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BMOP Continues Season With Vijay Iyer, Matthew Aucoin, Jennifer Koh And More

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the nation's premier orchestra dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording new orchestral music, presents the concert's eponymous Trouble written by Indian-American composer Vijay Iyer featuring Korean-American violinist Jennifer Koh, one of the few new works of concert music that ruminates specifically on the minority experience in the United States. Led by Artistic Director and Conductor Gil Rose, BMOP also celebrates the Boston premieres of Cello Concerto by Lukas Foss featuring cellist David Russell, Evidence by Matthew Aucoin, and Acrobats of God by Carlos Surinach.

The evening begins with Acrobats of God (1960) by Carlos Surinach (1915-1997). Surinach was among the 20th century's premier composers for dance known chiefly for his vibrant ballet scores picked up by choreographers and dance companies including Acrobats of God by Martha Graham. A Spanish-born American composer, his works combined the traditional, fiery flamenco rhythms and melodies of his native Spain with the technical sophistication of his German musical education.

This is followed by the program's capstone: the 25-minute violin concerto Trouble by Grammy-nominated composer/pianist Vijay Iyer (b. 1971) featuring violinist Jennifer Koh (b. 1976). Trouble is part of Koh's critically acclaimed series The New American Concerto-an ongoing, multi-season commissioning project that explores the form of the violin concerto and its potential for artistic engagement with contemporary societal concerns and issues through commissions from a diverse collective of composers. "

"What is America today? How can the field of classical music draw upon the cultural richness contained within our diverse country?" asks Koh. "How can we engage in a cultural dialogue that strengthens classical music through a multiplicity of experience? True representation of today's America on our stages has the potential to inspire and motivate the next generation of musicians and audiences. There is space in our world for all of us and for all of our stories."

The project was launched in 2017 with the premiere of Trouble at the Ojai Music Festival. Trouble explores the issues of discrimination and the immigrant experience, frequent topics of conversation between Iyer and Koh in recent years. They have both grappled with problematic attitudes towards race-exacerbated by the current political climate and high-profile injustices-and they wanted to find a way to tackle the difficult subject matter of racial violence through music. The work musically creates a journey that contains birth, realization, an elegy, and gathering of a multitude of voices within the ensemble with the violin leading the call to assemble. The third movement is dedicated to the Chinese-American man Vincent Chin, who was beaten to death in Detroit in 1982 while being accused of stealing jobs for being Japanese. Koh was five years old and remembers this as one of the first Asian-American political movements in her life.

Iyer, who views music as a bustling convergence of the humanities and social sciences, has been voted DownBeat Magazine's Artist of the Year thrice, named the MacArthur Fellow and Doris Duke Performing Artist, described by the Los Angeles Weekly as "a boundless and deeply important young star," and by Minnesota Public Radio as "an American treasure," and appointed in 2014 as the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in the Department of Music at Harvard University.

The concert continues with Cello Concerto by Lukas Foss (1922-2009) featuring the Boston-based "sonorous and panoramic" (The Boston Globe) cellist David Russell. Composed for Mstislav Rostropovich in 1966, Foss toyed with the tension and interplay between Baroque and modern musical impulses by combining humor, live cello, and recorded cello. A German-American composer, conductor, pianist, and professor, Foss eagerly embraced both his adopted country and its explosion of musical languages, which he incorporated into a body of over 100 works. Although his roots were firmly grounded in Boston, Foss played a leading role in America's musical history. BMOP has released two albums of Foss's music on its record label, BMOP/sound: The Prairie (2008) and Complete Symphonies (2015).

Closing out the concert is Evidence (2016) by Boston native, Harvard alumnus Matthew Aucoin (b.1990), who was recently recognized as a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and appointed Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera. Aucoin is a promising composer, conductor, pianist, poet and critic extending well beyond opera. According to The Los Angeles Times, his 19-minute score Evidence "is evidence of a young composer on the rise." The composer describes the work's compositional process as a kind of journey at sea. "The image that kept returning to me as I worked on Evidence was that of a journey from shore to shore in some challenging element - maybe a sea journey, or a journey through space. Whatever the element is, I wanted to see if I could get from one shore to the other."

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

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