“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.

Quick report from Carolina and Juilliard

Much to write about and very little time in which to do so – I have been traveling to hear performances of my music and give talks about it.

Just last night was the New York premiere of my Rilke song cycle, From a Book of Hours, given in its chamber version by the New Juilliard Ensemble. (There is also a version for soprano and orchestra.) Read the New York Times review here. The brilliant Juilliard musicians, most notably the soloist, soprano Alexandra Razskazoff, gave a powerful performance. The indefatigable Joel Sachs directed. (Has anyone conducted more new scores than Joel in New York over the years?)

a post-concert shot, with Alexandra, Joel, composer Du Yun, unidentified, myself, Michael Zev Gordon, and Elliott Sharp:

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Last week the Carolina Choir of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, led by Susan Klebanow gave a splendid performance of my George Herbert motet, The Call. They had it by heart (!) and their affection for the piece came through in a finely shaped rendition, commanding both powerful and gentle nuances with precision and passion.

Here I am with Susan and composer Allen Anderson (faculty member at UNC) whose touching anthem on a Li Po text was also beautifully performed.

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Will write more about recent events as soon as I can – am off to Tallahassee tomorrow for the Mary Mackenzie & Heidi Williams program featuring a number of my vocal works.

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.