The music of Georg Friedrich Haas possesses "an otherworldly beauty," writes The New Yorker. His compositional toolbox includes exotic scales and alternative tunings. He often draws on centuries past for inspiration, as in this program, which includes homages to the music of Desprez and the poetry of Sappho. Newly appointed to the Columbia University faculty, Haas will participate in an onstage discussion about his music during the performance. After his first Composer Portrait in 2009, The New York Times wrote: "One of the pleasures of frequent concertgoing is discovering an exciting new or little-known work. The American premiere of 'In Vain,' a kaleidoscopic masterpiece by Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas, proved an exhilarating experience."
PROGRAM: Atthis, for soprano and 8 instruments (2009) tria ex uno, for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, and cello (2001) de terrae fine, for solo violin (2001)
Georg Friedrich Haas (b. 1953), who was born in Graz and has risen to become one of the most important Austrian composers internationally, felt limited by the established system of equal temperament. Notes shaded by microtonal deviations have therefore been determining factors in his compositions since the beginning of his career. Intensive experimentation with overtones has lent a new quality of radicalism to Haas's sound and, as a result, his works make particularly high demands on their performers. Haas studied at the Musikhochschule in Graz and with Friedrich Cerha at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, and has both attended and lectured at the Darmstadt Summer Courses. In the 1980s and 1990s, he participated in IRCAM and was awarded a fellowship for the Salzuburg Festival, as well as the Sandoz Prize and the Young Composers Grants of the Federal Ministry for Science, Research, and Culture. More recent awards include an International Rostrum of Composers prize for his Violin Concerto, a City of Vienna Prize for Music, the Andrzej Dobrowolski Composition Award, and the Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis award of Austria. He has also lectured at the Music Academy of the City of Basel, Switzerland and was a featured composer at both the Klangspuren Festival in Austria and the Borealis Festival in Norway.
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 the 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 andYou Are (Variations) at (le) Poisson Rouge, earning praise from The New York Times for "vibrant, euphoric performances that seemed to electrify the remarkably youthful audience." Recent highlights include 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).
Mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway has been praised by The New York Times for her "considerable depth of expression" and by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette for her "emotional characterizations and sumptuous voice...and remarkable sensitivity." She makes her Latin American debut this season at the Festival Internacional Cervantino and sings the world premiere of Gabriela Frank's Holy Sisters with the San Francisco Girls' Choir and Joana Carneiro. This January she created the title role in Mohammed Fairouz's Sumeida's Song. With the contemporary vocal ensemble Ekmeles, Ms. Calloway will perform at Princeton University, Roulette, and in a large scale collaboration with Talea Ensemble in Beat Furrer's FAMA at the Bohemian National Hall. Last season, she made her European debut as Mrs. Grose in Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw. Ms. Calloway has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera in workshops of Nico Muhly's Two Boys and Michael Torke's Senna, and in concert at Zankel Hall, Cornell University, (le) Poisson Rouge, Yale University, Depauw University, and Glimmerglass Opera. Ms. Calloway has appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center, Steinway Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Philadelphia's Academy of Music. A proponent of contemporary and lesser-known music, Ms. Calloway gave the world premiere of New Andean Songs by Gabriela Lena Frank on the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella series at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Last spring she sang Harrison Birtwhistle's Corridor in Merkin Hall and the world premiere of Nico Muhly's Stabat Mater, both with Ensemble Signal. She has performed Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire at Alice Tully Hall, Columbia University, and the Juilliard School and has appeared in the FOCUS! Festival of New Music. Ms. Calloway is a founding member of Shir Ami, an ensemble dedicated to the preservation and performance of Jewish art music suppressed by the Nazis and Soviets. She has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council and first prize in the Arts Recognition and Talent Search sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Calloway holds degrees from the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music.
Olivia De Prato
Internationally recognized as a soloist as well as a chamber musician, Austrian/Italian violinist Olivia De Prato has been described as "flamboyant....convincing" (New York Times) and an "enchanting violinist" (Messaggero Veneto, Italy). After moving to New York City she has quickly established herself as a passionate performer of contemporary and improvised music, breaking boundaries of the traditional violin repertoire. She regularly performs throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. Her chamber music activities include appearances at the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York City, the David Byrne Perspective Series at Carnegie Hall, the Lucerne Festival with Pierre Boulez, the Ensemble Modern Festival (Austria), June in Buffalo, the Ojai Festival with Steve Reich and Brad Lubman, the Darmstadt New Music Festival, and the Aldeburgh Festival in the UK.
Olivia is a member of New York contemporary music ensembles Signal and Victoire, and is the co-founder and violinist of the Mivos String Quartet. She has recorded on New Amsterdam Records, Tzadik, Sunnyside, Mode, Cantaloupe, Porter, and Carrier Records. As a guest artist, she has been invited to hold solo and chamber music master-classes for young musicians and composers in Anchorage (Alaska), Medellin (Colombia), Vienna (Austria), Hong Kong, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), MIAM University (Turkey), Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College, New York University, and CUNY Graduate Center in New York. Olivia has closely collaborated with renowned composers including Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Anthony Braxton, Chaya Czernowin, Peter Eötvös, Beat Furrer, Michael Gordon, Annie Gosfield, Helmut Lachenmann, David Lang, Brad Lubman, Philippe Manoury, Benedict Mason, Meredith Monk, Krystof Penderecki, Hilda Paredes, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Ned Rothenberg, Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, J.G Thirwell, Julia Wolfe, Charles Wuorinen, and Evan Ziporyn. Olivia De Prato grew up in Vienna and Italy. She studied at the University of Music and Arts in Vienna and holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music.
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.