ACME to Perform Works by Weinberg, Shostakovich and Gorecki at the Morgan, 4/18
ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble performs on Thursday, April 18 at 7:30pm. presented by The Morgan Library and Museum (225 Madison Avenue) and the Polish Cultural Institute New York. ACME pays homage to the late, largely unsung Polish composer Mieczys?aw Weinberg with an elegiac chamber music program that includes his exquisite Piano Quintet Op. 18, plus Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67 and selections from Henryk Górecki's String Quartet No. 3.
The music of Mieczys?aw Weinberg is slowly being rediscovered as one of the hidden treasures of the 20th century. Born in Poland, Weinberg emigrated to the Soviet Union under perilous circumstances. Often seen in the shadow of his close friend Dmitri Shostakovich, who regarded him as one of the most outstanding composers of the day, in recent years Weinberg has been recognized as a significant composer in his own right. His prolific output includes 17 string quartets, over 20 large-scale symphonies, numerous sonatas, and film-scores. His 1968 opera, The Passenger, was praised by Alex Ross in The New Yorker in 2011 and will be given its North American premiere by the Houston Opera during the 2013-14 season.
Weinberg's Piano Quintet Op. 18 was completed in 1944, shortly after he moved to Moscow at the urging of Shostakovich, having fled the Nazi invasion of his hometown of Warsaw. ACME pairs Weinberg's Quintet with Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2, a lamentation of the Holocaust completed the same year. In addition, ACME offers selections from Henryk Górecki's String Quartet No. 3 entitled Pie?ni ?piewaj? ("...songs are sung"). The complete line from Russian poet Velimir Khlebnikov's verse that this title quotes is "when people die / songs are sung."
ACME Artistic Director Clarice Jensen explains, "This idea is also reflective of Weinberg's immensely tragic life. Despite, or perhaps because of, a life threatened by uncertainty and unthinkable turmoil, Weinberg still created music; he still 'sang.'"
ACME players for this concert are Caroline Shaw, violin; Ben Russell, violin; Nadia Sirota, viola; Clarice Jensen, cello, and Timothy Andres, piano.
ACME is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily the work of American composers. The ensemble presents cutting-edge literature by living composers alongside the "classics" of the contemporary. ACME's dedication to new music extends across genres, and has earned the group a reputation among both classical and rock crowds. Time Out New York calls the group "one of New York's brightest new music indie-bands."
In addition to the concert at the Morgan, 2012-2013 highlights for ACME included July performances with otherworldly indie-duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen in Chicago's massive Millennium Park and at Le Poisson Rouge; a special September 11 performance of Steve Reich's complete string quartets, the world premiere of the all-live version of WTC 9/11, at Le Poisson Rouge; a three-night run in October as part of BAM's Next Wave Festival, performing the world premiere of Phil Kline's Out Cold with vocalist Theo Bleckmann; as well as performances presented by the Library of Congress in Washington, DC and CenterStage in Reston, VA. In April 2013, the ensemble is in residence at Dartmouth's Hopkins Center workshopping a new opera about Nikola Tesla with Phil Kline and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. In February 2013, ACME released Joseph Byrd: NYC 1960-1963 - a rediscovered contemporary of La Monte Young and Morton Feldman and a player in the Fluxus art movement - on New World Records.
