Daniel Hope and Alexey Botvinov
NCCO rehearsal in Bing Hall

Berlin-resident, Zürich maestro, world-traveler (even in the pandemic) Daniel Hope has spent the past week in Northern California, visiting the New Century Chamber Orchestra he leads, and settling for a short while in Stanford to make music.

“What an inspiring musical week this has been,” Hope writes, “filming with NCCO in the incredible Bing Concert Hall, touring the grounds of Stanford Live just as they prepare to reopen to audiences, and launching the world premiere of Tan Dun’s thrilling new double concerto with my friend, pianist Alexey Botvinov. We have to keep the arts both live and alive, especially now.”

Alexey Botvinov
Alexey Botvinov

Dubbed “Reunited,” NCCO’s Virtual Spring 2021 season opener reunites Hope with the orchestra performing and recording the world premiere of Tan Dun’s Double Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Orchestra, to be streamed as a concert film at noon on May 20 by Stanford Live. Pianist Alexey Botvinov returns for his second appearance with the orchestra in the program that also features Ernest Bloch’s Concerto Grosso No. 1 and Aaron Jay Kernis’s Elegy (to those we lost).

Botvinov last appeared as guest artist for the orchestra’s highly successful 2019 European summer tour of Germany and Poland. He is the founder and president of Ukraine’s Odessa Classics Festival and collaborates frequently with Daniel Hope, most recently on the February 2021 Deutsche Grammophon release of Schnittke — Works for Violin and Piano.

“This is a landmark occasion for New Century as we happily return to the stage as an orchestra for the first time in over a year,” said Hope, referring to the concerts in the Presidio Theater in January 2020.

“I am thrilled to bring Daniel Hope and our musicians together at last, to premiere innovative new music alongside masterworks from the chamber orchestra repertoire and to collaborate with remarkable guest artists from both near and far. I am especially grateful to our partners at Stanford Live for making our Reunited project possible,” said New Century Executive Director Richard Lonsdorf. “The medium of film has really allowed us to experiment with our musical storytelling and we are all very excited to showcase New Century in a new light.”

Stanford camera
Music-making in the new world

The spring season continues with the release of two free episodes from New Century’s new Resonance Series, a film project that explores an artist’s real-world context as they create a piece inspired by a New Century performance. Each episode will feature New Century musicians performing a chamber work to inspire a new creation by the featured artist. These episodes will be co-directed by filmmakers Sean Johnson and Joe Mayo.

The first episode will be released at noon on May 27, to highlight San Francisco couturière Colleen Quen, alongside a performance of Debussy’s Danse sacrée et Danse profane for harp and strings.

The second episode will be released at noon on June 3, bringing together choreographer and Deaf Advocate Antoine Hunter, also known as Purple Fire Crow, and his Urban Jazz Dance Company for a presentation inspired by Missy Mazzoli’s Death Valley Junction for string quartet.