Pianist Jeffrey Kahane, a member of the USC Thornton Keyboard Studies faculty, recently concluded his second year as music director of the Sarasota Music Festival with the world premiere of Robert Sirota’s Luminous Bodies septet, in collaboration with the yMusic ensemble. The work’s title refers to the composers that influenced Sirota, including Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein, Lili Boulanger and Fanny Mendelssohn. The June 23rd premiere was received to “thunderous ovations” according to the Herald Tribune.
The annual festival, a program of the Sarasota Orchestra, welcomes international faculty artists and college-aged musicians for three weeks of orchestral and chamber music concerts, recitals, masterclasses, and educational programs each June. This year’s program featured performances by violinist Margaret Batjer, pianist Bernadene Blaha, and oboist Allan Vogel of the USC Thornton faculty, as well as a solo performance by alumni pianist Vijay Venkatesh (BM ’17), who performed Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 with the Sarasota Orchestra under Kahane’s baton to “dazzling” effect.