When lamenting the fall of Opera Boston, one thing I never doubted was that the company’s Artistic Director, Gil Rose, would find an equivalent, if not better gig soon enough, but I didn’t expect it to come so soon. The Board of Directors of Monadnock Music has named Gil Rose as their new Artistic Director. In that capacity, he will be responsible for season programming, engaging artists, conducting on occasion, and helping to design and oversee education and outreach programs, among other duties. While this is a happy outcome for Monadnock Music, which has had its share of administrative upheavals since the retirement of its founder James Bolle in 2008, the fate of Opera Boston remains a tragic event in the city’s musical history. Boston wants and needs opera, and Opera Boston was ideally suited to her sophisticated tastes. On the other hand Mr. Bolle is highly-regarded as an opera composer, and opera has been a component of Monadnock’s summer schedule in the past. Gil Rose’s appointment may be a propitious sign for its return, just as his position as one of the most knowledgeable and messianic supporters of new music bodes well for the continuance and renewal of one of Bolle’s primary missions.
The public statement by Monadnock Music Executive Director Will Chapman, seemed to indicate that Mr. Rose was hired for all the right reasons: “Gil’s vision, distinguished and extensive orchestral and operatic experience, as well as his diverse interests in chamber music, vocal, new and early music excited the selection committee and the Board of Directors. We are also pleased that Gil, much like our founder James Bolle, lives within easy reach of our home in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and has similarly recognized broad interests and capabilities as a programmer. Additionally, Gil’s experience with the Music Department at Tufts University will serve us well in expanding our community enrichment program. On a personal note, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with him again after our years together at Opera Boston.”
I also couldn’t agree more with what John Harbison said, “The appointment of Gil Rose at Monadnock Music is great news. Gil Rose–fearless planner and organizer, open-spirited musical citizen, quick-witted, responsive, and above all communicative conductor–it is impossible to imagine our recent musical life without his improbable feats of daring and imagination. He will be an adventurous leader for Monadnock, carrying forward the maverick traditions of Jim Bolle, making all sorts of new connections and discoveries. The musical compass of New England veers north with this appointment.”
In 1996, Rose founded the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the foremost professional orchestra dedicated exclusively to performing and recording modern and contemporary music. During his sixteen years with BMOP, his recordings have garnered Grammy nominations, and have appeared on many year-end “Best of” lists. He joined Opera Boston as its Music Director in 2003. In 2010, he was appointed the company’s first Artistic Director. He led Opera Boston in several American and New England premieres and in 2009, Rose led the world premiere of Zhou Long’s Madame White Snake, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2011.
Rose has been guest conductor nationally and internationally for many orchestras and opera companies. He made his Tanglewood debut in 2002, and in 2003 he debuted with the Netherlands Radio Symphony as part of the Holland Festival. He has led the American Composers Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana and National Orchestra of Porto and has made several appearances with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players. He has curated the Fromm concerts at Harvard University and also served as the Artistic Director of the Ditson Festival of Contemporary Music at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. In 2007, Rose was awarded Columbia University’s prestigious Ditson Award as well as an ASCAP Concert Music award for this exemplary commitment to new American music.
Monadnock Music, founded by James Bolle in 1966, has become an annual summer event dear to the hearts of music-loving Bostonians, since, centered in Peterborough, New Hampshire, it at least seems closer to the city and bears the stamp of Boston musical life more purely than the remoter summer festivals in the Berkshires, with the notable exception of Aston Magna. It is equally dear to the summer fellows at the neighboring Macdowell Colony. In addition to the primary concerts in Peterborough Town Hall, to offers a wide variety of free concerts at other venues around the Monadnock Region. Among the many distinguished artists whose work Monadnock Music has presented or commissioned are Elliott Carter, John Adams, Virgil Thomson, Aaron Copland, Peter Sellars, James Maddalena, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Richard Goode, Sanford Sylvan, Craig Smith, Ursula Oppens, and Russell Sherman. During the school year, Monadnock Music provides vital music education support to the region’s elementary schools through its Lend an Ear! program. Since its establishment, LAE! has enriched the lives of over 25,000 children.
Monadnock Music is without a doubt one of the great assets to New England cultural life, and the appointment of Gil Rose suggests exciting possibilities for its future.