Musica Sacra to Celebrate Women's History Month with Works by Meredith Monk, Jocelyn Hagen, 3/31
Musica Sacra, the longest continuously-performing professional chorus in New York City, will present a performance in honor of Women's History Month featuring works by acclaimed composers Meredith Monk and Jocelyn Hagen at New York's Alice Tully Hall on Monday, March 31, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
As part of its commitment to expanding the choral repertoire, Musica Sacra turns to contemporary composers Meredith Monk and Jocelyn Hagen. Led by Music Director Kent Tritle, the performance will feature the New York premiere of Jocelyn Hagen's oratorio amass, uniquely scored for chorus, vocal and cello soloists, cello quartet, guitar, marimba, vibes and bells. Traditional texts from the Roman Catholic mass provide a framework for poetry from Saint John of the Cross and medieval mystic Meister Eckhart, and Eastern texts from the Hindu poet Tukaram. Soprano Jennifer Zetlan, tenor John Matthew Myers, baritone Mischa Bouvier, and cellist Arthur J. Fiacco will be the soloists.
Meredith Monk will join the Musica Sacra chorus to perform selections from her 1991 opera ATLAS, including "Other Worlds Revealed," "Explorers' Junctures," and "Return to the Earth" from Part III: Invisible Light. Katie Geissinger, both a member of Musica Sacra and Monk's acclaimed Vocal Ensemble, will join Ms. Monk to perform the duet "Hocket" from Facing North. The Musica Sacra chorus will complete Meredith Monk's set with Nightfall, originally written for Musica Sacra in 1995 and recorded by the chorus on the album Monk and the Abbess (Catalyst Records/BMG) conducted by founding Music Director Richard Westenburg. This is Musica Sacra's first concert performance of the work.
Music Director Kent Tritle states, "On March 31st we're presenting a truly unique concert that features the strengths of Musica Sacra in a repertory that is broad and fulfilling. Our relationship with Meredith Monk goes back a long way- in the 1990s we recorded her works on two different releases, including Nightfall, which we commissioned. Jocelyn Hagen's amass drew my immediate attention for its ecumenism, and intriguing use of the traditional mass text in combination with mystic spiritual commentary from Saint John of the Cross, Tukaram and Eckhart."
Kent continues, "Our chorus has increasingly become known for its stylistic flexibility, from performances of Handel's Messiah under my baton at Carnegie Hall to excerpts of Ligeti's Requiem with the New York Philharmonic. This concert features those same strengths in action."
Composer Jocelyn Hagen discusses the ideas of faith in her work, saying: "If I had to choose one central idea, or theme, for amass, it would be the concept of interreligious harmony. My beliefs and traditions are based in the Christian faith, but accepting Christianity in its entirety has been hard for me, because if I believe that the Christian faith represents the truth, then I would have to believe that everyone else who believes otherwise is wrong. The problem implicit in all religions is their claim in being the one 'true' religion. The Dalai Lama suggests that the key to resolving the reality of the world's multiplicity of faiths is to understand that 'in the case of a single individual, there can indeed be only one truth, one religion.' I guess I'm still looking for my personal truth. amass reflects where I am currently in this journey with God."
On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, Jocelyn Hagen, Meredith Monk, Mischa Bouvier and Kent Tritle will participate in a "Composer Conversation" moderated by Nancy Shear, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (111 Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street, New York, NY 10023).
Kent Tritle, Music Director and Conductor
Meredith Monk, Composer, Vocalist
Jennifer Zetlan, Soprano
Katie Geissinger, Mezzo-soprano
John Matthew Myers, Tenor
Mischa Bouvier, Baritone
Arthur J. Fiacco, Cello
ON MONDAY, March 31, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (Broadway at 65th Street), New York.
