Markand Thakar, Conductor, with the Shanghai Quartet
The 2017 Beatrice Crawford Memorial Concert features Discovery, a newly commissioned work by South Carolina composer Edward Hart, written especially for the Shanghai Quartet and the MSU Symphony Orchestra, as well as Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 and Janáček’s Sinfonietta.
* This concert is a free public performance supported by a generous grant from the Keating Crawford Foundation. It is presented at Montclair State University in memory of Beatrice Crawford, a Montclair musician who was the director of two choral groups, “The Madrigals” and “The Choraliers.”
Markand Thakar is Music Director of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and a member of the graduate conducting faculty at the Peabody Conservatory.
A former assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Maestro Thakar’s appearances include concerts and a national radio broadcast with that orchestra; as well as concerts with the National, San Antonio, Columbus, Fort Worth, Alabama, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Amarillo, Charlotte, Wichita, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Richmond, Colorado Springs, Greensboro, Illinois, Kalamazoo, Windsor, Flint, Maryland, Ann Arbor, National Gallery, Waterbury, Annapolis, and Florida West Coast symphony orchestras; the Calgary, Louisiana, Long Island, and Ulsan (South Korea) philharmonics; and the Boston Pro Arte, National and Cleveland chamber orchestras; and opera productions with the Baltimore Opera Theater, the Teatro Lirico d’Europa, Opera on the James, and the Duluth Festival Opera. A frequent guest conductor at the Aspen Music Festival, Mr. Thakar has appeared with Yo-Yo Ma and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and with Itzhak Perlman and the Boulder Philharmonic, and is a winner of the Geraldine C. and Emory M. Ford Foundation Award. Familiar to national radio audiences as a frequent commentator for National Public Radio’s Performance Today, he has appeared on CBS This Morning and CNN conducting the Colorado Symphony.
With BCO Thakar has recorded three CDs for the Naxos label, including disks of concertos by Classical Era masters Stamitz, Hoffmeister and Pleyel, and music by Jonathan Leshnoff on the American Classics imprint, named to Naxos’ “Best of the Best” list. BCO traveled to China to perform a series of Viennese New Year’s concerts, and recent a performance in New York earned a warm review from the New York Times, which praised the group’s “warmth and substance.” During his 12-year tenure in Duluth, the DSSO saw dramatic growth in both audience and artistic prominence, to what Minnesota Public Radio called “Minnesota’s other great orchestra.”
Noted internationally as a pedagogue, his two annual intensive conducting programs with BCO have drawn conductors from five continents. His students have won significant conducting positions across North America and internationally, including music directorships with the Aachen (Germany), Winnipeg, Hartford, Eugene, Charleston, Lubbock, Muncie, Williamsport, Amarillo, Young Musician’s Foundation, Lake Forest, Mid-Atlantic, Sioux City, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Lake Charles, Washington-Idaho, and Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestras; staff conducting positions with the Metropolitan Opera and the orchestras of Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle, Saint Louis, Portland (OR), Richmond, Winnipeg, Portland (ME), Buffalo, Phoenix, Charlotte, Kansas City, Canton, Winston-Salem, and El Paso; as well as numerous collegiate positions.
Markand Thakar is the author of three seminal books. Counterpoint: Fundamentals of Music Making (Yale University Press, 1990), also issued in Italian and Czech, uses species counterpoint to promote an understanding of how both composer and performer contribute to the experience of musical beauty. Looking for the “Harp” Quartet; An Investigation into Musical Beauty (University of Rochester Press, 2011) is a study of musical beauty from the standpoint of the composer, performer and listener. On the Principles and Practice of Conducting (University of Rochester Press, anticipated 2016) is a manual for conductors at all levels.
Known worldwide for its passionate musicality, impressive technique and expansive repertoire, the Shanghai Quartet melds traditional Chinese folk music, masterpieces of Western musical literature and cutting-edge contemporary works. This renowned quartet continues its tradition of expanding the musical palette of its audiences by introducing Yiwen Lu, acclaimed young master of the erhu, a two-stringed instrument whose versatile, expressive tone is an essential element of Chinese folk music and culture. Lu’s virtuosity allows her to blend techniques and styles – modern and traditional, Eastern and Western –defying expectations for this “simple” instrument.