Tag Archives: Timothy Durkovic

Peanut Interviews Dr. James K. Bass

In a recent interview with the Artistic Director of Long Beach Camerata Singers, Dr. James K. Bass, we discussed his approach to the group’s upcoming performance of Carmina Burana:

Peanutsez:  What makes Carmina Burana an enduring favorite?

Dr. Bass:  First of all, the piece has a special combination of rhythm, melody and imagery.

PS:  Imagery?

DB:  Yes!  First there’s the big beginning, “O Fortuna,” and then we are immediately introduced to the imagery of spring — the magic of the forest and first love.  Next is the tavern scene — in taberna — with all the images of drinking.  You know, drunken abbots, dozens of toasts, and the swan roasting on the spit.  Finally, we enter the Court of Love, populated with Greek Gods and their “higher” feelings.  The whole thing is a prescription for musical perfection!

PS:  What does it take to reach this music perfection?

DB:  Carl Orff composed the piece in such a way that there is nothing superfluous.  The ideas are repeated, albeit in an old german/latin dialect; the melodies are short and memorable and the rhythmic qualities are strong and appealing.  This music is easily consumed by the ear and the heart.  It is accessible to all levels of music lovers.

PS:  As Artistic Director, what interpretive choices have you made?

DB:  First, I decided to use the version written for 2 pianos and percussion.  This allows us to take the tempos faster and make the piece more exciting.  Also, I want to elicit an emotional response from the audience, so when a key moment or phrase occurs, I can choose to make it last longer, to make it louder or to make it softer, all for emphasis.

PS:  What do you want your audience to take away from the performance on April 22?

DB:  First and foremost, I want our audience to rejoice in the music, to take pleasure in the human voice as it touches the human heart.  I hope this performance will provide a “sonic meal” of different sounds, a live, high-fidelity experience.

If you would like to hear more from Dr. Bass about our performance of Carmina, please join us on Tuesday, April 17 at 3:30pm at the Long Beach Airport Holiday Inn for “Orff Revealed.”  Click here to reserve your free seat: http://longbeachcameratasingers.org/lbcs/carmina-burana-2/

To purchase your ticket for Carmina Burana on Sunday April 22 at 4:30pm, at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in Long Beach, click here:http://longbeachcameratasingers.org/lbcs/carl-orffs-carmina-burana/


Camerata, Istad, Brandon and Durkovic: A Transformative Afternoon

Compared to the skyscrapers of New York, the winds of Chicago and the sprawl of Los Angeles, Long Beach California is a small town.  In reality, this community of 462,000 is the 37th largest city in the United States.  On Sunday, October 25, this city’s professional choir produced a concert of such power and such beauty that those other cities wept with envy and congratulation.  I’m referring to Long Beach Camerata Singers’ production, ‘Joy, Fantasy and Remembrance.”

IMG_5292The program was played in reverse order:  Remembrance opened the show with Tarik O’Regan’s “Triptych,” a powerful, three part nod to the cycle of life and how we relate to losses and passings.  The piece was incredibly moving with beautiful poetry and perfectly nuanced choral singing.  Soprano Kathryn Lillich’s etherial solo in part two evoked the far-off beating of wings and scents of lavender.

Next came the Beethoven “Choral Fantasy,” such a gust of masculine power after the delicacy of the O’Regan.  Piano Soloist Timothy Durkovic played beautifully on a Steinway Hamburg instrument brought in at his request for the concert.  IMG_5301The pairing of man, instrument and composer was astonishing and the familiar melody of the theme resulted in maximum audience enjoyment.  We had to wait until the end for the choral statement of the theme, which was full-bodied and satisfying.  Harry Saltzgaver of the Long Beach Gazette read the poetry for the audience.

After the intermission the same 35-piece orchestra gathered for the world premiere of “We Are Joy,” the work that Camerata commissioned to honor it’s 50th Anniversary.  Written by Jenni Brandon, a Long Beach composer, the piece uses the same orchestration as the “Choral Fantasy” and is designed to be played on the same program.  We had our second poetry reading of the night as librettist Oliver Mayer read his text for the piece.

Sweeping and melodic, the piece used a simple yet powerful thematic statement that was passed around from the piano to the orchestra to the choir, and back again.  The piano concerto was beautifully ringing, evoking bells, enhanced by the unique voice of this Steinway instrument which has a particularly beautiful upper register.  Jenni has written extensively for winds in the past, and “We Are Joy” included wonderful lines for flute, oboe and bassoon.  The best was saved for the choir, because they delivered the beautiful message of this piece, and delivered it beautifully  — that we are blessed and can bless; that we are joy.

