Cantori New York to Present Lisa Bielawa's LAMENTATIONS FOR A CITY, 3/9-10
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by BWW News Desk
On Saturday, March 9 at 8pm, at DiMenna Center's Mary Flagler Cary Hall (450 West 37th Street) and on Sunday, March 10 at 3pm, at Park Avenue Christian Church (1010 Park Avenue) composer Lisa Bielawa's Lamentations for a City will be performed by choral group Cantori New York.
On Lamentations for a City, Bielawa explains, "The poet of the Lamentations of Jeremiah was witness to the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. His descriptions of the details of suffering are painfully vivid, and his passionate eulogy to the wounded city takes its literary place alongside Euripides's heartbreaking verses to the fallen Troy or W.G. Sebald's searching inquiries into the rubble of Dresden. When I wrote these Lamentations I was on retreat in Umbria, a valley of walled cities with ghosts at every gate. The now-serene and quaint countryside has a deep history of brutality... In September 2004, I turned to the hemorrhaging web media for crisis reports from cities all over the world. This language appears as background texture in Lamentations for a City to give testimony to the vitality of the human tradition of bringing cities to their knees through cruelty, treason, humiliation and destruction."
Lamentations for a City was written in 2004, and was performed in 2007 by the Cerddorian Vocal Ensemble on A Handful of World (Tzadik). Press copies are available upon request.
About Composer and Vocalist Lisa Bielawa: Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition. She takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Gramophone reports, "Bielawa is gaining gale force as a composer, churning out impeccably groomed works that at once evoke the layered precision of Vermeer and the conscious recklessness of Jackson Pollock," and The New York Times describes her music as, "ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart."
Born in San Francisco into a musical family, Lisa Bielawa played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature in 1990 from Yale University, and became an active participant in New York musical life. She began touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1992, and in 1997 co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers.
Lisa Bielawa's music is frequently performed throughout the US, and in France, Italy, the UK and Rome. Recent highlights include the premieres of Rondolette by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and pianist Bruce Levingston; Double Duet by the Washington Saxophone Quartet (with subsequent performance by the Prism Saxophone Quartet); Graffiti dell'amante performed by Bielawa with the Chicago Chamber Musicians in Chicago, and with Brooklyn Rider in New York, Harrisburg, and Rome; The Project of Collecting Clouds at Town Hall in Seattle by cellist Joshua Roman and chamber ensemble; the world premieres of Double Violin Concerto and In medias res by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), part of Bielawa's three-year Music Alive residency with that orchestra; the premiere of The Right Weather by the American Composers Orchestra and pianist Andrew Armstrong at Carnegie Hall; and the premiere of The Lay of the Love and Death at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. Bielawa's work, Chance Encounter, a piece comprising songs and arias constructed of speech overheard in transient public spaces, has been performed by soprano Susan Narucki and The Knights in Seward Park in Lower Manhattan and at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, in Vancouver, on the banks of the Tiber River in Italy, as part of the opening of the celebrated new MAXXI Museum in Rome, and in Venice.
Bielawa is currently at work on Airfield Broadcasts, a massive 60-minute work for more than 600 musicians which will be premiered on the tarmac of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin (May 2013) and at Crissy Field in San Francisco (October 2013). Bielawa will turn the former airfields into vast musical canvases, as professional, amateur and student musicians execute a spatialized symphony.
Other upcoming premieres include a Radio France commission for Ensemble Variances - the new 15-minute work will be performed in Paris, Rouen, Metz and Montreal as part of a program called Cri Selon Cri or "Cry by Cry" which explores the idea that the cry is a primary sound shared by animals and humans from all cultures of the world. In addition, Bielawa will compose a piece for the 50-member Finnish male choir Akademiska Sångföreningen on a text from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Both new works will feature Bielawa as the vocal soloist.
Bielawa's discography includes A Handful of World (Tzadik); The Trojan Women on a disc entitled First Takes (TROY); Hildegurls: Electric Ordo Virtutum, (Innova); The Trojan Women in a version for string quartet performed by the Miami on The NYFA Collection (Innova); In medias res (BMOP/sound), a double-disc set of Bielawa's solo and orchestral works; the world premiere recording of Chance Encounter (Orange Mountain Music), and Elegy-Portrait on pianist Bruce Levingston's 2011 album, Heart Shadow (Sono Luminus). For more information, please visit www.lisabielawa.net.
About Cantori New York: Cantori New York, praised by The New York Times for its "spirit of exploration" and "virtuosity and assurance," celebrates its 28th season of programming featuring new and neglected works that deserve to be performed and heard.
A three-time winner of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, Cantori has built a strong reputation for artistic excellence and innovative programming, including an evening of theatrical choral music with Tony Award winner Maryann Plunkett. Cantori's collaborators have included the Cassatt String Quartet, Prism Saxophone Quartet, and the Gregg Smith Singers; appearances have included the opening season of Zankel Hall with Michael Tilson Thomas, Great Performers at Lincoln Center, and World Financial Center Arts & Events.
Cantori's recordings include The Metamorphoses of Paul Crabtree, Echoes and Shadows (contemporary American choral works), and the first CD recording of Frank Martin's Le Vin Herbé, which was an Opera News Editors' Choice. For more information, visit www.cantorinewyork.com.
Saturday, March 9 at 8pm
Sunday, March 10 at 3pm
Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Seniors; $5 Students at www.cantorinewyork.com or call 212.439.4758.