“Wednesday night at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, Marin Alsop was joined by two other MacArthur Foundation fellowship recipients for the first program of the conductor’s weeklong residency with the Grant Park Orchestra,” writes John von Rhein in Thursday’s (7/21) Chicago Tribune. “Her fellow MacArthur ‘genius grant’ honorees were Osvaldo Golijov, composer of one of the featured works, the quasi-cello concerto ‘Azul,’ and the work’s soloist, the charismatic cellist Alisa Weilerstein.” The program’s “central component was ‘LIFE: A Journey Through Time,’ a multimedia tribute to the continuity and kinship of life on Earth that sets stunning nature images by National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting to the live accompaniment of a score by Philip Glass…. Like many of the simple life forms we see early in the film, Glass’ music pulses and replicates, evolving into more complex structures. … Written for cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who premiered it at Tanglewood in 2006, ‘Azul’ (‘Blue’) reflects the polyglot musical background of Golijov [who] revised the piece for [Alisa] Weilerstein in 2007… She was so expressively absorbed into its pensive melodies and spectral harmonies that it was impossible to separate music from performance.”

Posted July 22, 2016

Pictured: Marin Alsop conducts the Grant Park Orchestra in the multimedia work “LIFE: A Journey Through Time” by Philip Glass and Frans Lanting at Chicago’s Millennium Park, July 20, 2016. Photo by  Norman Timonera