The audience literally leapt to its feet in unison at the end, recognizing that something extraordinary had happened that afternoon.  An important anniversary, unparalleled  musicians and a world premiere of an new, major work:  a testimony to the transformative power of music in our lives.  Right here in Long Beach, California — how about that!

Camerata Countdown: 6 Reasons to Attend on Sunday Oct 25

DSC_0008For all his cuteness, Peanut is a little troublemaker.  He doesn’t offer excuses for his behavior, or even try to explain it.  Today, however, he’d like to give you 6 BIG reasons why you should attend tomorrow’s concert by the Long Beach Camerata Singers, “Joy, Fantasy and Remembrance:”

  1.  A Big Dose of Beethoven:  If you have been following the cultural news in Southern California, you know this has been a big year for Beethoven.  The LA Phil has presented all nine of the symphonies, in numerical order.  Sunday’s concert features the Beethoven “Choral Fantasy,” another link of greatness in the chain of this master composer
  2. Back-to-Back Piano Concertos:  This concert includes not just one, but two piano concertos on the same bill.  The first one is the aforementioned Choral Fantasy, and the second is our newly commissioned work, “We Are Joy,” written to celebrate Camerata’s 50th Anniversary Season.
  3. TimDurkovic2Pianist Timothy Durkovic:  We have selected one of Southern California’s finest pianists to play the important piano parts.  You will be transported by Tim’s skill and sensitivity.
  4. Tarik O’Regan’s Tripthych:  O’Regan is one of the most important contemporary composers of choral music.  His beautiful piece, “Triptych,” is on the program.  It’s message will bring you to tears.
  5. A New Composition:  Camerata Singers has commissioned a new piece of music for this 50th Anniversary Season.  Keeping to our roots, we selected a Long Beach Composer, Jenni Brandon.Evensong13
  6. Soaring Choral Music:  The sound of the Long Beach Camerata Singers is a joy to experience.  Beautifully balanced and sweet, their dynamic range and articulation are a joy to experience.  The human voice is a compelling instrument; 90 voices working together is uplifting and transformative.

We hope you will join us on Sunday, October 25 for this wonderful and important concert.  Important because each of these three pieces of music have never been performed in Long Beach before.  Please support professional choral music in our community!

Joy, Fantasy and Remembrance:  A 50th Anniversary Celebration.  TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $30/$40.  www.LBCamerata.org or call 562-522-1045.  Sunday October 25, 4:30pm Long Beach City College Auditorium

Featured Artist: Timothy Durkovic, Piano Soloist

Peanut loves people, but he particularly loves Long Beach Camerata Singers’ pianist for the upcoming Joy, Fantasy and Remembrance concert, Timothy Durkovic.  A musician of great sensiPeanut pianotivity and range, Tim has performed at several Camerata events over the years.

This weekend’s repertoire, however, offers splendid opportunities to showcase Tim’s skills.  The Beethoven Choral Fantasy puts the piano concerto front and center in the piece, a driving element along with the Chorus and Orchestra.   Using the same orchestration, Jenni Brandon’s newly commissioned “We Are Joy” also includes a piano concerto that will allow Tim to shine in a world premier presentation.

Durkovic is an active soloist and chamber musician, collaborating regularlyTimDurkovic2 with some of world’s finest instrumentalists and vocalists including Lynn Harrell, Martin Chalifour, Helen Callus, Movses Pogossian, Cecilia Tsan,  the Calder Quartet, the Miró Quartet, and the Casal Quartet among others. He is the Grand Prize Winner of the 1996 Los Angeles Liszt Competition as well as a winner of the Beverly Hills Auditions and others. Tim performs regularly as part of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra and is a founding member of the Piano Quartet, CENTRAL4.  His playing has been described as having great “sensitivity to colors” (Salt Lake City Tribune) and “effortless, with The music always in the forefront, and an overall effect…of music making that is too rarely heard.” (Frederick Swann).
Mr. Durkovic studied at the National Conservatory of
Guatemala, the Juilliard School, Salem College and the USC Thornton School of Music.  Tim is also a Senior Estates Director with Dilbeck Estates/Christie’s International Real Estate. Please visit his website for more information at www.timothydurkovic.com.
Joy, Fantasy and Remembrance:  A 50th Anniversary Celebration.  TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $30/$40.  www.LBCamerata.org or call 562-522-1045.  Sunday October 25, 4:30pm Long Beach City College Auditorium

