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Concert News

20 October 2016 ~ Symphony Space in New York City, Pianist, Clipper Erickson will highlight the music of Nathaniel Dett, a sadly underecognized African-American Composer (1882-1943). The program will also feature the New York City Premiere of Laurie Altman's 10 Miniatures, performed by Clipper Erickson.

31 October 2015 ~ Bristol Chapel at 7:30 PM. The Manhattan String Quartet performs three works of Laurie Altman: Shirakawa River Song, Six Fantasies after Schoenberg's Opus 19, and "Brahms Takes" for String Quartet and Bass Clarinet.

1 November 2015 ~ Rob Tannen's Salon 33 on Alexander Rd. at 7:00 PM. Concert includes final warm-ups for a concert the following night at Temple University featuring Laurie Altman works: Piano Sonata #7 (Tanzania), Through the Cracks, for Clarinet and Piano, and Sonic Drifts, for solo Electric Bass Clarinet. Performers will be: Clipper Erickson, Piano and Mathias Mueller, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet.

2 November 2015 ~ 8:00 PM, Temple University. Concert featuring Clipper Erickson, Piano, and Matthias Mueller, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet performing World Premiere's of Laurie Altman's: Piano Sonata #7(Tanzania), Through the Cracks, for Clarinet and Piano, and , Sonic Drifts, for Electric Bass Clarinet.

8 November 2015 ~ 3pm, Bristol Chapel at Westminster Choir College, featuring Pianist Clipper Erickson performing Laurie Altman's Piano Sonata 7 (Tanzania) as well as other works by other composers.

8 June 2015 ~ Fanfare Magazine's David DeBoor Canfield reviewed two of Laurie Altman's CDs; Convergence and Divergence. "Laurie Altman is a superb pianist himself, and better performances of his music herein could hardly be imagined... This disc (Divergence), like the other one wholly dedicated to Altman’s work, deserves to be widely heard." See complete Convergence review. See complete Divergence review.

2 May 2015 ~ Fanfare Magazine's Lynn René Bayley has just reviewed Laurie Altman's CD; Danza, Danza. "This is a most intriguing, intimate, and largely rewarding album, well worth your exploring. I listened to it three times before actually reviewing it, and every time I listened I heard something new!" See complete Fanfare Magazine Danza, Danza review.

8 October 2014 ~ This week saw the release of Danza, Danza on the Guild label featuring Composer/ Pianist Laurie Altman and 13 string Guitarist Anders Miolin in a program of jazz, classical and improvised material.

On 8 November in the concert hall, Helferei in Zurich, the two musicians, Altman and Miolin will give a concert in which their new CD will be presented to the public.

Next March 14 will see a big concert of Laurie Altman's music in Munich featuring many of the musicians from his NEOS CD's Convergence and Divergence. Critics and the general public will have the opportunity to listen and experience many of the compositions written for these CD's.

Finally, Altman's Piano Sonata #5 has been put forth as a possible nominee for a Grammy award as best classical composition of 2014, while his CD Divergence has been accorded the same honor as best small ensemble recording. The final Grammy nominations will be made public in December.

One additional CD insertion. Soprano Patrice Michaels new CD INTERSECTION: Jazz meets classical song contains almost 26 minutes of Altman's music his Two Re-imaginings of Italian Aria's and his Quartet piece - Soprano, Piano, Violin and Cello- called Gig Songs.

"Divergence", released on NEOS Music GmbH about a month ago. Recorded in Vienna, 21-24 January 2013 at the ORF Funkhaus, Studio 2. Recording Producer was Judith Sherman and the CD features the music of Laurie Altman, Erich Korngold and Arnold Schoenberg. It features the ensemble Plattform K+K Vienna, a String Quartet Ensemble plus Clarinet, Vibes and Piano. It features Cover Photo's from Jeannine Hummel, and quite frankly, it's terrific!!

"Danza, Danza", to be released on or about September 15 features Pianist/ Composer Laurie Altman, and 13 String Guitarist Ander Miolin in a program of Jazz and Classical compositions. The CD was recorded in Zurich in the winter of 2012 and the spring of 2013. More about it will follow.

