Composer Lisa Bielawa
Album Release Celebration for The Lay of the Love
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 6-8pm
Featuring performances by Jesse Blumberg, baritone; Colin Jacobsen, violin; and pianists Jocelyn Dueck and Evelyne Luest
Spectrum | 121 Ludlow St. | NYC
$20 at the door, includes a copy of the CD
Album Release Date: June 30, 2015 (Innova)
Review copies & downloads available upon request
“the formal sophistication and lyrical richness of Bielawa’s music go deep” – The New Yorker
Lisa Bielawa: www.lisabielawa.net
New York, NY — On Saturday, June 27, 2015 from 6-8pm, composer Lisa Bielawa celebrates the June 30 release of her new album on the Innova Recordings label, The Lay of the Love, at Spectrum (121 Ludlow St.). The evening will feature selections from the centerpiece of the album, The Lay of the Love and Death, performed by baritone Jesse Blumberg and pianist Jocelyn Dueck, with violinist Colin Jacobsen. The narrative text is from an early Rainer Maria Rilke epic poem penned in one feverish night, in which the young Rilke imagines the last days of an ancestral cousin of his who went off to war with the Hussars some 200 years before Rilke’s time, and never returned. In addition, pianist Evelyne Luest will perform Bielawa’s Wait for solo piano and drone (with all of the musicians participating in the drone), also featured on the new disc. Wait, though instrumental, also takes the soul-searching words of a Romantic poet, from Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, as its theme, meditating on the words of the poet-exile as he stares out to sea in the direction of his homeland.
Both of these works were commissioned expressly for, and premiered by, the performers appearing at Spectrum. Bielawa’s collaborations with these deeply poetic musicians have been at the center of her own creative life for over a decade, and the new Innova recording represents the fruition of these rich collaborations. The Lay of the Love album was recorded by Grammy-winning producer Adam Abeshouse, and features performances by baritone Jesse Blumberg; soprano Sadie Dawkins Rosales; pianists Jocelyn Dueck, Benjamin Hochman, and Evelyne Luest; violinist Colin Jacobsen; cellist Eric Jacobsen; clarinetist Anthony McGill; and flutist Lance Suzuki. The album also includes Hurry, Bielawa’s recreation in musical time of the experience she had when reading Boris Pasternak’s poem Hurry, My Verses.
Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition. She takes inspiration for her work from literature and artistic collaborations. Gramophone reports, “Bielawa is gaining gale force as a composer, churning out impeccably groomed works that at once evoke the layered precision of Vermeer and the conscious recklessness of Jackson Pollock,” and The New York Times describes her music as, “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart.” Bielawa began touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1992, and in 1997 co-founded the MATA Festival. Bielawa was appointed Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus in 2013. Her music is frequently performed throughout the US and Europe, with recent highlights including a residency at The Stone, a Radio France commission, and world premieres of Rondolette by Brooklyn Rider and Bruce Levingston, Double Violin Concerto by BMOP, The Right Weather by ACO at Carnegie Hall, The Lay of the Love and Death at Lincoln Center, Chance Encounter by Susan Narucki and The Knights, and Airfield Broadcasts, a work for hundreds of musicians performed on former airfields in Germany and California. Her current project is Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, a serial opera created for episodic broadcast. Bielawa’s discography includes A Handful of World (Tzadik); The Trojan Women on a disc entitled First Takes (TROY); Hildegurls: Electric Ordo Virtutum, (innova); The Trojan Women in a version for string quartet performed by the Miami on The NYFA Collection (innova); In medias res (BMOP/sound), a double-disc set of Bielawa’s solo and orchestral works; the world premiere recording of Chance Encounter (Orange Mountain Music), and Elegy-Portrait on pianist Bruce Levingston’s 2011 album, Heart Shadow (Sono Luminus).
Baritone Jesse Blumberg is equally at home on opera, concert, and recital stages. His performances have included the world premiere of The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Niobe, Regina di Tebe at Boston Early Music Festival, and Bernstein’s MASS at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Recital highlights include appearances with the New York Festival of Song and performances of Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise with pianist Martin Katz. He has performed major works with American Bach Soloists, Oratorio Society of NY, Apollo’s Fire, Boston Baroque, and on Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. Blumberg has given the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Green Sneakers, Lisa Bielawa’s The Lay of the Love and Death, Conrad Cummings’ Positions 1956, and Tom Cipullo’s Excelsior, and he works closely with several other renowned composers as a member of the Mirror Visions Ensemble. Blumberg is also the founder and artistic director of Five Boroughs Music Festival in New York City. www.jesseblumberg.com
A recent recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, Colin Jacobsen’s multifaceted life in music as a violinist and composer is focused in three groups: the Silk Road Ensemble, founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma; the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, which performs at venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall and SXSW; and The Knights, an innovative orchestra of which he is founder and co-Artistic Director along with his brother, Eric Jacobsen. He has also been awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant for his work as a soloist and performed with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony. www.colinjacobsen.com
Pianist Jocelyn Dueck is an seasoned performer of new music on the New York City circuit, premiering operas and other works by composers Eve Beglarian, Lisa Bielawa, Tom Cipullo, Corey Dargel, John Glover, Judd Greenstein, John Glover, Daron Hagen, Stephen Hartke, Gabriel Kahane, Gilda Lyons and Matthew Schickele, to name a few. Dueck was a collaborator on the Billboard Chart-topper Five Borough Songbook, a seminal collection of songs by New York City’s most innovative composers. The New York Times called her performance of the works “solid and colorful.” Dueck has served on the faculties of Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music, Bard, NYU and Mannes: The New School for Music, doing language preparation for their opera departments as well as teaching diction and song interpretation. www.jocelyndueck.com
Pianist Evelyne Luest is an accomplished soloist and chamber musician and has performed and toured in Europe, South America, Asia and the USA. She has won several competitions including the Artists International Competition in New York as soloist as well as many awards with her ensemble, Contrasts Quartet. Luest has performed as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy and on the St. Paul Sunday National Radio Show. Her many collaborations include such noted musicians as cellist Truls Mørk, flutist Emmanuel Pahud and the Daedalus string Quartet. Her performances include festivals and concert venues in Norway, France, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela, Canada and the US. Luest’s long list of premieres includes compositions by Ned Rorem, Joan Tower, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Lisa Bielawa. She studied with Gilbert Kalish at SUNY/Stony Brook, where she received an M.M. and D.M.A. in piano performance. Luest lives in New York City with her husband, Aaron Jay Kernis, and their two children.
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