Meredith Monk (1942)
Selections from ATLAS, Part III: Invisible Light
"Other Worlds Revealed"
"Return to the Earth"
"Hocket" from Facing North
Jocelyn Hagen (1980)
amass (New York Premiere)
Tickets: $50, $40, $30, $25 (students $10); available at the Alice Tully Hall box office, by calling CenterCharge, 212/721-6500, or 212/330-7684, and online at www.musicasacrany.com. Group Sales: Groups of 15 or more receive a 15% discount; call 212/330-7684.
Program is subject to change.
About Musica Sacra: Founded in 1964, Musica Sacra is the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York City. Founded by Richard Westenburg, and now under the artistic leadership of Kent Tritle, Musica Sacra presents performances each year at prestigious venues throughout New York, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. "Presented with musical skill and stylistic insight" (The New York Times), the chorus and orchestra's annual performances of Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall are a New York holiday tradition. In addition, the Musica Sacra Chorus is frequently invited to perform with such ensembles as The New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and by concert presenters throughout the region.
Musica Sacra has given the New York premieres of more than 25 choral works, of which twelve were world premieres. Messages to Myself, a new recording on the MSR Classics label, demonstrates Musica Sacra's commitment to expanding the choral repertoire. Musica Sacra commissioned works by Daniel Brewbaker and Michael Gilbertson, and gave New York premieres by composers Zachary Patten, Behzad Ranjbaran, and Christopher Theofanidis, which can be heard on this collection of a cappella choral works. This 2012 release joins a growing discography that includes recordings on the BMG, RCA, and Deutsche Grammophon labels.
Musica Sacra's community engagement initiative in partnership with The Family Center and Turtle Bay Music School reflects its dedication to educating students in the appreciation and history of choral music. In addition to this youth program, Musica Sacra presents informational sessions for its adult audience members to contextualize their concert experiences.
Musica Sacra is a member of the New York Choral Consortium and Chorus America. For more information on recordings and upcoming performances, visit www.musicasacrany.com.
THE MISSION OF MUSICA SACRA: The mission of Musica Sacra is to create definitive, professional choral performances of the highest caliber for the widest possible audience. It supports its mission by presenting concerts; making recordings, commissioning and performing new choral works; and educating audiences, students, and the general public in the appreciation and history of choral music.
About the Artists:
Kent Tritle, Music Director
Now in his seventh season as Music Director of Musica Sacra, Kent Tritle is one of America's leading choral conductors. Concurrently serving as Director of Cathedral Music and Organist of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York, Maestro Tritle was described as "the brightest star in New York's choral music world" by The New York Times.
A dedicated educator, Kent Tritle is Director of Choral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music and a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. He is co-chair of the New York Choral Consortium, an advocacy organization for the choral arts composed of more than 50 New York City-based groups.
Also an acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra, and is in demand internationally as a recitalist. Audiences enjoy his radio show, "The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle," a weekly hour-long program on New York's Classical 105.9 WQXR and www.wqxr.org devoted to the vibrant genre of choral music and the breadth of activity in the choral community.
Kent Tritle has made more than a dozen recordings on the AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic, Telarc, VAI and MSR Classics labels. CDBaby.com has just made available his recent recording of Juraj Filas' Requiem, Oratio Spei with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, vocal soloists Ana María Martínez, Matthew Plenk, Filip Bandzak, and the Kühn Choir. The Requiem is dedicated to the victims of 9/11. For more information, visit www.kenttritle.com.
Meredith Monk, Composer, Vocalist
Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, creator of new opera and music-theater works, and a pioneer in what is now called "extended vocal technique." Anne Midgette, in The Washington Post, has said, "...she is at once fearless, unique, uncompromising and yet builds human values into work that is never polemical, and has communicated across genre boundaries long before 'crossover' was even a term." Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, has expanded the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words.
