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Posts tagged 'Andrew Norman'

Andrew Norman's "Play", Revised & Ready for Action at the LA Phil

Andrew Norman has had many honors bestowed upon him in the past several years: he has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist, won both the Berlin and Rome Prizes, held a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was recently named Musical America's "2017 Composer of the Year". Within the past four years, attention continues to return to Norman's large-scale orchestral work, Play — a work that critic William Robin has called "the best orchestral work that the twenty-first century has seen thus far"— a "symphony in everything but name" that endlessly enchants audiences, musicians and critics alike. 

Play was commissioned in 2012 by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and premiered to critical acclaim; the ensemble's recording, also critically acclaimed, was nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award

But Norman, unlike most composers, has not rested on his laurels; instead, he has pursued the conceptual and theoretical implications of this knotty, ludic work further, and has decided to substantially revise the piece, playing with the idea that a "work" must be a bounded, concrete object. Instead, Norman offers us a "work" as a process of discovery: a set of instructions for play. 

              
(pages from Andrew Norman's Play)

These revisions for Play were commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the new iteration of this work will premiere on October 28th at Walt Disney Concert Hall, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

Violist and scholar Anne Lanzilotti has recently published an extensive article on Norman's Play in Music & Literature, which traces the development of the work through her years of close collaboration with Norman as musician, musicologist, and friend. Lanzilotti, along with videographer Stephen Taylor, have created a website dedicated to exploring Norman's extended instrumental techniques, titled "Shaken, Not Stuttered." 

As Lanzilotti writes in Music & Literature

"Norman’s music is thrilling to experience live because of the abundance of unusual sounds that emanate from the stage. Emerging from these sounds is an incredible, slow, lyrical narrative that Norman threads through each piece. The journey of each instrumental line in this narrative gradually unfolds, manipulated by rules of the symphonic game, and blurred by intensely physical extended techniques that challenge traditional concepts of beauty."

In time for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's performances this weekend, the revised score for Andrew Norman's Play is available now for sale from PSNY

Jennifer Koh's "Shared Madness"

The New York Philharmonic's second Biennial is underway, bringing new music programming to venues across the city. In addition to Lincoln Center, the NY Phil is programming concerts at venues in Brooklyn like National Sawdust, a venue that is quickly becoming a vital center for contemporary music. Following its first installment on May 24, violinist Jennifer Koh returns to National Sawdust on May 31 for the second part of her commissioning project entitled "Shared Madness". The program is indeed a bit of a mad idea: 30 virtuosic show-pieces, commissioned and premiered by Koh, all performed over two evenings. As Koh puts it, her program seeks to explore "the meaning of virtuosity in the 21st century." 

Among the composers Koh chose to commission are Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Anthony Cheung, Vijay Iyer, Phil Kline, and Andrew Norman. Koh's recent "Bridge to Beethoven" project saw close collaboration between her and Iyer, Norman, and Cheung, in addition to Jörg Widmann. Be sure to stop by National Sawdust to experience the "shared madness"!

Awards Season for PSNY Composers

Four of our PSNY composers—Kate Soper, Timo Andres, Andrew Norman, and Anthony Cheung—have recently been honored with generous and prestigious awards from some of the most well-regarded organizations in America. We're proud that our composers are getting the recognition they very much deserve, and are honored to make their compositions available to the public. 

Timo Andres, well-known for his works for piano, was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for his work "The Blind Banister," a piece for piano and orchestra that reimagines the cadenza in Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto. Andres writes: "the best way I can describe my approach to writing the piece is: I started writing my own cadenza to Beethoven's concerto, and ended up devouring it from the inside out." Starting from a seemingly simple scalar motive, Andres' composition flows like a hand leading itself on a banister in the dark, echoing Beethoven's sense of purpose-driven confidence but in a world of total sound. 

Kate Soper, as we've mentioned on the blog, has recently won the Virgil Thomson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This marks the second time this young award has been given; Soper's opera Here Be Sirens is now available on PSNY. Check out a highlight reel below: 

HERE BE SIRENS: Highlight Reel from Kate Soper on Vimeo.

And last but certainly not least, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has recently released their 2016 list of fellows, which includes PSNY composers Andrew Norman and Anthony Cheung. The Guggenheim Fellowship is awarded to artists and scholars "who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Norman and Cheung will use their Fellowships to support the composition of new works, and will join the ranks of fellow PSNY Composers Marcos Balter, Richard Carrick, Lei Liang, Keeril Makan, Alex Mincek, and Kate Soper, all of whom have been Guggenheim Fellows in the past decade.  

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