My friend Paul Moravec let me know about a series of posts on NPR’s Deceptive Cadence blog – a set of pieces in which various composers have put to music brief quotes from various American presidents. Paul did Eisenhower; Nico Muhly did Andrew Jackson, the late Milton Babbitt did Madison; there are pieces by Jake Heggie, Sam Adler and several more. (at left, a singing president – James Maddelena as the title character in Nixon in China.)
-The Buffalo Philharmonic is presenting works by emerging composers (not yet identified in the announcement I received) on its February New Music Festival.
– Thursday January 27, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania here in Philadelphia will present a program of music inspired by the Society’s collection of materials relating to Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt, an eccentric Philadelphia inventor and musician. According to the Society:
“Greenewalt developed an art form that she called “nourathar,” which uses an organ to display colored light scored to music using her own custom notation system. The image (at left) shows Greenewalt’s mapping color sequence for Claude Debussy’s “And the Moon Descends on the Temple That Was.” In order to fulfill her musical pursuits, Greenewalt entered the engineering world and was awarded several patents. In the 1930s, she spent much of her time in court, suing others for patent infringement. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania holds extensive records on Greenewalt’s life.”
Music by Andrea Clearfield, Willhem Echevarria, Ted Houghtaling, Max Lawrence and Maurice Wright will be heard; more info here.
Here is Paul Moravec talking about his new opera Danse Russe, plus some clips from a recent tryout in Philadelphia. The piece will be premiered by Center City Opera Theatre in the spring.
The Lincoln Center Varèse concerts are this week; Alex Ross has various links and video of Varèse as a silent film actor. (I’m afraid I found the ICE theatrical trailer pretty dopey.)
The Philadelphia Music Project – a grant making initiative of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage – has put its magazine online. Composer Rob Maggio has written a short essay about his upcoming premiere with Orchestra 2001 this weekend. Those concerts will also feature music by Barber, a premiere by Paul Moravec, and a local premiere by Andrew Rudin.