Nov. 14 at Zankel Hall, NYC Sunday, Nov. 16 at I'House, Philly
Fred Ho debuts in his first orchestral piece: When the Real Dragons Fly!
Plus premieres by top emerging composers
Clint Needham, Keeril Makan, and Gregory Spears, and a New York premiere by Kamran Ince.
American Composers Orchestra's opening
concert of its 32nd season as the nation's most adventurous champion of
inventive new American orchestral music takes place on Friday, November 14, 2008
at 7:30pm presented by Carnegie Hall at Zankel Hall.
The concert features the world premiere
of When the Real
the first orchestral composition by Fred Ho, one of avant-jazz's most
progressive innovators, marking a major statement for the composer-saxophonist
after treatment for colon cancer. ACO's cutting-edge Orchestra Underground,
conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky, will also perform three new works by emerging composers:
Clint Needham(winner of the
2007 ACO/Underwood Emerging Composers Commission) delivers his brand new
for electric guitar and orchestra gets its world premiere, featuring
heard at ACO's Underwood New Music Readings and ACO's 2007/Penn Presents New
Music Lab) brings the New York premiere of Finishing, and Kamran Incefuses his Turkish-American heritages in
a work of spiritual obsessiveness plumbing both depths and heights on
The evening will take us on a journey of transformation and recovery; of layers
both applied and peeled away; and of pure crystalline
The concert will be repeated Sunday,
November 16, 2008 at 7:30PM at International House at the University of
Pennsylvania, presented by the Annenberg Center for the Performing
Listen to an interview of Fred Ho by David Garland on WNYC'sEar to Ear, November 8, 2008.
With this concert,
Fred Ho makes a long-awaited return to the concert stage following a
more than two-year battle with cancer. In Ho's Diary of a Radical Cancer Warrior: Fighting Cancer and Capitalism at the Cellular Level,
he says, "My sax playing is very strong, even stronger than before I
entered surgery. After surgery, my diaphragm had to heal before I could
play again. But now I play with a lot more power and control. This
stems from the breathing exercises I've been doing, but also from the
development of my CHI energy. I basically have out grown everything
made for the bari sax. There isn't a big enough mouthpiece commercially
made for me. I need reeds harder/stronger than the #5, the hardest
commercially made. I play the horn now like a double-reed instrument,
barely touching the reed with my embouchure. From the power of my
breath alone, I can make it vibrate without touching it."
Ho describes When
the Real Dragons Fly! for saxophone and orchestra as a liberation song
bidding "farewell to obstructionists and gatekeepers who prevent the
real creative forces in humanity" from soaring. The title, based on a
traditional Chinese folk song used to say farewell, suggests the
sweeping vision of his music. The composer will join the orchestra on
baritone saxophone to combine asynchronous tunes and melodies of
various musical traditions, creating what many have described as
brilliant and chaotic sounds.
Listen to an excerpt of Needham's Earth and Green as performed by ACO at the 2007 Underwood New Music Readings
participated in ACO's 2007 Underwood New Music Readings, winning that
program's Emerging Composer Commission. Originally from Texas, Needham
is currently a Jacobs School of Music doctoral fellow in composition at
Indiana University. At the time of the Underwood Award, ACO artistic
director Robert Beaser said Needham "knows how to both orchestrate and
create a compelling music narrative. His music demonstrates remarkable
range and color." Since winning the Underwood Commission Needham has
been writing his Chamber Symphony for its world premiere at ACO's
season-opening concert. The Chamber Symphony is laid out in three
five-minute movements that explore various colors. The work comprises a
wide variety of moods and textures, ranging from very intimate chamber
music sections to larger orchestral colors.
Keeril Makan: Dream Lightly for Electric Guitar & Orchestra (World Premiere, ACO Commission)
Listen to an excerpt of Makan's Washed by Fire
(2007) for string quartet, performed by the Kronos Quartet
Assistant Professor of Music at M.I.T., was awarded the 2008 Rome Prize
from the American Academy in Rome. His new work for electric guitar and
orchestra will showcase soloist Seth Josel, a leading new-music
interpreter with an international career. Using live electronic
processing, the work is not so much a traditional concerto for a
popular instrument as it is a sophisticated exploration of shifting
timbral layers and possibilities.
