Tribute to Witold Lutoslawski with ACME and Steven Stucky Set for 12/13 at Symphony Space
On Friday, December 13 at 7:30 pm, Symphony Space presents a centennial tribute to pioneering Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski (1913 - 1994). The American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) will perform a selection of his chamber works, along with pieces by Steven Stucky, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and author of the critical biography Lutoslawski and His Music. The concert will be streamed live on Q2 Music, WQXR's online station devoted to contemporary classical music, and will include a conversation with Stucky and Symphony Space's Artistic Director, Laura Kaminsky.
The event is presented as part of Symphony Space's In the Salon series, in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute in New York and Q2 Music. Tickets are $32; $27 for members, $20 for 30 and under (with valid ID), available through www.symphonyspace.org. The live online stream of the concert may be heard at www.q2music.org.
Symphony Space's In the Salon series enriches musical performances by top-notch artists with informative talks and artist chats. The program includes Lutoslawski's Sacher Variation for solo cello, Bukoliki for viola and cello, and his String Quartet (1964) as well as Steven Stucky's Dialoghi for solo cello and his Nell'ombra, nella luce for string quartet. ACME players for December 13 are Caleb Burhans and Caroline Shaw, violins; Nadia Sirota, viola; and Clarice Jensen, cello.
Lutoslawski passed away on Feb. 7, 1994 at the age of 81 in Warsaw, Poland, by which time he had developed a distinct, commanding creative voice and become known as one of the most respected, influential, and exceptional composers of the 20th century. Writes Stucky in an article for Q2 Music, "What explains this kind of success for a late-20th-century atonal composer? ...The answers lie in fundamental values: the ravishing beauty of his French-Slavic sound world, his rich harmonic language, his expressive melodic voice, his lucid forms, his attention to dramatic tension and release, and, underpinning everything, his drive to communicate... In Lutoslawski's magically colorful sound worlds, his frankly gorgeous effects are never merely painted on; they are intrinsic to the expression. It was a trait he developed precociously early - the 1938 Symphonic Variations already reveal an orchestral master - but he continued to expand and refine his palette right to the end." The complete article can be found at the Q2 Music website at http://www.wqxr.org/#!/series/celebrating-poland/, with links to detailed essays on the various phases of Lutoslawski's career.
Stucky's expertise on Lutoslawski's music has been recognized with the Lutoslawski Society's medal and an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Lutoslawski and His Music (1981). Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for his Second Concerto for Orchestra, Stucky is a trustee of the American Academy in Rome, a director of New Music USA, a board member of the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also active as a conductor, writer, lecturer, and teacher. Die Presse (Vienna), reviewing his recent orchestral work Silent Spring, wrote that Stucky "proves above all to be a refined magician of timbre, to the extent that the notes sometimes seemed merely a necessary vehicle for the application of color."
ACME is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily the work of American composers. The ensemble presents cutting-edge music by living composers alongside the classics of the contemporary. ACME's dedication to new music extends across genres, and has earned them a reputation among both classical and rock crowds. NPR calls them "contemporary new music dynamos," and The New York Times describes ACME's performances as "vital," "brilliant," and "electrifying." Time Out New York reports, "[Artistic Director Clarice] Jensen has earned a sterling reputation for her fresh, inclusive mix of minimalists, maximalists, eclectics and newcomers."ACME has performed at leading venues across the country including (Le) Poisson Rouge, Carnegie Hall, BAM, Joyce Theater, Noguchi Museum, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Columbia University's Miller Theatre, Stanford Live, Flynn Center, Montclair's Peak Performances, and All Tomorrow's Parties in the UK, among others. ACME can be heard on the New World Records and New Amsterdam Records labels.
ACME's instrumentation is flexible, and includes some of New York's most sought-after, engaging musicians. Core ACME members include violinists Caleb Burhans, Ben Russell, and Caroline Shaw (winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music), violist Nadia Sirota, cellist and artistic director Clarice Jensen, flutist Alex Sopp, pianist Timo Andres, and percussionist Chris Thompson.
Symphony Space traces its beginnings to a free marathon concert, Wall to Wall Bach, held in 1978 and organized by co-founders Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller. The music marathon then drew thousands of visitors and has since become one of the organization's signature events. Today Symphony Space presents more than 600 events each season, including music, dance, theater, film, and literary readings. Some of its best known programs include Selected Shorts, a reading of short stories by stars of stage and screen, and one of the most popular series on public radio; the Thalia Film Club, a trendy film club hosted by Marshall Fine featuring pre-release screenings and behind-the-scenes conversations with film stars; Just Kidding, one of the most talked about family entertainment series around town; and, more recently, The Music of Now, presenting an eclectic range of music in all styles and sensibilities, focusing on emerging artists and unusual work. Uptown Showdown has been called "New York's best comedy series" by New York Magazine. For more information, visit symphonyspace.org.
The Polish Cultural Institute New York, established in 2000, is a diplomatic mission dedicated to nurturing and promoting cultural ties between the United States and Poland. The Institute initiates, organizes, promotes, and produces a broad range of cultural events in theater, music, dance, film, literature, and the arts. It has collaborated with such cultural institutions as the Lincoln Center Festival, BAM, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Museum of Modern Art, The Jewish Museum, PEN World Voices Festival, Yale University, Columbia University, and many more. www.polishculture-nyc.org
Q2 Music is WQXR's online music station dedicated to contemporary classical composers, innovative ensembles, and vibrant, live performances from New York City's leading new-music venues. Q2 Music programming include immersive festivals, insightful commentary from a diverse roster of hosts including composer Phil Kline and violist Nadia Sirota, full-length album streams, and in-depth interviews with trend-setting artists. Q2 Music lives online at www.wqxr.org/q2music, where you can find essential playlist info, on-demand audio and an upcoming schedule of events, and is accessible via the free WQXR App.
Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. Box office hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 1 pm - 6 pm, open two hours prior to performances and events. Tickets can also be purchased through www.symphonyspace.org, or by calling 212/864-5400.
More On: Symphony Space, Deems Taylor, Carnegie Hall, Guggenheim Museum.