Part of: Fast Forward
American Composers Orchestra
George Manahan, Music Director and Conductor
Ali Sethi, Vocalist
Helga Davis, Vocalist
Shayna Dunkelman, Percussion
FELDMAN Turfan Fragments
GLORIA COATES Symphony No. 1, "Music on Open Strings"
DU YUN / KHALED JARRAR Where We Lost Our Shadows (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
Music by Du Yun | Film by Khaled Jarrar
Performance includes a discussion with Derek Bermel, Du Yun, Khaled Jarrar, Ali Sethi, and Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study.
Support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by members of Carnegie Hall’s Composer Club.
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, performance, promotion, and celebration of music by American composers. ACO makes the creation of new opportunities for American composers and new American orchestral music its central purpose. Through concerts at Carnegie Hall and other venues, educational programs, New Music Readings, and commissions, ACO identifies today’s brightest emerging composers, champions prominent established composers as well as those lesser-known, and increases regional, national, and international awareness of the infinite variety of American orchestral music, reflecting geographic, stylistic, and temporal diversity. ACO also serves as an incubator of ideas, research, and talent; as a catalyst for growth and change among orchestras; and as an advocate for American composers and their music. Visit americancomposers.org for more information.
In his ninth season as music director of the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), the wide-ranging and versatile George Manahan has an esteemed career that embraces everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. In addition to his work with ACO, Manahan continues his commitment to working with young musicians as director of orchestral studies at the Manhattan School of Music as well as guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music. He also serves as music director of Portland Opera.
Manahan was music director at New York City Opera for 14 seasons. His recording activities include the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s Tehillim for ECM; Edward Thomas’s Desire Under the Elms, which was nominated for a Grammy; Joe Jackson’s Will Power; and Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. His enthusiasm for contemporary music continues today; he has conducted numerous world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s modern painters, and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner. As music director of the Richmond Symphony in Virginia for 12 years, he was honored four times by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for his commitment to 20th-century music.
Ali Sethi is a Pakistani author and musician. Having grown up in Lahore, Pakistan, Sethi graduated from Harvard College and authored the critically acclaimed novel The Wish Maker. He is also a trained vocalist in the Indo-Pakistani classical traditions of Khayal and Ghazal. A regular on the popular Coke Studio program in Pakistan, he is known for combining live music with historical narrative and critical analysis. He lives between Lahore and New York City.
Helga Davis is a vocalist and performance artist with firm roots in the realities and concerns of her local community. Her work draws out insights that illuminate how artistic leaps for an individual can offer connections between audiences. Davis was principal actor in the 25th-anniversary international revival of Philip Glass’s seminal opera Einstein on the Beach, directed by Robert Wilson. Among the collaborative works written for her are Oceanic Verses by Paola Prestini, You Us We All by Shara Nova and Andrew Ondrejcak, and Faust’s Box by Andrea Liberovici. She also starred in Wilson’s production of The Temptation of St. Andrew, with a libretto and score by Bernice Johnson Reagon, and The Blue Planet by Saskia Boddeke and Peter Greenaway.
Davis is the recipient of a 2014 BRIC Fireworks grant and completed her first evening-length piece, Cassandra. Current projects include Silent Voices with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with text by Hilton Als, Black Light by Daniel Alexander Jones, Requiem for: A Tuesday with bass-baritone Davóne Tines and dancer-choreographer Reggie “Regg-Roc” Gray, and Yet Unheard, a tribute to Sandra Bland by Courtney Bryan based on the poem by Sharan Strange. She has conceived and performed First Responder and Wanna as responses to Until and The Let Go by multidisciplinary artist Nick Cave. Davis is an artist in residence at National Sawdust, host of the eponymous podcast Helga on WQXR / New Sounds, and the 2018–2019 visiting curator for the performing arts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Shayna Dunkelman is known for her versatile and unique techniques, and her use of electronics to access a sonic palette not found in acoustic percussion. In addition to performing solo, she also tours internationally with Puerto Rican electronic band Balún, multi-instrumentalist Emily Wells, electro-acoustic duo Peptalk, and her percussion duo nomon with her sister Nava. She became increasingly active in the alternative music scene as a member of Xiu Xiu for six years.
Dunkelman has performed classical and contemporary pieces with numerous ensembles, including the William Winant Percussion Group and the Wordless Music Orchestra, and also started working with Pulitzer Award–winning composer Du Yun in 2018. She has recorded and performed with pioneers of the avant-garde, including John Zorn, Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore, and Zeena Parkins.
As a composer, Dunkelman has collaborated with choreographer Amanda Piña, including a work presented as part of the opening ceremony of ImPulsTanz in Vienna. She is currently working on a piece titled Answer to (XX), a performance and documentary film exploring relationships and power dynamics between band leaders and herself.
Dunkelman graduated with honors in both music and mathematics from Mills College in 2007, where she studied percussion with William Winant. Born and raised in Tokyo to an Indonesian mother and an American father, Dunkelman learned to be a multi-instrumentalist, performing alongside her mother, a musician and composer active in Asia and the Middle East.