[ in the press ]

NYT: Composers’ collectives offer creativity and challenges

Composition Collective Sleeping Giant

Composition Collective Sleeping Giant

The New York Times | By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

The cellist Ashley Bathgate took her bow at Le Poisson Rouge last Tuesday after the premiere of “Ash,” an evening-long work inspired by Bach’s six suites for solo cello. Then she squinted into the dimmed nightclub and made the usual hand motion of a performer beckoning the composer to share in the applause.

But Ms. Bathgate’s gesture did not just bring out a composer: It sparked a procession of dark-clothed men in their 30s who ascended the stage and lined up, smiling, behind her like a genial security detail. The men belonged to Sleeping Giant, the composers’ collective that produced “Ash” and comprises six members: Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein and Andrew Norman.

The men met as students at Yale University and dispersed to different corners of the country, each making an individual mark on the new-music scene. But for works like “Ash,” which Ms. Bathgate commissioned under the working title “Bach Unwound,” the composers come together, in gargantuan email chains and in Google Hangout sessions lasting hours, to collaborate on multi-movement pieces that seek to preserve their own voices within a common dramatic arc. MORE

Published January 17, 2016
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[ in the press ]

New Music Ensemble eighth blackbird Collaborates With Collective Sleeping Giant

Hartford Courant | Michael Hamadeighthblackbird

The boundaries between composer and performer crumble with each passing year. Or maybe they were fictional all along.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, eighth blackbird, one of the world’s premier new-music ensembles, performs “Hand Eye,” a six-movement work by Brooklyn-based composer collective Sleeping Giant. The concert takes place at Yale University’s Morse Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. (All six members of Sleeping Giant — Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein, Andrew Norman — have ties to the Yale School of Music.)


Published October 16, 2015
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[ events ]

eighth blackbird visits Yale for master class Oct. 19, concert Oct. 20


eighth blackbird

The Yale School of Music is honored to welcome the Grammy Award-winning chamber ensemble eighth blackbird on October 19 and 20 for a concert as well as a talk and master class.

The first event, combining a master class and talk, takes place Monday, Oct. 19 and is free and open to the public. This precedes the sextet’s performance on Tuesday, Oct. 20, which features music by the Yale alumni composer collective Sleeping Giant. Both events take place in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street.

Master Class & Talk

On Monday, Oct. 19, eighth blackbird will coach YSM students in two classic pieces of the chamber repertoire, Igor Stravinsky’s L’histoire du Soldat and Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. The master class will focus on theatrical elements such as movement, choreography, stage presence, visual communication, and other elements. MORE

Published October 14, 2015
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[ concerts ]

eighth blackbird performs music from Sleeping Giant Oct. 20

eighth-blackbirdThe Oneppo Chamber Music Series at the Yale School of Music presents the new-music ensemble eighth blackbird on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30 pm. The acclaimed eighth blackbird will perform Hand Eye, and evening-length work by composition collective Sleeping Giant.

The six pieces that comprise Hand Eye are each written by a single member of the collective: Checkered Shade by Timo Andres, South Catalina by Chris Cerrone, Conduit by Robert Honstein, Mine, Mime, Meme by Andrew Norman, By-By Huey by Ted Hearne, and Cast by Jacob Cooper.

Sleeping Giant is “rapidly gaining notice for their daring innovations, stylistic range and acute attention to instrumental nuance” (WQXR). All six members are graduates of the Yale School of Music; the collective was formed in New Haven and named for the eponymous park in Hamden. The pieces of Hand Eye were inspired by works of art in the private collection of Maxine and Stuart Frankel. MORE

Published October 8, 2015
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[ alumni ]

YSM alumni among New Music USA grant recipients

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. MORE

Published July 9, 2014
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[ in the press ]

SoundAdvice Composer Spotlight: Robert Honstein

honsteinSoundAdvice sits down with Robert Honstein, one of the composers selected to participate in ACO’s 23rd Annual Underwood New Music Readings on June 6 and 7, part of this year’s inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL celebration. His piece, Rise, is intended to inspire the audience to create their own art.

American Composers Orchestra: What was the inspiration for your piece that will be read by ACO at the Underwood New Music Readings?  How has that been incorporated into the work?

