[ in the press ]

Life During Wartime: a new program from Cantata Profana

New Haven Review
By Donald Brown

Last spring, I was quite impressed by members of Cantata Profana in performance of the challenging score of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire in a dramatic staging of that work directed by Ethan Heard at Yale Cabaret. This weekend, Cantata Profana is back with a new program, “The Rest of the World at War: Germany—America—1942,” which their press release describes as “both a deep reflection on the War and a comedy show for music nerds.”

Artistic Director Jacob Ashworth says that the idea for the program began with the Richard Strauss sextet that opens his last opera Capriccio. Written in 1942, in wartime Berlin, the work is striking, as Ashworth sees it, for its lack of engagement with a world at war. Six characters in a salon debate “which is more important in opera: music or words.” The opera’s opening is “decadent and irresponsible,” Ashworth says, “for someone in such a highly influential position.” In his 70s, Strauss seems to have chosen to detach his music from any real world relevance. Praising the work as “stunningly beautiful,” Ashworth wanted to find companion pieces that would help create an artistic and historical context for Strauss’ preference for aesthetic contemplation over engagement with the times. MORE

Published May 9, 2014
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So Percussion will mark its residency at Princeton University with a concert at Grounds for Sculpture

Central Jersey
By Susan Van Dongen, Special Writer

Parents, take a deep breath before your scold your little ones about banging on pots, pans and trashcans. They may grow up to be world-renowned percussionists like the four men who comprise So PercussionEric Beach, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting and Josh Quillen.

”I did start off banging on things, since around age 8,” says Mr. Treuting. “In the third grade I found a broken drum set that my neighbor was throwing out and I grabbed it. All of us have that background, we’ve always been exploring things, but also involved in formal music programs, school bands and whatnot. It’s a strange mix.”

The Brooklyn-based quartet has grown in reputation, especially in the last 10 years, re-defining the idea of a percussion ensemble. Once something that may have been found only in university music departments, the percussion ensemble has been transformed by So Percussion into a flexible, adventurous, exhilarating entity. They’ve even collaborated with jam band Medeski, Martin and Wood, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and opened for the rock band The National at New York’s Beacon Theater. MORE

Published May 9, 2014
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Boston Globe: Caroline Shaw ’07 MM finds freedom with A Far Cry, Roomful of Teeth

carolineshaw2Boston Globe
By David Weininger

Last week, Caroline Shaw found herself playing a benefit concert at the Hudson Opera House, a performing arts space a few hours north of New York, where she lives. She was playing second violin in a string quartet that was performing music by David Longstreth, of the band Dirty Projectors. It was sort of a quirky gig, one that took a lot of time to prepare and didn’t pay much.

It was not, perhaps, the first place you’d expect to find a much-feted musician who last year, at 30, became the youngest composer ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for music, for her eight-voice composition “Partita.” But Shaw, who describes herself as a low-key, private person, has been determined not to let the music world’s highest-profile award change her life. Playing the Hudson show was a part of that plan.

“I did it because I wanted to play quartets with friends, meet a new person, see a new place, just figure out another corner of the music world,” said Shaw in a recent phone interview. “No one knew that I’d won a Pulitzer Prize; I was just the second violinist in this quartet at this gala benefit.” MORE

Published May 9, 2014
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