Monthly Archive: Febuary 2009

NYCO VOX details confirmed

Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Details of New York City Opera's 2009 VOX Festival have been announced. After 10 years of the festival I'm honoured that A Bird in your Ear will mark their 100th festival presentation (my piece will be the final performance of this year's festival, and is scheduled for Saturday May 2nd at 4:50pm). It's especially exciting as, for the first time this year, composers have access to the full NYC Opera Chorus, so we've chosen selections from Bird which feature the chorus prominently. Should be very exciting..

More details here

Press write-ups on Playbill and Broadway World

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Sung Eun Lee

Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Huge congratulations to Sung Eun Lee, who was named as one of four winners of the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition on Sunday. As the NY Times cheekily says

"This singing competition is too venerable to be called 'Metropolitan Idol', but the consequences for young careers are just as great as with 'American Idol'"

Sung Eun created the role (as they say) of Ivan in the Bard College premiere of A Bird in Your Ear, and I'm thrilled to see his career is developing so well.

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Aimee Bender

Posted on Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pretty much everyone I've introduced Aimee Bender's work to has become an instant convert. Start with this online reading Aimee gave of her short story The Meeting, which for me is just the most perfect short story. A lot of Aimee's work seems to describe thoughts and feelings I thought only I had, often thoughts I hadn't even articulated to myself, indeed her ability to describe men's thoughts can be unnerving!

Apart from the depth, the other thing that attracts me to Aimee's writing is the surface which is witty and often surreal - but across the numerous short-stories there is never a dogmatic way of dealing with surrealism, it just crops up here and there when the story demands it. The work has a matter-of-fact acceptance of the extraordinary which I find very appealing.

Check out The girl with the flammable skirt and Willful Creatures (short story collections) and the novel An invisible sign of my own.

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A new piece for Dawn

Posted on Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center have given me the great honour of commissioning a new piece for the opening gala concert of their 2009 season, in the newly revamped Alice Tully Hall. The piece will be a new song cycle, continuing my collaboration with Dawn Upshaw, who will be accompanied by a jaw-dropping collection of some of the world's finest chamber musicians, including three dear friends from recent years, Avi Avital, Bridget Kibbey, and Todd 'Gumboots' Palmer. As I discovered in the Groanbox concert, making music amongst friends is both an exceptional pleasure, and also an inspiration.

A further exciting development for this project is that I've been talking with the supremely talented and original writer Aimee Bender about writing these songs, and she's gamely launched into a collaboration process with me, of which more soon. Read my mini-introduction to Aimee's work here.

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Groanbox at Le Poisson Rouge

Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Here are some very nice shots from the Groanbox concert at LPR by Sabrina Asch. Sabrina has also posted lots more great shots of the concert here

Cory Seznec on banjo

Michael Ward-Bergeman during the Groanbox Boys set

Paul Clifford letting rip on the 'freedom boot' during Michael's piece

Andrew Cyr with the Metropolis Ensemble introducing my piece Groanbox

Wonderful Bridget Kibbey who will also be premiering my new solo harp piece at Carnegie in April.

The composer receives a hug from the soloist

and a couple more nice B+W shots by Harry Kalish:

Harry Kalish 2009

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