23 July 2014 ~ Baritone Elem Eley and Pianist J.J. Penna will give the world premiere of two songs written to poems of Robert Frost. The two pieces, "A Time to Talk", and "The Sound of the Trees", will also be featured on a new CD of Elem Eley's to be recorded in August. The premiere is to take place at the Bristol Chapel. (I don't know the time -perhaps you can check the Westminster Concert Website).

Laurie Altman will have two new CD's out in the coming months. In the fall of 2013, his CD "Convergence" will be out featuring a broad series of Chamber Music Works recorded in New York City and Princeton, N.J.

In the spring of 2014 NEOS will issue another CD of Mr. Altman, untitled thus far, featuring chamber works recorded in Vienna in January of 2013 with the K+K Plattform String Quartet.

NEOS Music is located in Munich, Germany and has, since 1983 been a record company at the forefront of New Music presentation. It's catalogue includes some of the 20th and 21st centuries finest composers and performers.

15 November 2013 ~ The World Premiere of Laurie Altman's "Brahms Takes" for Bass Clarinet and String Quartet. Written expressly for Clarinetist Matthias Muller and the Galatea String Quartet, the November Premiere will take place in Spiez Switzerland and be followed on December 10 with another performance of the work in Lucerne.

10 June 2013 ~ A Chicago radio broadcast of Altman`s "Gig Songs" for the Jazz Meets Classical Song series. This will be a world premier and features soprano Patrice Michaels, Kuang-Hao Huang on piano, Zack Brock on violin and Nick Photinos from Eighth Blackbird on cello.

Chicago based soprano, Patrice Michaels will be singing Altman`s "States of Waiting" in a program of unaccompanied pieces on May 9th in Chicago.

Laurie Altman just completed a new CD produced by Judy Sherman in Vienna with the K+K Platform String Quartet. Additional musicians from the Philharmonics of Vienna and Salzburg were participants as well. Hopefully a summer release is being planned.

Two other CD's of Altman should be released as well this year. We will keep you posted.

Laurie Altman will be at Birmingham University in England in mid March to give a lecture to the composition department as well discuss the creation of his Piano Sonata # 5. The Sonata will be performed by Philadelpia and Westminster Choir College's own Clipper Erickson along with Altman's Piano work "Pedro's Story."

May 7th will feature the World Premiere of Altman's "Come Dance with Me" -the Septet version at the Musikverein in Vienna. The piece was recently recorded for Altman's new CD.

In June, Altman's composition "ByGone Days / Rock Strands will have performances in Berne, Zurich and Lucerne Switzerland by Clarinetist Matthias Mueller and his trio. Altman recently completed a work for Matthias and the Galatea String Quartet, "Brahms Takes" for Bass Clarinet and String Quartet which will be performed in the Spring of 2014 for the groups American Tour. Performances are planned for Switzerland as well.

November, 2011.  Three World Premiers:

1.  "Gig Songs" for Violin, Cello, Soprano and Piano performed in Chicago by Patrice Michaels and the Lincoln Trio.

2.  Piano Sonata # 5  World Premier in Philadelphia by Pianist Clipper Ericson.  The piece was subsequently recorded for a new Laurie Altman CD to be released this spring and produced by Judith Sherman.  The recording took place at the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City.

3.  ByGone Days / Rock Strands , for Flute, Bb Clarinet and Piano received its world premiere in Princeton New Jersey by the group trio@play.

Altman has been named Artistic Program Director of "Connections", a music festival taking place in Spiez Switzerland from 8-10 June at the Eden Hotel.  The concert will feature concerts by American Jazz Musicians Laurie Altman, Scott Lee, Andrew Rathbun and Jeff Hirschfield, and K+K Vienna Quartet plus Piano, featuring members of the Vienna Philharmonic.  The concerts will feature a number of World Premiers of new Altman pieces.

Spring 2012. Altman`s "Homage a Stravinsky" and "South of New Jersey" will be performed at a contemporary music festival in Zurich.

