Angela & Jennifer Chun Perform Nico Muhly Premiere at The Joyce
The event marks the latest installment in their artistic collaboration; Muhly wrote Four Studies, the live world premiere, for the Chuns
Renowned architect Charles Renfro is designing the production
Angela & Jennifer Chun, photo (left) by Benjamin Ealovega
When Jonah Bokaer Choreography celebrates its 15th anniversary as a dance company with a debut at The Joyce Theater, New York's famed dance venue, the presentation will be designed by renowned architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro principal Charles Renfro, and will feature the New York premiere of a new work choreographed by Jonah Bokaer to music by Nico Muhly, whose opera Marnie has its U.S. premiere just days before. Joining the company's eight lead dancers onstage, to perform Muhly's music, one work in its very first live performance, will be violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun.
Angela and Jennifer, a violin duo of uncommon distinction, will perform the music for the second half of the program, which is called Late Nights on Air: the live world premiere of Nico Muhly's Four Studies, a work that he wrote specifically for them, as well as his Honest Music - works that the three of them recorded in 2016 on a Harmonia Mundi disc that also featured music of Philip Glass. The disc, Glass - In the Summer House (the three also performed an arrangement of that title track), went on to top Billboard and iTunes charts.
The October 27-28 program at the Joyce - which will have three performances - comes shortly after Nico Muhly's newest opera, Marnie, has its U.S. premiere on October 19 at the Metropolitan Opera.
One artistic collaboration continues, and another begins
This is the latest installment in the friendship between the Chuns and Muhly that dates from the premiere of Muhly's opera Two Boys at the Met in 2013. The Chuns, artists who have forged a singular path to prominence, foregoing repeat performances of the Bach "Double" (Concerto for Two Violins) to seek out new music and creative collaborations, were approached by the Met to perform music from Two Boys at an event leading up to its premiere. This led to their performing with the composer in "An Evening with Nico Muhly," a concert livestreamed by NPR Music.
After these collaborations, Muhly was inspired to write Four Studies for Angela and Jennifer, and join them on the recording of his and Philip Glass's works. As Gramophone magazine said in its review of the disc, "Angela and Jennifer Chun's violin lines are interwoven around shimmering drones generated by Muhly on piano and keyboard to create effective soundscapes"; The Guardian said, "Muhly's Four Studies (2014) are transparent explorations in counterpoint."
Choreographer Jonah Bokaer, a fellow New Yorker, was a friend to all three artists, and decided to create a new work to Four Studies and Honest Music. With serendipitous timing, this new dance took shape over the past year, and is now ultimately having its New York premiere on the company's 15th anniversary celebration at The Joyce ... right after the highly-anticipated U.S. premiere of Muhly's Marnie at the Met.
Master architect Charles Renfro, principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, enjoys a longstanding friendship and dialogue with the work of Jonah Bokaer Choreography, and his themes of "doubling" and "twin spaces" have inspired a custom-made architectural environment for the performers, which on this program will have its own debut.
On the first half of the program, the eight lead dancers of Jonah Bokaer Choreography will be interpreting three of the most iconic pieces of Jonah Bokaer's repertoire, including Octave (2002), Double Feature (2010), and Triple Echo (2015).
Angela and Jennifer Chun
Violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun are a trailblazing duo of string musicians, collaborative artists, advocates of new music, and humanitarians, and are one of the most unique and exciting ensembles in classical music. The duo has garnered critical acclaim through performances at the Mostly Mozart Festival and Extremely Hungary Festival at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Bachfest in London, Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Budapest Music Festival.
Beyond focusing on classic works, as advocates of new music, Angela & Jennifer often collaborate with contemporary composers, artists, and modern dancers. They have performed and premiered works by György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Sebastian Currier, Kaija Saariaho, Philip Glass, and Isang Yun. The duo's performances of Isang Yun's compositions are widely considered the best renditions of his work. In 2010, composer and Grawemeyer prize winner George Tsontakis wrote a double violin concerto, Unforgettable, for the Chun sisters, which was based on the song written by Irving Gordon and made popular by Nat King Cole. The concerto premiered at the Aspen Music Festival and School's 60th anniversary concert.
As humanitarians, Angela and Jennifer have worked closely with Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and through their Ensemble Contempo-Sorina / Humanity Through Music project, have taken their message to world leaders at forums such as the Aspen Institute, the World Economic Forum in Davos, and the Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting, to discuss ways in which music can unite peoples, reduce conflicts, and promote general welfare. In 2016, Angela and Jennifer performed in the United Nations Day Gala Concert, an event that was broadcast live to 193 countries.
In addition to Glass - In the Summer House, Angela and Jennifer have released two other critically acclaimed albums with the record label Harmonia Mundi: Fantasy, released in 2008, and featuring works by Martin?, Shostakovich, Milhaud, and Isang Yun; and Bartók 44 Violin Duos (2010).
They have worked with conductors including Zubin Mehta, Sir André Previn, Thomas Sanderling, Ivan Fischer, Leonard Slatkin, and Peter Oundjian. In 2007, Angela and Jennifer became String Mentors at the Royal Academy of Music in London, a rare and prestigious position granted only to musicians of the highest caliber. www.angelajenniferchun.com
Jonah Bokaer has cultivated a new form of choreography merged with visual art and design. He is the author of 60 original works, produced in 31 nations, 24 of the United States, and 292 cities - including 41 museum exhibitions. www.jonahbokaer.net
Nico Muhly (b.1981) is an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. The recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, St. Paul's Cathedral, The Philadelphia Orchestra and others; he has written more than 80 works for the concert stage. www.nicomuhly.com