Cantori New York Presents Lisa Bielawa's LAMENTATIONS FOR A CITY, 3/9-10
Tonight, March 9 at 8pm, at DiMenna Center's Mary Flagler Cary Hall (450 West 37th Street) and on Sunday, March 10 at 3pm, at Park Avenue Christian Church (1010 Park Avenue) composer Lisa Bielawa's Lamentations for a City will be performed by choral group Cantori New York.
Featuring violist Nadia Sirota, baritone David Kravitz, English horn player Setsuko Otake, alto flutist Karla Moe, and bass clarinetist Bohdan Hilash, the program also includes the New York premiere of Mohammed Fairouz's Anything Can Happen, Shawn Crouch's Sleepless, and the world premiere of Piotr Moss' Go Where Never Before.
On Lamentations for a City, Bielawa explains, "The poet of the Lamentations of Jeremiah was witness to the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. His descriptions of the details of suffering are painfully vivid, and his passionate eulogy to the wounded city takes its literary place alongside Euripides's heartbreaking verses to the fallen Troy or W.G. Sebald's searching inquiries into the rubble of Dresden. When I wrote these Lamentations I was on retreat in Umbria, a valley of walled cities with ghosts at every gate. The now-serene and quaint countryside has a deep history of brutality... In September 2004, I turned to the hemorrhaging web media for crisis reports from cities all over the world. This language appears as background texture in Lamentations for a City to give testimony to the vitality of the human tradition of bringing cities to their knees through cruelty, treason, humiliation and destruction."
Lamentations for a City was written in 2004, and was performed in 2007 by the Cerddorian Vocal Ensemble on A Handful of World (Tzadik). Press copies are available upon request.
About Composer and Vocalist Lisa Bielawa: Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition. She takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Gramophone reports, "Bielawa is gaining gale force as a composer, churning out impeccably groomed works that at once evoke the layered precision of Vermeer and the conscious recklessness of Jackson Pollock," and The New York Times describes her music as, "ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart."
Born in San Francisco into a musical family, Lisa Bielawa played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature in 1990 from Yale University, and became an active participant in New York musical life. She began touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1992, and in 1997 co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers.
Lisa Bielawa's music is frequently performed throughout the US, and in France, Italy, the UK and Rome. Recent highlights include the premieres of Rondolette by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and pianist Bruce Levingston; Double Duet by the Washington Saxophone Quartet (with subsequent performance by the Prism Saxophone Quartet); Graffiti dell'amante performed by Bielawa with the Chicago Chamber Musicians in Chicago, and with Brooklyn Rider in New York, Harrisburg, and Rome; The Project of Collecting Clouds at Town Hall in Seattle by cellist Joshua Roman and chamber ensemble; the world premieres of Double Violin Concerto and In medias res by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), part of Bielawa's three-year Music Alive residency with that orchestra; the premiere of The Right Weather by the American Composers Orchestra and pianist Andrew Armstrong at Carnegie Hall; and the premiere of The Lay of the Love and Death at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. Bielawa's work, Chance Encounter, a piece comprising songs and arias constructed of speech overheard in transient public spaces, has been performed by soprano Susan Narucki and The Knights in Seward Park in Lower Manhattan and at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, in Vancouver, on the banks of the Tiber River in Italy, as part of the opening of the celebrated new MAXXI Museum in Rome, and in Venice.