American Composers Orchestra Announces Orchestra Underground: Time Travels, 1/18
Jennifer Zetlan, soprano
Soprano Jennifer Zetlan is swiftly garnering recognition for her artistry and captivating stage presence. She has debuted on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, and Florida Grand Opera. She received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Emily Webb in Our Town at Aspen Music Festival and with Juilliard Opera Center; The New York Times reported, "Jennifer Zetlan . . . sings beautifully and affectingly. The part could not be in better hands." Committed to performing new works, she sang at the 2007 Opera America New Works Showcase, participated in New York City Opera's VOX Showcase of American Composers in 2008 and 2009 and is frequently involved with the new works initiative co-sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater. For more information, visit www.jenniferzetlan.com.
Kate Soper (b. 1981) is an Ann Arbor-born, New York-based composer with a diverse background. She was a composer participant in the 2011 Underwood New Music Readings, and was also a featured performer during SONiC, ACO's massive 2011 new music festival. Soper is a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Cambridge MA, and is Managing Director and vocalist for Wet Ink. She is a recipient of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship and winner of the 2012 Lili Boulanger Prize. She has also received awards from the Koussevitsky Music Foundation, the Fromm Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Chamber Music Amerca, and the Music Theory Society of New York State. She has been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Center/Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the Museum of Biblical Art, Yarn/Wire, Alarm Will Sound, The Knights, and Dinosaur Annex, among others. As a singer with experience in Western Classical, Indian Carnatik, pop and folk singing, she performs frequently in her own works as well as those of her colleagues.
Kate Soper is ACO's Music Alive: New Partnerships resident. Soper describes her piece as, "expanding a moment out into a universe of speculation about the nature of time and the unreliability of desire . . . In dealing with this text I'm trying to find a way to paint the still core at the center of both the poem and the moment it describes – the single slice of time in which the chain of events (Orpheus turning to look at Eurydice and her consequent banishment back to Hades) has just flickered into possibility but is not quite inevitable."
Kyle Blaha: Triptych
(World Premiere, ACO/Jerome Foundation Commission)
Kyle Blaha (b. 1981) received his D.M.A. in May 2011 from Juilliard and his B.M. from Eastman School of Music. He has studied composition with Darrell Handel, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Samuel Adler, Philip Lasser, and Robert Beaser. The artistic director of the Making Score composition program with the New York Youth Symphony, Blaha is also on the faculty at the European American Musical Alliance Program in Paris. He has received multiple ASCAP Young Composer Awards and awards for study in Germany, including a Fulbright grant and a D.A.A.D. grant. His work has been premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra and the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, and he has received commissions from the New York Youth Symphony, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the New Juilliard Ensemble.
Blaha says of his new work, "Using time as an inspiration, all three movements begin with the same harp material, which develops into three contrasting movements. I was interested in exploring how the same pitch and rhythmic material could be incorporated into three different tempi and various textures, while also falling within a standard three-part musical form."
Zhou Long: Bell Drum Towers
Zhou Long (b. 1953) is internationally recognized for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West. Deeply grounded in the entire spectrum of his Chinese heritage, including folk, philosophical, and spiritual ideals, he is a pioneer in transferring the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions to modern Western instruments and ensembles. Among the ensembles that have commissioned him are the Bavarian Radio, BBC, Kansas City, Honolulu, California Pacific and Singapore Symphonies; the Brooklyn, Tokyo, China Philharmonics; the New Music Consort; Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble; the Kronos, Shanghai, Ciompi, and Chester string quartets; Ensemble Modern; PRISM Saxophone Quartet; New York New Music Ensemble; Chanticleer; Opera Boston; Beijing Music Festival; and musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Lan Shui, Long Yu and Leonard Slatkin. In 2011 Zhou Long was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his first opera, Madame White Snake. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and also serves as music director of Music From China (NYC).
Zhou Long says of the new piece, "Bells and drums were musical instruments in ancient China. Later they were used to tell time and became watches for the officials and common people as well . . . Although today the bell and drum towers have lost their function of telling time, these silent towers always fascinated my curiosity and imagination of hear the lingering of the ancient bells and drums sometimes from hazy wind, sometimes as a peal of thunder. In Bell Drum Towers, I am exploring my fantasy, the pulse of the drums beating. Gradually, new patterns develop, each time in a faster tempo, building to a climax that brings the presto wind-like section. Finally, the hazy wind rang the lingering bells."