[ in the press ]

Review: Matthew Welch Offers Ethereal Chamber Music at the Stone

welch_matt_webThe New York Times | By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

The music of Matthew Welch, who began a weeklong residency at the Stone on Tuesday, draws on a world of influences. His opening set, performed by the ensemble Cantata Profana, packed in references to Highland bagpipes, Balinese funerary rites, Minimalism, Borges, Beckett and Buddha. Yet much of the resulting chamber music is exquisitely ethereal, made up of delicate, transparent textures that hum with expressive tension. If Mr. Welch were a chef, he’d be the kind who pushes the boundaries of molecular gastronomy, transforming earthy ingredients into translucent beads of pure flavor.

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Published December 18, 2015
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[ Students & Alumni ]

Canata Profana honored by Chamber Music America

Cantata Profana

Cantata Profana

Cantata Profana, the New York-based vocal chamber ensemble founded by YSM alumnus Jacob Ashworth ’13 MM, ’14 MMA, was honored at this year’s Chamber Music America Conference Awards with a prize for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

In addition to Ashworth, the theatrical and versatile ensemble is also home to several other YSM alumni, including Hannah Collins, cello; Arash Noori, guitar; Gleb Kanasevich, clarinet; Lee Dionne, keyboard; Doug Perry, percussion; Annie Rosen, voice; Daniel Schlosberg, piano; and John Taylor Ward, voice, as well as Ethan Heard, a graduate of Yale School of Drama.

Cantata Profana is one of three ensemble and four presenters that have been selected to receive the prestigious award, which will be presented by Cia Toscanini, vice president of concert music for ASCAP, at the Chamber Music America National Conference on Sunday, January 10, 2016. MORE

Published December 15, 2015
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[ 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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[ in the press ]

New Haven Independent: Underperformed No More

cantataprofanaNew Haven Independent
By Lucy Gellman

As mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen launched fearlessly into “Malorous qu’o uno fenno” (wretched is he who has a wife), a grin that fell just short of laughter spread from her face to her bare feet, rooted firmly in the floor.

Behind her, members of Cantata Profana joined the arrangement, swinging and swaying wildly to the words as if their instruments were mere – and necessary – extensions of their bodies. MORE

Published February 24, 2014
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[ in the press ]

Eclectic ensemble enters second season

By Dana Schneider
Yale Daily News

CantataProfanaTheorbos, baroque bows, a babbling tenor and a barefoot soprano: Each played a role in the performance of eclectic and under-performed works for larger chamber groups, said Jacob Ashworth MUS ’14, who formed the Cantata Profana last year. Nearly all the musicians in the Cantata are students or faculty from the School of Music and the Institute of Sacred Music, and all have played with one another in the past.

“The group was inspired by the spirit of collaboration, which is essential for chamber music and unique to the Yale environment,” Ashworth said. MORE

Published September 25, 2013
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