“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.

Pictures from Summergarden

Melanie Monios, the assistant director for special programming at the Museum of Modern Art, passed along some pictures from the recent Summergarden performance of my String Quartet Nr. 3. The photographer was Will Ragozzino.

The members of the Cavatina Quartet (left to right): Randall Goosby, Mariella Haubs, Jia Kim (guest artist) and Jameel Martin. Thanks to the splendid players and to Melanie – the concert was a wonderful experience.

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Music For String Quartet at Summergarden

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I don’t know if you can get a sense of this from the iPhone panorama shot above, but last Sunday’s Summergarden concert in the outdoor sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art was attended by a crowd much larger than that associated with a typical new music concert – I was told that probably about 900 people were in attendance.

Barnett Newman

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and Alexander Calder

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were also there.

The crowd was there to hear the Cavatina String Quartet (Randall Goosby and Mariella Haubs, violins; Jameel Martin, viola; and guest artist Jia Kim, cello) perform works by Akira Mishimura, Justyna Kowalska-Lason, and my own String Quartet Nr. 3. I was delighted by the performance of my piece, full of character and passion. Much of the work comes from a dark expressive region – not the easiest thing to pull off on a hot summer night. But the players projected both the shadowed and the more playful moods of the piece brilliantly.

Summergarden is not your typical venue for a string quartet concert – outdoors, with amplification, in the middle of Manhattan with its birds, thrumming traffic and air conditioners, and hundreds of people playing Pokémon Go right outside the museum. But the crowd was remarkably quiet and attentive, the wind and heat didn’t keep the quartet from playing superbly, and it just felt right for new music to be at MOMA – for a moment, music and the visual arts were on at least somewhat equal terms as cultural players. The physical environment of the space was also unique. The stage was set up in front of a glass wall that reflected the surrounding architecture, including a famous Philip Johnson building with its broken pediment in this shot:

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The flower at the left is a sculpture by Isa Genzken:

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Here I am with the quartet after the show, standing in front of a Sol LeWitt (L to R: Jia Kim, Randall Goosby, Mariella Haub, the composer, Jameel Martin.)

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Thanks to Melanie Monios of MOMA for taking the picture, for her great work on producing the concert, and for her kind hospitality. And thanks to Joel Sachs, curator of these concerts, for letting me be a part of a wonderful event.

Blooming in the Summergarden

I’ve recently learned that my 3rd String Quartet will be played this coming July 24 at the Museum of Modern Art as part of MoMA’s Summergarden series. The program is at 8 pm, with free admission, and takes place in the museum’s Sculpture Garden – enter from 54th Street. The performers will be Juilliard students – I’ll be certain to let you know exactly who will be playing once I find out.