Nicole Cabell — Carlos Simon, Ellington, Gershwin



Tanglewood (297 West St., Lenox, MA 01240, Lenox MA)

Dynamic soprano Nicole Cabell joins BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons in an evening of Carlos Simon, Barber, Ellington and Gershwin, with Aaron Diehl on piano.

The BSO premiered Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, based on a text by James Agee, in 1948. Tonight it accompanies Barber’s small-city observations is George Gershwin’s exuberant, jazzy, and occasionally homesick tone poem An American in Paris.

The multifaceted American pianist Aaron Diehl joins the orchestra for Duke Ellington’s New World A-Coming, transcribed from Ellington’s 1943 Carnegie Hall performance. Washington, D.C.-based composer Carlos Simon’s Motherboxx Connection oens the program, a 2021 piece inspired by the Afrofuturist-leaning artist collective Black Kirby.

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Tickets include admission to 6 p.m. Prelude Concert — tonight performances byTMC fellows.

Nicole Cabell is the 2005 Winner of the BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff and Decca recording artist, is one of the most sought-after of today. Her solo debut album, “Soprano” was named “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone and has received an incredible amount of critical acclaim and several prestigious awards, including the 2007 Georg Solti Orphée d’Or from the French Académie du Disque Lyrique.

Her current season includes a return to the San Francisco Opera in her role debut as Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte, performances in London and on tour in the United States with the London Symphony Orchestra and Simon Rattle performing George Walker’s Lilacs, a solo recital with Cincinnati’s Matinee Musicale and concerts of Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915 and Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the Tucson Symphony, Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra and with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago on the occasion of their 150th anniversary, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Rochester Philharmonic and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Buffalo Philharmonic.

In concert, she has performed a set of songs on texts by Langston Hughes at the Metropolitan Museum, sang the Mozart Requiem with the Cincinnati Symphony and David Robertson before joining Master Voices and Ted Sperling at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. In the summer she returned to Tanglewood for the closing concert of the season as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Giancarlo Guerrero.

Since his debut release on Mack Avenue Records in 2013, pianist-composer Aaron Diehl has mystified listeners with his layered artistry. He reaches into expansion. At once temporal and ethereal — deliberate in touch and texture — his expression transforms the piano into an orchestral vessel in the spirit of beloved predecessors Ahmad Jamal, Erroll Garner, Art Tatum and Jelly Roll Morton. Moment to moment, he considers what instrument he’s moved to evoke. “This is a singular voice here, but maybe this section is a saxophone soli, or this piece here are high winds or low brass in the bass,” says the Steinway artist, describing his concept on the bandstand.

“Attuned to the logical structure of a song”
— The New Yorker

Following three critically-acclaimed leader albums, the American Pianist Association’s 2011 Cole Porter fellow now focuses his attention on what it means to be authentic, to be present within himself. His most recent release on Mack Avenue, The Vagabond, reveals his breadth as who The New York Times calls “a composer worth watching.” Across nine original tracks and works by Philip Glass and Sergei Prokofiev, Aaron leans into imagination and exploration. His forthcoming solo record, poised for release in spring 2021, promises an expansion of that search in a setting at once unbound and intimate.

“Diehl has developed an organic, sophisticated approach”
— DownBeat

In his sound, Aaron finds evolving meaning in the briefest phrases. He conjures three- dimensional expansion of melody, counterpoint and movement through time. Rather than choose one sound or another, one genre or another — one identity or another — Aaron invites listeners into the chambered whole of his artistry. His approach reflects varied ancestral lineages and cultural expressions. And he remains committed to independence and self-discovery.