Repertoire Report- KW 2013

It’s that time of year again here at Vftp Int’l Headquarters…

Repertoire Report Season that exciting time when we look back at the year that just ended and take stock of who has been conducting and playing what. I really can’t believe it’s already been a year since I filed the last one.


Actually, it’s been two years. This time last year, I was so busy preparing over 170 minutes of music for the sessions for Auricolae; The Double Album (coming out in May, we hope) that I skipped Repertoire Report Season altogether. That means that my last report was actually for 2011, rather than 2012. Sorry!

Anyway- it’s fun to do this, and remember, I’m very happy to post YOUR repertoire report here. Just email it to and we’ll add it to the archive, and Tweet it to the world.

Here’s a key to the symbols you’ll see in the list below:

  • “vc” = I was playing cello rather than conducting
  • “2x, 3x”= Works that I’ve done with more than one group. Multiple repeats of Epomeo and Auricolae pieces (there tend to be many) are not counted unless they involved changes of personnel
  • “*”= A composer whose music I have not done before in this capacity (conducting/playing for the first time).
  • “+”= A work new to my repertoire
  • rec” = A piece I recorded this year for CD
  • “wp” = A world premiere

Some key stats.

Composer with most pieces on the list: Mozart (8 pieces)

Other composers who did well

  • Beethoven (6)
  • Shostakovich (5)
  • Philip Sawyers (4)
  • Mendelssohn (4)
  • David Yang (4)
  • Britten (3)
  • Tchaikovsky (3)

I’m pleased to see that there are two living composers on that list, plus two composers whose life-spans overlapped with mine (Britten and Shostakovich).

 Other points of interest:

I conducted only two Beethoven symphonies this year, which is low for me, and I conducted them on consecutive days. I also conducted two Mendelssohn symphonies this year, also on consecutive days with the same two orchestras. This was completely accidental. I was very excited to conduct two symphonies by Bruckner for the first time in a calendar year (albeit not on the same weekend), although I’d known the 7th backwards for most of my life and had workshopped it before. The Second was completely new to me, and I can’t wait to do it again. It’s now on my “I really have to record” list.

On the other hand, in 2013, I didn’t conduct any Mahler symphonies at all- a first since I started doing repertoire reports. Fortunately, I’ll do at least 3 next year (No.s 7, 5 and 4). 2013 was the fifth year in a row I recorded a major orchestral work(s) of Hans Gál. Now that the symphonic cycle is in the can, can I keep that momentum going? We’re hoping to record the Cello Concertino soon, but everything is still in pencil. Once we get the recording of the First done, I’ll need to take some time to see what we can do next on that front.

The bad news this year? No Bartók, no Stravinsky, no Debussy, no Ravel, no Janacek, no Messsiaen, no Prokofiev. Did I really not conduct a Brahms or Haydn symphony all year? Crikey. The good news? Finally, a year with more than one work by a “New Viennese” school composer (Schoenberg and Berg).

Speaking of firsts- 2013 is the first year in which any of my own music has appeared on one of these lists. Thanks to the combined miracles of deadlines, shame, pressure, coffee, support-from-friends, determination, booze and fear-of-failure I managed to finally shake off 15+ years of writers block and finish and perform two decent sized pieces. I’m not sure premiering your own music is ideal, but it sure is humbling- you sit down at the instrument knowing every note, but not being able to play any of them well.

It’s a longer list than the most recent one from 2011: 84 works versus 66. 2010 was a bit longer at 90 pieces. What pleases me, however, is that I think it’s the most interesting list I’ve come up with so far in my career. There are a lot of major pieces on here that anyone would consider a rare privilege to perform, works that are difficult to play or program, particularly dark or forbidding (Berg Chamber Concerto, Sibelius 4, Shostakovich 14- all from the month of June- spring to mind), contemporary works (I count 19 living composers). Also, all those composers with *’s (10-11 new composers for me this year): it’s so important and inspiring for performers to learn new musical languages. For instance- I’d never conducted anything by John Adams- learning the Violin Concerto took a lot of work, but understanding it took way more, and was incredibly rewarding. I expect to do more of his music in the years ahead.