In 1965, Ms. Monk began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multifaceted instrument, composing pieces for unaccompanied voice and voice and keyboard. In 1978, she formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to further expand her musical textures and forms. The composer has since created vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Michael Tilson Thomas, Kronos Quartet, Musica Sacra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. She has made more than a dozen recordings, most of which are on the ECM New Series label, and her music has been featured in films by Jean-Luc Godard and the Coen Brothers, among others. Recently Meredith Monk was named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France, the recipient of the 2013 Founders Award from New Music USA, the 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America, a 2012 Doris Duke Artist, and one of NPR's 50 Great Voices.
Meredith Monk's work has been presented by Lincoln Center Festival, BAM, Houston Grand Opera, London's Barbican Centre, and at major venues in countries from Brazil to Syria. Her newest music-theater work, On Behalf of Nature, premiered at UCLA in January 2013 and is currently touring internationally. This fall, Meredith Monk will mark her 50th season as a creator and performer. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of her generation, she has been appointed the 2014-2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall. www.meredithmonk.org
Jocelyn Hagen, Composer
Jocelyn Hagen (b. 1980), a native of Valley City, North Dakota, composes music that has been described as "dramatic and deeply moving" (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul). Her first forays into composition were via songwriting, and this is very evident in her work. Ms. Hagen's music is melodically driven, boldly beautiful, and intricately crafted. The composer's works include over 40 commissions, 50 premieres, and 100 performances.
Ms. Hagen holds degrees in theory, composition, and vocal music education from St. Olaf College, as well as a master's degree in composition from the University of Minnesota. Her training also includes summer study at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, where she studied with Philip Lasser of The Juilliard School. Other former teachers include Judith Lang Zaimont, Peter Hamlin, David Maslanka, Mary Ellen Childs, and Timothy Mahr.
Jocelyn Hagen has received grants and awards from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, Minnesota Music Educators Association, the McKnight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, VocalEssence, the Yale Glee Club, the Lotte Lehman Foundation, the Sorel Medallion Competition, the Cincinnati Camerata, the University of Minnesota, and the San Francisco Song Festival. She has been commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association, the North Dakota Music Teacher's Association, The Singers - Minnesota Choral Artists, Trio Callisto, the Murasaki Duo, Cantus, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the St. Olaf Band, NDSU Gold StarBand, the ND Army Band, and the Copper Street Brass Quintet, among others. Her music is available through her website, independently published, and through Graphite Publishing, Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Boosey & Hawkes. For more information, visit: www.jocelynhagen.com.
Jennifer Zetlan, Soprano
Musical America recognized soprano Jennifer Zetlan as "a vocal talent to watch."The New York Times praised her musical phrasing and technique, writing that she "sang the angular vocal lines with an affecting beauty and suppleness."
Ms. Zetlan returns to Lincoln Center after having appeared as Rebecca in the American premiere of Nico Muhly's Two Boys at the Metropolitan Opera earlier this season. She previously created the role of Zina in the world premiere of the composer's Dark Sisters with Gotham Chamber Opera and Opera Philadelphia. The world premiere of Daron Hagen's Amelia marked her debut with Seattle Opera. Since then, she has returned to Seattle Opera for Das Rheingold, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung in Stephen Wadsworth's production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, and as Gilda in Rigoletto.
In demand as a concert artist, the soprano appeared with the New York Philharmonic in performances of Mozart's Mass in C minor in New York and Vail with Music Director Alan Gilbert. Mozart's Coronation Mass provided her introduction to the Spoleto Festival USA and the Requiem was the vehicle for her Seattle Symphony debut and her Oratorio Society of New York appearance. The Mozart Requiem in Seattle was programmed with the world premiere of David Diamond's "Six Arias" from The Noblest Game. Committed to the music of our time, she has also performed Golijov's 3 Songs for Soprano with the Lexington Philharmonic, Orff's Carmina Burana with the National Chorale (Washington, DC), and performed in the North American premiere of Tavener's Requiem at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola with Kent Tritle. Jennifer Zetlan has also been heard with the American Composers Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis and Omaha Symphonies and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
A graduate of The Juilliard School with a Master of Music degree, Jennifer Zetlan made her Avery Fisher Hall debut with the Juilliard Orchestra in Bernstein's Kaddish Symphony, and made her New York recital debut under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation's "On Wings of Song" series. For more information, visit: www.jenniferzetlan.com.
