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Posts tagged 'Virgil Thomson'

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.  

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. 

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