Featuring Lukas Foss’ masterful Time Cycle with two world premieres commissioned by ACO and one US premiere
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) performs its second concert of the 2012-13 concert season, Orchestra Underground: Time Travels on Friday, January 18, 2013 at 7:30pm at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. The concert, led by ACO music director George Manahan features music that explores the concept of time – its mutability, importance, and role as an organizing principle. Lukas Foss’ 1960 masterwork, Time Cycle, is the centerpiece for the program, with soprano Jennifer Zetlan as the soloist. The evening also includes the world premiere of composer and soprano Kate Soper’s now is forever I. Orpheus and Eurydice for Voice and Orchestra featuring the composer as soloist, the world premiere of Kyle Blaha’s Triptych, and the US premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long’s Bell Drum Towers.
This concert program features:
Bell Drum Towers
Zhou Long (b. 1953) is internationally recognized for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West. Deeply grounded in the entire spectrum of his Chinese heritage, including folk, philosophical, and spiritual ideals, he is a pioneer in transferring the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions to modern Western instruments and ensembles. Among the ensembles that have commissioned him are the Bavarian Radio, BBC, Kansas City, Honolulu, California Pacific and Singapore Symphonies; the Brooklyn, Tokyo, China Philharmonics; the New Music Consort; Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble; the Kronos, Shanghai, Ciompi, and Chester string quartets; Ensemble Modern; PRISM Saxophone Quartet; New York New Music Ensemble; Chanticleer; Opera Boston; Beijing Music Festival; and musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Lan Shui, Long Yu and Leonard Slatkin. In 2011 Zhou Long was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his first opera, Madame White Snake. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and also serves as music director of Music From China (NYC).
Zhou Long says of the new piece, “Bells and drums were musical instruments in ancient China. Later they were used to tell time and became watches for the officials and common people as well . . . Although today the bell and drum towers have lost their function of telling time, these silent towers always fascinated my curiosity and imagination of hear the lingering of the ancient bells and drums sometimes from hazy wind, sometimes as a peal of thunder. In Bell Drum Towers, I am exploring my fantasy, the pulse of the drums beating. Gradually, new patterns develop, each time in a faster tempo, building to a climax that brings the presto wind-like section. Finally, the hazy wind rang the lingering bells.”
Zhou Long: Bell Drum Towers (original version)
Kate Soper (b. 1981) is an Ann Arbor-born, New York-based composer with a diverse background. She was a composer participant in the 2011 Underwood New Music Readings, and was also a featured performer during SONiC, ACO’s massive 2011 new music festival. Soper is a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Cambridge MA, and is Managing Director and vocalist for Wet Ink. She is a recipient of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship and winner of the 2012 Lili Boulanger Prize. As a singer with experience in Western Classical, Indian Carnatik, pop and folk singing, she performs frequently in her own works as well as those of her colleagues.
Soper describes her piece as, “expanding a moment out into a universe of speculation about the nature of time and the unreliability of desire . . . In dealing with this text I'm trying to find a way to paint the still core at the center of both the poem and the moment it describes – the single slice of time in which the chain of events (Orpheus turning to look at Eurydice and her consequent banishment back to Hades) has just flickered into possibility but is not quite inevitable.”
click here to see Kate perform her music
Check out Kate's Composer Portrait
Kyle Blaha: Triptych
Kyle Blaha (b. 1981) received his D.M.A. in May 2011 from Juilliard and his B.M. from Eastman School of Music. He has studied composition with Darrell Handel, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Samuel Adler, Philip Lasser, and Robert Beaser. The artistic director of the Making Score composition program with the New York Youth Symphony, Blaha is also on the faculty at the European American Musical Alliance Program in Paris. He has received multiple ASCAP Young Composer Awards and awards for study in Germany, including a Fulbright grant and a D.A.A.D. grant. His work has been premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra and the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, and he has received commissions from the New York Youth Symphony, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the New Juilliard Ensemble.
Blaha says of his new work, “Using time as an inspiration, all three movements begin with the same harp material, which develops into three contrasting movements. I was interested in exploring how the same pitch and rhythmic material could be incorporated into three different tempi and various textures, while also falling within a standard three-part musical form.”
Kyle Blaha: light (dark) (excerpt)
A true Renaissance man, Lukas Foss (1922-2009) was a rare musician, equally renowned as a composer, conductor, pianist, and educator. As a composer, Foss eagerly embraced the musical languages of his time, producing a body of over one hundred works that Aaron Copland described as including “among the most original and stimulating compositions in American Music.”
Time Cycle is a landmark of the American avant-garde, one of the most influential works of the 20th century. It marked a turning point in Foss’ compositional approach. He said, “I was at UCLA. I was professor of composition, and I wanted to get my students away from the tyranny of the printed note. So I invented a form of non-jazz ensemble improvisation. It was meant to change my students; well, it changed me.”
Jennifer Zetlan, soprano
Soprano Jennifer Zetlan is swiftly garnering recognition for her artistry and captivating stage presence. She has debuted on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, and Florida Grand Opera. She received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Emily Webb in Our Town at Aspen Music Festival and with Juilliard Opera Center; The New York Times reported, “Jennifer Zetlan . . . sings beautifully and affectingly. The part could not be in better hands.” Committed to performing new works, she sang at the 2007 Opera America New Works Showcase, participated in New York City Opera’s VOX Showcase of American Composers in 2008 and 2009 and is frequently involved with the new works initiative co-sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater
Tickets & InfoACO performs at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall Friday, October 26, 2012, at 7:30pm. Tickets are $40 and $50, 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.
Kate Soper’s work is commissioned and premiered by ACO with support from the Peter Heller Fund. Her residency at ACO is made possible through Music Alive: New Partnerships, a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA, with funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and The ASCAP Foundation. ACO’s premiere of Soper's work is also supported by the Women's Philharmonic Advocacy.
Kyle Blaha’s work is commissioned and premiered by ACO with the support of the Jerome Foundation.span style="color:black;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">