Lost Dog New Music Ensemble to Present Norgard Retrospective, 6/16-18

Lost Dog New Music Ensemble is pleased to announce the programming for Norgard in New York, a three-day festival dedicated to the music of Per Norgard, the seminal Danish composer. Taking place on June 16-18 (8 PM) at Scandinavia House, these three concerts mark the first retrospective of Norgard's work to occur in the United States, with a staggering eleven U.S premieres.

Norgard in New York is the brainchild of Lost Dog Artistic Director Garth Edwin Sunderland, (pictured right) and will feature performances by Lost Dog, Momenta Quartet, soprano Sarah Joy Miller, and percussionist Neeraj Mehta. Dr. Mehta, who is an authority on Nogard's music and has worked with the composer in Denmark, will give a talk on the Norgard's signature Infinity Series preceding the June 16 concert.

Tickets to each performance are $20, and a three-concert Festival Pass can be purchased for $45. A full description of all three programs can be found below; for tickets and more information, please visit norgardinnewyork.org.

Sunderland writes that, "Discovering Per Norgard's music was a life-changing event. There is no other composer who has achieved such an organic synthesis of craft, power, and pure beauty. Norgard's music is so spectacular, and so wholly unique to him; the vast range of his output, and the way his music has continued to evolve and grow even richer over the course of his life and career, is simply staggering.

"This festival has been a goal for many years - the strange, almost total absence of Norgard's music in American concert halls is something I've long hoped to change. The purpose of 'Norgard in New York' is to bring Norgard's music to our city in a permanent and lasting way, by presenting a deep and substantive survey of his work, highlighting the way his voice has developed, as well as his surprising connections to American music and culture."


P E R N Ø R G Å R D Per Norgard (b. 1932, pictured left) is the most significant living Danish composer. With his original works, his teaching, and his theoretical innovations, Per Norgard has been the most striking Nordic musical personality for over fifty years. The body of Norgard's work is defined by an ever-expanding evolution of his methods, styles, and philosophy, filtered through an overarching inspiration from the natural world. At a young age he became a private pupil of Vagn Holmboe, and his earliest works reflected the master's "Nordic" idiom, with Sibelius as a shared guiding star. Norgard's incredible curiosity then drove him to explore the potential of European Modernism. In the 1970s, he discovered the Infinity Series, the compositional technique that would come to inform all of his music going forward. The mechanisms of the series can be compared to the growth and symmetry of nature, and have allowed Norgard to create works of unparalled organicism. In the 1980s, Norgard became deeply immersed in the work of the schizophrenic Swiss artist Adolf Wolfli, and his music evolved to incorporate a shocking wildness. Since the 1990s, he has explored the idea of 'Tone Lakes', a sort of fractal explosion of the Infinity Series, which has allowed Norgard to take his work even further in his quest to capture the music that otherwise escapes our ears.? In 2016, Norgard will be the recipient of the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, often nicknamed the Nobel Prize of music. Norgard was also awarded the Marie-Jose?e Kravis Prize for New Music by the New York Philharmonic in 2014, and on June 11th, 2016, Music Director Alan Gilbert will lead the New York Philharmonic in the U.S. Premiere of Norgard's Symphony No. 8; with this premiere happening within a week of Norgard in New York, this will certainly be the most concentrated dose of Norgard that the United States has ever received. On the subject of Norgard in New York, the composer writes the following: "The festival program for Norgard in New York is a comprehensive presentation of my music, and I am very grateful for this endeavor. It is difficult not to be both touched and impressed by the work done by the musicians and ensembles involved in presenting my music to audiences in New York. The works in the program come from different periods of my production, and I hope that my music will open the ears of the NY audience to new melodies and new beginnings."


F E S T I V A L P R O G R A M S Thursday, 6/16: Norgard's America Lost Dog New Music Ensemble Sarah Joy Miller, soprano

Arcana
Spell
Plutonian Ode US PREMIERE
Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
Seadrift US PREMIERE

Norgard's America highlights the influence of American music and poetry on the Danish master. Arcana, written during an early-seventies California residency, filters the minimalist gestures of Terry Riley and Philip Glass through Norgard's then-Eurocentric voice. In Spell, written just three years later, Norgard generates endlessly unfolding rhythms and melodies with his signature Infinity Series process. The juxtaposition of these opening pieces demonstrates how quickly and dramatically Norgard's music blossomed as the Infinity Series began to dominate his compositional technique.

