Columbia University Continues Composer Portraits Series with Jonathan Harvey, 10/11


Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts continues the 2012-13 season of its Composer Portraits series with the works of eminent composer Jonathan Harvey, featuring Ensemble Signal with Brad Lubman, conductor. Ensemble Signal gives voice to two of the British composer's spiritual tours-de-force in this moving Portrait-Death of Light/Light of Death (1998) and Bhakti (1982).

The concert will take place on Thursday, October 11, 2012, 8:00 PM. Miller Theatre is located at 2960 Broadway at 116th Street. Tickets: $25-30; Students with valid ID $15-18.

From Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey: "Jonathan Harvey's music is truly in a class of its own, and I can't wait for our audiences to experience it, particularly with Brad Lubman and Signal at the helm. It's sure to be an awe-inspiring evening."

Ensemble Signal surveys the spectrum of Harvey's spiritual explorations, performing works inspired by a moving Renaissance altarpiece of the crucifixion and the ancient Sanskrit hymns of the Rig Veda.

Jonathan Harvey was born on May 3, 1939 in Sutton Coldfield. He studied with Erwin Stein, Hans Keller, and at Cambridge. His early interests and influences were Stockhausen (his book on the composer is well-known) and Milton Babbitt, with whom he studied at Princeton on a Harkness Scholarship in 1969. His presence at the cutting edge of music made him a natural for IRCAM and following an invitation from Pierre Boulez, he produced Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voce, Bhakti, and a host of other works which they commissioned. Harvey has written music in many genres. He is known to many as a composer of inspirational choral music; his four quartets commissioned by the Arditti Quartet are internationally performed and now recorded on Aeon to great acclaim; his three operas, Passion and Resurrection, Inquest of Love (an ENO commission), and Wagner Dream (commissioned by Netherlands Opera) have added lustre to his reputation. Perhaps, however, his skill at combining electronic sounds with live instruments has been his greatest achievement, resulting in several large-scale orchestral works performed at major venues such as the BBC Proms and the Berlin Philharmonie. He wrote the 'Glasgow Trilogy' (Body Mandala, Speakings, and…towards a Pure Land) for the BBC Scottish Symphony as composer-in-residence between 2006 and 2008. His commission from the Berlin Philharmonic, Weltethos, was conducted by Sir Simon Rattle in October 2011. It has since been performed in Birmingham by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardener, who will perform it again in London in October 2012. The BBC marked its appreciation of Harvey's international standing in January 2012 with a weekend dedicated to his music at the Barbican. The 'Total Immersion' festival featured many of his major works, including the British concert premiere of Wagner Dream, which will be restaged by the Welsh National Opera in 2013. Harvey has won a number of prizes including the prestigious Monaco Prize for composition in 2010. In 2012 his work Messages won the RPS Award for Large Scale Composition.

Ensemble Signal is a large New York-based ensemble dedicated to offering the broadest possible audience access to a diverse range of visionary works through performance, commissioning, recording, and educational outreach. Its artist roster includes some of most gifted and innovative young musicians working in New York. Signal performs with conductor Brad Lubman, who founded the group along with cellist and co-artistic director Lauren Radnofsky. To form what the New York Times has described as "one of the most vital groups of its kind," Lubman and Radnofsky assembled a "new music dream team" (Time Out New York) of independent artists who have worked closely with one another and Lubman over the last decade. Members of JACK Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, and other leading New York ensembles perform regularly with the ensemble. Signal is flexible in size and instrumentation, enabling it to meet the demands of its diverse repertoire that ranges from Philip Glass to Helmut Lachenmann. At home in concert halls, clubs, and international festivals alike, Signal has performed at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall to (le) Poisson Rouge. Signal made its debut in Spring 2008 at the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York and the Ojai Music Festival in California, earning praise for "deeply committed performances" (Musical America) of "gripping vehemence" (Los Angeles Times). Soon after, Signal gave two sold-out performances of Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians and You Are (Variations) at (le) Poisson Rouge, earning praise from the New York Times for their "vibrant, euphoric performances that seemed to electrify the remarkably youthful audience." 2011–12 season highlights included performances at Tanglewood, playing the music of Brian Ferneyhough; (le) Poisson Rouge, collaborating with Philip Glass Ensemble Music Director Michael Riesman; The Guggenheim Museum, for the New York premiere of a new cantata by Charles Wuorinen; and Miller Theatre's Composer Portrait series, premiering a new work by Hilda Paredes written for Signal and Irvine Arditti. Future projects include the commission of a 30-minute work for 20 players by Steve Reich. Signal's recordings include Philip Glass' Glassworks and Music in Similar Motion (Glass' Orange Mountain label) and Sarah Kirkland Snider's Penelope (New Amsterdam Records). Upcoming releases include a CD/surround-sound DVD of music by Lachenmann, with the composer as soloist in Zwei Gefühle (Mode); Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe's Shelter (Cantaloupe); and Reich's Music for 18 Musicians and Pulitzer-prize winning Double Sextet (Cantaloupe).

Brad Lubman, conductor/composer, is founding co-Artistic Director and Music Director of Ensemble Signal. He has gained widespread recognition during the past two decades for his versatility, commanding technique, and insightful interpretations. His guest conducting engagements include major orchestras such as the DSO Berlin, Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie, WDR Symphony Cologne, Cracow Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Dresdner Philharmonic, Saarbrücken Radio Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, New World Symphony, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, performing repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary orchestral works. He has worked with some of the most important ensembles for contemporary music, including London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, musikFabrik, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, and Steve Reich and Musicians. He has recorded for Albany, BMG/RCA, Bridge, Cantaloupe, CRI, Kairos, Koch, Mode, New World, Nonesuch, Orange Mountain, and Tzadik. Lubman's own compositions have been performed in the USA and Europe and can be heard on his CD, insomniac, on Tzadik. Lubman is Associate Professor of Conducting and Ensembles at the Eastman School of Music, where he has directed the Musica Nova ensemble since joining the faculty in 1997. He is also on the faculty of the Bang-on-a-Can Summer Institute. He is represented by Karsten Witt Musik Management.

Upcoming concerts in Miller Theatre's Composer Portraits series:

Olga Neuwirth
Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sofia Gubaidulina
Saturday, February 9, 2013

Enno Poppe
Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rebecca Saunders
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Oliver Knussen
Thursday, April 18, 2013

Julio Estrada
Thursday, May 16, 2013

Columbia University's Miller Theatre is located north of the Main Campus Gate at 116th St. & Broadway on the ground floor of Dodge Hall. Tickets will be available online at starting August 15. The public may also purchase tickets through the Miller Theatre Box Office in person or at 212/854-7799, M–F, 12–6 p.m.

Photo credit: Maurice Foxall