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.