orchestras working with one of the most respected and well-known American composers like Philip Glass,” Cabrera says. “His name and reputation have really gone beyond the world of classical music. He’s even been a character on ‘South Park!’”
Glass’ new concerto, which first premiered last year in Boston, was inspired by conversations Dinnserstein had with Glass.
“It was Simone’s hope that Glass would write a concerto that could be paired with one of the Bach’s keyboard concertos,” Cabrera says.
Fittingly, the philharmonic’s concert will feature Dinnerstein playing both the Glass piece and its inspiration, the Bach Concerto for Keyboard No. 7 in G Minor.
“Simone is really well known as a Bach interpreter. She brings this sense of clarity and just a wonderful level of musicianship to his music,” Cabrera says. “It will be wonderful to hear the two concertos in context and in contrast to one another.”
Bach Inspired Mozart, Too
The philharmonic will also perform Symphony No. 40 in G Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose music was greatly influenced by Bach, Cabrera says.
“We know that in the 1760s, when Mozart was a teenager, he was encouraged to study and perform the music of J.S. Bach,” Cabrera says. “In 1789 while in Leipzig, (Mozart) was again reacquainted with the music of Bach and was overwhelmed by what he heard.”
Cabrera isn’t surprised that Bach’s music has inspired so many other composers.
“I think Bach’s music is the spring from which all other Western art music comes,” he says. “It’s like ‘I Love Lucy.’ The plot device of practically every sitcom since can be found in that show, but very rarely have they been done better or funnier than the original
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