NY Philharmonic Announces Details of AUTHENTIC SELVES: THE BEAUTY WITHIN

The first week of orchestral programming includes the World Premiere of the concert adaptation of Only an Octave Apart.

By: Dec. 16, 2021
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NY Philharmonic Announces Details of AUTHENTIC SELVES: THE BEAUTY WITHIN

The New York Philharmonic has announced details of Authentic Selves: The Beauty Within, a festival exploring the complexities of identity through orchestral and small-ensemble concerts, panel discussions, educational initiatives, and additional events. Authentic Selves was created with the Philharmonic's 2021-22 Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, who also performs.

Music Director Jaap van Zweden leads two orchestral programs, January 27-29, 2022, at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, and February 3 and 5, 2022, at Alice Tully Hall. Each week includes the World Premiere of Philharmonic-commissioned vocal works, each a setting of text by 22nd US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, with Costanzo as soloist: The Places We Leave by Joel Thompson (January 27-29), and Love Story by Gregory Spears (February 3 and 5).

The first week of orchestral programming includes the World Premiere of the concert adaptation of Only an Octave Apart, the collaboration between Costanzo and trans-genre artist Justin Vivian Bond, co-created and directed by Zack Winokur. Originally premiered as a stage show at St. Ann's Warehouse in the fall of 2021, the Philharmonic presentation features inventive combinations of songs spanning centuries in all-new orchestral arrangements by Nico Muhly. The album version of Only an Octave Apart, produced by Thomas Bartlett, will be released on Decca Gold on January 28, the same weekend as the Philharmonic performances. This program also includes Joan Tower's Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1, Classical, as well as the Thompson premiere.

The following week's program opens with Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, followed by two vocal works sung by Costanzo: Spears's Love Story and Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été, the latter of which is rarely performed by countertenor. The orchestral finale of Authentic Selves comes in the form of Julius Eastman's Symphony No. II - The Faithful Friend: The Lover Friend's Love for the Beloved, in its first-ever performances by a professional orchestra.

"I look different from the way I sound - how can I find truth in the dissonance between perception and expression?" said Anthony Roth Costanzo. "As I give voice to my authentic self, I'm thrilled to continue partnering with the Philharmonic to create musical, dramatic, and intellectual explorations of identity. After 79 concerts on a pick-up truck during NY Phil Bandwagon in the fall of 2020, I got to know so many members of the Orchestra intimately, both as musical partners and friends. I simply can't wait to join them on stage and make music all together, ignited by Jaap's baton. I'm equally excited to deepen and expand the creative partnerships we formed throughout Bandwagon, working with artists from different disciplines and milieus, and organizations that lead us to embody the link between community and communication."

The orchestral concerts are complemented by numerous programs presented in partnership with New York organizations, each offering additional perspectives on issues of identity. Many of these partnerships build upon collaborations forged through the Philharmonic and Anthony Roth Costanzo's NY Phil Bandwagon and NY Phil Bandwagon 2 initiatives. Chronologically, these events include:

  • En avant la musique: An evening of song and conversation at the French Institute Alliance Française's Florence Gould Hall, produced in partnership with A Better Jamaica. Connected with the Philharmonic's performances of Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été, the musical performances will be followed by a Q&A exploring how French language has influenced musical traditions. The event is hosted by Costanzo, who also performs; other performers include Pauline Jean, Paul Beaubrun, Malika Zarra, and New York Philharmonic musicians. (January 19, 2022)
  • The Authentic Self: Black Body & Identity Now!: A symposium at The New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, featuring artists and collaborators from National Black Theatre in conversation about art, identity, and issues of beauty. (January 20, 2022)
  • A release party at the arthouse cinema Metrograph for Costanzo and Bond's Only an Octave Apart album, to be released on Decca Gold on January 28, 2022. The event will include live performances, the World Premiere of a music video connected with the album, and a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the album. From February to June, Metrograph will also present an ongoing series Authentic Selves On Film, hosted by Costanzo and Bond, screening films that explore the themes of Authentic Selves. (January 24, 2022)
  • Two installments in the Philharmonic's new discussion series The Unanswered Questions, created in partnership with John Jay College of Criminal Justice and launched in October 2021. The discussions will be livestreamed on the Philharmonic's Facebook page. (January 28, 2022 and March 18, 2022)
  • Beauty in the Abyss: An evening of performance and conversation curated by National Black Theatre, conceived and directed by Dominique Rider, and held at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse. The event examines how perceptions of beauty and desirability shape one's existence and asks the question, "What does it mean to be beautiful?" The program will include works by playwright Nissy Aya, poets Mahogany L. Browne and Diane Exavier, vocalist and librettist Joshua Banbury, and performance artist Nia Farrell. (February 4, 2022)
  • Workshops and discussions, led by Costanzo, at Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education in the South Bronx, for their middle and high school program participants. In conjunction with Casita Maria's Hip Hop and Storytelling curriculum, these events will explore how opera and classical music can be vessels for understanding and connecting to emotions and the inner self. (March 2022; dates tba)
  • An Evening with Flushing Town Hall and El Puente: Performances by a lineup of artists curated by Flushing Town Hall and El Puente, held at Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium. (May 26, 2022)
  • In process: Recital No. 2: ANCESTORS: An intimate recital by bass-baritone Davóne Tines and pianist Adam Tendler. Tines's work-in-progress Recital No. 2: ANCESTORS spans the music of Sam Cooke, Julius Eastman, Paul Robeson, and others to explore the notion of personal lineage as a means to finding one's identity. (Date and venue tba)

Additional programming may be announced; all programs subject to change.

For more information visit: https://nyphil.org/

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