The program continues with works inspired by Allen Ginsberg and Walt Whitman; composed over three decades and during distinct periods in Norgard's career, these works reveal the influence of American culture on the composer. Plutonian Ode draws upon Ginsberg's eponymous poem, in an explosive duet for soprano and cello typical of Norgard's wild 'Wolfli period.' During the 1980s, he became deeply immersed in the works of the schizophrenic Swiss artist Adolf Wolfli; while these works can seem to be a violent departure from the shimmering Infinity Series works from the 1970s, they are in fact a dramatic evolution of the same techniques and concepts. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking is inspired by Hawaiian chant, and with Seadrift, (the Whitman poem from which Out of the Cradle... takes its title) the program returns to the purer Infinity Series works of the 1970s. A baroque ensemble will be featured in Seadrift, as well as in Nova Genitura (on the 6/18 program), further emphasizing Norgard's daring curiosity.

Friday, 6/17: Night Descending Like Smoke Momenta Quartet String Quartet #8, Night Descending Like Smoke US PREMIERE String Quartet #3, Three Miniatures US PREMIERE Playground String Quartet #5, Inscape US PREMIERE Tjampuan US PREMIERE String Quartet #10, Harvest-Timeless US PREMIERE

Norgard's ten string quartets comprise a major aspect of his musical legacy. String Quartet #3 underlines the young Norgard's interest in the music of his Scandinavian forebears, including Sibelius, Holmboe, and Nielsen; String Quartet #5 speaks to the influence that serialism and microtonality from continental Europe had on Norgard in the 1960s. In addition to his ten quartets, Norgard has written many works for other configurations of strings, including the virtuosic Playground for solo violin, and Tjampuan, a duet for violin and cello drawing on time spent in Bali. In these two lighter works, one can hear a continuing thread from Norgard's early Scandinavian period, as well as his jubilant adoration for nature, which he communicates simply and directly.

Nowhere is the composer's mastery of the medium more apparent than in his late quartets. The powerful and deeply moving String Quartet #8, Night Descending Like Smoke, reworks material from his harrowing chamber opera Nuit des Homme ('The Night of Mankind'). Violent and devastating, Night Descending Like Smoke is balanced on the program by the almost pastoral String Quartet #10, Harvest-Timeless. The original Danish title Hosttild translates literally to "autumn crocus"; Norgard employs the Golden Ratio throughout the recursive single-movement piece, which highlights the composer's ability to create hierarchies of melody and texture, exalting the complex beauty of the natural world.

Saturday, 6/18: The Day Breaks: Works for Large Ensemble Lost Dog New Music Ensemble and guest artists Sarah Joy Miller, soprano Neeraj Mehta, percussion James Baker and Garth Edwin Sunderland, conductors Prelude to Breaking Prelude and Ant Fugue (with a Crab canon) US PREMIERE Nova Genitura US PREMIERE Three Scenes US PREMIERE Night-Symphonies, Day Breaks US PREMIERE

The final Festival program features works for larger ensembles, and continues to explore Norgard's connection to the natural world and the Golden Ratio. Bookending the concert are Prelude to Breaking and Night-Symphonies, Day Breaks, two important pieces that survey the organic rhythms of nature in both sound and structure. Prelude to Breaking evokes the phenomenon of overlapping waves of melody coalescing into a harmonic totality. Night-Symphonies, Day Breaks, the centerpiece of the program, utilizes his concept of 'tone lakes' - a sort of fractal explosion of the Infinity Series. A major chamber symphony from 1992, Night-Symphonies... turns to the the more subtle aspects of nature for inspiration, including the gradual bending of raindrop-laden leaves, and the sound of surf following the breaking of giant waves.

In between are three works that illuminate very different aspects of Norgard's astonishing versatility. Prelude and Ant Fugue (with a Crab Canon) is a delirious, hilarious deconstruction of Bach's C Major Prelude from the Well-Tempered Klavier, which itself is built around a Golden Ratio structure. Three Scenes, a concerto for Percussion and Ensemble, is an exploration of the idea of 'drama' in music, with the percussionist serving as the protagonist. Nova Genitura is built in part around a passage of choral music that first appeared in his epic Third Symphony, also derived from the Golden Ratio. A setting of the Marian hymns 'Ave Maris Stella' and 'Flos ut Rosa', Nova Genitura is undoubtedly the loveliest, most gentle expression of the Infinity Series, and perhaps the most beautiful piece in Norgard's entire oeuvre.



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