O’Regan’s Triptych: Mystery, Remembrance and Unity

photo[1]Peanut would rather think about his next treat than the mysteries of life.  He recommends, however, Tarik O’Regan’s beautiful composition, “Triptych,” which will be performed by the Long Beach Camerata Singers on Saturday, Oct 25.  Below is an except from the program notes, written by Artistic Director, Robert Istad:
Triptych was originally commissioned for two separate choirs, a year apart from each other. Movement I, called Threnody at the time, was commissioned for the inaugural concert of the Choir of London in 2004. O’Regan writes that Threnody was “the first composition that evolved entirely from my New York perspective.” Movements II and III, commissioned by Portsmouth Grammar School, were originally titled And There Was a Great Calm for lower strings and treble voices and premiered in 2005.  The title of second commission derives from Thomas Hardy’s poem of the same name, and is quoted in the soprano solo within Movement III. Hardy’s poem was written in 1918, and was inspirnews-2061ed by the signing of the Armistice, which ended World War I.  All three movements did not come together as Triptych until 2005. Musically, Triptych is influenced by the music of North Africa, probably Algeria and Morocco, where O’Regan spent a portion of his early childhood.  In its completed form, Triptych contemplates the evolution of the ways humans perceive death.
The first movement considers the unrestricted power of death, the second the ways humans memorialize their dearly departed, and the third positively characterizes our own eventual ascent to heavenly enlightenment. O’Regan joins the ranks of Brahms and Britten by choosing a series of texts from a variety of cultures and faiths to depict his personal beliefs. His selection of poetry from each important religion and philosophy highlights universal and timeless ideals that branches dogmatic differences, and highlights the innate unity at the center of different faiths and philosophies.”
Joy, Fantasy and Remembrance:  A 50th Anniversary Celebration.  TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $30/$40.  www.LBCamerata.org or call 562-522-1045.  Sunday October 25, 4:30pm Long Beach City College Auditorium

Brandon and Camerata Create Joy with New Music

Peanut knows that he is a joy to all those who have the privilege of being around him.  He reluctantly admits that joy can be found in other pursuits —  like the newly commissioned work that will be presented by the Long Beach CamPeanut pianoerata Singers –at their concert on October 25th.  Long Beach composer Jenni Brandon was asked to write a piece to commemorate Camerata’s 50th Season.  Entitled, “We Are Joy,”   the piece features chorus, orchestra and piano.  The following
is an excerpt from the Ms. Brandon’s program notes for the concert:
“The significant theme of this work asks the question “What is Joy,” and how we interpret this in our daily lives. Throughout the work we
are asked to explore what joy means to us and the responsibility it takes to create that joy in our every day lives.

This unique orchestration of piano, choir, and chamber orchestra, borrowed from Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, allows this ensemble to create a colorful world to explore joy, happiness, and the feeling that “we are blessed, and can bless.”

Jenni-BrandonThe piano throughout the work is extremely important in telling the story, but it does not stand alone in this task. The piano, choir, and orchestra work symbiotically: the piano as the individual voice, supported by the choir, or the voice of many individuals seeking what Joy means to them through the colors and contrasts of the orchestra.
All involved play an equally important part, often coming back to the theme of joy and happiness. It becomes apparent that through even the simplest of moments, if we remain present, we will realize that we ARE joy – we are the poems, the songs, and the blessed that can bless.” — Jenni Brandon
Joy, Fantasy and Remembrance:  A 50th Anniversary Celebration.  TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $30/$40.  www.LBCamerata.org or call 562-522-1045.  Sunday October 25, 4:30pm Long Beach City College Auditorium

Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy — Coming to Long Beach!

Now that Long Beach Camerata Singers has selected Peanut as their mascot,  he insisted that I share this video about their upcoming show with you, his fans.  He further protests his generosity of spirit by pointing out that even though he wasn’t featured in the movie, he  still wants you to see it.  Such altruism!


Joy, Fantasy and Remembrance:  A 50th Anniversary Celebration.  TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $30/$40.  www.LBCamerata.org or call 562-522-1045.  Sunday October 25, 4:30pm Long Beach City College Auditorium