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Ann Moss, Alexa Beattie & Hillary Nordwell to Perform in San Francisco, 4/25

Ann Moss, Alexa Beattie & Hillary Nordwell to Perform in San Francisco, 4/25

Soprano Ann Moss, Violist Alexa Beattie and Pianist Hillary Nordwell will reunite once again on April 25, 2014 to present a program of contemporary chamber music at one of San Francisco's premiere concert venues.

With "In Her Words," One Art Ensemble highlights the poetry and music of 20th century women, offering an evening of varied and unique repertoire that displays a merging of art song and chamber music genres. Their program is also the first in a year-long series of concert events celebrating the fiftieth birthday of composer Vartan Aghababian, with whom the Ensemble has a lengthy history of close collaboration.

In trio settings of poetry by Elizabeth Bishop and Edna St. Vincent Millay, Massachusetts composers Vartan Aghababian and John Woods Duke employ soprano, viola, and piano as equal partners to fuse text, melody, and emotion. Aghababian's Bishop settings were commissioned by One Art Ensemble in 2010, while Duke's Millay settings were discovered posthumously and have enjoyed only a few rare performances since their 1959 premiere. William Bolcom's Let Evening Come (1994) is a grand meditation on life, loss and acceptance which grew out of a duet commission for MET singers Tatiana Troyanos and Benita Valente. When Troyanos suddenly and tragically died at the outset of the commission, Bolcom re-imagined the work for soprano, viola and piano, choosing texts by Angelou, Dickinson and Kenyon which "describe with ever greater acceptance the phenomenon of death."

The Ensemble offsets trio repertoire with daring and delightful works for duo instrumentation. Rebecca Clarke's virtuosic 1919 Viola Sonata is a lush, vibrant, and at times sensuous work which shows off the full range of the viola as well as the piano. Aghababian's Three Dickinson Songs (2011) illuminate this beloved American poet's voice with contemporary freshness and honesty. These and selections from Aghababian's brooding and dramatic Songs of a Second April (2007), on poetry by Millay, both receive their west coast premiere this month at Old First Concerts. Listeners are invited to allow the "captivating sound" (SF Classical Voice) of One Art Ensemble to draw them into this rich and multi-textured concert program.

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