The Boston Modern Orchestra Project Makes Its Carnegie Hall Debut In April

The performance is on April 15, 2023, at 8:00 p.m.

By: Jan. 31, 2023
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The Boston Modern Orchestra Project Makes Its Carnegie Hall Debut In April

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the nation's premier orchestra dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording new orchestral music, marks its 25th anniversary with its Carnegie Hall debut, April 15, 2023, at 8:00 p.m., on the Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. The ambitious program caps BMOP's quarter-century celebration with three New York premieres commissioned, premiered, and recorded by BMOP: the Grawemeyer Award-winning pieces Play by Andrew Norman and A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams by Lei Liang, and In medias res by Lisa Bielawa.

Celebrating the orchestra's return to New York City after 15 years, and the 20th anniversary of its New York debut (with the 2003 world premiere of Tod Machover's Toy Symphony at the World Financial Center), this concert marks the first time BMOP has performed in Carnegie Hall's iconic Stern Auditorium. "On behalf of the musicians as well as both the artistic and administrative staff, I cannot overstate how exhilarated BMOP feels to be back in New York City!" exclaimed Gil Rose, Conductor and Artistic Director of BMOP. "We are thrilled to be presenting music by three of BMOP's longtime friends who have established themselves as significant voices in American classical music. Their acclaimed works represent the power and potential of 21st century orchestral music: provocative, meditative, and whimsical."

The evening begins with Play, a 47-minute orchestral work by Los Angeles-based composer Andrew Norman (b.1979). Play was written for BMOP, during Norman's tenure as the orchestra's 2011-13 Music Alive Composer-in-Residence. BMOP premiered the piece in 2013, and later released it on its own record label in 2015. Since then, the piece has garnered considerable attention and critical acclaim, being described by The New York Times as, "the best orchestral work that the twenty-first century has seen thus far...a rich work, a stunning achievement all the more visceral for being heard live...a revolution in music." It won the prestigious 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. "If you've ever wondered how much raw power a symphony orchestra can unleash, you must hear executed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project under the direction of Gil Rose." (National Public Radio)

Chinese-born American composer Lei Liang (b.1972) is known for his ear-stretching soundscapes and for drawing from Chinese history. His largest orchestral work to date, A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams, was written for BMOP in 2017, premiered then recorded by BMOP in 2018, and later received the 2021 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. "In A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams, Liang's tonal and textural palettes become ever more exquisite, ranging from sonorities at the edge of silence in 'Healing Rain Drops' to full-orchestral might describing the shredding of landscapes. Liang's Chinese-inflected sound world is never less than fascinating and always deeply involving. The BMOP navigate their way through his precisely calculated sonorities with aplomb and accuracy." (Gramophone) Liang currently serves as the Chancellor's Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego.

Completing the program is In medias res by BMOP's 2006-09 Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Lisa Bielawa (b.1968). Premiered by BMOP at the end of her residency in 2009, it was later released on BMOP/sound in 2010. This piece is one of the most intimate and collaborative showcases of BMOP's musicians. During her residency, Bielawa drew inspiration from her relationships with the other musicians, creating short solo pieces especially for and expressing the personality of each core ensemble player. In medias res expertly weaves together these 15 synopses into a larger framework for orchestra. According to Bielawa, "this piece, in essence, is my thank you and farewell gift to Gil Rose, the players of BMOP, and the many wonderful individuals of the Boston music community who welcomed and integrated me into their lives over three years."


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