Resonance Works Traverses The Globe With Season Opener THE NATIONAL ANTHEMS
By emphasizing themes of cultural inclusion and gender equality, Resonance Works' landmark seventh season is taking strides in tandem with the global classical music community to diversify the classical canon. In this season, Resonance Works brings underrepresented works and composers from across the international stage into the limelight. No less than half of the composers this season will be women from generations past and present, woven into a colorful tapestry of nationalities that illuminates an existing diversity we rarely encounter in performance.
"There is a pressing need to update and expand our understanding of history by including art created by more than just white men. To be truly relevant today, the diversity in our art should reflect the diversity in our communities," says Artistic Director Maria Sensi Sellner.
"Women are half the population and are writing much of the most important music right now, but we are still not used to hearing more than a couple of pieces in a season. It takes a little effort to begin to shift that paradigm, but really only a little. Resonance Works has decided to take that step and show what that could look like, and it's really exciting."
In line with these goals, Resonance Works will open this season on Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3 with a program entitled the national anthems. The program pays homage to our global community with a multicultural program inspired by Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang's work of the same name for choir and string quartet. As Lang explains:
"I had the idea that if I looked carefully at every national anthem I might be able to identify something that everyone in the world could agree on. If I could take just one hopeful sentence from the national anthem of every nation in the world, I might be able to make a kind of meta-anthem of the things that we all share... Hiding in every national anthem is the recognition that we are insecure about our freedoms, that freedom is fragile, and delicate, and easy to lose. Maybe an anthem is a memory informing a kind of prayer, a heartfelt plea: 'There was a time when we were forced to live in chains. Please don't make us live in chains again.'"
The two performances will be presented from within the University of Pittsburgh's non-denominational Heinz Memorial Chapel and Charity Randall Theatre respectively. Each will be preceded by a musical prelude and tour of the University's majestic Nationality Rooms. Designed to celebrate highly-creative periods in each country's history, The Nationality Rooms pay homage to the contributions of immigrants from around the world who settled in the Pittsburgh region throughout the course of its history. As architecture and music are so often compared to one another, this pre-concert tour adds a critical dimension to understanding the contributions of immigrants to our cultural and artistic landscape.
In addition to Lang's seminal work, the program features a carefully curated mosaic of choral, vocal-chamber and instrumental pieces reflecting upon various ethnicities, cultures and traditions.
American composer Gabriela Lena Frank, who is herself of mixed Chinese-Peruvian and Lithuanian Jewish ancestry, looks to her Peruvian side in Ccollanan Maria for choir a cappella. Chinese composer Chen Yi-well known for exploring the intersection between traditional Chinese music and instruments and Western styles of composition-brings us three movements from her Chinese Folksongs series, which was originally written for Chanticleer. Canadian composer Vivian Fung transports us to Indonesia with her interpretation of the traditional "Monkey Dance" entitled Kecak Attack!, while Mexican-American Jorge Sosa focuses his lens on India with the world premiere performance of his Gitanjali #35. Sosa's work is written after the poem by Bengali Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
The program expands upon similar themes with further works by Arvo Pärt (Estonia), James MacMillan (Scotland), Caroline Shaw (USA), Mary Kouyoumdjian (Armenia), Enoch Sontonga (South Africa), Florence Price (African American), Kaija Saariaho (Finland) and Silvestre Revueltas (Mexico), all under the expert leadership of Music Director Maria Sensi Sellner, who will conduct a six piece instrumental ensemble and twenty-voice Resonance Works Festival Chorus.
Resonance Works offers reserved seating at the Charity Randall Theatre and zone seating in Heinz Chapel. Tickets start at just $25, with discounts available for students and seniors. Subscriptions and memberships for the full season are still available. To purchase tickets, please visit www.resworks.org/tickets or call (412) 501-3330.