Katie Geissinger, Mezzo-soprano
An eclectic musician, Katie Geissinger has sung in contemporary music projects worldwide. Her performances have been characterized as "dazzling" by Prague Culture, "exquisite" by Die Welt, and "spellbinding" by the Washington Post.
The mezzo-soprano has a long history with Musica Sacra, beginning in 1994 with the recording of the Monk and the Abbess disc, which includes Nightfall. Since then, Ms. Geissinger has appeared with Musica Sacra in repertoire ranging from Handel to Ligeti. Other classical engagements conducted by Kent Tritle include solo appearances in Bach's Mass in B minor, the Monteverdi Vespers, Pärt's Stabat Mater, and Handel's Belshazzar, all part of the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series at St. Ignatius Loyola. She also appeared as the Witch of Endor in Honegger's Le Roi David with the Oratorio Society of New York, and in Bach's Magnificat, both at Carnegie Hall. Appearances at BAM include Jonathan Miller's staged production of Bach's St. Matthew Passion.
Ms. Geissinger has toured extensively with Meredith Monk, appearing this season in the music theater piece On Behalf of Nature. Acclaimed as "naturally enrapturing" by the Los Angeles Times at the UCLA world premiere, performances followed at the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival. Ms. Geissinger also appeared in the world premiere of Monk's Realm Variations, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony's 2012 American Mavericks Festival, and is heard on Monk's Grammy-nominated impermanence (ECM).
Other contemporary music performances include the last world tour of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson's ground-breaking Einstein on the Beach (Elektra Nonesuch), and Bang on a Can/Ridge Theater's OBIE-winning The Carbon Copy Building (Cantaloupe). Ms. Geissinger has served on the faculty of the Bang on a Can Summer Institute at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, where she performed Steve Reich's Music for Eighteen Musicians. She recently returned to MASS MoCA for a reading of Philip Miller's new opera about Saartje Baartman, Hottentot Venus, and for performances of Julia Wolfe's Steel Hammer.
In addition to her recordings with Meredith Monk, she has recorded the film soundtracks for Kundun, Trick, The Big Lebowski, and the ambient music for the Rose Center for Earth and Space.
Mischa Bouvier, Baritone
A Winner of the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, Mischa Bouvier has been praised by The New York Times for his "rich timbre" and "fine sense of line." Mr. Bouvier returns to Musica Sacra for his Alice Tully Hall debut, having appeared as a soloist in Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Musica Sacra at Carnegie Hall last spring. He has performed Handel's Messiah with the American Bach Soloists, the Colorado Symphony, and in his debut with his hometown orchestra, the Alabama Symphony. The baritone was heard in the Brahms Requiem with the Columbus Symphony (GA) and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. Other recent highlights are Bach's St. John Passion (bass soloist and Pilate) at New York's St. Thomas Church; Fauré's Requiem and Vaughan Williams's Five Mystical Songs with Princeton Glee Club; and Mozart's Requiem with Bach Collegium San Diego.
An advocate for new music, Mischa Bouvier performed Mohammed Fairouz' Furia, both in its original chamber scoring and in a new orchestral version with the Knights. The baritone performed Lori Laitman's Men With Small Heads, Paul Moravec's Songs of Love and War, and the world premiere of Charles Fussell's cycle Venture during Tanglewood's Festival of Contemporary Music. He will perform the music of Arvo Pärt with TENET at Zankel Hall as part of a series curated by David Lang. His Weill Recital Hall debut featured works by emerging composers, including world premieres by Bryan Page and Yotam Haber, and songs by Ted Hearne and Gabriel Kahane.
