• Thursday, Sep 2, 2010

    American Composers Orchestra Kicks Off Season Under New Music Director George Manahan October 15



    Works by John Luther Adams and Wang Jie Receive World Premieres,
    Along with New York Premieres by Claude Vivier and
    Alvin Singleton and Music by Jacob Druckman

    Additional Concerts This Season Take Place on December 3 and March 4


    On Friday, October 15 at 7:30 p.m., American Composers Orchestra (ACO), led by its new Music Director George Manahan, perform a program featuring new music inspired by the divine, spiritual, and unseen. The program, titled Orchestra Underground: Mystics & Magic, includes two world premieres: the newly orchestrated version of John Luther Adams’s The Light Within and Wang Jie’s From the Other Sky. Also on the program are the New York premieres of Alvin Singleton’s BluesKonzert featuring piano soloist Ursula Oppens, and Claude Vivier’s Lonely Child with soprano Susan Narucki. Jacob Druckman’s Nor Spell Nor Charm completes the program. Please see below for complete program information.

    About the Music
    John Luther Adams
    has orchestrated The Light Within for ACO. The work was originally written for chamber ensemble in 2007. He says The Light Within was inspired by his own “epiphany of light,” which he experienced sitting inside James Turrell’s P.S.1 installation Meeting, which focuses on light and perception by way of a rectangular opening cut directly into the ceiling. “I was transfixed by the magical interplay of light and color…light becoming color, becoming substance,” Adams said. The piece will also feature new immersive lighting design by Ji-Youn Chang.

    Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jacob Druckman wrote Nor Spell Nor Charm in 1990 in memory of mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani. The piece is an elaboration on a song Mr. Druckman composed for her in 1989, the title referencing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The work reflects the composer’s signature colorful and dramatic orchestration.

    Wang Jie is the winner of ACO’s 2009 Underwood New Music Readings Commission for emerging composers. Her work, From the Other Sky, is a multi-media concert opera for three singers and orchestra based on her own short story, which tells the tale of how the Chinese Zodiac animals lost their 13th member—a musical lark. Composer John Corigliano has said of Wang Jie’s music, “She knows how to take a few notes and spin them into a large form—a rare trait in today’s composers.”

    Alvin Singleton’s work BluesKonzert, for piano soloist and orchestra, was written for Ursula Oppens (a founding member of ACO) and dedicated to the memory of his colleague, the jazz composer and saxophonist Julius Hemphill, who died in 1995. Like much of Singleton’s music, BluesKonzert unites the worlds of jazz and European modernism.

    Canadian composer Claude Vivier credited a life-changing trip to Bali in 1976 with crystallizing his musical style and attitude about the artist’s role in society. Lonely Child, for voice and ensemble, was written in 1980 after this trip.

    Additional ACO concerts during the 2010–2011 season include:

    • Friday, December 3, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.: George Manahan conducts four world premieres on this program titled Orchestra Underground: A Time & Place which explores the reactions of composers to specific moments in their lives, pinpointed, analyzed, and which have inspired them to create something entirely new. A highlight of the evening is the world premiere of Douglas Cuomo’s Black Diamond Express to Hell featuring cellist Maya Beiser as well as the world premiere of Christopher Trapani’s Westering featuring the composer as hexaphonic guitar soloist. Additional premieres by Jerome Kitzke and Ryan Francis are also featured.
    • Friday, March 4, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.: The final performance of ACO’s season, titled Orchestra Underground: Playing it UNsafe and conducted by George Manahan will feature works selected from a nationwide search for music that challenges conventional notions about orchestral music. The composers selected to participate will be chosen for their willingness to experiment and stretch their own musical sensibilities, and their ability to test and stretch the possibilities for the orchestra itself.

    Artist Information
    Soprano Susan Narucki is a frequent soloist with major orchestras and contemporary music ensembles around the globe. She earned Grammy and Cannes awards for her recordings of works by George Crumb on Bridge Records. Her extensive discography includes operas of Louis Andriessen on Nonesuch and the Netherlands Opera production of Claude Vivier’s Rêves D’un Marco Polo on Opus Arte DVD. Her most recent release of songs by Charles Ives with pianist Donald Berman on New World was an Editor’s Choice in BBC Music Magazine.

    Pianist Ursula Oppens, a founding member of ACO in 1977, is one of the first artists to grasp the importance of programming traditional and contemporary works in equal measure. Her sterling musicianship, uncanny understanding of the composer’s artistic intent, and lifelong study of the keyboard’s resources, have placed her among the top tier of performing musicians. In 2008, Ms. Oppens celebrated the 100th birthday of Elliott Carter with critically acclaimed performances of his complete works for solo piano.

