New York Philharmonic Announces 2014-15 CONTACT! Series
Entering its sixth season in 2014-15, CONTACT!, the Philharmonic's new-music series, will include five programs featuring World, U.S., and New York Premieres, four of which explore the new-music scene from four different countries, and a fifth curated and hosted by composer John Adams. CONTACT! will return for three programs at SubCulture, co-presented with 92nd Street Y: John's Playlist, featuring works by five composers selected by John Adams; a concert of works by Israeli composers, featuring The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence Lisa Batiashvili alongside Philharmonic musicians; and a performance of works by Italian composers. Two CONTACT! programs will take place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with Met Museum Presents: a concert of works by Nordic composers conducted in part by Music Director Alan Gilbert; and a program featuring works from Japan, conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky.
The Philharmonic will also perform highlights from the 2014-15 season of CONTACT! during its second International Associate Residency at London's Barbican Centre as part of the EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour. Further details to be announced at a later date.
CONTACT!, established by Music Director Alan Gilbert in the 2009-10 season, highlights the works of both emerging and established contemporary composers, performed by smaller ensembles of Philharmonic musicians in intimate venues outside the Lincoln Center campus.
Since its inception, CONTACT! has presented 20 World Premieres (as of the end of the 2013-14 season), including Matthias Pintscher's songs from Solomon's garden (2010), Sean Shepherd's These Particular Circumstances (2010), and Carter's Three Controversies and a Conversation (2012).
Alan Gilbert said: " The work that composers do is the most important contribution to music at any given time. I have enormous admiration for composers, and I feel incredible gratitude that they are willing to struggle through the difficult process that is musical creation. One of the ways the Philharmonic can be a resource and an important catalyst for musical composition is to continue our very active commissioning program. I think it's one of the greatest things we can do for music."
Christopher Rouse, who in 2014-15 will be completing his three-year term as The Marie-Jose?e Kravis Composer-in-Residence, advises the Philharmonic on the CONTACT! series. One of America's most prominent composers of orchestral music, Mr. Rouse won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Trombone Concerto, commissioned and premiered by the New York Philharmonic.
Christopher Rouse said: "I'm very pleased that CONTACT! will be taking a geographical bent next season with overviews of contemporary music in Scandinavia, Italy, Japan, and Israel. There are wonderful composers at work from all of these countries, and I hope that our CONTACT! programming will prove exciting to our listeners. In addition to this, John Adams will curate a CONTACT! program of music about which he is especially enthusiastic. All in all there will be a wealth of splendid new music for our audiences to encounter and enjoy."
JOHN'S PLAYLIST, Curated and Hosted by JOHN ADAMS
Works by Dani?el BJARNASON, Ingram MARHSALL, Missy MAZZOLI, and Timo ANDRES
November 17, 2014, at SUBCULTURE, Co-Presented with 92nd Street Y
The 2014-15 season of CONTACT! opens with John's Playlist, curated and hosted by composer John Adams, featuring five chamber works he has selected: Dani?el Bjarnason's Bow to String (2009; rev. 2012) and Five Possibilities for clarinet, cello, and piano (2014); Ingram Marshall's Muddy Waters (2004); Missy Mazzoli's Dissolve, O My Heart (2010); and the New York Premiere of Timo Andres's Early to Rise (2013). This program, November 17, 2014, at SubCulture, is a co-presentation by the New York Philharmonic and 92nd Street Y.
The first movement of Icelandic composer Dani?el Bjarnason's Bow to String refers to an art installation by the Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson in which a small orchestra accompanies a performer repeatedly singing the lyrics "Sorrow conquers happiness." Originally composed in 2009 for multi-layered cello, specifically for cellist Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, this version of Bow to String is composed for solo cello, clarinet, horn, two pianos, string quartet, and double bass. Mr. Bjarnason writes that Five Possibilities, written for and premiered by Trio Ariadne in April 2014, is "in five short movements that each follows its own logic, creating fleeting images or glimpses of larger worlds." He has composed works commissioned, premiered, or performed by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra, and So Percussion, and they have been conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, James Conlon, and John Adams, among others. Dani?el Bjarnason's string arrangements can be heard on the 2013 Sigur Ro?s album Kveikur, and he contributed the score to the 2012 feature film The Deep.
