Lisa Bielawa to be Inaugural Composer-in-Residence of The Philip Glass Institute at The New School

By: Dec. 05, 2018
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Lisa Bielawa to be Inaugural Composer-in-Residence of The Philip Glass Institute at The New School

The New School's College of Performing Arts (CoPA) today announced a landmark partnership with the Philip Glass Ensemble (PGE) and long-time PGE member, Lisa Bielawa, around the work of Philip Glass, one of the world's preeminent composers, musicians, and authors, to form a new learning and creative center. Building on Glass's enduring contributions to modern culture, the Philip Glass Institute (PGI) will offer students, faculty, and the public the opportunity to immerse themselves in the work of Philip Glass, other important artists within his circle, and the work of the iconic Philip Glass Ensemble. Renowned composer and long-time vocalist for the PGE Lisa Bielawa will become the inaugural Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator of the Philip Glass Institute.

The institute will launch with a performance by the Philip Glass Ensemble and a panel discussion with Glass, Bielawa, and Richard Kessler, Executive Dean of CoPA on January 6, 2019 at 4:30pm, at The New School's Tishman Auditorium. The free event will also include a performance of an excerpt from Bielawa's made-for-TV opera, Vireo, which will be workshopped for live performance at the institute in spring 2020.

Peerless in his originality as a composer and musician, Glass's work has been instrumental in breaking down barriers across genres. His work includes the groundbreaking opera Einstein on the Beach, Music in Twelve Parts, and Academy Award-nominated scores for three films. Glass has captivated audiences worldwide with his bold artistic vision, which fuses a truly original musical language and an unparalleled collaborative practice, all in a singular entrepreneurial spirit.

The idea for the Philip Glass Institute originated between Glass and Bielawa, who both felt that The New School would be the ideal setting for such an institute. Subsequently, Bielawa approached Kessler about the future of the Philip Glass Ensemble, Philip's legacy, the continuation of his work, along with her own work, and how this all might work together under a single umbrella. Both Kessler and Bielawa were struck by the ways in which Glass has built community throughout his career, a practice that Bielawa has honored in her own work and life as well. Together, Glass, Bielawa, and Kessler were drawn toward creating an institute to further that ethos.

"I can think of no better home for the Philip Glass Institute and the Philip Glass Ensemble than The New School's College of Performing Arts," said Kessler. "Over the past century, The New School has been a home to John Cage, Henry Cowell, Martha Graham, Aaron Copland, the Fluxus Movement, and scores of trailblazing artists and scholars. Today, the original, highly influential, and beloved work of Philip Glass will become accessible for a long time to come to new generations of students and audiences through this exciting new partnership."

"I am very pleased about the Philip Glass Institute at The New School," Glass said. "My own legacy flourished in a wide garden of music going on all at the same time. In my lifetime I was contemporaneous with all kinds of music, and I rejoiced in it...In terms of range and variety of modern music, it is important to be unafflicted by prejudice. The music stands by itself. At the new PGI we can prioritize a curriculum which doesn't require critical approval of any period or style...Young composers need to be true to their voices. 'Coming up' can be very independent, and this is what will be guiding our work at The New School."

As the inaugural Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator of the Philip Glass Institute, Bielawa will serve not just to preserve Glass's legacy, but to further it by creating new works, curating concerts, and creating new courses and curricula that build on the ethos and vision of Philip Glass. Bielawa, an award-winning multidisciplinary artist-composer, is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition and recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

"It is a huge honor and pleasure to spearhead this new initiative at The New School, which has a long history of charting new territory in the way that artists share their work and lives with the next generation," said Bielawa. "The Philip Glass Institute is a new and lasting way to celebrate Philip's ethos: an NYC incubator for the sharing of ideas, among a multi-generational community of composers, performers, and music industry professionals."

The Philip Glass Institute at The New School will create new learning opportunities rooted in Glass's contributions to modern musical and cultural life. Students across CoPA's three schools - Mannes School of Music, School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and School of Drama - will learn composition, sound design, musicology, and arts management, among other disciplines, from members of the Philip Glass Ensemble and CoPA faculty who are frequent collaborators with Glass including Matt Haimovitz, Jennifer Koh, Bob Hurwitz, and Dennis Russell Davies.

As Ensemble in Residence, the Philip Glass Ensemble will base its extensive touring and performance operations out of The New School. Recognized as the premier performers of Glass's compositions, the Ensemble has been exclusively devoted to performing Glass's iconic works in some of the world's most prestigious music festivals and concert venues. At The New School, the group will integrate its rigorous practice-performance methodology into CoPA's innovative curriculum, hosting workshops, leading masterclasses, and welcoming the public to select rehearsals. This first-of-its-kind residency at CoPA will be instrumental in preparing students to succeed in the 21st century musical landscape.


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