Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BMOP Begins New Season With Premieres By Mackey, Meltzer And Lash

BMOP Begins New Season With Premieres By Mackey, Meltzer And Lash

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the nation's premier orchestra dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording new orchestral music, begins its 23rd season with Time Release: a one-night-only concert of orchestral music headlined by the American premiere of Steven Mackey's Time Release. Led by Artistic Director and Conductor Gil Rose, BMOP also celebrates the Boston premieres of Tonic by Steven Mackey, Concerto No. 2 for Harp and Orchestra by Hannah Lash, and Vision Machine by Harold Meltzer.

Bookending the program are two works by Steven Mackey (b. 1956) a Grammy Award-winner lauded by Gramophone for his "explosive and ethereal imagination." Regarded as a leading composer of his generation, his compositions range from orchestral and chamber music to dance and opera. With the concert-opening Tonic (2011)-a 20-minute work for strings, winds, and timpani-Mackey tackles a different approach to harmony by using notes to add subtle nuances and shadings to the foreground harmonies. Tonic is in roughly two equal parts: "the first made entirely from the interplay between instances of the shadow harmonics and the rustic melody; in the second half the sustained tension becomes more of a twitch and the Scotch snap becomes ubiquitous," explains Mackey.

Closing the concert is Time Release (2005) written for and performed by percussionist Colin Currie. Casting the marimba in a leading role, Time Release takes listeners on an evolutionary journey of the marimba as first an embellishment, to a thematic player, and then to a melody. The Scotsman cites: "Although the work centers primarily on the marimba, an exotic array of other instruments was also at hand to ensure the soloist was running the musical equivalent of a marathon." Mackey is currently Professor of Music and former chair of the Department of Music at Princeton University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1985. BMOP's recording of Mackey's Dreamhouse (BMOP/sound, 2010) was nominated for four Grammy Awards in 2011: Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, Best Engineered Album, Classical, and Producer of the Year, Classical, for producer David Frost.

Proving that the harp is a superb and virtuosic instrument, composer/harpist Hannah Lash (b.1981) performs alongside BMOP in Concerto No. 2 for Harp and Orchestra (2016). "I wanted to make a concerto for the harp that could take on all the ramifications of our perception of this instrument's that was mysterious and beautiful and at the same time fearful, aggressive, lonely," says Lash. "The harp's role as soloist is a strong one, it does not shrink from being foregrounded. But I do not intend to fight the harp's strengths and resonances, nor do I want to turn it into something it's not." Lash obtained her Ph.D in Composition from Harvard University. She currently serves on the composition faculty at Yale University School of Music. Her music has been hailed by The New York Times as "striking and resourceful...handsomely brooding."

Completing the quartet of premieres is Vision Machine (2016) by Harold Meltzer (b.1966), an architecturally-inspired composer in New York. Described by the Kansas City Metropolis as "a stunning work replete with striking sonorities and meticulously crafted timbral combinations," Vision Machine complements its inspiration, Jean Nouvel's luminous 100 11th Avenue building in New York City, which its architect describes as a "vision machine." Confounded by the 1,600+ colorless windowpanes, tilted in every possible direction at every possible angle, reflecting blue, gray, and green shades from the Hudson River and the West Side Highway, Meltzer attempts a conversion into sound of the building's surfaces and its materials. Meltzer studied at Amherst College, the Yale School of Music, Columbia Law School, and King's College, Cambridge, and has taught at Amherst and Vassar.

About BMOP

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) is the premier orchestra in the United States dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A unique institution of crucial artistic importance to today's musical world, BMOP exists to disseminate exceptional orchestral music of the present and recent past via performances and recordings of the highest caliber. Founded by Artistic Director Gil Rose in 1996, BMOP has championed composers whose careers span nine decades.

Each season, Rose brings BMOP's award-winning orchestra, renowned soloists, and influential composers to the stage of New England Conservatory's historic Jordan Hall in a series that offers orchestral programming of unmatched diversity. Named Musical America's 2016 Ensemble of the Year, the musicians of BMOP are consistently lauded for the energy, imagination, and passion with which they infuse the music of the present era. For more information, please visit

Related Articles View More Boston Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You