SFGC Releases Final Answer Album
SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS CHORUS RELEASES FINAL ANSWER ALBUM
ON ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – January 18, 2018 – The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) announces its album, Final Answer, scheduled for release February 16 on Orange Mountain Music label. Encapsulating SFGC’s ongoing commitment to championing the music of today, Final Answer features nine new works written over the past four years including seven world premiere recordings and seven commissions for or by the chorus. SFGC Music Director and Conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe conducts and SFGC Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa serves as producer for this album in addition to featuring as one of nine composers alongside Philip Glass, Theo Bleckmann, John Zorn, Gabriel Kahane, Carla Kihlstedt, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Matthew Welch and Sahba Aminikia. Guest artists include Kronos Quartet and vibraphonist Andy Meyerson, with composers Theo Bleckmann (voice/electronic processing) and Matthew Welch (bagpipes) also performing in their respective works.
All nine works on the album highlight two guiding principles of the organization’s vision: to create a repertoire of works with an emphasis on American composers and to showcase SFGC’s “signature sound.” Each work was rehearsed and/or recorded with the participation of the composers and many were commissioned for or by SFGC. Back of the Choir by Gabriel Kahane and Final Answer by Theo Bleckmann were both commissioned by SFGC for the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL with the former a joint-commission with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Opening: Forest from Lisa Bielawa’s made-for-TV opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser was commissioned for SFGC by the Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana and Father Death Blues from Hydrogen Jukebox by Philip Glass was arranged by the composer and Lisa Bielawa for SFGC. Further SFGC commissions include Herring Run by Carla Kihlstedt and Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor by Matthew Welch. Completing the album are Music of Spheres by Sahba Aminikia, commissioned by Kronos Quartet for Kronos Quartet and SFGC, Bubbles by Aleksandra Vrebalov, featuring Kronos Quartet and vibraphonist Andy Meyerson, and Columbina by John Zorn. Bonus tracks are available for online purchase and include selections from Hymns from the Crucible by Philip Glass. For full track listing, please see below.
A special release event will be held at Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) and will feature SFGC in works by Glass, Bielawa, Zorn, Kihlstedt, Welch and Bleckmann. The official album release date also coincides with SFGC’s debut appearance at Carnegie Hall on Friday, February 16 at 8pm with the Philip Glass Ensemble performing the composer’s groundbreaking 1970 work Music With Changing Parts.
1: Back of the Choir* (2016) by Gabriel Kahane
2: Opening: Forest* from Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser (2014) by Lisa Bielawa
3: Columbina (2005) by John Zorn
4: Father Death Blues* from Hydrogen Jukebox (1990 arr. 2014) by Philip Glass and Lisa Bielawa
5: Herring Run* (2015) by Carla Kihlstedt
6: Bubbles (2013) by Aleksandra Vrebalov
Andy Meyerson, vibraphone
7: Music of Spheres* (2016) by Sahba Aminikia
8: Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor* (2016) by Matthew Welch
Matthew Welch, bagpipes
9: Final Answer* by Theo Bleckmann
Theo Bleckmann, voice with electronic processing
*World Premiere Recordings
BONUS TRACKS (Online Only):
Hymns from the Crucible by Philip Glass
- Low Dutch Tune
- Psalm 119, second meter
About the San Francisco Girls Chorus
Stunning range, flexibility, drama, and power are among the hallmarks of the San Francisco Girls Chorus, founded in 1978 and now one of the world’s most respected vocal ensembles for youth. Under the direction of Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa and Music Director and Principal Conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC has achieved an incomparable sound that underscores the unique clarity and force of impeccably trained treble voices. As a result, SFGC vibrantly performs one thousand years of choral masterworks from plainchant to the most challenging and nuanced contemporary works created expressly for them.
Recent performance highlights include debuts at Carnegie Hall with Philip Glass and the Philip Glass Ensemble in a remounting of the composer’s seminal 1971 work, Music With Changing Parts, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with The Knights for the 2017 SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras; the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama; the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL at Lincoln Center; and tours to Germany, Nordic countries, and Cuba. SFGC presents an annual Bay Area subscription series and regularly collaborates with leading San Francisco arts organizations including the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Ballet, and the San Francisco International Film Festival, among others.
Since its founding, SFGC has been a champion of the music of our time, having commissioned and premiered more than three dozen works by leading composers including Philip Glass, Richard Danielpour, Aaron Jay Kernis, Gabriel Kahane, Augusta Read Thomas, Lisa Bielawa, and Chen Yi. SFGC’s performance and recording activities have garnered five GRAMMY Awards and three ASCAP/Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming.
