Miller Theatre, Oliver Knussen, Columbia University
Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts continues the 2012-13 season of its Composer Portraits series with Oliver Knussen, featuring Rachel Calloway, mezzo-soprano, Jamie Jordan, soprano, Courtney Orlando, violin, Ensemble Signal and Brad Lubman, conductor.
Ensemble Signal and special guest soloists will perform works from the prolific output of the beloved British composer Oliver Knussen. The concert includes an onstage discussion with Oliver Knussen and Brad Lubman.
The concert will take place on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 8:00 PM at Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th street). Tickets: $25-30; Students with valid ID: $15-18.
Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey said, "I am so thrilled to bring the work of the brilliant and gifted Oliver Knussen to Miller Theatre. This program explores a wide range of his work over his nearly fifty-year career, performed by the members of Ensemble Signal and two exquisite guest singers, Rachel Calloway and Jamie Jordan."
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 performance 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.
Requiem - Songs for Sue (2005-6)
Songs without Voices (1991-92)
Secret Psalm (1990)
Hums and Songs of Winnie-the-Pooh (1970/83)
Ophelia Dances, Book 1 (1975)
Onstage discussion with the composer
Born in Glasgow in 1952, Oliver Knussen grew up near London, where his father was principal double bass of the London Symphony Orchestra for many years. It was with the LSO that he made his debut in April 1968, conducting his First Symphony in London and in Carnegie Hall, New York. His first major works Coursing (1979) and the Third Symphony (1973-9) placed him in the forefront of contemporary British music. In the 1980s he collaborated with Maurice Sendak on Where the Wild Things Are (1979-83) and Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1984-5, rev. 1999), two chamber operas that have since been performed all around the world, and in the UK by Glyndebourne and London's National Theatre. In 2012 a new production of the two operas (with digital background) was premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival and subsequently travels to LA and the Barbican, London as part of the BBC's 'Total Immersion' festival dedicated to the composer. Several of Knussen's later works have quickly established themselves in the repertory: Flourish with Fireworks (1988), The Way to Yonder Castle (1988-90), Songs without Voices (1992), Two Organa (1994), the Horn Concerto (1994), the Violin Concerto (2002), Requiem-Songs for Sue for soprano and chamber orchestra (2005-6) and most recently, Ophelia's Last Dance (2010) for solo piano. Knussen has become one of the most skilled and sought-after conductors of new music, and in this capacity has appeared with many major international orchestras. He is currently Artist-in-Association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. From 1983 to 1998, Knussen was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival, and in 1992, in collaboration with Colin Matthews, established the Contemporary Composition and Performance Courses at the Britten-Pears Programme at Aldeburgh. Among Knussen's many awards are Honorary Memberships of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Royal Philharmonic Society, an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and the 2004 Association of British Orchestras Award. In 2006 he was named the second recipient of the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University, and in 2012 he won the Critics Circle award for an 'Outstanding Musician.' He became a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1994 Birthday Honours.
Mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway has been praised by The New York Times for her "considerable depth of expression" and by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette for her "emotional characterizations and sumptuous voice...and remarkable sensitivity." She makes her Latin American debut this season at the Festival Internacional Cervantino and sings the world premiere of Gabriela Frank's Holy Sisters with the San Francisco Girls' Choir and Joana Carneiro. This January she created the title role in Mohammed Fairouz's Sumedia's Song. With the contemporary vocal ensemble Ekmeles, Ms. Calloway will perform at Princeton University, Roulette, and in a large scale collaboration with Talea Ensemble in Beat Furrer's FAMA at the Bohemian National Hall. Last season, she made her European debut as Mrs. Grose in Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw. Ms. Calloway has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera in workshops of Nico Muhly's Two Boys and Michael Torke's Senna, and in concert at Zankel Hall, Cornell University, Le Poisson Rouge, Yale University, Depauw University, and Glimmerglass Opera. Ms. Calloway has appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center, Steinway Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Philadelphia's Academy of Music. A proponent of contemporary and lesser-known music, Ms. Calloway gave the world premiere of New Andean Songs by Gabriela Lena Frank on the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella series at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Last spring she sang Harrison Birtwhistle's Corridor in Merkin Hall and the world premiere of Nico Muhly's Stabat Mater, both with Ensemble Signal. She has performed Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire at Alice Tully Hall, Columbia University, and the Juilliard School and has appeared in the FOCUS! Festival of New Music. Ms. Calloway is a founding member of Shir Ami, an ensemble dedicated to the preservation and performance of Jewish art music suppressed by the Nazis and Soviets. Ms. Calloway has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council and first prize in the Arts Recognition and Talent Search sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Calloway holds degrees from the Juilliard School (BM) and Manhattan School of Music (MM) and maintains an active teaching studio.
Praised for her "alluring clarity" (The New York Times), Jamie Jordan is a sought after interpreter of contemporary classical music. She has performed at the Brooklyn Museum for the Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Music Series; Bruno Walter Auditorium as a Joy in Singing Finalist; the Detroit Institute of Art; Disney Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group; The Harvard Club NY; June in Buffalo with Ensemble Signal; The Liederkranz Foundation; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art for the Bang on a Can Festival Marathon; PASIC with Bob Becker; and Symphony Space with Encompass Opera Theatre. Jamie Jordan has been a guest artist at Columbia University, Cornell University, Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Fredonia, Syracuse University, University of Maryland, University of South Florida, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Unruly Music Festival, and Wisconsin Flute Festival. She has performed in concerts sponsored by Ethos New Music Society, Society for New Music (Syracuse), and as a soloist with Alia Musica Pittsburgh and Southern Tier Symphony (Poulenc's Gloria and Rachmaninoff's Vocalise). Other performances include one-woman cabaret shows at Rose's Turn and the role of Romilda (Xerxes) with the Connecticut Early Music Festival. A passionate music educator, Jamie Jordan has sung in numerous pre-concert lectures for the New York Philharmonic, and worked as a teaching artist and archivist for the orchestra. For eight summers she was a clinician for Summer Sounds Music Festival in Washington. She has taught at Arizona State University, Eastman School of Music, and University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, as well as public and private schools throughout Michigan and New York. Upcoming engagements include the 2013 MATA Festival with Talea Ensemble and a world premiere by Steven Rice at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Jamie grew up in suburbs of Chicago and Washington, D.C., and earned degrees in jazz studies, opera performance, and music education.