About The Morgan Library and Museum: The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States. Today, more than a century after its founding in 1906, the Morgan serves as a museum, musical venue, independent research library, architectural landmark, and historic site. In October 2010, the Morgan completed the first-ever restoration of its original McKim building, Pierpont Morgan's private library, and the core of the institution. In tandem with the 2006 expansion project by architect Renzo Piano, the Morgan now provides visitors unprecedented access to its world-renowned collections of drawings, literary and historical manuscripts, musical scores, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, printed books, and ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets. www.themorgan.org
About The Polish Cultural Institute New York: The Polish Cultural Institute New York, established in 2000, is a diplomatic mission dedicated to building and nurturing cultural ties between the United States and Poland. The Institute initiates, organizes, promotes, and produces a broad range of cultural events in theater, music, film, literature, and visual arts. It has collaborated with such cultural institutions as Lincoln Center Festival, BAM, Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Museum of Modern Art, Jewish Museum, PEN World Voices Festival, Yale University, and many more. www.PolishCulture-NYC.org
More about ACME: ACME has performed at Le Poisson Rouge, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Noguchi Museum, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Columbia University's Miller Theatre, Stanford Lively Arts in California, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, VT, and All Tomorrow's Parties in the UK, among others. ACME's instrumentation is flexible, and includes some of New York's most sought-after, engaging musicians. Core ACME members include violinists Caleb Burhans, Ben Russell, and Caroline Shaw, violist Nadia Sirota, cellist Clarice Jensen, flutist Alex Sopp, pianist Timothy Andres, and percussionist Chris Thompson.
ACME does not subscribe to one stylistic movement or genre; its concerts present all genres of contemporary music in the same light and with the same conviction. Time Out New York reports, "[Artistic Director Clarice] Jensen has earned a sterling reputation for her fresh, inclusive mix of minimalists, maximalists, eclectics and newcomers." Since its first New York concert season in 2004, the ensemble has performed works by John Adams, John Luther Adams, Louis Andriessen, Gavin Bryars, Caleb Burhans, John Cage, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Jacob Druckman, Jefferson Friedman, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, Donald Martino, Olivier Messiaen, Nico Muhly, Michael Nyman, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Arnold Schoenberg, Toru Takemitsu, Kevin Volans, Charles Wuorinen, Iannis Xenakis, Chen Yi, and more. ACME has also collaborated with bands and artists including Grizzly Bear (in concert and on their best-selling album, Veckatimest, featuring strings by Nico Muhly); electronica duo Matmos (on The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of A Beast, with strings by Jefferson Friedman); Craig Wedren (former frontman of the avant-rock band Shudder To Think); prepared-pianist Hauschka; composers/performers Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, and Dustin O'Halloran, and Micachu & The Shapes.
Other recent highlights include performances in Boston at Jordan Hall and at Harvard's Sanders Theatre, opening two sold-out concerts by rock singer and guitarist Jeff Mangum; a 12-city tour across the US with A Winged Victory for the Sullen performing at venues including The Satellite in Los Angeles, Triple Door in Seattle, and the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis; a performance at Stanford Lively Arts in the world premiere of a new work commissioned from Ingram Marshall for ACME with acclaimed male a cappella group Lionheart; a performance in the UK at the popular All Tomorrow's Parties festival, playing Gavin Bryars' Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet for an audience of over 1000 people; and a two-night run at The Kitchen, presenting a world premiere by avant-guitarist and composer Mick Barr alongside the premiere of William Brittelle's chamber cycle Loving the Chambered Nautilus, ACME's recording of which was released in June 2012 on New Amsterdam Records. Important past performances include ACME's Carnegie Hall debut performing the world premiere of Timothy Andres' Senior with the New York Youth Symphony in Stern Auditorium; a month-long residency at the Whitney Museum presented by the Wordless Music Series, for which ACME tailored a contemporary classical program to complement the indie-rock or electronica performer sharing the concert; and in Nico Muhly's Tell the Way at St. Ann's Warehouse.
ACME was founded in 2004 by cellist Clarice Jensen, conductor Donato Cabrera, and publicist Christina Jensen, and has received support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Cary New Music Performance Fund, and the Greenwall Foundation. The ensemble is managed by Bernstein Artists, Inc. www.acmemusic.org
ACME: American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Chamber Masterpieces: Weinberg, Shostakovich, Górecki
Presented by The Morgan Library & Museum with the Polish Cultural Institute New York
Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 7:30pm
The Morgan Library & Museum | 225 Madison Avenue, NYC
Tickets: $35; $25 for members at
(212) 685-0008 ext. 560 or www.themorgan.org/progams