Robert Honstein: I was thinking about the idea of the pastoral, particularly the symphonic tradition of representing nature. It’s a pretty old tradition that had a real flowering (pardon the pun) in the 19th century. You’ve got Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Berlioz, for example, writing orchestra music that expressed a distinctly romantic idea of nature. I love that music but feel like this way of representing nature isn’t quite suited for the 21st century. We’re still moved by the outdoors, of course, but it’s complicated these days. What does it mean to romanticize nature in the post-industrial, climate-changing 21st century? Perhaps this explains the somewhat haunting mood of my piece, Rise. There is a celebration of the natural world, but also an unsettled feeling that never resolves. MORE

Published June 18, 2014
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[ in the press ]

New Music, New Voices: Robert Honstein and the Mivos Quartet

Nuts and Bolts Music
By Jane Mitchell

Mivos Quartet, photo by Ralf Puder and Nana Franck

Mivos Quartet, photo by Ralf Puder and Nana Franck

Composer David Lang despises the belief that success can be achieved by pushing your colleagues “under a bus.”  He made this expressly clear from the beginning of Creating New Music, a six-day workshop he designed to encourage open dialogue and collaboration between new music ensembles and young composers.  I have been following one of the ensemble-composer pairs selected for this workshop: the Mivos Quartet and Robert Honstein [’04BA, ’10MMA].

I joined the Mivos quartet last Saturday for a late afternoon rehearsal of Arctic, Honstein’s new piece.  The Mivos were jovial and relaxed, despite being observed by two members of International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), three cameramen, and a bright blue cello case.  “It’s way less cramped than where we usually rehearse,” explained the cellist, Mariel Roberts.  (The quartet takes turns hosting rehearsals in their NYC apartments.  And when they are on tour?  “Oh, they always put us in some cave,” quips the violist, Victor Lowrie.)

"Sunburn Series" by Chris McCaw

“Sunburn Series” by Chris McCaw

Arctic is inspired by a pair of photographs from Chris McCaw’s Sunburn series, a study of the effect of over-exposure on photo paper.  In the giant, twelve panel works, the sun has seared its way across the sky, creating a sine wave over a barren, faded Alaskan landscape.  Honstein began his compositional process by devising a structure: he would juxtapose two movements, the first energetic and compact, the second sparse and expansive.  Four weeks later, he completed Midnight Sun,” depicting the perpetual sunlight of arctic summer, and “Polar Night,” depicting the unending darkness of arctic winter.


Published November 20, 2013
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[ Alumni News ]

Dec. 5 DMA recital features music by Robert Honstein


The Yale School of Music presents music by the composer Robert Honstein in a Doctor of Musical Arts recital on Thursday, December 5, 2013. The concert takes place at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Memorial Hall (470 College Street, New Haven). Performers include the ensembles Concert Black (Lisa Dowling, bass; Domenica Fossati, flute; and Owen Weaver, percussion) and Tigue (Matt Evans, Amy Garapic, and Carson Moody), as well as Tema Watstein, violin; Mariel Roberts, cello; and Karl Larson, piano.

Honstein’s recital opens with “Alone Together,” commissioned by the Heavy Hands Bass Quartet and presented here in a new version for solo bass and backing tracks. “There has been much talk about the internet and social media being both a great connector and divider of people,” writes Honstein; “the image that stuck with me was the physical reality of how we spend so much of our internet time: alone, tucked away in our apartments and homes. My music comes from that place, the quiet times when we commune with our screens and networks.” MORE

Published November 11, 2013
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Sleeping Giant Composers Collective receives Music Alive residency

The Sleeping Giant Composers Collective, which formed at the Yale School of Music, was selected to participate in the Music Alive program. The members of the collective, all YSM alumni, are Timothy Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman. Their residency with the Albany Sympony

Five orchestras in five states were selected to participate in the 2013–14 Music Alive program, including the Albany Symphony. The residency will bring in the Sleeping Giant Collective, which consists of six YSM alumni composers: Timothy Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman. MORE

Published June 14, 2013
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Yale in New York opens season at (Le) Poisson Rouge

“The Yale School of Music has established a formidable presence with its Yale in New York series at Carnegie Hall these last three seasons, mainly by presenting inventive programs of mostly new or unusual works.”
— Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, 2/10/10

On Monday, October 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm, the adventurous Yale in New York series opens its fourth season with Sleeping Giant at (Le) Poisson Rouge, the celebrated music club in Greenwich Village (158 Bleecker Street between Thompson St. and Sullivan St.). Sleeping Giant is a group of young composers, all Yale School of Music graduates:
Timo AndresTed HearneJacob CooperChristopher CerroneRobert Honstein

The composers’ works have appeared in clubs and concert halls throughout the U.S. and Europe, with performances by ensembles ranging from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Minnesota Orchestra to New York City Opera and the JACK Quartet.

Sleeping Giant presents music that prizes vitality over a rigid aesthetic. Its fall showcase at LPR features a healthy variety of music from its composers. The world premiere of Jacob Cooper’s austere and time-bending Cello Octet is pit against Ted Hearne’s rhythmic and metallic duet for piano and percussion One of Us, One of Them. Christopher Cerrone’s strikingly visual Averno: A Fragment, set with voracity and longing to texts by Louise Glück, will be played alongside Timothy Andres’s gracious Clamber Music and Robert Honstein’s rock-inspired song-without-words Why Are You Not Answering. MORE

Published September 23, 2010
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