Columbia University School of the Arts, Miller Theatre
Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts has announced its 2012-13, 24th Season. Including LE POÈME HARMONIQUE IN "VENEZIA," on opening night, eight intriguing composer portraits, featuring John Cage, Jonathan Harvey, Olga Neuwirth, Sofia Gubaidulina, Enno Poppe, Rebeecca Saunders, Oliver Knussen and Julio Estrada. Bach, Revisted, highlights innovators, baroque and modern alike, featuring Jennifer Koh teaming up with mentor Jaime Laredo, harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout and Ensemble Signal playing Bach, Rebel and Michael Gordon, and pianist Christopher Taylor juxtaposing Bach and Rzewski. The theatre also highlights early music ensembles, its jazz series, community programming, and pop-up concerts. See below for full details.
THE 12 / 13 SEASON (All concerts begin at 8:00PM)
Miller Theatre opens its season for the first time with an early music event, presenting the extraordinary ensemble and frequent guests Le Poème Harmonique in their largest New York production to date. Performed by candlelight, this theatrical presentation builds on the ensemble's eye-opening approach to opera, using historical gesture, vocal ornament, and an imaginative sequence of songs to depict life in 17th-century Venice.
Set in the streets and canals of the city during the time of Carnival, Venezia dalle strade ai Palazzi(Venice: From the Streets to the Palaces) pairs Monteverdi's haunting madrigals on the torments of love with light, witty works by Francesco Manelli, transporting listeners back in time through song. With an enchanting connection between music, movement, and light, Le Poème Harmonique has crafted an evening that "so realistically depicts the lively Venetian spirit, mixing operatic drama with street quarrels, noble love with servants' idylls…in the pleasure of being together and the happiness of bringing delight." (Le Monde)
LE Poème Harmonique
September 12 & 14
Featuring Claire Lefilliâtre, soprano, Jan Van Elsacker, tenor, Serge Goubioud, tenor Geoffroy Buffière, bass, Johannes Frisch, violin, Lucas Peres, lirone, Françoise Enock, violone Joël Grare, percussion, Jean-Luc Tamby, colascione and guitar, Vincent Dumestre, theorbo, baroque guitar, and music director, Benjamin Lazar, stage director.
The heart of Miller Theatre's programming-its heralded Composer Portraits series-returns for a 13th season with eight Portraits, including eight premieres and a new Miller Theatre commission. While paying tribute to an American icon, John Cage, this season draws its inspiration primarily from abroad, including Britain, Germany, Austria, the former Soviet Union, and Mexico, offering audiences an intimate and rare opportunity to get to know a fascinating array of composers. Offering a prismatic overview of each composer's oeuvre, featuring many premieres and the return of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Signal and the JACK Quartet, Miller's Composer Portraits series continues.
John Cage (1912–1992)
Miller kicks off this year's series with a 100th birthday celebration of one of the 20th century's most profoundly influential composers and thinkers, whose ideas revolutionized art-making across genres. This unique Portrait, a first at Miller, casts Cage's provocative explorations of chance operations and unorthodox sounds in relief by exploring his at-times explosive correspondence with the iconic French modernist Pierre Boulez. Percussionist and conductor extraordinaire Steven Schick joins the International Contemporary Ensembleand mezzo-sopranoJessica Aszodifor a program pairing Boulez's signature Le marteau sans maître with Cage's seminal works, revealing surprising connections between these two polarizing explorers of sound.
Jonathan Harvey (b. 1939)
Jonathan Harvey's music has an otherworldly, transcendent quality. The Guardian puts it quite simply: "There is no more consistently wonderful composer than Harvey, no other contemporary music-classical or otherwise-that makes your jaw drop with joy and delight at the sheer voluptuous possibilities." Frequent Miller Theatre collaborators, Ensemble Signal and their conductor Brad Lubman, survey the spectrum of Harvey's spiritual explorations, performing works inspired by a moving Renaissance altarpiece of the crucifixion and the ancient Sanskrit hymns of the Rig Veda. "Most of my works," writes Harvey "are attempts to (dis)locate the spirituality of music...But what one can say is that the most important property of spiritual music, or even perhaps of good music, is that it is ambiguous."