    George Manahan has had an unusually wide-ranging career, embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. His most recent appearance with ACO was in May 2010 during the 19th Annual Underwood New Music Readings at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. In February 2009 at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Mr. Manahan led a concert of world premieres, which included the much-praised multimedia works BREAKDOWN! by Margaret Brouwer and Kasumi, Cryosphere by Rand Steiger, and Resurrection by Fang Man. In 2006, he workshopped and led performances of music by emerging composers Anna Clyne, Fang Man, Robert Gates, and Paul Richards during ACO’s Underwood New Music Readings. In addition to his work with ACO, in fall 2010, he furthers his commitment to working with young musicians by joining the Manhattan School of Music faculty as Director of Orchestral Studies. George Manahan has been Music Director at New York City Opera for twelve seasons. There he helped envision the organization’s groundbreaking VOX program, a series of workshops and readings that have provided unique opportunities for numerous composers to hear their new concepts realized, and introduced audiences to exciting new compositional voices. In addition to established composers such as Mark Adamo, David Del Tredici, Lewis Spratlan, Robert X. Rodriguez, Lou Harrison, Bernard Rands, and Richard Danielpour, through VOX, Mr. Manahan has introduced works by composers on the rise including Adam Silverman, Elodie Lauten, Mason Bates, and David T. Little. George Manahan’s extensive recording activities include the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s Tehillim for ECM; recordings of 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 (VA) for twelve years, he was honored four times by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for his commitment to 20th century music.

    Now entering its 34th year, American Composers Orchestra is the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers. To date, ACO has performed music by more than 600 American composers, including 200 world premieres and newly commissioned works. Extending its mission beyond New York City, ACO launched EarShot in 2008. EarShot is a multi-institutional network that assists orchestras around the country in new music readings and composer development opportunities. Among the honors ACO has received are special awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and from BMI recognizing the orchestra’s outstanding contribution to American music. ASCAP has awarded its annual prize for adventurous programming to ACO 32 times, singling out ACO as “the orchestra that has done the most for new American music in the United States,” including the 2008 ASCAP Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming. ACO received the inaugural METLife Award for Excellence in Audience Engagement, and a proclamation from the New York City Council. ACO recordings are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, Phoenix USA, MusicMasters, Nonesuch, Tzadik, New World Records, and InstantEncore.com.

    Orchestra Underground is ACO’s subversive and entrepreneurial exploration of the orchestra as an elastic ensemble that can respond to composers’ unhindered creativity in experimental and innovative ways. The ensemble has embraced new technology, eclectic instruments and influences, spatial orientation, new experiments in concert format, and multimedia and multi-disciplinary collaborations. Since the opening of Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall’s subterranean state-of-the-art auditorium, Orchestra Underground has played to sold-out audiences, with 50 world premieres and newly commissioned works.

    More information about American Composers Orchestra is available online at americancomposers.org.

    Program Information
    Friday, October 15, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
    Zankel Hall

    George Manahan, Music Director and Conductor
    Susan Narucki, Soprano
    Ursula Oppens, Piano


    CLAUDE VIVIER Lonely Child (NY Premiere)
    ALVIN SINGLETON BluesKonzert (NY Premiere)
    JACOB DRUCKMAN Nor Spell Nor Charm
    JOHN LUTHER ADAMS The Light Within (World Premiere, Orchestral Version)
    WANG JIE From the Other Sky (World Premiere)

    Friday, December 3, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
    Zankel Hall

    George Manahan, Music Director and Conductor
    Maya Beiser, Cello


    CHARLES IVES Central Park in the Dark
    DOUGLAS CUOMO Black Diamond Express to Hell (World Premiere)
    CHRISTOPHER TRAPANI Westering (World Premiere)
    JEROME KITZKE The Fire at 4 a.m. (World Premiere)
    RYAN FRANCIS Highline (World Premiere)

    Friday, March 4, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
    Zankel Hall

    George Manahan, Music Director and Conductor


    ACO's next musical laboratory. Composers pursuing no-holds-barred explorations that challenge their creative capacities and stretch the limits of what is possible with an orchestra. New pieces selected through a nationwide search, and born from a unique incubation process of workshops, public readings, and collaborative feedback.

    Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall. 

    Ticket Information
    Tickets, priced at $40 and $50, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

    For more information discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.




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