Over the past week Mark Swed, music critic for the Los Angeles Times, alongside Pulitzer Prize–winning composer David Lang, Claire Chase, and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble have mentored young composers, ensembles, and arts journalists in the process of creating, collaborating on, promoting, and premiering new works commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Presented by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute as part of David Lang's season-long residency as Carnegie Hall's Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair, the workshop's aim was to promote dialogue between and among composers, performers, and writers, and to explore the different but intersecting means through which each group communicates about music and their artistic work. Four arts journalists were selected to participate, and we're proud to showcase their writing here.
The workshop culminates tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall with New Voices, New Music, featuring the world premieres of four new works commissioned by Carnegie Hall from young composers: Nicholas’s Deyoe’s Lullaby 4, Robert Honstein’s Arctic, Carlos Iturralde’s Fata Morgana, and Mary Kouyoudjian’s This Should Feel Like Home, as performed by ensembles Eastman BroadBand, gnarwhallaby, Hotel Elefant, and Mivos Quartet.
The Armenian-American composer Mary Kouyoumdjian [Koo - yuhm - jihn] envisions a documentary music. Not the musical soundtrack to documentaries, but music as documentary. With training in experimental practices as well as film scoring, Kouyoumdjian creates music that draws on widely divergent registers. In her work atmospheric soundscapes merge with scenic travelogues, both of which are undergirded by a distinct political streak. The specter of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 looms large over the output. In fact, her work stands closer to the tradition of documentary exposés such as Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah than to that of any existing musical works.Read More: Soundproof Room
Composer David Lang despises the belief that success can be achieved by pushing your colleagues “under a bus.” He made this expressly clear from the beginning of Creating New Music, a six-day workshop he designed to encourage open dialogue and collaboration between new music ensembles and young composers. I have been following one of the ensemble-composer pairs selected for this workshop: the Mivos Quartet and Robert Honstein.
I joined the Mivos quartet last Saturday for a late afternoon rehearsal of Arctic, Honstein’s new piece. The Mivos were jovial and relaxed, despite being observed by two members of International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), three cameramen, and a bright blue cello case. “It’s way less cramped than where we usually rehearse,” explained the cellist, Mariel Roberts. (The quartet takes turns hosting rehearsals in their NYC apartments. And when they are on tour? “Oh, they always put us in some cave,” quips the violist, Victor Lowrie.)
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The last few days of the Carnegie Hall New Music, New Voices workshop have been a total blur. This is the only way I can excuse my two day absence from the blogosphere (click here to read my report on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 of the workshop). But that just means there's a lot of good stuff to catch you up on. It's also my hope that describing several days at a time will give you a closer sense of what it's been like to be here for an entire week, working with emerging performers, composers, and music journalists. Speaking of which, I've been meaning to talk in a bit more depth about some of the music at the workshop (instead of my usual grazing analysis), so read below for a closer look at Mexico City based composer Carlos Iturralde's "Fata Morgana" and the intensely collaborative process with the Eastman Broadband which has helped shape it.
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