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Posts tagged 'Yale School of Music'

Alvin Singleton on PSNY

Alvin Singleton has been one of the leading compositional voices in America since the 1960s, as a member of a cohort of American composers who fused the inheritance of European Modernism with a unique style of American individualism. Raised in Brooklyn and trained at Yale, Singleton resided in Europe for most of the 1970s, returning to become the composer-in-residence at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 1985, and has since become an acclaimed American composer. For the first time, a selection of Singleton's music is now available for immediate download via PSNY. 

Though Singleton has worked extensively with orchestras, he has also written works for chamber ensembles, theatrical pieces, and vocal ensembles. Two early works from 1966—Mutations for solo piano, and Epitaph for double SATB chorus—show Singleton's own unique take on the transformations of melodic material, nodding toward the Serialist tradition but going his decidedly own way.


(Singleton composing in his Atlanta studio, late 1980's)

In the 1970s, Singleton's writing for solo performers and small chamber groups pushed on that tradition even further: 1974's Be Natural, for any trio of bowed string instruments, includes ludic and improvisational elements that emphasize the creativity inherent in musical performance, and 1978's Argoru IV is a fiendishly difficult piece for solo viola, meticulously notating music to the point of it sounding improvisatory during performance. Both pieces were recently performed as part of a portrait concert at Brooklyn's Roulette — check out a video of Be Natural from that concert, below: 

[Be Natural performed by Stefanie Griffin (va), James Ilgenfritz (db) and Meaghan Burke (vc)]

Singleton's signature playful, enigmatic style is also heard in other chamber works from this period, including the solo harpsichord work Le Tombeau du Petit Prince (1978) as well as Necessity is a Mother...!!! (1981), for three female actors and amplified double bass—a piece which calls for extensive improvisation by all four performers, and nods to the tradition of spoken word performance.

            
(pages from Le Tombeau du Petit Prince, listen to a recording here)

His more serene, mysterious aesthetic can be heard on pieces such as Et Nunc (1980) and Through it All (2007), both of which feature wind instruments. A truly versatile composer, Singleton's work over the past forty years has varied widely by instrumentation and ensemble, but has retained a fascinating, important compositional voice.

Hannah Lash at the New York Philharmonic Biennial


(photo © Bob Handelman)

The New York Philharmonic's second Biennial festival is well underway, with exciting concerts popping up all over the city. Fresh on the heels of the premiere of her chamber opera "Beowulf" in Boston, Hannah Lash returns to New York to see two performances of her works, in venues both intimate and grand. On May 25th, Lash's Leaves, Space, a work for double bass and harp, was performed at New York Public Radio's Jerome L. Greene Space, in a program featuring composers from the Yale School of Music. This New York Premiere was live-streamed on WQXR's Q2, which regularly live-streams concerts in the New Music New Haven series. 

On June 5th, Lash's music will again be heard in the newly-named David Geffen Hall. The Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra has programmed a concert entitled Young Americans, referring both to the youth of their performers and the youth of the composers they've programmed. In addition to works by Jennifer Higdon, Ashley Fure, and Nico Muhly, the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra will perform the World Premiere of Hannah Lash's Chaconnes, commissioned by Interlochen. Don't miss this chance to hear Lash's intimate writing expanded to an entire orchestra! 

Hannah Lash: Composer/Harpist

The composer at the writing desk: from Beethoven to this day, this is the enduring image of the scene of musical composition. But what about the composer at her instrument? Many of today's (and yesterday's) most vibrant composers also enjoy careers as instrumentalists: Timo Andres, Kate Soper, Alex Mincek, Ted Hearne, Vijay Iyer and many other PSNY composers inherit the composer-performer tradition by performing their own works and those of others. 

Hannah Lash is no exception to this rule. After premiering her own Concerto for Harp and Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in October, Lash has recently signed with Ariel Artists, joining the ranks of exciting musicians such as violinist Rachel Lee Priday, the Tesla Quartet, and the Mobius Trio. Check out Lash's own performance of her recent concerto (arranged for chamber ensemble) at Yale, where she is a full-time composition faculty member of the School of Music:  

Lash's upcoming performance schedule includes concerts at Yale, Spectrum, Miller Theatre and The Greene Space for the New York Philharmonic's Biennial. Be sure to catch her in 2016!

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