New Music USA has just awarded $311,000 to 57 projects in its second round of project grants. The recipients are "an eclectic mix of creative, provocative, and immensely talented artists [that] captures just a glimpse of the impressive efforts of artists working across the country today.
As in the first round of grants, the recipients include numerous alumni and faculty of the Yale School of Music, such as cellist Ashley Bathgate, composers Timo Andres and Andrew Norman.
Ashley Bathgate '07MM, '08AD
Sleeping Giant Composers Collective
Nearly three hundred years after they were written, the Unaccompanied Cello Suites of J.S. Bach remain a cornerstone of the cello repertoire. Throughout the twentieth century, composers such as Benjamin Britten, George Crumb, and Iannis Xenakis built upon the form established by Bach, expanding the instrument’s technical and sonic capabilities while paying homage to his legacy.
For Bach Unwound, Bathgate will collaborate with Brooklyn-based composer collective Sleeping Giant to create an entirely new reflection of these seminal works. Sleeping Giant is comprised of composers Timo Andres, Chris Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman (all YSM alumni). Each member of Sleeping Giant will compose one movement of the work, basing it loosely on a corresponding movement of their choice from the Bach suites, but free to use the music as an inspiration for expressing his personal compositional voice. The resulting suite will incorporate extended performance techniques, live electronics, and external media resulting in a radical deconstruction and reinterpretation of the original music. Each movement of the new work will be paired with its counterpart in Bach, collectively forming a single, concert-length work that juxtaposes modern and historical practice to create a new concert experience.
Subsequent to this performance, Bathgate will tour Bach Unwound throughout the United States and abroad during the following year. This project will culminate in a studio recording of the work alongside one of the original suites and will be released as her first solo album. MORE INFO
Timo Andres '07BA, '09MM + Orpheus
This year, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra launches its next commissioning initiative, titled American Notes. Through this program, the orchestra will commission original musical works from three composers who represent varied music styles and diverse personal backgrounds: Anna Clyne, Timo Andres, and Fazil Say. The creative framework for each composer begins with the complex question of what defines the American spirit today – the characteristics, experiences, communities, and relationships. Each composer will develop his/her own musical exploration of this question, providing unique musical portraits of current American life and contributing to the ongoing global conversation of national identity.
The theme of American Notes is inspired by Charles Dickens’ 1862 travelogue American Notes for General Circulation. Written during a six-month trip throughout the United States just before the outbreak of the Civil War, Dickens documented an America in transition, describing in detail the changing communities he observed. American Notes is also influenced by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration and its engagement of artists throughout the country to capture a cross-section of American life. By engaging three dissimilar and gifted composers, Orpheus hopes to create sonic snapshots that illustrate the emotional and personal aspects of our current American identity and spirit. MORE INFO
Andrew Norman '09AD: Play
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project will release a CD featuring the works of emerging composer Andrew Norman on its signature label BMOP/sound. This recording represents the culmination of Norman’s two year Music Alive residency with BMOP and will be Norman’s first orchestral CD.
A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, Norman writes music that is often inspired by forms he encounters in the visual world. His music draws on an eclectic mix of sounds and usually features some combination of bright colors, propulsive energy, a healthy dose of lyricism, and the fragmentation of musical ideas. Pieces featured on this CD, entitled Play, will include Play (2013) a 47-minute orchestral work commissioned through Norman’s Music Alive residency and premiered by BMOP in May 2013. Also included is Norman’s chamber orchestral work Try (2011) commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, premiered in Disney Hall in May 2011, conducted by John Adams.
Of BMOP’s premiere of Play the Boston Musical Intelligencer wrote: “Norman’s piece succeeded beyond what even his most ardent supporters would have anticipated. Combining everything from Bach to Reich in beautiful form, he channeled the modern human condition in which technology dominates ever more of our lives..." MORE INFO
The professional new-music choir The Crossing will record a "breakthrough" new work by Thomas Lloyd probing the life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. David Patrick Stearns in the Philadelphia Inquirer (March 13, 2013) described the premiere performance of Thomas Lloyd's Bonhoeffer by The Crossing under the direction of Donald Nally in this way:
Sometimes you just don't see a significant piece coming.....
Harmonically, the piece didn't play by the usual major key/minor key rules but explored a more emotionally neutral world (like Machaut's 14th century Mass of Notre Dame) that kept the dramatic content safe from cinematic sentimentality. Yet even when Bonhoeffer was chatty and cerebral, Lloyd pumped up his words with vigor and exterior conviction.
Herein lies the piece's hallmark: While it effectively airs many philosophical questions that keep your mind busy long after the performance, it is never weighed down by them, and is rich in musical substance."
The acclaimed, professional new-music choir The Crossing and its founding conductor Donald Nally will now make a studio recording of this important work. MORE INFO
So Percussion’s residency at Bard College, entitled Branches after the 1976 John Cage album, reflects the project’s many components and collaborators, including the John Cage Trust, New Albion Records, the Woodstock Chimes Fund, the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, and the Bard College Conservatory of Music.
Since fall 2010, So Percussion has been on the Conservatory’s faculty, and this project will expand the acclaimed ensemble’s public presence on the Bard campus and in the surrounding community through an experimental year-long residency at the Fisher Center. Branches strives to develop a model for artist support that re-envisions the relationship between the artist and the academy, combining teaching with public performance, community outreach, and new work creation. The hope is that this residency program can become a model for other new music ensembles and institutions.
In addition to their teaching in 2014–15, So Percussion will offer two weekends of public performances, conduct public master classes, and begin creative research on their next original interdisciplinary work. MORE INFO