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Posts tagged 'R Andrew Lee'

New Works on PSNY: Knight, Wainwright, Cerrone

One characteristic about the idea of "New Music" is that it is always, in some way, new. But this newness is spread out over a few key milestones: a "double bar-line", when the composer finishes the work; a first performance; a recording release; regional premieres across the world. A major milestone, often overlooked, is the availability of performance materials—a score and parts—so that the work can travel. We're featuring here newly published works by three composers—Adrian Knight, Rufus Wainwright and Christopher Cerrone

A few months ago, we wrote about Adrian Knight's Obsessions, a long-form commission by pianist R. Andrew Lee that was released on Irritable Hedgehog records before two East-coast performances in New York and Boston. Knight's work echoes Feldman, Dennis Johnson, and even hints of Bartok's Mikrokosmos in its simplicity and peripatetic repetition. And now, the full score of this mesmerizing work is available to the public. 



We have also recently published another work that is intimately connected to its composer and performer: Rufus Wainwright's Five Shakespeare Sonnets, in both a piano/vocal score and a score of the full orchestration made for the San Francisco Symphony in 2010. Wainwright first set Sonnet 29 in 2002, and in 2009 was asked to set several more for a collaboration with director Robert Wilson at the Berliner Ensemble. (Wainwright also recorded several of these sonnets on his 2010 album, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu.) Most recently, Wainwright has released a full studio album of sonnet settings to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Needless to say, the ability to read through Wainwright's genius songwriting and lush orchestration is a true gift, for singers and fans alike. Check out Wainwright performing Sonnet 20, part of the published set, below: 

We end this post by featuring two works by composer Christopher Cerrone: South Catalina and The Branch Will Not Break. Commissioned by eighth blackbird for their remarkable Hand Eye album, South Catalina finds Cerrone reflecting on the city of Los Angeles and the installation-art piece Swarm, by rAndom International. The Branch Will Not Break was commissioned by Present Music for their annual Thanksgiving Concert, and features seven movements for vocal ensemble and ten instrumentalists that pull from the poems of James Wright and from Cerrone's own experience with the midwest. 

Check out eighth blackbird's premiere recording of South Catalina below. 

Adrian Knight's "Obsessions"

Adrian Knight's music is not afraid of dwelling. Knight composes music that stays, explores, and perhaps expands the associations that music previously had into new ways of being in the world. Not afraid of long-form, iterative compositions, Knight has composed sonic meditations for a vareity of instruments—including string quartet, piano and electronics, and the guitar-percussion duo The Living Earth Show

The pianist R. Andrew Lee was perhaps a natural fit for Knight's interest in long-form, evolving treatments of sonic space. Lee's recent commissioning project seeks to expand the repertoire for solo piano of compositions that are 45 minutes or longer—a rarity in a musical landscape dominated by short, easily digestible new pieces of music. Instead, Lee's commissions seek to dominate a concert program, or serve as the basis for single recording projects.

Knight's piece for Lee, Obsessions, has recently been released by Irritable Hedgehog recordings, and is freely available for streaming at I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. In the liner notes to the album, William Robin writes, 

“Obsessions” is at once abstract and deeply felt. The compulsive repetitions of the music sound, at times, less peaceful than indignant, irritated, regretful. As Knight remarked, “It’s probably my most personal piece, because, like life, its trajectory wasn’t predetermined. All I knew was that it would have to end.” 

Lee will perform Obsessions on March 2nd in Brooklyn at Roulette, and on March 4th in Boston at the Goethe-Institut

PSNY Around America

It's an exciting week for new music in America. Though plenty of concerts will be happening on both coasts, this week boasts three events in Nebraska, Chicago, and Miami that showcase the works of PSNY Composers outside of their normal haunts. Premieres of new works, master classes, and presentations will be given by five PSNY composers over the next several days in both the urban centers of Chicago and Miami, as well as the regional center of Kearney, Nebraska. Who says new music only happens in New York? 

Kicking off this weekend of new music in America's heartland is a performance on November 6th by pianist Karl Larson at the University of Nebraska, Kearney. Larson, who has premiered several works by PSNY composers, will perform Scott Wollschleger's Secret Machines No. 6 and Adrian Knight's Death of Paneloux, alongside Morton Feldman's Palais de Mari. Larson recently premiered Wollschleger's Meditation on Dust with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and has played all of Wollschleger's works for piano. The University of Nebraska Kearny recently wrote a preview of the concert, which calls Larson's playing "adventurous," and includes a short interview with Dr. Anthony Donofrio, UNK assistant professor in music theory and composition. Get a taste of Larson's program with a sample of Adrian Knight's Death of Paneloux

The following evening, Adrian Knight's hour-long piece Obsessions will be performed by pianist R. Andrew Lee at the FETA Foundation in Miami, Florida. Obsessions, commissioned by Lee, will be heard again at the University of Central Florida on November 10th. The piece is described as "a fifty-minute work which explores stubborn habits, routines, patterns, and, well, obsessions."

During the same weekend, Northwestern University's second annual New Music Conference and Festival will take place at the Bienen School of Music. This hybrid conference and festival brings together scholars, composers, performers, and students for a free weekend of workshops, performances, master classes, and presentations. Participating ensmebles include Ensemble Dal Niente and Third Coast Percussion, and participating composers include PSNY composers Ann Cleare, Kate Soper, and Ted Hearne, among others. 

On Saturday, November 7th, Northwestern's Contemporary Music Ensemble (co-directed by Alan Pierson) will perform excerpts from Ted Hearne's Katrina Ballads, as well as Ann Cleare's on magnetic fields, which will be published soon on PSNY. The following afternoon, Hearne, Cleare, and fellow PSNY composer Kate Soper will present on their work as a part of the conference. A complete schedule of events is available here.

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