About Lisa Bielawa
Lisa Bielawa, SFGC Artistic Director and Producer, is a composer-vocalist and 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition and the recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1997, Bielawa co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers. She began touring as the vocalist with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1992 and has also toured and recorded with the renowned early music groups Pomerium and TENET, performed with Paul McCartney at Carnegie Hall, toured with Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed, and appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. Bielawa was the choirmaster for the touring production of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach from 2012 to 2015 and assisted Paul Simon with the development of his Broadway musical Capeman. Bielawa’s music is frequently performed throughout the United States and Europe in venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Her music can be found outside the concert hall, as well; Airfield Broadcasts was premiered on the tarmac of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and performed at Crissy Field in San Francisco. In 2017, she completed her unprecedented made-for-TV-and online opera, Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, released by KCET-TV in Los Angeles for free, on-demand streaming.
About Valérie Sainte-Agathe
Valérie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC Music Director and Conductor, has prepared and conducted the San Francisco Girls Chorus since 2013—for performances with renowned artists such as Jon Nakamatsu, Deborah Voigt, Gustavo Dudamel, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Philip Glass, and Aaron Jay Kernis. In June 2016, she conducted the chorus alongside the Knights Orchestra and Brooklyn Youth Chorus for the NY PHIL BIENNIAL at Lincoln Center. She collaborated with The Knights for the SHIFT Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in April 2017. Sainte-Agathe served as Music Director for the Young Singers program of the Montpellier National Symphony and Opera in France from 1998 to 2011. In this capacity, she trained young singers for opera and symphony concerts and productions. She participated in eight recordings with the Montpellier National Orchestra and the Radio France Festival. She is a recipient of a Victoires de la Musique award (the equivalent of a French GRAMMY Award). She is a two-time recipient of the Orphée d’Or award—for Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher and d’Indy’s L’Étranger. Valérie Sainte-Agathe studied Piano Performance at the Montpellier Conservatory. She received her bachelor’s degree in conducting and a Master’s in Management from Université Paul-Valéry in Montpellier.
About Orange Mountain Music
In 2001, Orange Mountain Music developed out of a project undertaken to archive all the master recordings that Philip Glass had made. Over the last 30 some years Glass has produced hours of recordings in the process of creating operas, orchestral works, film scores and musical theatre pieces. These projects represented a point of departure for the company that sought to bring this music to fans, aficionados and students of Philip Glass’ music.
With the inaugural release of Candyman in September 2001, the label quickly established itself as a serious producer of quality music. Subsequent successes, archival releases such as Early Voice, Descent into the Maelstrom, The Thin Blue Line, soon gave way to releases of New Recordings. Its reputation developing, Orange Mountain Music now found itself as the ideal outlet to produce brand new Philip Glass recordings.
First came solo piano releases by Philip Glass and Paul Barnes that then laid the path for major soundtrack recordings including the Academy Award®-winning documentary The Fog of War.
The success of the catalog and continuing good relationships in the artistic community has provided Orange Mountain Music with the ability to undertake two major series: The first two discs of The Concerto Project Vol. I-IV, a series of four releases that will showcase the catalog of Glass concertos; and “from the Kitchen Archives”, the series which features great performances by such artists as Sonic Youth, Steve Reich, Swans, Michael Nyman, Meredith Monk that were captured live at New York’s famous venue, The Kitchen.
Having established a core market, Orange Mountain Music also began releasing major new Glass works such as Symphony No.6 ‘Plutonian Ode’. Symphony No.6 was named to The New Yorker’s Ten Favorite CD’s of 2005 and showcased the company’s ability to not only produce these major works, but also to draw the attention of a diverse and interested public including regular reviews in the New York Times, The Gramophone and is internationally recognized in most major publications.
The future appears bright for Orange Mountain Music; producers of major opera and orchestral scores, solo piano, film scores, chamber music and with recent major releases such as Symphony No.8, Concerto Project Vol.II, Glass’ grand opera The Voyage which was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, and The Witches of Venice (a children’s opera-ballet commissioned by Teatro alla Scala), special iTunes Exclusives, and major works such as the Philip Glass/Robert Wilson collaboration Monsters of Grace and a new series: From the Philip Glass Recording Archive.
Final Answer Album Artwork / "Paintball Arts" by David Soderlund
Final Answer Album Graphic Design / Carolyn Donarski
Brenden Guy, Marketing & PR Consultant