Performance Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 6 PM

collected stories: spirit

Zankel Hall
From the rugged terrain of Siberia to the grand cathedrals of Europe, this program examines how different cultures approach a sacred subject. The otherworldly throat singing group Huun-Huur-Tu creates overtones, hymns, and chants that defy conceived limitations of the human voice, while offering audiences a glimpse into the remote region. Their astonishing exploration of spiritualism is juxtaposed with Arvo Pärt’s meditative and mystic Passio, a contemporary setting of the gospel according to St. John.

This concert is part of My Time, My Music.


  • Huun-Huur-Tu
  • Julian Wachner, Conductor
  • Nicholas Phan, Tenor
  • Dashon Burton, Baritone
  • Renée Anne Louprette, Organ
  • ToniMarie Marchioni, Oboe
  • Shelley Monroe Huang, Bassoon
  • Emily Popham Gillins, Violin
  • Saeunn Thorsteinsdóttir, Cello
    Jolle Greenleaf, Artistic Director


    Tuvan Throat Singing
  • ARVO PÄRT Passio

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two and one-half hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Huun-Huur-Tu

    A peculiar style of singing is found in the tiny Siberian country of Tuva. Called khoomei, or throat singing, the songs are typically performed by soloists who each specialize in a particular variant of khoomei. The amazing technique of Tuvan throat singing is still a mystery to Western science, but listen closely and you will hear the singers produce up to four notes at once, singing melody and accompaniment simultaneously.

    In 1992, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Alexander Bapa, his brother Sayan Bapa, and Albert Kuzevin founded the quartet as a means of concentrating on the presentation of traditional songs of their homeland. While they devoted themselves to the preservation of these songs, their concerts demonstrated the significance of combining tradition and innovation. The musicians later decided to rename the ensemble as "Huun-Huur-Tu"-a name that means "Separation of Light Rays on the Prairie."

    Huun-Huur-Tu presents its style of throat singing in the context of wonderfully tuneful songs, employing instruments reminiscent of the banjo and fiddle. The combination of earth-rumbling growling and whistle-like harmonics, along with the ethereal jaw harp and shaman's drum make these songs both lively and deeply spiritual.

    Huun-Huur-Tu has toured extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia, and has an international fan base. The group has also collaborated with Frank Zappa, Ry Cooder, The Chieftains, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, the Kronos Quartet, L. Shankar, and the Bulgarian Women's Choir.

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  • Julian Wachner

    As director of music and the arts at New York's historic Trinity Wall Street, Julian Wachner oversees an annual season of more than 900 events, in addition to directing the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, NOVUS NY, and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street. He was nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for Trinity's recording of Handel's complete Israel in Egypt. Mr. Wachner is also music director of the Grammy Award-winning Washington Chorus, with whom he won Chorus America / ASCAP's Alice Parker Award for adventurous programming in 2011.

    Recent and upcoming engagements include those with the Lincoln Center Festival, BAM Next Wave Festival, Hong Kong Philharmonic, TENET, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. He has appeared as guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Montreal and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras, Spoleto Festival USA, Handel and Haydn Society, Glimmerglass Opera, and Hawaii Opera Theatre. In 2011, he founded the Twelfth Night Festival of early music, presented in collaboration with Gotham Early Music Scene and featuring many of New York's leading Baroque and Renaissance ensembles.

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  • Nicholas Phan

    Nicholas Phan has appeared with many of the leading orchestras in North America and Europe, including the St. Louis Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and English Chamber Orchestra. He has toured extensively throughout Europe with Il Complesso Barocco and appeared with the Edinburgh, Ravinia, Rheingau, Saint-Denis, and Marlboro music festivals, and at the BBC Proms. In opera, Mr. Phan has appeared with the LA Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Glyndebourne, Oper Frankfurt, and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. In recital, he has been presented by Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. He is the artistic director of Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, an organization devoted to promoting the art song and vocal chamber music repertoire.

    Mr. Phan's most recent solo album, Still Falls the Rain (Avie Records), was named one of the best classical recordings of 2012 by The New York Times. His growing discography includes the Grammy-nominated recording of Stravinsky's Pulcinella with Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO Resound), his debut solo album Winter Words (Avie Records), and the opera L'Olimpiade with the Venice Baroque Orchestra (Naïve).

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  • Dashon Burton

    Grammy Award-winning Dashon Burton recently brought home a second prize from the 2012 ARD International Music Competition in Munich (no first prizes awarded), along with the First Prize in Oratorio at the 49th International Vocal Competition in 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. These awards follow his 2012 first place wins in both the 2012 Oratorio Society of New York Competition and the Bach Choir of Bethlehem's Young American Singer Competition.

    During the 2013-2014 season, Mr. Burton makes his debut with The Cleveland Orchestra in Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst; performs in the St. Matthew Passion with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and on tour in the Netherlands; and debuts with Boston's Handel and Haydn Society in Handel's Samson. He also performs in Handel's Messiah with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall. In summer 2014, he sings Bach's St. Mark Passion at the Oregon Bach Festival and the St. Matthew Passion at the Carmel Bach Festival.

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  • Renée Anne Louprette

    Renée Anne Louprette is the director of music and organist at the Church of Notre Dame in New York City, having previously served as organist and associate director of music and the arts at Trinity Wall Street and associate director of music at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. She has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America, and Australia, and has appeared with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Clarion Music Society, Voices of Ascension, The Dessoff Choirs, and Piffaro.

    Ms. Louprette was appointed to the organ faculty of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in September 2013. She has also served on the faculties of The Hartt School of the University of Hartford and the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. Ms. Louprette holds degrees from the Centre d'études supérieures de musique et de danse de Toulouse, Conservatoire à rayonnement régional de Toulouse, and The Hartt School. She has been a featured artist at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and is in frequent demand as a master class teacher.

