Cynthia Nixon Joins Gordon Getty's THE WHITE ELECTION, 4/19
Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon will join soprano Lisa Delan and pianist Kristin Pankonin in an evening that features Gordon Getty's The White Election, a song cycle based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Ms. Nixon will read selections from Emily Dickinson's letters. The event will take place on Thursday, April 19, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. at The Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse (Samuel B. & David Rose Building, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 165 West 65th Street, Manhattan).
The evening, celebrating National Poetry Month, will be presented by PentaTone Classics and will benefit the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Tickets are $35 ($20 for seniors and students) available at www.lincolncenter.org, by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500, or at the Avery Fisher Hall box office.
In 1986, Gordon Getty composed The White Election, a cycle of poems by Emily Dickinson for soprano and piano, after close reflection on Dickinson's 1862 poetic declaration, "Mine --- by the Right of the White Election! Mine – by the Grave's Repeal! Title – Confirmed! Delirious Charter! Mine-long as Ages steal!" This work explores themes of mortality, renunciation, and fulfillment. Concert performances and two recordings (one by Ms. Delan on PentaTone Classics, and one by the late Kaaren Erickson on Delos) have been highly praised, and The White Election has taken its place in the repertory.
"The White Election," says Gordon Getty, "is meant to tell Emily Dickinson's story in her words. It is the story of a poet, and the business of poets is to observe and invent." Mr. Getty takes note of the fact that Emily Dickinson had studied voice and piano and often played at home. A friend of Emily Dickinson's remembered that on her (the friend's) father's visits to the Dickinson home, he "would be awakened from his sleep by heavenly music. Emily would explain in the morning, 'I can improvise better at night.'" Another visitor recalled that Emily was "often at the piano playing weird and beautiful melodies, all from her own inspiration." Emily herself told a friend, "I play the old, odd tunes yet, which used to flit about your head after honest hours." Getty remarks that "all this inspires the conjecture that Emily may have set her own poems to music, or even conceived of some of them as songs in the first place. I have set them, in large part, just as Emily might have if her music had found a balance between tradition and iconoclasm something like that in her poems."
Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winner Cynthia Nixon has been a critically acclaimed and sought after actress since the age of twelve.
Nixon most recently appeared on Broadway in the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Wit. The play follows a brilliant and exacting poetry professor (Nixon) as she undergoes experimental treatment for cancer. A scholar who devoted her life to academia, she must now face the irony and injustice of becoming the subject of research.
She will next be seen in World Without End, a television mini-series based on the novel by Ken Follett.
Nixon last appeared in the film Rampart, with Woody Harrelson, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. She also recently reprised her guest-starring role on Showtime's critically acclaimed hit The Big C opposite Laura Linney, now in its third season. She recently played Michele Davis in Curtis Hanson's Too Big to Fail for HBO, a story about the collapse of Wall Street and the financial crisis of 2008, in which a group of powerbrokers decide the fate of the world's economy in a matter of a few weeks. The telepic also stars James Woods, Paul Giamatti and William Hurt. In 2010 Nixon starred in the sequel to New Line's 2008 summer blockbuster Sex and the City: the Movie. She also appeared in Richard Laxton's An Englishman in New York opposite John Hurt, Lymelife along with Alec Baldwin and Timothy Hutton, and The Babysitters opposite John Leguizamo. Prior to that, Nixon was seen in New Regency's feature Little Manhattan as well as in Alex Steyermark's One Last Thing, which premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival and was screened at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. The actress starred in HBO's telepic Warm Springs, in which she plays Eleanor Roosevelt opposite Kenneth Branagh's Franklin Roosevelt. This role earned Nixon a Golden Globe nomination, a SAG Award nomination, and an Emmy nomination. In 2004 she starred in the mini-series Tanner on Tanner, directed by Robert Altman and written by Garry Trudeau, a sequel to Tanner '88.
For six seasons Nixon starred as Miranda Hobbes in HBO's much celebrated series, Sex and the City, a role that garnered her an Emmy Award in 2004 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, two other Emmy nominations, and four consecutive Golden Globe nominations. Nixon was honored with the 2001 and 2004 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
She was seen onstage as "Mama" in Lisa Loomer's Off-Broadway play Distracted, which was directed by Mark Brokaw for the Roundabout Theatre. Nixon's performance earned her a Drama League nomination. Prior to that she performed the title role of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. In 2006 the actress completed a successful run in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize winning play Rabbit Hole for which she won the Tony Award for Best Actress, as well as earned a Drama League nomination and an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination. Prior to that, she performed on Broadway as Mary Haines in the Roundabout's revival of The Women, which was also broadcast on PBS' Stage to Screen series. Nixon won a Theatre World Award at 14 for her stage debut as Dinah Lord in Ellis Rabb's production of The Philadelphia Story at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre. At 15, she was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Louis Malle in the title role of John Guare's Lydie Breeze. Most remarkably, at age 18, she appeared simultaneously in two Broadway productions, David Rabe's Hurlyburly and Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, both directed by Mike Nichols.