Seth Josel, electric guitar
Originally from New
York and now residing in Berlin, Seth Josel has performed as a guest
with leading orchestras and ensembles including the BBC Symphony
Orchestra (London), the RSB Berlin, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester
Berlin, the South German Radio Choir, the Staatskappelle Berlin, and
the Schönberg Ensemble of Amsterdam. Several of the leading young
composers of our time, including Peter Ablinger, Richard Barrett,
Sidney Corbett, Chaya Czernowin, and Manfred Stahnke, have written
works for him. He appears as performer on CDs released by Nonesuch,
Mode Records, CPO, Col Legno, Cybele Records, HetHut, New World
Records, Touch Records, and Winter & amp; Winter. Josel is a
graduate of Manhattan School of Music and holds a DMA from Yale
Kamran Ince: Domes (New York & Philadelphia Premieres)
Listen to an excerpt of Ince's Domes.
Kamran Ince, in its New York premiere, is an extended orchestral
movement, drawing on Ince's Turkish-American heritage. The piece offers
a succession of contrasting moods and tempos that unfold within a
larger, time-space continuum. "The work features a recurring ticking,
tinkling motif that makes me feel as if I'm trapped inside some kind of
cosmic clockwork from which there is no escape," the composer says.
Gregory Spears: Finishing (New York Premiere)
Spears is an alumnus of both ACO's Underwood New Music Readings and the
first ACO/Penn Presents New Music Readings in 2007. For this opening
concert, ACO reprises Finishing, the work Spears created for the Penn Presents Readings.
Spears says of this work, "Finishing
is a meditation on endings. Within the piece the traditional chamber
orchestra is augmented with the sound of mark-trees, dog-whistles, and
small tape recorders to produce an ambient haze around a series of
recurring trumpet calls. The title also refers to the practice of
adding a seductive veneer to the cover of books-in this case depicted
musically through shiny textures and an abundance of decorative
flourish. I was also interested in the darker melancholic definition of
"finish" as that which causes one's utter downfall or ruin."
Milarsky, a leading conductor of contemporary music in New York City,
is a frequent collaborator with ACO and a former member of the
orchestra. In the United States and abroad, he has premiered and
recorded works by contemporary composers, including Charles Wuorinen,
Fred Lerdahl, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Lasse Thoresen, Gerard
Grisey, Jonathan Dawe, Tristan Murail, Ralph Shapey, Luigi Nono, Mario
Davidovsky, and Wolfgang Rihm. Milarsky is professor of music at
Columbia University, where he is the music director/conductor of the
Columbia University Orchestra and the newly formed Manhattan
Sinfonietta, which concentrates on 20th- and 21st-century scores. He is
also on the faculty of The Manhattan School of Music as artistic
director and conductor of the percussion ensemble and directs AXIOM,
Juilliard's newest contemporary music ensemble. Milarsky's most recent
foray with ACO was last April's Playing it UNsafe, a weeklong
laboratory for the development of experimental new orchestra music that
included five world premieres.
ACO performs at
Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall Friday, November 14, 2008, at 7:30pm.
Tickets are $38 and $48, and may be purchased through CarnegieCharge
at 212-247-7800, by visiting Carnegie Hall's website at www.carnegiehall.org,
or at the Carnegie Hall box office, 57th Street at 7th Ave.
program will be repeated Sunday, November 16, 2008, at 7:30pm at the
International House at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Tickets for the Philadelphia performance are $22 and are available by
calling Penn Presents at 215-893-3900, or online at www.pennpresents.org.
support of American Composers Orchestra is provided by Amphion
Foundation, Argosy Contemporary Music Fund, Arlington Associates,
ASCAP, ASCAP Foundation, Bay and Paul Foundations, Mary Duke Biddle
Foundation, BMI, BMI Foundation, NY City Council Member Gale A. Brewer,
Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Edward T. Cone Foundation,
Consolidated Edison, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Alice M. Ditson
Fund of Columbia University, Fromm Music Foundation, GAP Foundation,
Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts,
Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, The Irving
Harris Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, Jerome Foundation, John
and Evelyn Kossak Foundation, Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation, Meet The
Composer, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fan Fox & Leslie R.
Samuels Foundation, Virgil Thomson Foundation, Paul Underwood
Charitable Trust, The Isak and Rose Weinman Foundation and The Helen F.
programs are also made possible with public funds from the National
Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and New York
City Department of Cultural Affairs.
residency at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is made
possible by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the
Philadelphia Music Project, and by a grant from The Wallace Foundation.
Derek Bermel is the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with American Composers Orchestra. Music Alive is a national program of the League of American Orchestras and Meet The Composer.