Nov. 17th, 2011. World Premiere of Altman`s "Bygone Days/ Rock strands scored for Flute, Clarinet and Piano.

Nov 3rd, 2011. The World Premiere of Altman`s "Piano Sonata 5 at Temple University by Clipper Ericson. The Sonata will also be performed on 13 November at Bristol Chapel, as part of the Liszt Festival.

Nov. 2nd, 2011. World Premiere of Altman`s "Gig Songs" commissioned by the Lincoln Trio and Soprano Patrice Michaels in Chicago Illinois with a radio broadcast to follow on November 14th,

May 23rd, 2011, Vienna Austria, in the Musikverian Hall, a performance of Altman`s String Quartet, "South of New Jersey" by members of the Vienna Philharmonic. Great audience response.

April 15th, 2011, the world premiere of Altman`s work for Soprano and Orchestra, "The River Merchant`s Wife: a letter", performed at Lawrence University by Soprano Patrice Michaels , a 60 voice women`s choir and orchestra. Great audience enthusiasm for the piece.

Laurie Altman made this move to Switzerland where he divides his time between a newly built home in Spiez and an apartment in Zurich. In May, specifically, the 12th-14th of May, two of his compositions, "Homage to Stravinsky" for instrumental Octet and his String Quartet, "South of New Jersey" will be featured in a new Festival in Zurich. In addition, "South of New Jersey" will be performed by members of the Vienna Philharmonic in Vienna next May as well. Altman will be returning to America in April - specifically, April 15th for the World Premiere of his composition, "The River Merchants Widow: A Letter", written for Orchestra, Soprano and Female Choir. The Premiere will take place at Lawrence University in Appleton Wisconsin,with Soprano Patrice Michaels as soloist. Altman will be in the Composer-in- Residence at Lawrence from the 10th to the 17th of April under the envelope of a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Finally, Anders Miolin, one of Europe's finest Guitarists will be performing in a number of Altman's guitar works in the coming season. More details, dates, etc, to follow.

September 2008 was the release of a new CD on Albany Records entitled "On Course" and featuring all compositions by Laurie Altman. The CD includes a diverse group of Altman's classical works including two string quartets, two instrumental octet's, as well as pieces for solo voice, baritone and piano, flute, soprano and piano, and a chamber work for two pianos.  There is a broad cross section of musicians involved from New York City -The Fountain Chamber Music Society, musicians from Bang on Cans as well as others from Princeton New Jersey and the midwest.  The album was produced by Judith Sherman, this year's Grammy Award winner in classical music who has over the years been a producer and engineer for such composers as Steve Reich, Steven Mackey, John Adams, as well as groups such as the Kronos and Brentano String Quartets and Eight Blackbirds.

Altman’s music is extremely popular in Mexico due to frequent performances by pianist, Ana Cervantes.  Performances most recently have taken place in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Salon/Ciudad Universitaria.  Altman’s composition Pedro’s Story is featured on pianist Cervantes’ recent CD entitled Rumor de Paramo.

At the end of 2007 Altman's vocal "reimagining" of Christoph von Gluck's soprano aria, "O del mio dolce ardor" was featured on soprano Patrice Michaels CD, American Songs on Cedille Records.  This was a world premiere recording and both the CD and Altman's composition have received excellent reviews.

Early in 2008, Mexican pianist, Ana Cervantes CD, "Solo Rumores" was released on the Quindecim Recording label located in Mexico City.  It featured a solo piano work by Laurie Altman, "Pedro's Story", which in addition to the recording received its world premiere in Mexico City on the 28th of November, 2007.  The CD has thus far received excellent reviews as has Altman's composition.

Finally, Laurie Altman has been commissioned by Princeton University to create a work for the University's student orchestra and jazz band under the leadership of Ruth Ochs and Anthony Branker Jr.  The work should receive its world premiere in Richardson Hall in early May of 2009.

 

Laurie Altman and Friends at the Trenton War Memorial. Spring 2006.

