The music of composer Judah Adashi is grounded in the classical tradition and imbued with soul and pop influences ranging from Nina Simone to Björk. Among Judah’s recent works is ‘Rise’, a collaboration with the poet Tameka Cage Conley. The piece bears witness to America’s fraught civil rights journey from Selma to Ferguson and beyond, with all proceeds going to the family of Freddie Gray, whose death in police custody sparked the Baltimore Uprising. Judah is the founder and artistic director of the Evolution Contemporary Music Series, established in 2005 in Baltimore. Judah has been a member the faculty at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University since 2002. He also directs Junior Bach, a one-on-one mentoring program in composition for students in Baltimore schools.
He has been honored with awards, grants and commissions from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the ASCAP and BMI Foundations, the American Composers Forum, New Music USA and the Aspen Music Festival, as well as residencies at Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Judah holds an MM and doctorate from Peabody, and a BM from Yale University. He lives in Baltimore with his fiancée and frequent collaborator, cellist Lavena Johanson.
I first encountered the poetry of Ciara Shuttleworth in The New Yorker, in November 2010. Her poem “Sestina” made an immediate impression on me, with its simplicity and depth of feeling. Ciara reimagines the traditional form for which her poem is famed, compressing it – and the entire life cycle of a relationship – into six words, variously rotated. “Sestina” is at once intimate and epic; I tried to reflect that sensibility in this spare musical setting for voice and orchestra.