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  • ToniMarie Marchioni

    Oboist ToniMarie Marchioni is the assistant professor of oboe at the University of Kentucky; a member of the IRIS Orchestra in Memphis, Tennessee; and an alumna of Ensemble ACJW. She has also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theatre, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Georgia Woodwind Quintet, and Continuum. In 2010, she performed the Martinů Oboe Concerto with the Orquesta Filarmónica del Ecuador, and in 2008, she gave the US premiere of Jonathan Harvey's Sprechgesang concerto for oboe and English horn. Ms. Marchioni has worked as a teaching artist with  Sinfonía por la Vida  in Ecuador, and has held faculty positions with the University of Georgia, Las Vegas Music Festival, and the American Festival for the Arts in Houston, Texas. A native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Ms. Marchioni holds degrees from Harvard University and The Juilliard School.

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  • Shelley Monroe Huang

    Shelley Monroe Huang has appeared as soloist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Philharmonia, and New Music New Haven. As a concert bassoonist and contrabassoonist, she has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; American Composers Orchestra; and the Charlotte, Albany, New Haven, and Princeton symphony orchestras. Before completing her doctorate at Stony Brook University under the tutelage of Frank Morelli, she earned degrees from the Eastman and Yale schools of music. In recent years, she has also appeared as the bassoon fellow of Carnegie Hall's Ensemble ACJW and is currently visiting professor of bassoon at Guangzhou Conservatory in China. Ms. Huang is a dedicated chamber music player and an avid contemporary musician, recently performing Sofia Gubaidulina's Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings, and giving the world premieres of Huang Ruo's Wind Blows and Book of the Forgotten.

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  • Emily Popham Gillins

    Violinist Emily Popham Gillins has been blessed to perform internationally as a soloist and chamber musician since her debut at age 11 with the Louisville Orchestra. As a member of Ensemble ACJW from 2010 to 2012, she appeared in venues that range from Weill Recital Hall to Rikers Island. She has been a featured artist at the Library of Congress as first violinist of the Degas String Quartet, and toured North Carolina for residency work at universities and elementary schools.

    She has collaborated with artists such as Emanuel Ax and Rachel Barton Pine, and played backup strings for Harry Connick Jr., Sting, and Peter Gabriel. Last season, she appeared as soloist with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, and frequently performs with Decoda, IRIS Orchestra, and New York Chamber Soloists. She lives in New York City with her husband Kevin, a wind and brass technician, and their daughter Beverly.

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    TENET celebrates its fifth anniversary as one of New York's preeminent vocal ensembles. Its artistic director Jolle Greenleaf has won acclaim for the ensemble's innovative programming, virtuosic singing, and command of repertoire that spans the Middle Ages to the present with a focus on early music. TENET features distinguished soloists who shine in one-voice-to-a-part singing and as joined voices in small ensembles.

    They regularly present critically acclaimed performances throughout the US and abroad. Highlights include collaborations with many ensembles, including Dark Horse Consort, the Sebastians, and New York Polyphony; and performances at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Berkshire Bach Festival, Festival Casals de Puerto Rico, Yale University, Da Camera Society of Los Angeles, and Costa Rica's International Music Festival. TENET sponsors the annual Green Mountain Project performances of Claudio Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610. Recordings of TENET and the Green Mountain Project are widely available. Visit for more information.

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Arvo Pärt's Passio
The Hilliard Ensemble

About collected stories

At the start, I have to say that I am something of a composer groupie. I love writing music and I love the other people who write music, no matter what kind of music they write or when they wrote it. I really believe that I belong to an international community of composers, stretching across all boundaries of time and place, regardless of style or category.

It's not the way we are normally taught to listen. Music and the people who make it can get separated from each other—by time, culture, genre, commerce. It makes it easy for us if all the different kinds of music stay separated. If everything sits neatly in a particular category, it gets much simpler to find the music you already know and to avoid the music you don't. But because I am a composer groupie, I always want to listen to music outside of these categories so I can pay attention to the things that different kinds of music and composers might have in common, and to consider their differences.

collected stories looks at one of music's more universal functions, namely how often music gets called upon to help tell different kinds of stories. What I am particularly interested in is how the act of composing changes depending on what kind of story the composer is trying to tell.

I started thinking about this in the mid-1990s when I was finishing two commissions at the same time. One was a giant grand opera for Santa Fe, an extravaganza with a big cast and chorus and speaking roles and children and ballet dancers. The other was a loud, aggressively static piece for the English post-rock ensemble Icebreaker. As I went back and forth from one composition to the other, I could really feel my approach change. The opera required me to tell a story, to reveal things in such a way that the audience experienced surprise, shock, elation, and sadness. In the opera, everyone experienced those things pretty much at the same time. The static piece was more like an object, an odd thing that changed very slowly. It didn't tell the listeners much about what they should feel or when they should feel it. I began to notice how my job, my skills, my musicality, my aesthetic sense all changed, depending on the needs of the piece in front of me.

collected stories divides the world not by genre or style, but by the various kinds of stories that a piece of music can tell in order to see how the story and the composer work together. The pieces I chose highlight some of the different ways a composer's job changes. But the truth is that everything on this series is music with which I have a long relationship and that I love. All of it. I hope you will too.

—David Lang

Program Notes


David Lang introduces spirit

The Fast Forward series of concerts is sponsored by Ernst & Young LLP.
Part of collected stories, curated by David Lang.
David Lang is the holder of the 2013–2014 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.
This performance is part of collected stories, and Fast Forward.

Part of