“A Sibyl” in the Garden

(photo courtesy of Alycia Kravitz and Museum of Modern Art)

I’m very grateful for the superb performance of A Sibyl last Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art’s Sculpture Garden with Anneliese Klenetsky, soprano; members of the New Juilliard Ensemble; and Joel Sachs, conductor. Anneliese’s singing displayed beauty of sound, great musicianship, and vivid expression. All the musicians truly “got” the piece – you could tell by their characterful singing and playing that they understood what I was trying to say. No less important, they had formidable gifts with which to convey the musical message.

Of course, I am very grateful to my friend Susan Stewart for giving me such powerful texts to set.

Also on the program was Leonora Pictures by Philip Cashian. This was my first encounter with the music of the British composer, and I was very impressed: a cogent harmonic language, imaginative textures, and a strong sense of drama. I’d like to hear more of his work.

Here are some pictures from last Sunday, taken by the gifted Alycia Kravitz, and included here with her kind permission and that of the Museum of Modern Art. The exception is this shot of the evening’s program:

The clips on the music stands are to help the music not fly away in the breeze; Alycia managed to catch a momentary appearance by one of the other singers of the evening.

The BVM was taking care of video:

A good-sized crowd attends these SummerGarden concerts:

 

The indefatigable Joel Sachs who has performed an incredible amount of new music over the years:

Sae Hashimoto:

Reiko Tsuchida:

Shen Liu, clarinet, and Emily Duncan, flute:

Julia Glenn:

Yu Yu Liu:

Anneliese Klenetsky:

 

That’s Susan Stewart taking a bow with me:

Thanks are also due to Melania Monios of the MoMA for her kind hospitality as she made sure all ran smoothly. As Susan remarked in an e-mail, it was a magical evening.

“A Sibyl” at MoMA

I’ll be heading to NYC soon for rehearsals and a performance of A Sibyl, my cycle for soprano and chamber ensemble on texts by Susan Stewart. This will be on Sunday, July 8 at the Museum of Modern Art, as part of their Summergarden series. The concert is at 8 pm and admission is free. The performers are members of the New Juilliard Ensemble, with Joel Sachs conducting. The soloist will be Anneliese Klenetsky.

I wrote here and here about A Sibyl in connection with the premiere last fall with Mary Mackenzie and Collage New Music, conducted by David Hoose.

That’s the Sibyl of Cumae from the Sistine Chapel above.

Alleluia and A Book of Hours

Two season announcements have come out recently, confirming dates for performances in New York and Philadelphia:

– The New Juilliard Ensemble, conducted by Joel Sachs, will give the New York premiere of my From a Book of Hours on Tuesday, November 17 at Juilliard’s Paul Hall. The soprano soloist will be announced later. This is the chamber ensemble version of a work I originally wrote for the Chicago Symphony, who premiered the piece in 2002, with Lisa Saffer, soprano, and Antonio Pappano conducting. It sets, in German, four poems by Rilke from his collection Das Stundenbuch. I made the chamber version, scored for eleven players, for the 21st Century Consort, with Susan Narucki, soprano and Christopher Kendall, conducting. These forces recorded the piece for my Sacred Songs CD on Bridge.

– Robert Maggio, Jennifer Higdon, Andrea Clearfield and myself are writing short choral “Alleluias for Alan” in honor of the Mendelssohn Club’s recently retired artistic director Alan Harler. Mine will be premiered on March 5, 2015 at the Temple Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia with the group’s new artistic director Paul Rardin on the podium. If I am to set just the word “alleluia”, it means I don’t have the patterning of a text to suggest a musical form; therefore, I’m going to have to come up with my own structure, and I am thinking about a set of variations on a repeated bass or chord progression. We shall see, too early to say for certain what will happen. Read more about the Mendelssohn Club’s upcoming season here.