Nixon began her film career at age twelve with Ronald F. Maxwell's Little Darlings and went on to appear in Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City, Milos Forman's Amadeus, Robert Altman's O.C. & Stiggs, Marshall Brickman's The Manhattan Project, Let it Ride, Addams Family Values, The Pelican Brief, John Hughes' Baby's Day Out, Marvin's Room, The Out-of-Towners, Igby Goes Down, and Advice from a Caterpillar, based on the play by the Douglas Carter Beane.
Nixon's very first professional job was an ABC After School Special, Seven Wishes of a Rich Kid, costarring Butterfly McQueen. She went on to appear in PBS's presentation of Mark Twain's Private History of a Campaign that Failed, Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July and Women and Wallace (the last two for American Playhouse).
She has most recently appeared on network television in guest roles on Law & Order: SVU, a role which earned her an Emmy Award for Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Additional appearances include House, ER, and Papa's Angels. In 2009, Nixon was awarded a Spoken Word Grammy for her recording of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.
Born and raised in New York City, Nixon attended Hunter College High School and has a degree in English Literature from Barnard College. She and her fiancé Christine live in New York City with their daughter, Samantha, and sons, Charlie and Max.
American composer Gordon Getty's works have been performed throughout North America and Europe in such prestigious venues as New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London's Royal Festival Hall, Vienna's Brahmssaal, and Moscow's Tchaikovsky Hall, as well as at the Aspen and Spoleto Festivals. In 1986, he was honored as an Outstanding American Composer at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and he was awarded the 2003 Gold Baton of the American Symphony Orchestra League.
Getty's first major work, The White Election (1981), is an often-performed cycle of 32 poems by Emily Dickinson for solo singer and piano. Notable performances have been given in New York City at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and the Pierpont Morgan Library; in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center and National Gallery of Art; and in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the Hermitage Theater. In 2009, the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, presented The White Election featuring soprano Lisa Delan and pianist Kristin Pankonin; and in 2010, Delan reprised the work for Cal Performances in Berkeley with Mikhail Pletnev at the piano.
In 1984, Getty's opera Plump Jack was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony. His operatic interpretation of Shakespeare's multifaceted Sir John Falstaff has since been revived by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonia. In 2011, the Munich Radio Orchestra and an international cast performed and recorded a new concert version of Plump Jack in Munich. The performance, conducted by Ulf Schirmer, was also simulcast on the Bavarian Radio. The recording will be released in 2012 on the PentaTone Classics label. Also slated for a 2012 release is Getty's new two-act opera Usher House, recorded by PentaTone Classics in September of 2011, with Lawrence Foster conducting the Gulbenkian Orchestra Lisbon. The opera is loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe's Fall of the House of Usher.
Getty's choral works Victorian Scenes (1989) and Annabel Lee (1990) were premiered by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Sinfonia at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center. Michael Tilson Thomas led the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus in performances of Annabel Lee in both 1998 and 2004. Also in 2004, the same forces premiered Getty's Young America (2001), a cycle of six movements for chorus and orchestra to texts by the composer and by Stephen Vincent Benét. Joan and the Bells, Getty's cantata portraying the trial and execution of Joan of Arc, has been performed throughout the US, Europe and Russia since its 1998 premiere, notably in the 2004 revival in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle under the baton of Mikhail Pletnev. Getty has recently completed choral works based on Keats' La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl, and an original poem, The Old Man in the Night.
Although the majority of Getty's writing features the voice, his compositions include works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo piano. In March of 2012, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, will perform the string orchestra arrangement of Getty's Four Traditional Pieces. The string quartet version of this piece will be featured on a CD of Getty's chamber music, including the complete piano works, which is due in 2013. The Bolshoi Ballet and the Russian National Orchestra premiered Getty's Ancestor Suite in 2009. The ballet suite was choreographed by Vladimir Vasiliev for the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The Russian National Orchestra and the Bolshoi Ballet will join forces again in July of 2012 for a performance of the ballet at the Festival del Sole in Napa.
Getty's works are featured on several recordings on the PentaTone label: The White Election, with soprano Lisa Delan and pianist Fritz Steinegger; Joan and the Bells, with the Russian National Orchestra, Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, and soloists Lisa Delan and Vladimir Chernov; and Young America, with the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus led by Michael Tilson Thomas. This last recording is a choral compilation which also includes Victorian Scenes, Annabel Lee and Three Welsh Songs (1999). His three-song cycle Poor Peter (2005) was included on And If the Song Be Worth a Smile, a recording of songs by six living American composers, featuring soprano Lisa Delan and pianist Kristin Pankonin. In 2010, PentaTone released Gordon Getty, a recording of orchestral works performed by Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. In addition, a recording of The White Election featuring soprano Kaaren Erickson was released by Delos in 1998.
