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The Azrieli Foundation Partners With Talea Ensemble For U.S. Premieres In New York City

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Soprano Sharon Azrieli joins the ensemble for Dissidence and Sam Jones, trumpet, and Mike Lormand, trombone, join for Double Concerto.

The Azrieli Foundation Partners With Talea Ensemble For U.S. Premieres In New York City

On October 16 at 8 PM at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Talea Ensemble conducted by James Baker will perform the U.S. premieres of award-winning works by 2020 Azrieli Music Prize (AMP) laureates: Keiko Devaux (The Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music), Yotam Haber (The Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music) and Yitzhak Yedid (The Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music). Mezzo-soprano Eliza Bagg joins for Yotam Haber's Estro Poetico-armonico III. Also featured on the program are David Adamcyk's Double Concerto and Jonathan Monro's arrangement of Dissidence by the celebrated Canadian composer Pierre Mercure. Soprano Sharon Azrieli, who conceived of the Azrieli Music Prizes for the Azrieli Foundation, joins the ensemble for Dissidence and Sam Jones, trumpet, and Mike Lormand, trombone, join for Double Concerto.

The first AMP-winning work on the program, Keiko Devaux's Arras - meaning a richly woven tapestry - contains a kaleidoscope of influences from across generations, cultures and musical genres as found within Devaux's, and her families', sonic histories. Devaux draws inspiration from a range of material representing the professions of both sides of her family tree (the sound of wind through fields symbolizing agriculture, and that of a mechanical loom apropos of weaving), the natural environments in which they lived (including patterns of animal behaviours such as those of starlings and fireflies), as well as the musical traditions both religious (plainsong and Buddhist chant) and vernacular (chanson française and Japanese-American popular) through which these families expressed their identities. The result is in an evocative, constantly shifting and captivating musical experience.

Yotam Haber's Estro Poetico-armonico III for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra - the third work in a series - continues the composer's long exploration into the music of Rome's Jewish community, as discovered through the archival recordings of ethnomusicologist Leo Levi. Haber employs these recordings of traditional cantillation and liturgical texts in conjunction with - or in opposition to - texts by four modern Israeli poets (Ory Bernstein, Eli Eliahu, Israel Bar Kohav and Aharon Shabtai) that reflect upon aspects of modern Israeli life while also grappling with its history.

The final work by a 2020 AMP laureate, Yitzhak Yedid's Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed, was inspired by the Temple Mount in Jerusalem - a holy yet conflicted place, sacred to Muslims and Jews alike. Yedid writes, "The work, in two parts, consists of 24 connected musical scenes that bridge compositional approaches originating from two opposing musical traditions: on the one hand from Arabic art music and Mizrahi piyyutim (Arabic-influenced, Jewish liturgical songs) and on the other from European traditions, avant-garde music and improvisation."

This concert serves as part of the prize package each 2020 AMP laureate receives - valued at $200,000 CAD - which also includes the recent album release (Oct. 1) New Jewish Music Vol. 3 - Azrieli Music Prizes. Other components of the prize package include a cash award of $50,000 CAD; a gala world premiere; and another international performance in Israel this coming December. Tickets ($10-20) for this performance are available at https://bit.ly/AMPinNYCOct2021.


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