IRIS Orchestra Presents Renowned Violin Duo: Koh and Laredo in World Premiere Nov. 3


IRIS Orchestra Presents Renowned Violin Duo: Koh and Laredo in World Premiere Nov. 3

MEMPHIS, TENN. (October 18, 2012)…IRIS Orchestra proudly announces the world premiere of cutting edge American composer Anna Clyne's Prince of Clouds on Nov. 3, 2012. This vibrant new work was written expressly for two of the world's great string virtuosi, who return to IRIS for this special concert, which is sponsored by Martin, Tate, Marrow, Marston  LLC: legendary Grammy® award-winning Jaime Laredo plays alongside his former student Jennifer Koh, now an accomplished artist in her own right. In this concert, titled Koh and Laredo: Back with Bach, the acclaimed duo spans the centuries, performing Bach's beloved Double Violin Concerto in addition to the Clyne world premiere. The concert begins at 8 p.m., Germantown Performing Arts Centre (GPAC), 1801 Exeter.  Tickets at $55, are limited, and need to be bought early.  Remaining subscriptions for the full season are available for $140. For more information or subscriptions, visit or call 901.751.7669.  For single tickets call 901.751.7500. 

"I am very proud of the commitment that IRIS continues to demonstrate with new music," says IRIS Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Michael Stern. "Anna Clyne writes music that is provocative and fresh, making this a very exciting project for us." The Chicago Symphony's Mead Composer-in-Residence, Anna Clyne's work has been described as "dazzlingly inventive." She has received numerous accolades, including a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and eight consecutive ASCAP Plus Awards.  The world premiere of Prince of Clouds is part of an ongoing project called "Two x Four," which celebrates the relationship between teacher (Jaime Laredo) and student (Jennifer Koh) through four pieces of music, including this newly commissioned work.

"It is very special for me personally to welcome Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh as the soloists for this concert," says Stern. "They are both dear friends – I've known Jaime for about 40 years -- and both have been wonderful soloists with IRIS in previous seasons. As former teacher and student, they bring their deep musical connection to the great Bach double concerto, and it is a joy to collaborate with them on the world premiere of this new piece written just for them."

This concert marks Jaime Laredo's fourth appearance with IRIS, more than any other soloist. "I am thrilled to be returning, and to be doing another premiere with Jenny, Michael and this great group!" said Laredo.  His former student, Jennifer Koh, shares Laredo's excitement about IRIS: "It's a special experience to make music with such a great group of musicians. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to work again with Michael and IRIS!" Like Laredo, Koh is now widely sought after on the world's stages. Critics praise Koh as a "high-octane" violinist whose playing "sends the pulse racing." Koh's "sizzling articulation" and "rich arsenal of tone" have elicited comparisons to Yehudi Menuhin and Stephane Grappelli, a tribute both to the range of her playing and her adventurous choice of material.

The Nov. 3 concert further celebrates the strings in Elgar's Serenade, which the composer, himself a violinist, declared to be the favorite of his compositions. Continuing the season's theme of spotlighting the virtuosity of the members of IRIS Orchestra, the IRIS Spotlight shines on the string section in Mendelssohn's Octet, which Stern calls "wondrous, a precocious work of unbridled genius, composed when the artist was only16-years-old. In its original form, it is scored for two string quartets, but we expand that to the size of a string orchestra, which is a thrilling prospect."


IRIS Community Engagement

As part of the celebration surrounding the world premiere of Anna Clyne's Prince of Clouds, IRIS is sponsoring an art competition for students at Houston High School. The students are invited to submit artwork inspired by Clyne's description of her new piece; all artwork will be on display at Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital from Oct. 15 – Oct. 26; and in the GPAC lobby from Oct. 29  - Nov. 4.  Ms. Clyne, Maestro Stern, and IRIS Executive Director David DePeters will judge the artwork, and the winner and runner-up will be announced during Intermission at GPAC on Nov. 3.  Winning students will receive tickets to the concert as well as other prizes donated by the Art Center.

Recognizing the vital role music can play in health and well-being, IRIS will expand its community engagement this fall to perform for children at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital (50 North Dunlap Street  Memphis)On Thursday, Nov. 1, a string quartet from IRIS will be joined by student musicians from the GPAC Youth Orchestra. The musicians will give a half-hour quartet performance for patients and families; the concert will also be broadcast over the closed-circuit TV in patients' rooms.  Then the musicians will visit various floors to meet patients, play for them, talk, and answer questions about their instruments.

This season, IRIS continues to deepen its involvement with schools throughout Shelby County.  IRIS musicians will perform for and mentor students at Dexter Elementary School, Soulsville Charter School, Houston High School, Germantown High School, and Hutchison School.   In addition, on Friday, Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., composer Anna Clyne will conduct a masterclass at the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, 3775 Central (open to the public). 