American composer Ingram Marshall based Muddy Waters (for an amplified chamber ensemble comprising marimba, piano, electric guitar, bass clarinet, cello, and contrabass), commissioned by Bang on a Can All-Stars, on a tune from the Bay Psalmbook of 1692, the first printed music in North America, titled Lichfield, itself based on Psalm 69: "The waters in unto my soul are come, oh God me save, I am in muddy deep sunk down where I no standing have." Mr. Marshall writes: "In the course of the piece the psalm tune goes through various transformations.... The affect shifts, chiaroscuro like, from darkness and gloom to exuberance and sanguinity." He notes that the conclusion shifts "away from the psalm tune to a reference to Muddy Waters (the blues singer), who has the last word." Ingram Marshall's influences have included Indonesian and electronic music. Since 1985 his primary focus has been on works for ensembles, both with and without electronics. He has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Magnum Opus, and Orpheus.
American composer Missy Mizzoli composed Dissolve, O My Heart, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, for violinist Jennifer Koh's Bach & Beyond project, which combines Bach's Sonatas and Partitas with newly commissioned works. Ms. Koh requested a piece based on Bach's Partita in D minor. Ms. Mizzoli explains: "Dissolve, O My Heart begins with the first chord of Bach's Chaconne, a now-iconic D minor chord, and spins out from there into an off- kilter series of chords that doubles back on itself, collapses, and ultimately dissolves in a torrent of fast passages." Melding indie-rock sensibilities with formal training from Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, Richard Ayers, and others, Missy Mazzoli's music has been performed by, among others, the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, American Composers Orchestra, New York City Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, NOW Ensemble, and cellist Maya Beiser.
American composer Timo Andres writes that the ten-minute, four-movement string quartet Early to Rise is "the most recent in a series of Schumann-inspired pieces I've written; this time, the seed is a five-note accompanimental figure from his late piano cycle Gesa?nge der Fru?he (Morning Songs). At first, Early to Rise uses this figure in a canon, gently cycling through harmonies while its rhythms rub against each other in expanding and contracting patterns.... In the final section, momentum builds in the opposite direction with a simple downward-drifting chorale, picking up speed until it reaches a frenetic conclusion." Timo Andres's recent commissions have come from the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; a consortium including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, and San Francisco Performances; and the Library of Congress, among others. Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that Mr. Andres's 2010 album Shy and Mighty "achieves an unhurried grandeur that has rarely been felt in American music since John Adams came on the scene."
The Philharmonic has enjoyed an ongoing relationship with John Adams since 1983, when it performed the New York Premiere of his Grand Pianola Music. The Orchestra has since given the World Premieres of Easter Eve 1945 (2004, conducted by Mr. Adams) and On the Transmigration of Souls (2002), co-commissioned by the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center's Great Performers series in memory of the victims of 9/11. The latter won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Music, and its recording on Nonesuch - featuring the Philharmonic led by Lorin Maazel with the New York Choral Artists and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus - received the 2005 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Mr. Adams's China Gates will be performed by pianist Marino Formenti, June 4, 2014, during the Philharmonic's inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL. During the 2014-15 season (March 26-28, 2015), Alan Gilbert will conduct the Philharmonic and violinist Leila Josefowicz in the World Premiere of John Adams's Scheherazade.2 - Symphony for violin and orchestra, a New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam; the Royal Concertgebouw; and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson, chief conductor and artistic director.
NEW MUSIC FROM ISRAEL
Featuring Violinist LISA BATIASHVILI, The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence Works by Josef BARDANASHVILI, Avner DORMAN, Yotam HABER, and Shulamit RAN February 9, 2015, at SUBCULTURE, Co-Presented with 92nd Street Y
The second CONTACT! program of the season focuses on chamber music by contemporary Israeli composers, and will feature a performance by the Philharmonic's 2014-15 Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence Lisa Batiashvili alongside Philharmonic musicians. The concert will include Josef Bardanashvili's String Quartet No. 1 (1985), in which Ms. Batiashvili will perform; the New York Premiere of Avner Dorman's Jerusalem Mix (2007); the New York Premiere of Yotam Haber's Estro poetico-armonico II (2014); and Shulamit Ran's Mirage for five players (1990). This program, February 9, 2015, at SubCulture, is a co-presentation by the New York Philharmonic and 92nd Street Y, which will present Israeli-themed programming throughout the season.
