Cassatt String Quartet to Play Symphony Space, 11/22
As part of its In the Salon series, Symphony Space presents the acclaimed Cassatt String Quartet in a program of American-themed pieces, Friday, November 22 at 7:30 pm in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia. The concert, which marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is a musical exploration of the evolving notion of "the American Dream," with Antonin Dvorak's String Quartet No. 12, "American" (1893) the oldest work on the program. The program features the world premiere of rising young composer Jessie Montgomery's Source Code, inspired by African-American music from spirituals to the Civil Rights era, commissioned by Symphony Space for the concert. The evening also includes Peter Schickele's String Quartet No. 1 "American Dream," which references idioms from dulcimer music and Navaho songs to jazz.
Symphony Space's Artistic Director, Laura Kaminsky, will converse with Montgomery and Schickele about how their works evoke their relationship to the notion of the American Dream. As an integrated backdrop to the musical performances, photographer Peter Kayafas offers digital projections of images from his recent "American" series, Totems, a collection of photographs of abandoned buildings discovered along the back roads of the American West. Mr. Kayafas will speak about his work during a break in the music. Tickets are $32, $27 for members, and $20 for those 30 and under, available throughwww.symphonyspace.org.
Composer/violinist Jessie Montgomery is the inaugural Composer-in-Residence for the Sphinx Virtuosi. A founding member of the PUBLIQuartet, she was also a core member of the widely lauded Providence String Quartet from 2004 - 2009. She holds a Bachelor's degree in violin performance from The Juilliard School, and a Master's from New York University in Scoring for Film and Multimedia. Source Code was commissioned by Symphony Space for this event.
Says Montgomery, "The first sketches of Source Code began as transcriptions of various sources from African-American artists prominent during the peak of the Civil Rights era in the United States. I experimented by re-interpreting gestures, sentences, and musical syntax (the bare bones of rhythm and inflection) by choreographer Alvin Ailey, poets Langston Hughes and Rita Dove, and the great jazz songstress Ella Fitzgerald into musical sentences and tone paintings. Ultimately, this exercise of listening, re-imagining, and transcribing led me back to the black spiritual as a common musical source across all three genres. The spiritual is a significant part of the DNA of black folk music, and subsequently most (arguably all,) American pop music forms that have developed to the present day. This one movement work is a kind of dirge, which centers on a melody based on syntax derived from black spirituals. The melody is continuous and cycles through like a gene strand with which all other textures play."