IRIS is committed to lifelong learning. Wednesday Night Concert Preview classes provide a relaxed way to learn about the music and composers on the upcoming IRIS program. Taught by Jamey Lamar, who holds a master's degree in musicology from the University of Memphis, the Wednesday preview will take place on Oct.  31 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the GPAC Green Room. Cost is $15.

Produced in conjunction with WKNO-FM 91.1, the popular live broadcast IRIS Friday Live Lunch allows the listener to become a part of the musical process as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Michael Stern rehearses IRIS for the upcoming concert. The Friday Live Lunch will take place on Nov. 2 between 12:13 p.m. and 1 p.m.

IRIS dress rehearsals are open to the public for a small fee, and are a casual and inexpensive way to hear Michael Stern, IRIS Orchestra and the world's most acclaimed soloists at their best. The open dress rehearsal with Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh will take place at GPAC at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3. Tickets are $10 (plus handling fee) for adults, $5 for students (GYSO members and students from partner schools free) and may be purchased on the day of the performance at GPAC.

All IRIS ticket holders are invited to attend the Pre-concert Conversation led by Jamey Lamar at 7 p.m. prior to IRIS concerts at GPAC. Lamar will offer insights into the evening's program, composers and guest artists and may be joined by special guests including soloists and Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Michael Stern. The Pre-concert Conversation will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3, in the Black Box of GPAC and is free to concert ticket holders.



Performing for more than five decades before audiences across the globe, Jaime Laredo has excelled in the multiple roles of soloist, conductor, recitalist, pedagogue, and chamber musician. Since his stunning orchestral debut at the age of 11 with the San Francisco Symphony, he has won the admiration and respect of audiences, critics and fellow musicians with his passionate and polished performances. That debut inspired one critic to write: "In the 1920's it was Yehudi Menuhin; in the 1930's it was Isaac Stern; and last night it was Jaime Laredo." His education and development were greatly influenced by his teachers Josef Gingold and Ivan Galamian, as well as by private coaching with eminent masters Pablo Casals and George Szell. At the age of 17, Laredo won the prestigious Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition, launching his rise to international prominence. In the 2012-2013 season, Laredo tours as conductor, soloist and as a member of the award-winning Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. A current project,  "Two x Four," celebrates the relationship between teacher and student through music. Laredo, with his colleague and former student Jennifer Koh, performs Double Violin Concerti by J.S. Bach, Philip Glass, and two newly commissioned works by composers Anna Clyne and David Ludwig. IRIS Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Kennedy Center, Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and Miller Theater in New York are on the schedule for this season.  Laredo has recorded close to 100 discs, including a Grammy® Award-winning disc of Brahms Piano Quartets with Emanuel Ax, Isaac Stern and Yo-Yo Ma. His numerous recordings range from the complete Bach Sonatas with Glenn Gould (CBS/RCA) to "Triple Doubles," an album with Sharon Robinson and the Vermont Symphony which includes three double concerto premieres by Daron Hagen, Richard Danielpour, and David Ludwig (BRIDGE, 2011). Laredo's stewardships of the annual New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall, and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis have become beloved educational pillars of the string community. 2012 marks the beginning of his tenure at The Cleveland Institute of Music. He concurrently holds director posts with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Music at the Y series in New York and the Linton Chamber Music Series in Cincinnati.


Jennifer Koh made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. Since the 1994-95 season, when she won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Koh has been heard with the symphonies of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Minnesota, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Montreal, as well as with the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, National Symphony Orchestra, and New World Symphony.  Abroad, she has appeared with the symphonies of BBC London, BBC Scotland, Lahti, Iceland, Singapore, and Moscow Radio, as well as with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Brandenburg Ensemble, Czech and Helsinki philharmonics, and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. A prolific recitalist, she also appears frequently at major music centers and festivals. Koh is passionate in her efforts to expand the violin repertoire and has established relationships with many of today's composers, regularly commissioning and premiering new works.  A committed educator, Koh has won high praise for her performances in classrooms around the country under her innovative "Music Messenger" outreach program.  Her IRIS appearance is part of an ongoing project called "Two x Four," which celebrates the relationship between teacher (Jaime Laredo) and student (Jennifer Koh) through four pieces of music, including two newly commissioned works. She is a member of the board of directors of the National Foundation for the Advancement for the Arts, a scholarship program for high school students in the arts. 