Laurie Altman (Piano)
Dylan Altman (Guitar, Vocals)
David Steel (Guitar)
Clifford Adams (Trombone)
Scott Lee (Bass)
Andrew Rathbun (Tenor Sax)
Woody Mann (Guitar, Vocals)

photo by Paul Mordetsky

Reviews
Altman's music continues to receive critical acclaim from audiences as well as the media.. He has performed at such venues as The Blue Note, and internationally in Finland and the Soviet Union. His music can be heard on the American Gramophone, GS, and Progressive recording labels.

 

Fanfare March/April 2009
Colin Clarke

Laurie Altman studied at Mannes.  His lists his teachers as Lester Trimble and William Sydeman; he has worked with the Chicago Symphony in 1991 and with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble.  Altman has lectured at the Universities of North Carolina, Princeton, Rutgers, and New York.

A sense of dance is the connecting thread between all of these pieces.  South of New Jersey (1997), for string quartet, was originally written for piano.  The quartet version is not just an arrangement but is also an expansion of the original.  Tightly organized sections vie with more easy-going, heavily jazz influenced passages for solo violin.  The octet, Hommage a Stravinsky (2006) is heavily influenced by Stravinsky’s 1923 Symphonies of Wind Instruments, both thematically and harmonically.  The characteristic sound of the sax, however, shifts the sound to a different level (Altman deliberately avoided Stravinsky’s original instrumentation).  This is a hugely enjoyable piece.  As Altman puts it, “Each of the three movements begins with a direct quote from Stravinsky’s work.  What follows are my elaborations, the ways and places I might have chosen to take this work, had I written it in the first place.”  The result is never less than fascinating.  The chosen group of performers plays the rhythms astonishingly tightly.  The recording (Judith Sherman, Westminster Choir College, Princeton, 2007) reflects the very highest professional standards.  Detail is wonderfully rendered, but the sound picture is not dry in the least.

Calle de la Amargura (“Street of Bitterness”) sets words by the Cuban-born novelist/poet, Pablo Medina.  The scoring is imaginative, as is the actual word-setting.  Altman never distorts meanings, although he does experiment a little with syntax.  The language of the text is English.  Patrice Michaels’s light and agile soprano suits the scale of the chamber scoring perfectly.  Michaels, incidentally, sings more Altman on a disc entitled “American Songs” (reviewed by Evan Dickerson in Fanfare 30:4).

The Theme, Variations, and Finale for two pianos of 1985 is the earliest dated work on the disc.  Apparently a favorite work of the composer’s, it takes an E-Dorian theme through variations that increase in texture just as they decrease in proportion.  There is a light dance feel to this piece; the theme itself exudes gentleness.  Despite the expertise of the preceding pieces, this work seems the most confident in compositional terms – it sounds as if it comes from the pen of a composer utterly at ease with himself.  The general aura is autumnal.

The Three Antarctic Songs dates from 2006.  Texts are by the composer in response to a trip to Antarctica.  To conjure up the sense of space breathed by that vast continent, Altman uses wide chord spacings and  creates a sense of the unhurried, particularly in the long (8:55) central song.  Elem Ney is the fine baritone who commissioned the work and who delivers the text with such authority.  This set of songs I the most memorable music of the disc (although States of Waiting runs it a close contest).  The octet On Course is overtly programmatic (of a sea journey).  The colors the composer uses are predominantly bright and vibrant; the pure string sonority that pens Come Dance with Me (2006, for string quartet and piano) appears in high (and somewhat welcome) contrast.  The music becomes increasingly more complex, and includes a tango and improvisations.

Finally, States of Waiting for solo voice (with text by Davied Herrstrom).  The angst-laden text (describing a mother’s tense wait to hear whether her daughter’s cancer is confirmed) includes two inserted children’s songs as a means of personalizing the mother’s anguish.  Seat singing is used to indicate situations in which words fail.  The singer here, again Patrice Michaels, is simply amazing.  Her purity of utterance, her superb diction and, above all, her affinity for Altman’s chosen mode of expression all demand the highest respect.  This is gripping, hypnotic stuff that views with the Antarctic Songs as the jewel of this disc.