Olga Neuwirth (b. 1968)
An inquisitive explorer of sounds orchestral and electronic, musical and textual, Olga Neuwirth returns to Miller following the premiere of her opera Lost Highway in 2007. A student of Nono and Murail, the Austrian composer first burst onto the international scene at age 22, when her operas premiered at the Vienna Festival; debuts at Salzburg and Lucerne soon followed. Longtime champions, the International Contemporary Ensemble are joined by pianist Corey Smythe and conductor Jayce Ogren in the American premiere of her "inexplicably profound" (Financial Times) music theatre work "…ce qui arrive…" alongside her dramatic piano concerto locus…doublure…solus, whose material Pierre Boulez has described as so "in a state of flux... that the listener's ear is drawn into what can be an intriguingly disorientating experience."
Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931)
Sofia Gubaidulina has earned her place among the great living composers. Her singular sound is characterized by a love of unusual sonorities and a deep-seated belief in the mystical properties of music. Quietly encouraged by Shostakovich to boldly pursue what the Soviet establishment perceived as the "wrong course" musically, she fled to Germany, where she cultivated her passion for the avant-garde. Ten years following her first Portrait at Miller, after which The New York Times proclaimed she had "taken her place as one of most admired composers now working," this program traces her evolution before and after her relocation to Hamburg. It features several solo works as well as larger spiritual tours-de-force performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, with bassoonist Rebekah Heller and conductor Christian Knapp.
Enno Poppe (b. 1969)
A sensation on Europe's festival circuit and an established favorite among its leading new-music bands, Enno Poppe is one of Germany's most talked-about composers. The founder and conductor of Berlin's ensemble mosaik, Poppe is as inspired by his experience with and love of chamber ensembles as it is by his theoretical interest in the nearly infinite permutations possible with even the tiniest musical motives. The new piano-percussion ensemble Yarn/Wire make their Miller debut, joining returning favorites the JACK Quartet for this fascinating Portrait.
Rebecca Saunders (b. 1967)
New York audiences receive their inaugural introduction to composer Rebecca Saunders with a program comprised entirely of premieres. A star pupil of Wolfgang Rihm, Saunders favors a delicate, sparse aesthetic. "From this surface of apparent silence," the composer explains, "I try to draw out and mold sound and color." Finding inspiration in the work of Samuel Beckett, the philosophy of Goethe, and Wassily Kandinsky's writing of spirituality in art, Saunders seems to strip away the extraneous and ornamental in order to uncover the essential within. Her works explore the unique timbres of idiosyncratic solo instruments and chamber ensembles, all performed with thoughtfulness by the members of Either/Or. The Guardian calls Saunders "one of the most intriguing British composers of her generation," and for good reason.
Oliver Knussen (b. 1952)
The music of British conductor and composer Oliver Knussen is at once entirely accessible and thoroughly modern. A classical wunderkind, Knussen got his start at age 15, when he led the London Symphony Orchestra in performances of his First Symphony, at home and at New York's Carnegie Hall. No stranger to New York's new-music scene, his works have earned repeated accolades in performances at Lincoln Center. This concert traces his long and fruitful career, from his teenage years to more recent music, including many of his best-known and most-loved chamber works. Ensemble Signal and Brad Lubman lead the performance, joined by mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway.
Julio Estrada (b. 1943)
Born in Mexico City, the child of Spanish refugees, Julio Estrada is a product of cultural crossroads. Influenced in equal part by Xenakis's abstract theories and Mexican music history, by his studies of mathematics and acoustics, Estrada has published widely and been the recipient of numerous awards, including the internationally respected French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Miller closes out the season in much the same way it began with the International Contemporary Ensemble and Steven Schick, performing a kaleidoscopic Portrait that culminates with the world premiere of a new commission.
Composer Portraits in Boston at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum:
Fred Lerdahl (b. 1943)
Miller takes to the road with a twist on a Portrait from the 2010–11 season: Fred Lerdahl's complete cycle of three string quartets with the Daedalus Quartet
Sofia gubaidulina (b. 1931)
Following Sofia Gubaidulina's Portrait in New York in February, the International Contemporary Ensemble and conductor Christian Knapp present an encore chamber performance.
This season Miller Theatre highlights the innovative side of Bach and his Baroque contemporaries by juxtaposing their works with those of 21st-century counterparts. Miller favorites return to the series: a solo piano performance by Christopher Taylor contrasts Bach with a virtuosic set of variations by American composer Frederic Rzewski; violinist Jennifer Koh is joined by mentor Jaime Laredo and musicians from the Curtis Institute for duo concertos by Bach and modern composers. Rounding out the series are Miller regulars Ensemble Signal, who make their Baroque debut in this series after repeat engagements in Composer Portraits.