Anna Clyne's recent commissions include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Houston Ballet, London Sinfonietta, Southbank Centre, ETHEL, Bang on a Can, Metropolis Ensemble, American Composers Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Her work often includes collaborations with cutting edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians worldwide. She has received honors from Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Jerome Foundation. Clyne received a Clutterbuck award from the University of Edinburgh and was a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Composer Award, and was nominated for a 2010 British Composer Award. An avid advocate for music education, Clyne teaches composition workshops for local young composers and incarcerated youths as part of this residency, and served as the director of the New York Youth Symphony's award-winning program for young composers, "Making Score" from 2008 to 2010. Clyne was also recently a guest composer at the 2011 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival. Clyne's <<rewind<<, "inspired by the image of analog video tape rapidly scrolling backwards with fleeting moments of skipping, freezing and warping," has been recently performed with both the BBC Symphony and BBC Concert Orchestra as well as at the Cabrillo Festival, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2012, Tzadik Records released a full album of Clyne's music, titled Blue Moth, showcasing a diverse range of her instrumental and ensemble with taped pieces, including Roulettefits + starts and Steelworks.

Michael Stern is IRIS Orchestra's founding artistic director and its principal conductor. Under his direction, IRIS Orchestra has been unanimously heralded for the brilliance of its playing, its varied programming with special emphasis on American contemporary music, and its acclaimed recordings on the Naxos and Arabesque labels. Stern is also entering his eighth season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony, which has been hailed for its remarkable artistic and institutional growth and development since his tenure began. In addition to his work in Kansas City and with IRIS Orchestra, Stern has conducted major orchestras in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Far East.  He studied at The Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of noted scholar and conductor Max Rudolf and earned a bachelor's degree in American history at Harvard University.                          

IRIS Orchestra was founded in September of 2000 by conductor Michael Stern at the invitation of Albert Pertalion, former executive director of the Germantown Performing Arts Centre. Comprised of musicians from all over the United States, IRIS has been heralded not only for the excellence of its playing and range of its programming, but also for its originality as a model for an American orchestra. IRIS'srecordings have attained national recognition. Its first CD, the music of Stephen Hartke, earned a place onThe New York Times' "Year's Ten Best" in 2002. IRIS's recording of Rorem's Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, After Reading Shakespeare, was named one of the Ten Best of 2007 by the Chicago Tribune. Its most recent CD, Forgotten Chants and Refrains, featuring the music of Jonathan Leshnoff, was named "One of the 10 Best CDs of 2010" by the music critic of the Baltimore Sun.   IRIS Orchestra haspresented a remarkable array of soloists including cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Amit Peled, violinists Midori, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Gluzman, and Joshua Bell; pianists Yefim Bronfman, Emanuel Ax and Garrick Ohlsson;and sopranos Dawn Upshaw and Heidi Grant Murphy. The list of commissioned composers is equallydistinguished, including Stephen Hartke, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, William Bolcom, Ned Rorem, Jonathan Leshnoff, Huang Ruo, Chris Brubeck, and Adam Schoenberg. 



IRIS Orchestra, Michael Stern, conductor 



Guest Artists: Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh, violin

Date: Nov. 3, 2012

Venue: GPAC, 1801 Exeter Rd., Germantown



Elgar: Serenade in e minor, Op. 20

Bach: Double Concerto in d minor, BWV 1043

Anna Clyne: Prince of Clouds, Concerto for Two Violins and Strings (world premiere, co-commissioned by IRIS Orchestra)

*Mendelssohn: Octet (string orchestral version)


*IRIS Spotlight on orchestra members


Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012

12:50 p.m. - 2 p.m.        String Quartet at Houston High School
3:20 p.m - 4:30 p.m.      String Quartet at Hutchison School
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.             Wednesday Night Concert Preview with Jamey Lamar - GPAC green room. ($15)

Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012

9 a.m. – 10 a.m.            String Quartet at Soulsville Charter School 

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m Masterclass at Germantown High School

Noon – 1 p.m.               String Quartet and students from GPAC Youth Symphony at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

3 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.          String Quartet at Dexter Elementary


Friday, Nov. 2, 2012

10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.      Masterclass with composer Anna Clyne, University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt

School of Music, 3775 Central (open to the public)

12:13 p.m. – 1 p.m.       Friday Live Lunch rehearsal broadcast on WKNO-FM 91.1 Radio

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.            Open rehearsal (free for GPAC Youth Symphony Orchestra; others $10)

1 p.m. -- 1:30 p.m.         Meet and Greet with Jaime Laredo for student musicians

7 p.m. - 7:45 p.m.          Pre-concert Conversation with Jamey Lamar - open to all concertgoers

8 p.m.                           Concert - Sponsored by Martin, Tate, Marrow, Marston, LLC.

10 p.m.                         Post-concert reception (private event)


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