Of his compositions Getty has said: "My style is undoubtedly tonal, though with hints of atonality, such as any composer would likely use to suggest a degree of disorientation. But I'm strictly tonal in my approach. I represent a viewpoint that stands somewhat apart from the 20th century, which was in large measure a repudiation of the 19th, and a sock in the nose to sentimentality. Whatever it was that the great Victorian composers and poets were trying to achieve, that's what I'm trying to achieve."
Getty's music is published by Rork Music.
American soprano Lisa Delan has performed on some of the world's leading concert stages including Lincoln Center, the Auditiorio Nacional in Madrid, the Moscow Conservatory, and in a special appearance at Windsor Castle. Her festival appearances include the Bad Kissingen Festival in Germany, the Colmar Festival in France, the Rachmaninoff Festival in Novgorod, Russia, the Festival del Sole in Napa Valley, California, the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy, and the Domaine Forget Festival in Canada. In July 2012, Ms. Delan returns to the Festival del Sole in performances with Sir James Galway and pianist Kristin Pankonin.
Ms. Delan won recognition from singing the title role in the world premiere of Gordon Getty's Joan and the Bells in 1998, a role she has since reprised in France, Germany, the US, and Russia, and in the 2002 recording for PentaTone Classics. The soprano reprises this role for the Russian National Orchestra's Fourth Grand Festival in Moscow in September, 2012. On the same concert Ms. Delan will premiere a cycle of songs on the poetry of William Butler Yeats composed for her by Mikhail Pletnev.
As a recital artist, Ms. Delan has a repertoire that encompasses the Baroque to the contemporary, and she is privileged to collaborate with composers whose musical lives are still works in progress: Ms. Delan has performed and recorded the music of William Bolcom, John Corigliano, David Garner, Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie, Andrew imbrie, and LUna Pearl Woolf, among others. In 2009, she performed Getty's well-known song cycle The White Election, on poems by Emily Dickinson, in a recital presented by the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, with pianist Kristin Pankonin. In 2010, Cal Performances featured Ms. Delan in two concerts in Berkeley, California: The White Election with Mikhail Pletnev at the piano, and in concert with the Russian National Orchestra. Ms. Delan and Ms. Pankonin come together again to perform The White Election at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center in April, 2012.
Ms. Delan was featured on three recordings released by PentaTone Classics in 2009 (with two additional recordings slated for release in 2012-13): And If the Song Be Worth a Smile, her debut solo recording of songs by American composers (with pianist Kristin Pankonin and guest artists Matt Haimovitz and Susanne Mentzer); The White Election, a new recording of Getty's song cycle (with pianist Fritz Steinegger); and as a guest artist on Phenomenon, a recording of works by San Francisco-based composer David Garner.
Pianist Kristin Pankonin performs regularly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and has appeared in numerous recitals across the US, Canada and Europe. In recent seasons, she has appeared in concert with such artists as vocalists Frederica von Stade, Zheng Cao, Catherine Cook, Christine Abraham, and Lisa Delan, cellist Matt Haimovitz, and many others. Audiences have heard her in various concert series including the Festival del Sole concerts in Napa, the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy, the Shenson Recital Series at Stanford, Maestro Foundation Concerts, Mills College Concert Series, San Francisco Conservatory of Music Faculty Artist Series, Old First Church Concerts, and Composers Inc.
Committed to performing the music of contemporary composers, Ms. Pankonin is featured on two recordings on the PentaTone Classics label, And If the Song Be Worth a Smile, performing vocal works of living American composers, and Phenomenon, songs by Bay Area composer David Garner with vocalists Lisa Delan, Susanne Mentzer, Francisco Araiza, William Stone, and Stephanie Friede, cellist Matt Haimovitz, and members of the San Francisco Symphony.
Ms. Pankonin currently serves on the faculties of Mills College and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Emily Dickinson MUSEUM
The Emily Dickinson Museum is dedicated to educating diverse audiences about Emily Dickinson's life, family, creative work, times, and enduring relevance, and to preserving and interpreting the Homestead and The Evergreens as historical resources for the benefit of scholars and the general public.
The museum is comprised of two historic Dickinson family houses in the center of Amherst, Massachusetts. The Homestead was the birthplace and home of the poet Emily Dickinson for all but fifteen years of her life. The Evergreens was the home of two of the poet's closest confidants, her brother and sister-in-law Austin and Susan Gilbert Dickinson, and their three children. These two family homes and the surrounding acreage constituted Dickinson's intimate world; there she wrote nearly all of the 1,789 poems we know today.
Until her deepest seclusion, Emily Dickinson was part of the constant traffic between the two family homes, and subsequently remained connected with her brother's family by exchanging messages, poems, and gifts of affection. In her later years Emily Dickinson rarely left the bounds of the family property and died at the Homestead in 1886.
The museum, open to the public five days a week from March through December, offers a well-regarded program of guided tours of the two Dickinson houses and landscape. It offers pre-arranged tours for large groups and hosts a series of public programs and special events throughout the year. The museum also pursues an active restoration program of the two Dickinson family homes and grounds (www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org).