SF GIRLS CHORUS TO PERFORM AT NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC'S 2016 BIENNIEL FESTIVAL
Full release from the NY Phil available here. Selected relevant excerpt:
THE KNIGHTS To Perform with SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS CHORUS and BROOKLYN YOUTH CHORUS World Premieres by Aaron Jay KERNIS, Colin JACOBSEN, and Lisa BIELAWA
U.S. Premiere by Nico MUHLY Featuring Tenor NICHOLAS PHAN and Violinist COLIN JACOBSEN New York Premiere by Timo ANDRES Prelude Concert with CHORUSES To Include World Premieres by GABRIEL KAHANE, CAROLINE SHAW, and THEO BLECKMANN
June 9, 2016, at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center
The Knights, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform a concert of works by American composers derived from literary sources—including Sappho, C.P. Cavafy, Mary MacLane, and Lydia Davis — and from an informal survey of friends. The program comprises World Premieres by Aaron Jay Kernis (United States, b. 1960), Lisa Bielawa (United States, b. 1968), and Colin Jacobsen (United States, b. 1978); a U.S. Premiere by Nico Muhly (United States, b. 1981) featuring tenor Nicholas Phan and violinist Colin Jacobsen; and a New York Premiere by Timo Andres (United States, b. 1985). The concert will be conducted by Eric Jacobsen, coartistic director and conductor of The Knights, and will take place at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The Knights and San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform the World Premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Songs After Sappho (2016), a commission from the San Francisco Girls Chorus. It will explore the significance of the young female voice through Sappho, drawing from adaptations of her writings and text fragments by 19th and 20th–century poets and translators. Composition professor at the Yale School of Music, Aaron Jay Kernis will also be performed on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program featuring works by Yale School of Music composers, past and present. The Knights, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform the World Premiere of a new work by San Francisco Girls Chorus artistic director Lisa Bielawa, commissioned by The Knights. Bielawa writes that she is “employing the two groups of young voices — each with their unique sound and energy — in dialogue with each other and within the rich tapestry of The Knights’ vibrant sound. The piece expands around excerpts from an arresting autobiography written by Mary MacLane, an extremely precocious 19-year-old girl living in Montana in 1902. With the ecstatic vision of William Blake, the roiling passion of Lawrence Durrell, and the earnest confessional tone of Anne Frank, MacLane was a child genius whose words deserve not to be forgotten.” Lisa Bielawa’s music will also be featured on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program Shared Madness with violinist Jennifer Koh.
The Knights and Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform the World Premiere of a new work by Colin Jacobsen, commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The work uses texts from The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. Jacobsen writes: “I was attracted to Lydia’s stories for their mixture of humor and sadness, their tight construction, and the elevation of consciousness to a greater level of awareness about our surroundings, the mundane, and how we interact with the world.” Colin Jacobsen’s music will also be performed on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program featuring Brooklyn Rider, of which he is a founding member. 18 The Knights, tenor Nicholas Phan, and violinist Colin Jacobsen will perform the U.S. Premiere of Nico Muhly’s song cycle Impossible Things for tenor, violin, and string orchestra (2009), based on poems by 20th-century Greek poet C.P. Cavafy. Written for and premiered by the Britten Sinfonia, the work is a “valentine to Benjamin Britten,” in Muhly’s words. He added: “Cavafy was one of the first people to deal with being a homosexual poet, whereas Britten’s music deals with buried erotic longing and inaccessibility. I’m treating the final line of the song cycle’s final poem, Impossible Things — ‘A poet has said: The loveliest music is the one that cannot be played. And I, I daresay that by far the best life is the one that cannot be lived’ — to be addressed directly to Britten.” Nico Muhly’s music will also be featured on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program with the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra.
The Knights, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform the New York Premiere of composer and pianist Timo Andres’s Comfort Food (2012), which uses a text comprising comfort foods from, in the composer’s words, an “informal survey of friends, family, and members of the Milwaukee Choral Artists” (which performed in the premiere). It moves from “pedestrian and earthly food items” (including “buttered toast” and “my mother’s meatloaf”), “through an episode of depressants” (“rye whiskey,” “red wine”), and “finally into the somewhat metaphysical” (“the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person” and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 7, which he quotes in the piece). Timo Andres’s music will also be featured in the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program Shared Madness with violinist Jennifer Koh. The San Francisco Girls Chorus and Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform a prelude concert at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center preceding their appearance with The Knights.
San Francisco Girls Chorus, led by music director and conductor Valérie Sainte Agathe, will perform the New York Premiere of Herring Run by Carla Kihlstedt (United States, b. 1971), commissioned by the chorus; the New York Premiere of a choral arrangement of “Father Death Blues” from Hydrogen Jukebox by Philip Glass (United States, b. 1937); and the World Premiere of a work by Theo Bleckmann (Germany, b. 1966), featuring the composer as vocal soloist, commissioned by the chorus. Brooklyn Youth Chorus, led by artistic director and conductor Dianne BerkunMenaker, will perform the World Premiere of a work by Caroline Shaw (United States, b. 1982) and Become Who I Am by Mary Kouyoumdjian (United States, b. 1983).
Together, the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform the World Premiere of a work by Gabriel Kahane (United States, b. 1981), cocommissioned by the choruses. Philip Glass’s music will also be performed on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program Shared Madness with violinist Jennifer Koh. Gabriel Kahane’s music will also be performed in Shared Madness as well as the concert featuring the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. Since its beginnings as a casual, late-night chamber music reading group, The Knights has evolved into an orchestra collective that is rooted in the classical tradition, but which defies boundaries and transforms the concert-going experience. The group’s members — including composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters, and improvisers — bring a range of cultural influences to the group, from jazz and klezmer to pop and indie rock. 19 Now in its 23rd season, the Grammy Award–winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, under the direction of founder and artistic director Dianne Berkun-Menaker, has performed with major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic; popular artists, including Barbra Streisand and Elton John; and award-winning composers, including David Lang, Caroline Shaw, and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry.
The young singers, ages 7–21, are drawn from all five boroughs of New York City, and receive performance-based training in Brooklyn. The five-time Grammy Award–winning San Francisco Girls Chorus is an internationally recognized center for musical performance and education for girls and young women ages 5–18. Four hundred singers from nearly fifty Bay Area cities participate in its acclaimed programs. In addition to its own home seasons and touring performances, the Chorus collaborates regularly with organizations including the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. Forty of the Chorus’s top young artists ages 12–18 will be performing during the NY PHIL BIENNIAL.
Both concerts are presented by the New York Philharmonic.
Contact Katherine E. Johnson 212-875-5718 firstname.lastname@example.org