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Posts tagged 'American Academy of Arts and Letters'

Kate Soper Wins Virgil Thomson Award from American Academy of Arts and Letters; "Here Be Sirens" now on PSNY

Kate Soper
, known for her cutting-edge vocal works that fuse together voice, instruments, and text, has just won the second ever Virgil Thomson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. First given in 2014, this award "recognizes an American composer of vocal works," and is endowed by the Virgil Thomson Foundation. True to the award's namesake, Soper continues Thomson's tradition of radically new vocal music, her texted works echoing Thomson's avant-garde compositions such as Four Saints in Three Acts, with a libretto by Gertrude Stein. 

In announcing the award, composer and Academy member John Harbison writes of Soper:

Soper's vocal music is bold, varied, and forward-looking. Its advanced qualities are never dutifully or modishly present, but stem from a rich exploration of Voice, answering many imperatives—theatrical, textual, technological, social. There is joy, wit, shock, and allure in her pieces, all grounded by something meticulous and exacting.

(excerpt from Soper's Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say)

Perhaps most well-known of Soper's vocal works is her opera, Here Be Sirens, which follows the daily lives of three sirens on their well-trafficked island. First premiered in 2014, this work ranges from "ethereal medieval chant, gentle otherworldly melody, and the terror of the sublime"—what the Wall Street Journal calls "audacious, genre-bending music theatre" and The New Yorker hails as "an erudite, hilarious, furiously inventive meditation on the siren myth."

And now, Here Be Sirens, as well as a suite taken from the opera, are available via PSNY. In Soper's words, the Suite "presents an exquisite corpse-like portrait of these beloved and familiar monsters in all their murderous and irresistable glory."

Check out some excerpts from the opera below. 

Springtime for PSNY: Awards! String Quartets! Opera!

Great news for our PSNY composers: The American Academy of Arts and Letters has just announced its 2013 awards, and Kamran Ince and Kate Soper are among the recipients. Kamran Ince is awarded a 2013 Arts and Letters Award in Music, which includes both a general award and a specific award toward the composition of a new work. Kate Soper is awarded the 2013 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship, given to "mid-career composers of exceptional gifts." 

And if that weren't a good enough omen, March is shaping up to be a busy month: the JACK Quartet recently performed Ann Cleare's moil at Harvard University's Paine Hall. Listen to an excerpt of this piece here: 

Lei Liang's string quartet, Serashi Fragments, was also recently performed on March 8th by the Calder Quartet at the University of California San Diego. Listen to an excerpt of this work here:

We are also pleased to announce the premiere of Christopher Cerrone's opera, All Wounds Bleed, now available from PSNY. That's right: an opera available on PSNY! This staged premiere, on March 23rd, is produced by Tulsa Opera, and is directed by Kostis Protopapas. We were thrilled to be present at the premiere of Cerrone's Invisible Cities, and look forward to this next venture... 

Wet Ink and Talea Ensemble Provide New Music for Autumn

Though the weather is increasingly dark and gray, and the holiday season will soon tempt us to forgo exploring new music in favor of familiar holiday music, there still exist shining beacons of new music in this wintry sea.

One such beacon - Wet Ink, which includes PSNY composers Kate Soper and Alex Mincek - has just come back from a Californian tour, where they made a deep impression on the local press. The tour ended up back in Brooklyn, at Roulette, with a program featuring Teresa McCollough performing the World Premiere of "In My Own Skin " by Alvin Singleton, and Alex Mincek and Ian Antonio (also of Yarn/Wire and Zs) performing Alex's "Nucleus."

If you haven't heard "Nucleus", here's a taste from the awesome recording on Carrier Records

Next up for Wet Ink: a residency at Duke University in December. And for Kate Soper, the premiere of a new work for soprano and violin, "cipher," by the SEM Ensemble at the Paula Cooper Gallery on December 13th. 

The Talea Ensemble has just held two recording sessions at the American Academy of Arts and Letters of two works by Anthony Cheung: "Windswept Cypresses" and "Centripedalocity."

Cheung, who is their pianist, will also be performing on their awesome program on Sunday the 27th at the Roger Smith Hotel, which includes works by Berio, Bartok, Nono, and Larry Polansky. It's a rare treat to hear these works, especially Nono's "'Hay que Caminar' Soñando", live: 

Hats off to these ensembles for keeping autumn vibrant with new music! 

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