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Columbia University's Miller Theatre Continues 'Composer Portraits' Series with Rebecca Saunders Tonight


Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts continues the 2012-13 season of its Composer Portraits series with: REBECCA SAUNDERS, featuring Either/Or with Richard Carrick, conductor. Miller favorites Either/Or perform a full program of U.S. premieres by the British-born, Berlin-based composer. The concert will include an onstage discussion with Rebecca Saunders and Richard Carrick. It will all take place tonight, April 4, 2013, 8:00 PM in the Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th street). Tickets: $25-30 • Students with valid ID: $15-18.

From Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey: "Rebecca Saunders is a major force in Europe, with a busy schedule of commissions and composer residencies. I've had my eye on her for years, and I am so thrilled to finally introduce our audience to her work with an entire program of U.S. premieres. The composer herself will be here to discuss the work. I can't wait."

A star pupil of Wolfgang Rihm, Rebecca Saunders favors a delicate, sparse aesthetic. "From this surface of apparent silence," the composer explains, "I try to draw out and mold sound and color." Finding inspiration in the work of Samuel Beckett, the philosophy of Goethe, and Wassiliy Kandinsky's writings on spirituality in art, Saunders' seems to strip away the extraneous and ornamental in order to uncover the essential within. Her works explore the unique timbres of idiosyncratic solo instruments and chamber ensembles, all performed with thoughtfulness by the members of Either/Or. The Guardian calls Saunders "one of the most intriguing British composers of her generation," and for good reason.

murmurs (2009) - U.S. premiere
vermillion (2003) - U.S. premiere
dichroic seventeen (1998) - U.S. premiere
Onstage discussion with the composer

Rebecca Saunders (b. 1967) was born and raised in London, and now lives in Berlin. She studied composition at Edinburgh University with Nigel Osborne and with Wolfgang Rihm in Germany. She has received various composition prizes including the Ernst von Siemens Förderpreis, the ARD und BMW musicaviva Prize, the Paul Hindemith Prize, the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award for Chamber Music, and the GEMA Music Prize for Instrumental Music 2010. In 2009 she became a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts, and was the Composer-in-Residence at the Staatskapelle Dresden. Saunders was tutor at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse most recently in 2012, at Impuls in Graz 2011 and 2013, and at the Ostrava Music Days. She is currently professor of composition in Hannover. Her compositions have been released on numerous CDs and have been performed throughout Europe by outstanding ensembles, orchestras, and soloists.

Rebecca Saunders has significantly expanded her spectrum of musical genre. chroma (2003-2013) explores a collage of six to twenty-two chamber groups and sound sources in several spaces. Since its premier in 2003, 19 new versions have been created for radically different performance spaces. The characteristics of each new architecture defines the formal juxtaposition of the various chamber music groups, whereby each solo or group is like a protagonist in a form of pure instrumental theatre. insideout, music for a choreographed installation, was her first work for the stage and was created in collaboration with Sasha Waltz. Later works, such as Stirrings Still I and II, murmurs, and Stirrings (2011-2012) are quiet and fragile collage compositions in which Saunders continues to address her fascination with this phenomenon. Her most recent large-scale spatial collage work, Stasis, written for 16 soloists, received its first performances in October 2011 at the Donaueschingen Musiktage and has since been performed throughout Europe.

Either/Or is a cutting-edge contemporary music ensemble based in New York City. Founded in 2004 by pianist/composer Richard Carrick and percussionist David Shively, Either/Or focuses on compelling new and recent works for unconventional ensemble formations rarely heard elsewhere. The group draws upon its roster, featuring some of New York's leading interpreters, to present intense chamber music alongside larger ensemble works. E/O has performed to critical acclaim at Miller Theatre, Merkin Concert Hall, The Kitchen, MATA Festival, the Austrian Cultural Forum, and ICA:Boston, in addition to frequent appearances at experimental music venues such as The Stone, Roulette, and Issue Project Room. Programs have included numerous world, U.S., and New York premieres; these range from major works of American experimental music to rarely heard classics from the dynamic margins of the European avant-garde. In addition to its ongoing collaborations with emerging artists, Either/Or has brought distinguished composers such as Helmut Lachenmann (2008), Paolo Aralla (2009), and Chaya Czernowin (2010, 2011) to New York for concerts and lectures.

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