Josef Bardanashvili's String Quartet No.1, commissioned by the Georgian State Quartet, adheres to classical style while also utilizing tango rhythm, quasi-jazz rhythmic patterns, vertical harmonic constructions, and a reference to the Dies irae. The second movement is an homage to Mahler, offering "a song-prayer of praise to the harmony of the universe.... The thematic metamorphoses both fortify the main musical idea and allow for the sense of constant renewal. 'It is not the time that leaves us; it is we who move away from it,'" the composer writes. Mr. Bardanashvili's influences include Jewish and Georgian folk-music, liturgical traditions, jazz, rock, and western art music. He is currently composer-in-residence of the Israel Camerata Jerusalem. The work is being included in this CONTACT! program at the request of the 2014-15 season New York Philharmonic Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence Lisa Batiashvili, who, like Mr. Bardanshvili, is Georgian-born.
Avner Dorman's woodwind and piano quintet Jerusalem Mix is named for a popular Israeli dish of various fried meats: "The dish, much like the city of its origin, is a melting pot of flavors and characters - each preserving some of its unique characteristics while contributing to the whole," the composer writes. The work is in six parts - Jerusalem Mix, The Wailing Wall, Wedding March, Blast, Adhan, and Jerusalem Mix - each reflecting different aspects of the city.
"The movements are based on two simple melodic cells - one chromatic and the other made of a whole step," Mr. Dorman continues. "For me, the fact that these simple motives can lend themselves to the music traditions of Christianity (Armenian dance), Islam, and Judaism, express that on a deep cultural, musical, and humane level, our cultures are closer than we realize." Avner Dorman's compositions have been performed by the Israel and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, San Francisco Symphony, Leipzig's Gewandaus Orchestra, and at Carnegie Hall, Vienna's Musikverein, and Lucerne Festival, among others. The New York Philharmonic gave the U.S. Premiere of Mr. Dorman's Spices, Perfumes, Toxins! in March 2009, led by former Music Director Zubin Mehta.
Yotam Haber's Estro poetico-armonico II, commissioned by the Fromm Foundation, is based on 50 psalm settings by Benedetto Marcello, a contemporary of J.S. Bach, who was inspired by the liturgical music of the Venetian Jewish community. Mr. Haber was introduced to Marcello's music while living in Rome, where he also studied archival recordings of Roman cantors from the 1940s. Mr. Haber states: "I was inspired by the Jewish communities of Rome and Venice that were segregated for so many generations since their initial arrival in Italy after the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem. I imagined that one generation passed on to another these ancient musical traditions, and through a kind of telephone-game-evolution, the music lost or gained its essence on each transference. When I came across the first edition of Marcello's psalms, I read his introduction with great astonishment and pleasure: he, too, spoke of an imagined musical filament connecting the music sung in the Venetian synagogue of his day with an 'ancient music sung passed down from Mount Sinai.' The theory, of course, can never be proved, nor should it be, in order to appreciate the beauty and brilliant inventiveness of his music." Yotam Haber's recent commissions include works for Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor, new works for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, CalArts's REDCAT, Contemporaneous, Gabriel Kahane, Either/Or, Alarm Will Sound, the 2012 and 2014 Venice Biennale, 2012 Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Neuvocalsolisten Stuttgart and ensemble l'arsenale, FLUX Quartet, JACK Quartet, Cantori New York, the Tel Aviv-based Meitar Ensemble, and the Berlin-based Quartet New Generation. Born in Holland and raised in Israel, Nigeria, and Milwaukee, Mr. Haber is the recipient of a 2013 NYFA award, the 2007 Rome Prize, and a 2005 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.