[ Concerts Faculty Students & Alumni ]

New Music New Haven features an extended piano quartet by Aaron Jay Kernis

February 17, 2010

Program also presents the rescheduled US premiere of Jack Vees’s “Party Talk”

kernis_blogFEB. 5, 2010 | The New Music New Haven concert series presents a program of new music by Aaron Jay Kernis, Jack Vees, and other Yale composers on Thursday, March 4 at 8 pm in Sprague Hall. The program opens with Reena Esmail’s Feritas, a colorful virtuoso piece for six trumpets. Two other works on the program by graduate composers are Polina Nazaykinskaya’s Passacaglia Zero and an untitled piece by Richard Harrold.

Faculty composer Jack Vees is represented by his 1996 Party Talk, a piece written in 1996 for narrator and mixed chamber ensemble. The work – an explanation of how to fit into the American social experience – was to receive its U.S. premiere in November, but the performance was postponed. The March performance will feature conductor Thomas C. Duffy, director of the Yale Bands, and narrator Kelly Yamaguchi-Scanlon, whose voice is familiar to many from the Yale School of Music’s podcast introductions and concert halls (“Please turn off your cell phones…”).

The program concludes with Kernis’s Still Movement with Hymn, an elegiac quartet for piano and strings. The piece, writes Kernis, “is both a Kaddish and a Requiem for the dead… Hebraic music and Christian plainchant play an important role in it.”

Admission to the performance is free. For more information, visit the Yale School of Music website or call the concert office 203 432-4158. Christopher Theofanidis is the artistic director of New Music New Haven.

About the Featured Composers

A winner of the coveted 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and one of the youngest composers ever awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Aaron Jay Kernis has taught composition at the Yale School of Music since 2003. His music figures prominently on orchestral, chamber, and recital programs worldwide, and he has received commissions from artists and institutions such as Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, Sharon Isbin, the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Walt Disney Company, and Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Museum of Natural History in New York. He has been awarded the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Rome Prize, and he received Grammy nominations for “Air” and his Second Symphony. Aaron Jay Kernis served as composer-in-residence for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Public Radio, and the American Composers Forum, and, since 1998, as new music adviser to the Minnesota Orchestra. He is chairman and co-director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. His music is available on Nonesuch, Phoenix, New Albion, Argo, and CRI.

Vees, Jack (action)Jack Vees, composer and electric bassist, is the director of the Center for Studies in Music Technology at the Yale School of Music. He received his MFA in composition from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with Louis Andriessen, Vinko Globokar, and Morton Subotnik. He is active in the international arena as both a performer and a composer, having works played at sites from CBGB’s of the downtown New York scene to such festivals as the Berlin Biennale and New Music America. Many contemporary music groups like Ensemble Modern, Zeitgeist, and the California Ear Unit have commissioned pieces from him. A collection of his works entitled Surf Music Again is available on the CRI/ Emergency Music label. His opera Feynman, for solo voice and percussion, premiered in June 2005 at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and was later performed at the Knitting Factory in New York City. He is also the author of The Book on Bass Harmonics, which has become a standard reference for bassists since its publication in 1979. Mr. Vees joined the Yale faculty in 1988.