Release (2002/02/03)

Sunday, February 3, 2002 at 3 pm
Philip GlassPhilip Glass 65th Birthday Concert
Carnegie Hall

  Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
  Lauren Flanigan, soprano
  Raschèr Saxophone Quartet

PHILIP GLASS: Symphony No. 6, “Plutonian Ode” (World Premiere, Carnegie Hall Corporation and Bruckner Orchestra, Linz Commission)

Tickets are $47, $36, and $17. Call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800;
or buy online at

The concert is preceded by a discussion, free to ticket-holders, at 1:45pm.

World Premiere of Philip Glass Symphony No. 6
& U.S. Premiere of Passages
Celebrate Composer’s 65th Birthday
Lauren Flanigan, soprano & Raschèr Saxophone Quartet soloists

American Composers Orchestra will celebrate the 65th birthday of Philip Glass by presenting two premieres on Sunday, February 3 at 3:00 pm at Carnegie Hall. The world premiere of Glass’s Symphony No. 6 will be performed by ACO with soprano Lauren Flanigan as soloist. The new symphony was commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation and the Brucknerhaus, Linz for this occasion. Also on the program is the U.S. premiere of Passages, a work Glass composed in collaboration with Ravi Shankar, in a new arrangement for the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet and orchestra. ACO Music Director Dennis Russell Davies will conduct.

Dennis Russell Davies and American Composers Orchestra are the leading proponents of the orchestral mu-sic of Philip Glass. ACO commissioned Glass’s first orchestral piece, his Violin Concerto, in 1987, and since then the orchestra has commissioned, performed or recorded many orchestral works. The collaboration goes back to Glass’s long relationship with conductor Dennis Russell Davies. The composer explains, “We met in about 1978, having been introduced by a mutual friend. Dennis had just been appointed to the Stuttgart Op-era and was interested in presenting Satyagraha, my new opera. Dennis understood that part of his mission as an American conductor in Germany was to bring some American music there, which he intended to do. At the time I had recently written Einstein on the Beach, which was a very well known work. After we met, Den-nis said ‘yeah, I’ll do it’ and gave the German premiere of Satyagraha.” The collaboration between Davies and Glass continues in both opera-in July 2001 Davies conducted White Raven at the Lincoln Center Festival with the American Composers Orchestra-and with symphonic music.

Glass continues, “Dennis had a lot do to with my writing orchestra music. He knew me as an opera com-poser first. He said to me early on, in the late ’80s, ‘I’m not going to let you be one of those opera composers that never writes a symphony’. Low Symphony was first, and he performed and recorded it. He’s recorded every symphony I’ve written so far, except the Symphony No. 6, of course.” Several of those orchestral works were recorded by ACO, including Heroes Symphony andThe CIVIL wars ACT V – The Rome Section. Because of this long collaboration, when the time came to plan for Glass’s 65th birthday celebration, a concert with ACO was the natural choice.

Both works on the program are premieres. Passages, a U.S. premiere, is a collaborative work Glass composed with Ravi Shankar in 1989. Glass and Shankar met years before, in 1965, but in the late ’80s Glass went to India and they decided to write a piece together. This particular version of the work was arranged by Den-nis Russell Davies for the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet.

Glass’s Symphony No. 6 is part of some “unfinished business”. Glass explains: “This work is based on a poem of Allen Ginsberg called Plutonian Ode. Allen and I had devised a number of works for performance to-gether [including Hydrogen Jukebox] and this was something that we intended to do. Alan died too soon for us even to begin working on the work. After his death in 1997, I waited a number of years and finally de-cided to finish it. I decided to make it into a work for voice and orchestra. My original idea was a work for piano and narrator, but with him gone no one really reads poetry the way he did, so I went in a different direction altogether and wrote for soprano and orchestra.”

“The subject of the poem is about nuclear pollution to the natural environment and to the human envi-ronment. The poem is in three sections and describes the half-life of plutonium, then the responsibility of people who live in this environment, then the special responsibility of artists and creative people who live in this environment.”

Lauren Flanigan, soprano

Soloist in Symphony No. 6 is soprano Lauren Flanigan. To call Flanigan active in contemporary opera and vocal music is a severe understatement. She has been called, “the adrenaline diva,” and her passion, energy and commitment to new music have been virtually tireless. Making her debut at the San Francisco Opera, Flanigan began her relationship with New York City Opera in 1991, following in the next year with a Metropolitan Opera debut in the world premiere of John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles. At City Opera, she per-formed leading roles in the highly successful Central Park Trilogy featuring music by Deborah Drattell and Robert Beaser. Other recent roles include Christine in Marvin David Levy’s Mourning Becomes Electra with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw for Seattle and Glimmerglass Operas, The Bride in Judith Wier’s The Vanishing Bridegroom at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the title role of the City Opera world premiere of Hugo Weisgall’s Esther. Flanigan last appeared with American Composers Orchestra two seasons ago, in Robert Beaser’s The Heavenly Feast. Ms. Flanigan is the recipient of numerous awards in-cluding the Emanuel Ungaro Diva Award from the New York City Opera, and the ASCAP Bravissimo Award for her artistry, versatility, musicianship and inspired interpretations of contemporary music.

Raschèr Saxophone Quartet

Featured in the new version of Passages is the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet. Founded in 1969, quartet has appeared at the major concert halls in Europe and North America. The ensemble carries a tradition estab-lished in the 1930’s by the pioneer of classical saxophone and founding member of the quartet Sigurd Ra-schèr, The quartet has inspired over 200 composers to write music for them, including Berio, Bergman, Bialas, Denhoff, Glass, Gubadulina, Kaipainen, de Leuw, Norgard, Raskatov, Stucky, Terzakis, Wuorinen, Xenakis and Zechlin. The Quartet’s repertoire includes over 20 new works commissioned for saxophone quartet and orches-tra. The Quartet last performed with ACO in Philip Glass’s Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra.

Tickets & Information:

Tickets for the February 3, 2002 concert at Carnegie Hall are $47, $36, and $17. Tickets may be purchased through CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, by visiting Carnegie Hall’s website at, or at the Carnegie Hall box office, 57th Street at 7th Ave. The concert is preceded by a discussion with Philip Glass and the Artistic Director of the ACO, Robert Beaser, at 1:45 p.m. on February 3 at Carnegie Hall.

For further information about American Composers Orchestra events, call 212-977-8495.

About ACO

Founded in 1977, the American Composers Orchestra is the world’s only orchestra dedicated exclusively to performing symphonic works by American composers. Through its concerts at Carnegie Hall, recordings, radio broadcasts, educational programs, Whitaker New Music Reading sessions, and commissions, ACO identifies to-day’s brightest emerging composers, champions this country’s prominent established composers as well as those lesser-known, and increases international awareness of the infinite varieties-stylistic, geographic, and ethnic-of American orchestral music. Since its founding, the Orchestra has programmed nearly 500 works by more than 400 American composers, including over 100 world premieres and commissions, generating more new American Symphonic works than any other orchestra. Recordings by ACO are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, MusicMasters, Nonesuch, Tzadik, and New World Records.

Major support of the American Composers Orchestra is from Alliance Capital Management L.P., Americans for the Arts, Arthur M. Blank Foundation, Mr. Thomas Buckner, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Booth Ferris Founda-tion, Citigroup Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust, Jean and Louis Dreyfus Founda-tion, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, Chris-tian Humann Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, Meet The Composer, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, J.P. Morgan & Co., New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Times Co. Foundation, Virgil Thomson Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.