Boston Modern Orchestra Project Presents Three New Works Tonight
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the nation's premier orchestra dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording new orchestral music, welcomes the New Year with three premieres by Ken Ueno, Elena Ruehr and David Rakowski. BMOP has performed each composer's music thrice before on the Jordan Hall stage and has recorded multiple albums featuring their work.
"BMOP has a long-standing, fruitful and rewarding relationship with each of these composers," explains Gil Rose, Artistic Director and Conductor of BMOP. "We're honored to be premiering their latest works and so psyched to be kick-starting 2014 with such progressive and playful new music."
Hapax Legomenon, Concerto for two-bow cello by composer/vocalist Ken Ueno is written for the great cello virtuoso Frances-Marie Uitti. It features a technique that she invented that allows her to play all four strings at once; a non-traditional view of virtuosity that is of vertical harmony rather than horizontal speed. "This piece is dedicated to the liminal space between melody and sound, noise and harmony, and between imagined sound and silence," explains Ueno. "The virtuosity is in that fragile delicacy."
The term Hapax Legomenon refers to a word that appears only once in a given context (as in a literary work), and is a poetic analog to Ueno's musical praxis of person-specificity: meant to be, initially, performed by one person. Ueno is the winner of the Rome Prize and Berlin Prize and currently serves as an Associate Professor at UC Berkeley. His influences range from Heavy Metal sub-tone singing and European avant-garde instrumental techniques to American experimentalism and the buzzing sound quality called sawari found in traditional Japanese music.
BMOP is thrilled to welcome back the orchestra's former Composer-in-Residence Elena Ruehr. An award-winning faculty member of MIT, she has also been a fellow at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute. The world premiere of Summer Days marks the third installment of a series of works inspired by the paintings of Georgia O'Keefe. Summer Days is one of O'Keefe's most iconic paintings, and Ruehr successfully captures its grandeur and lyricism. The series' other two pieces, Sky Above Clouds and Ladder to the Moon, were premiered by BMOP while Ruehr was Composer-in-Residence. Ruehr says "the idea is that the surface be simple, the structure complex."
Rounding out the program is the world premiere of Piano Concerto No. 2 (2011) by Boston-based David Rakowski. This is the latest chapter of his ongoing collaboration with pianist Amy Briggs. She recorded three volumes of Rakowski's Piano Etudes on Bridge Records to much critical acclaim, and will record a fourth volume in June 2014. Rakowski is the recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters award and currently serves as Professor of Composition at Brandeis University.
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) is widely recognized as the leading orchestra in the United States dedicated exclusively to performing new music, and its signature record label, BMOP/sound, is the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and solely devoted to new music recordings. Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Gil Rose, BMOP affirms its mission to illuminate the connections that exist naturally between contemporary music and contemporary society by reuniting composers and audiences in a shared concert experience.