American Composers Orchestra Announces Orchestra Underground: Time Travels, 1/18
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) performs its second concert of the 2012-13 concert season, Orchestra Underground: Time Travels, on Friday, January 18, 2013 at 7:30pm at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall. The concert, led by ACO Music Director George Manahan, features music that explores the concept of time – its mutability, importance, and role as an organizing principle. Lukas Foss' 1960 masterwork, Time Cycle, is the centerpiece for the program, with soprano Jennifer Zetlanas the soloist. The evening also includes the world premiere of composer and sopranoKate Soper's now is forever: I. Orpheus and Eurydice for Voice and Orchestra featuring the composer as soloist, the world premiere of Kyle Blaha's Triptych, and the US premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long's Bell Drum Towers.
Lukas Foss' Time Cycle examines the multiple significances of time through a collection of poems and texts including "We're Late" by W.H. Auden, "When the Bells Justle" by A.E. Housman, an excerpt from a 1922 entry in the diaries of Franz Kafka, and "O Mensch! Gib acht!" from Friedrich Nietzsche's Also sprach Zarathustra. Kate Soper's new piece for ACO also sets poetry, this time by American poet Jorie Graham from her 1987 book The End of Beauty. Soper's now is forever explores the instant in which Orpheus turns back to look at Eurydice in that familiar myth. Zhou Long's Bell Drum Towers is inspired by the bells and drums used during the Ming and Qing Dynasties in China to tell time. Kyle Blaha's new work, Triptych, is in three movements, each of which explores a different aspect of composition – harmony, melody, and texture – through the lens of time and shifting tempi.
Orchestra Underground is ACO's subversive and entrepreneurial exploration of the orchestra as an elastic ensemble that can respond to composers' unhindered creativity in experimental and innovative ways. Orchestra Underground embraces new technology, eclectic instruments and influences, altered spatial orientation, new experiments in concert format, and multimedia and multi-disciplinary collaborations. Since the opening of Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall's subterranean state-of-the-art auditorium, Orchestra Underground has played to sold-out audiences, with over 75 world premieres and newly commissioned works.
Founded in 1977, American Composers Orchestra remains the only orchestra in the world dedicated exclusively to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers. To date, ACO has performed music by more than 600 American composers, including more than 200 world premieres and newly commissioned works.
A true Renaissance man, Lukas Foss (1922-2009) was a rare musician, equally renowned as a composer, conductor, pianist, and educator. As a composer, Foss eagerly embraced the musical languages of his time, producing a body of over one hundred works that Aaron Copland described as including "among the most original and stimulating compositions in American Music."
Foss' Time Cycle was premiered by the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Leonard Bernstein in 1960. Time Cycle is a landmark of the American avant-garde, one of the most influential works of the 20th century. It marked a turning point in Foss' compositional approach. He said, "I was at UCLA. I was professor of composition, and I wanted to get my students away from the tyranny of the printed note. So I invented a form of non-jazz ensemble improvisation. It was meant to change my students; well, it changed me."