Here’s the full list:

  1. John Adams – Violin Concerto  * +
  2. Beethoven Overture – Creatures of Prometheus
  3. Beethoven- Overture “Egmont”
  4. Beethoven – String Trio in E-flat, Op. 3 vc
  5. Beethoven- String Quartet in E flat, opus 127 vc
  6. Beethoven- Symphony no. 2
  7. Beethoven – Symphony no 4
  8. Berg – Concerto for Piano, Violin & 13 +
  9. Bernstein- On the Waterfront +
  10. T. Brady – “We’re Hardcore”  * +
  11. Brahms- Violin Concerto 2x
  12. Britten Les Illuminations 2x
  13. Britten – Sinfonietta +
  14. Britten – Variations on a Theme of FrankBridge, Op.10
  15. Bruckner- Symphony no. 2 +
  16. Bruckner- Symphony no. 7 in E major
  17. Andrea Clearfield – “Three Tenses of Light” for string quartet and chorus vc * +
  18. Melissa Dunphy – “Captain Samuels Speaks to the Sea” for string trio and narrator 2x vc *
  19. Dvorak- Symphony no. 6 in D major
  20. Elgar- Sea Pictures (world premiere of new choral arrangement by Donald Fraser *) rec +
  21. Gál- Concertino for Cello and Strings +
  22. Gál- Symphony no. 1 rec +
  23. Peter Gilbert – Awake and Shine for acoustic guitar and string quartet vc * +
  24. Handel- Messiah
  25. Haydn- Cello Concerto no. 2 in D major (soloist)
  26. Haydn- Trumpet Concerto
  27. Holst- A Somerset Rhapsody +
  28. Andrew Keeling- Piano Quartet * +
  29. Tom Kraines- Hansel and Gretel vc rec
  30. Krása – Tanec & Passacaglia and Fuga
  31. Gyorgi Kurtag – Signs, Games and Messages * +
  32. Martin Kutnowski- How the Toad Got His Spots vc rec
  33. Gerald Levinson-Three Fables by Robert Lax  vc rec
  34. Mahler- Piano Quartet +
  35. Mendelssohn- Overture “Hebrides”
  36. Mendelssohn- Violin Concerto no. 2 in E minor
  37. Mendelssohn Symphony No. 1
  38. Mendelssohn- Symphony no. 3 “Scottish”
  39. Mozart- Serenade: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
  40. Mozart – Don Giovanni Overture
  41. Mozart- Clarinet Concerto
  42. Mozart – Oboe Concerto
  43. Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K.453
  44. Mozart- Requiem in D minor
  45. Mozart – Wind Serenade No. 10, K. 361, Gran Partita
  46. Mozart Symphony No. 33 +
  47. Penderecki – String Trio +
  48. Jay Reise- The Warrior Violinist vc rec * +
  49. Respighi- Ancient Airs and Dances Suite no. 2 +
  50. Philip Sawyers- Overture “The Gale of Life”
  51. Philip Sawyers- Concertante for Violin, Piano and Strings rec
  52. Philip Sawyers- Cello Concerto 2x rec +
  53. Philip Sawyers- Symphony no. 2 rec
  54. Schnittke – String Trio
  55. Schoenberg- Verklarte Nacht vc rec +
  56. Schubert – Rosamunde Overture
  57. Schumann- Symphony no. 1 “Spring” rec
  58. Shostakovich – Cello Concerto  No. 1
  59. Shostakovich- Chamber Symphony opus 83a (arr. 4th Quartet)
  60. Shostakovich- String Quartet no. 8
  61. Shostakovich Symphony no. 5
  62. Shostakovich- Symphony no14 +
  63. Sibelius- Symphony no. 2
  64. Sibelius – Symphony no 4 +
  65. Kile Smith- The BremenTown Musicians vc
  66. Kile Smith – “Plain Truths” for baritone, chorus, string quartet (expanded, World Premiere), vc +
  67. Suk- Serenade for Strings + *
  68. Toru Takemitsu- Death and Resurrection * +
  69. Tchaikovsky- Andante Cantabile (arr. String Orchestra) +
  70. Tchaikovsky- Violin Concerto
  71. Tchaikovsky- Symphony no. 2 “Little Russian”
  72. Ullmann (arr. Woods)- Chamber Symphony opus 43a
  73. Andrew Waggoner- The Emperor’s New Clothes vc rec
  74. Walton- Cello Concerto (soloist) +
  75. Weber- Oberon Overture
  76. Kurt Weill – A Little Threepenny Music –Suite for Wind Ensemble +
  77. Weinberg – String Trio vc * +
  78. Tom Whitman- The Princess and the Man with a Pure Heart vc rec
  79. Kenneth Woods- The Ugly Duckling vc rec wp+ *
  80. Kenneth Woods – “Demonstrations” for electric guitar and string trio vc rec wp +
  81. David Yang- Lubin, from Chelm vc rec
  82. David Yang- Two Brothers vc rec
  83. David Yang- The Matzoh Ball Man vc rec +
  84. David Yang- Three Wishes vc rec+
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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

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