Blitzstein and the cast of "The Cradle Will Rock", 1937

2016-17 Season Performance Preview

The 2016/17 season offers performances of both well-known and rarely-heard works by Blitzstein, from the purely orchestral to the profoundly political, and all that lies between.

  • The Orchestra Now performs Orchestra Variations

The Orchestra Now (TŌN), a program of Bard College, performs Orchestra Variations at New York City’s Rose Theater, 6 November, conducted by Leon Botstein.

Written in 1934 and largely inspired by Aaron Copland’s Piano Variations, Orchestra Variations consists of a theme and twenty variations. Despite initial interest from conductor Leopold Stokowski, the work was never performed during Blitzstein’s lifetime. It eventually premiered in 1988 at Carnegie Hall on a concert by the American Composers Orchestra with conductor Dennis Russell Davies.

TŌN performs this rarely-heard piece alongside better-known works by Blitzstein’s contemporaries and close friends, Leonard Bernstein (Jeremiah Symphony) and Copland (Statements for Orchestra and Appalachian Spring Suite).

  • Radio Documentary on WFMT

Radio host Guy Livingston will release a four-part Podcast about Blitzstein’s life and music as part of his American Highways series. Each episode explores a particular work or period in Blitzstein’s life, including The Cradle Will Rock, Regina, Airborne Symphony and his friendship with Bernstein, and his unfinished opera, Sacco and Vanzetti, a project steeped in political controversy and aborted by his tragic and untimely death. The radio-documentary will be broadcast on ConcertZender Radio in the Netherlands and distributed on the WFMT radio network in the US in October. Listen to a preview of the full documentary, here.

  • The Cradle Will Rock and a Year of Politics

Even more prescient during this election year, Blitzstein’s attack on the plutocracy, The Cradle Will Rock, will be seen in several productions, including: Kent State University, 21 & 25 September; Cast Aside Productions (Portland, ME), 14-23 October; Boston University, 13-18 December; Connecticut College, 4-5 March; Ithaca College, 1-8 April. These productions, all with piano-only accompaniment, build up to the major Blitzstein event of the season next summer, when Opera Saratoga presents the work as it was originally intended – fully staged, with the original orchestration. Opera Saratoga Artistic director Lawrence Edelson directs, with John Mauceri conducting, 9-16 July, 2017.

Visit the performance calendar for more information and a complete listing of Blitzstein performances coming up this year.