Mr. Bouvier has performed with a wide array of ensembles including Anonymous 4, American Handel Society, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Long Island Philharmonic, the Metropolis Ensemble, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, and both the
Mark Morris Dance Group and Christopher Williams Dance. A versatile performer, he made his debut with the Boston Pops with Keith Lockhart in Carousel (available on CD) and collaborated with Sting on Songs from the Labyrinth.
Mischa Bouvier received his B.M. from Boston University and his M.M. from the University and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. For more information, visit: www.mischabouvier.com.
John Matthew Myers, Tenor
Tenor John Matthew Myers has garnered acclaim for his "insightful and beautifully nuanced performances" by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and was named an "artist to watch" by
Opera News. Mr. Myers will make his Lincoln Center debut at the March 31 performance. His Carnegie Hall debut was as Ophide in Rossini's Moïse et Pharaon with the Collegiate Chorale, and he returned for Britten's War Requiem with the Oratorio Society of New York conducted by Kent Tritle.
In demand as a concert artist, the tenor has performed Vaughan Williams's Serenade to Music with the Wexford Festival Orchestra, Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Fairfield Chorale, and Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb at his alma mater, the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Myers is a tenor of choice for today's leading composers. This season he performed Steven Burke's vocal chamber work The Snow Man for the American Modern Ensemble at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. Previous contemporary music appearances include performances with composers Ricky Ian Gordon and Ben Moore at the Chautauqua Institute Music Festival, on Opera America's Exploring American Voices and the Van Cliburn Foundation's Modern at the Modern Concert Series. A recipient of an encouragement grant from the Lotte Lenya Competition, he was a soloist in September Songs: The Legacy of Kurt Weill with the American Musical Theatre Ensemble.
Opera performances include his debut with the Pacific Symphony in Verdi's La traviata conducted by Carl St. Clair. He previously performed Alfredo with the Astoria Music Festival and Cassio in Verdi's Otello with Portland Summerfest. At Long Beach Opera, he appeared in the American premieres of Gabriela Ortiz's Camelia la Tejana - Unicamente La Verdad, Stewart Copeland's Tell Tale Heart, and Michael Gordon's Van Gogh. The tenor was seen in Gotham Chamber Opera's production of Mozart's Il Sogno di Scipione, as Ferrando in Così fan tutte at the Verbier Festival, Valerio in Mercadante's Virginia at the Wexford Festival Opera, and as Tamino in Amadeus with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He also appeared with the Mark Morris Dance Group in its performances of The Muir. The California native looks forward to joining the Music Academy of the West for Carmen this summer.
Arthur J. Fiacco, Cello
Acclaimed as a "distinguished chamber musician" of "impressive virtuosity" by Consort magazine, Arthur J. Fiacco is the principal cellist for the Musica Sacra Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Oratorio Society of New York, and the Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola. Mr. Fiacco is also a member of the Orchestra of St. Luke's.
He performed the American premiere of John Tavener's Requiem and the world premiere of Paul Moravec's Pulitzer-nominated cello concerto Montserrat on the acclaimed Sacred Music in Sacred Spaces series. Other premieres include compositions by Gerald Busby, Jiraj Filas, Lou Harrison, Meyer Kupferman, and the infamous punk rock band The Pixies.
Mr. Fiacco has been heard at the Caramoor, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia and Tanglewood Festivals. At the Lincoln Center Festival, he performed Meredith Monk's Dolmen Music for Six Voices, Cello and Percussion. As soloist, he has performed with Broadway legend Patti LuPone, harpsichord virtuoso Igor Kipnis, and the Mark Morris Dance Group.
Mr. Fiacco's recording of the late Mozart symphonies in Hummel's piano quartet transcriptions has garnered praise as "first-rate" and "definitive" by The New York Times.
Mr. Fiacco plays a cello made by the Venetian master Carlo Tononi dated 1730.