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Brett Campbell

Brett Campbell is senior editor at Oregon ArtsWatch, a frequent contributor to SFCV and many other publications, and coauthor, with Bill Alves, of Lou Harrison: American Musical Maverick (Indiana University Press 2017).

Articles by this Author

CD Review
January 4, 2013

Composer Arvo Pärt remains haunted by the Bible’s Adam, and a new CD reflects his probing musical ideas.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
May 25, 2012

One of last century’s most powerful works of sacred music, which is virtually unknown: Lou Harrison’s La Koro Sutro, was performed in Berkeley.

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Feature Article
August 15, 2011

Gamelan holds surprisingly wide appeal in America, which has more than 200 ensembles. SFCV profiles Gamelan Sekar Jaya, easily the best-known gamelan orchestra in the Bay Area, as it continues to reach a fascinating cross-section of music lovers.

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CD Review
August 12, 2011

Lou Harrison's seductive setting offers cross-cultural history and eroticism in a Javanese structure that begs for more pianos to be retuned for concertos featured on this disc.

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Feature Article
August 9, 2011

Ensemble Parallèle stages a vivid reimagining of Gertrude Stein’s and Virgil Thomson’s masterwork; Luciano Chessa adds his imaginative response, called A Heavenly Act.

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Feature Article
April 19, 2011

Like his career, Philip Glass’ new Days and Nights Festival will embrace a plethora of arts, with pride of place going to new music.

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Upcoming Concert
March 21, 2011

Popular British composer Roxanna Panufnik has composed a section of Chanticleer’s new musical tale about the young Jesus, The Boy Whose Father Was God, set for four Bay Area performances.

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Upcoming Concert
March 15, 2011

Cappella Romana has become the premier exponent and explorer of the musical traditions of Byzantium and other early Christian music. An upcoming concert showcases that expertise, before a return to Stanford to begin a research project aiming to re-create the acoustics of ancient Byzantine churches.

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Upcoming Concert
March 7, 2011

A visit from Les Percussion de Strausbourg treats the Bay Area to performances by the oldest continuing Western percussion ensemble.

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Feature Article
February 22, 2011

Slide is the latest in a series of opera, oratorio, and experimental theater projects that librettist Rinde Eckert has created with composer Steven Mackey.

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Feature Article
November 2, 2010

Bang on a Can has been the epicenter of boundary-less music for more than two decades. Two of the cofounders look back (and forward) at the ongoing revolution they helped inaugurate.

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Kids & Families Feature
November 24, 2009

New York, New York, a hell of a town: arts capital of the world and epicenter of American postclassical music since at least the days of George Gershwin. Think of the composers who lived and worked there from the 1940s on — Cage, Cowell, Thomson, Copland, Bernstein, Rorem, all the way down to younger generations like Bang on a Can, Nico Muhly, and the New Amsterdam composers. It’s almost easier to compile a list of major composers who aren’t from the Big Apple.

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Chamber Music Review
November 12, 2009

Lou Harrison called him “the central switchboard for two or three generations of American composers.” John Cage said he was the “open sesame” of American music. Yet Henry Cowell’s significance to American music remains unappreciated, even by most classical music fans. In his home state, Bay Area residents who recognize his name are unlikely to think that the Santa Cruz redwood forest is named for him, rather than, as it happens, for an unrelated lime/logging/land baron.

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Chamber Music Review
September 27, 2009

French music, the stereotype goes, prizes clarity, elegance, balance — in a word, gracefulness. Of course, exceptions are easy to find, but last weekend’s concerts titled “Les grâces françoises: Graceful Music From France,” by the aptly named ensemble Les grâces, made a persuasive case that a consciously graceful performance style immaculately suits the polite, early-Baroque gems.

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Feature Article
September 15, 2009

A few years ago, Evan Ziporyn’s mother called him to report a strange occurrence while she slept. “I just had this dream,” she said, “that you wrote an opera about Colin McPhee.” They chatted for a while, and after she hung up, Ziporyn thought, “Y’know, that’s a really good idea.” The seed planted in 2001 finally comes to fruition next week when Cal Performances stages the American premiere of Ziporyn’s opera A House in Bali, directed by Jay Scheib, at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall on Sept. 26.

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Artist Spotlight
August 10, 2009

In the decade since he became the youngest composer to win a Pulitzer Prize, for his String Quartet No. 2 (“musica instrumentalis”) in 1998, Aaron Jay Kernis has become one of the leading composers of his generation. Not yet 50, he’s won most of classical music’s top honors and garnered commissions from America’s leading orchestras. The New York–based composer has served for a decade as new-music advisor to the Minnesota Orchestra and directs its Composer Institute.

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Archive Review
June 10, 2008

For a new music fan, Southern California’s Ojai Festival is about as close to nirvana as it gets. For 62 years now, this little artsy town in the hills near Santa Barbara has been bringing contemporary music to the outdoor Libbey Bowl, an acoustic shell in a sylvan park setting as idyllic as the music can be challenging. Stravinsky, Copland, Boulez, MTT (many times) … a good number of the 20th century’s most acclaimed musical creators and interpreters have directed the four-day extravaganza.

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Archive Review
February 5, 2008

The next time I hear someone bewailing the moribund state of classical music, I'll point them to the Herbst Theatre, where last Saturday morning (a dreary day) a couple hundred music lovers paid to hear a couple of string quartets and an hour of explanation about them.

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Feature Article
January 29, 2008

Mason Bates has a secret life. The Bay Area composer has a Juilliard pedigree, a Rome Prize and a Berlin Prize, and is currently composer in residence for the California Symphony. He's performed his work with the Atlanta and Phoenix symphonies, and locally been performed by the Cabrillo Festival, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.

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