FOR EAGERLY AWAITED RECITAL ON TUESDAY, APRIL 24 IN ZANKEL HALL
Program Features New York Premiere of Tyshawn Sorey’s Cycles of My Being,
Conducted by the Composer, and
Schumann’s Dichterliebe, with Pianist Myra Huang
| On Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall, acclaimed American tenor Lawrence Brownlee presents the New York premiere of Cycles of My Being, a new song cycle composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by Terrance Hayes that explores the realities of life as a black man in America. Brownlee—hailed as one of “the world’s leading bel canto tenors” by the Associated Press—is conducted by composer Tyshawn Sorey and joined by violinist Randall Goosby, cellist Khari Joyner, clarinetist Alexander Laing, and pianist Kevin Miller for Cycles of My Being, which is co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall as part of the Hall’s 125 Commissions Project. The program opens with Schumann’s Dichterliebe, to be performed alongside pianist Myra Huang.
“I’m honored to be working with the extraordinary talents of Tyshawn and Terrance on this new song cycle, and I’m grateful to Carnegie Hall for helping to make it possible,” said Lawrence Brownlee. “In these divided times, we hope to create something that brings people together with mutual respect, understanding, and communication across races and generations.”
Carnegie Hall’s commitment to the music of today and tomorrow continues this season with the third year of its five-year 125 Commissions Project, during which at least 125 new works will be commissioned from today’s leading composers. Through this initiative, Carnegie Hall expands upon its history as the preeminent venue where music history is made. Launched during the Hall’s 125th anniversary season, the project features new solo, chamber, and orchestral music from both established and emerging composers, including John Adams, Timo Andres, Donnacha Dennehy, Bryce Dessner, Sofia Gubaidulina, Hannah Lash, James MacMillan, Olga Neuwirth, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, Caroline Shaw, Chris Thile, and Jörg Widmann.
About the Artists
One of the most in-demand singers around the world, Brownlee has performed with nearly every leading international opera house and festival, as well as major orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
In addition, Brownlee has appeared on the stages of the top opera companies around the globe, including The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, Opera National de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, Berlin State Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Teatro Real Madrid, Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie, and the festivals of Salzburg and Baden-Baden. Broadcasts of his operas and concerts—including his 2014 Bastille Day performance in Paris, attended by the French President and Prime Minister—have been enjoyed by millions.
The 2017–2018 season began with a run of Rossini operas, beginning with his house debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona with Il viaggio a Reims, followed by Semiramide at the Royal Opera House in London, and then to Zürich for Le Comte Ory. Brownlee will then sing Bellini’s I puritani at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier at the Bayerische Staatsoper (including a concert performance at Carnegie Hall), and then Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Opéra National de Paris.
The season also includes the world premiere of a song cycle centered around black male experience in America today, touching on the recent series of tragic deaths, and the Black Lives Matter movement that has arisen as a result. Tyshawn Sorey composed the music, with text by poet Terrance Hayes. The piece was commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall, and Brownlee is currently on tour at major venues around the US, including the world premiere in Philadelphia, followed by performances in San Francisco, Utah, Portland, Boston, Princeton, Illinois, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Virginia, and Michigan.
Brownlee’s latest album, Allegro Io Son, received a Critic’s Choice from Opera News, among numerous other accolades, and followed his previous Grammy Award-nominated release on Delos Records, Virtuoso Rossini Arias, which prompted New Yorker critic Alex Ross to ask “is there a finer Rossini tenor than Lawrence Brownlee?” The rest of his critically-acclaimed discography and videography is a testament to his broad impact across the classical music scene. His opera and concert recordings include Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra, Armida at the Metropolitan Opera, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Carmina Burana with Berliner Philharmoniker. He also released a disc of African-American spirituals entitled Spiritual Sketches with pianist Damien Sneed, which the pair performed at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, and which NPR praised as an album of “soulful singing” that “sounds like it’s coming straight from his heart to yours.”
Brownlee is the fourth of six children and first discovered music when he learned to play bass, drums, and piano at his family’s church in Youngstown, Ohio. He was awarded a Masters of Music from Indiana University and went on to win a Grand Prize in the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Alongside his singing career, Brownlee is an avid salsa dancer and an accomplished photographer, specializing in artist portraits of his on-stage colleagues. A die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers and Ohio State football fan, Brownlee has sung the national anthem at numerous NFL games. He is a champion for autism awareness through the organization Autism Speaks, and he is a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Inc., a historically black fraternity committed to social action and empowerment.
Acclaimed by Opera News as being “among the top accompanists of her generation,” pianist Myra Huang regularly performs in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world. In addition to many chamber music concerts and recitals at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Spain, she has performed recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the University of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with tenor Nicholas Phan, and at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall with soprano Susanna Phillips. She also performs regularly in association with the Marilyn Horne Foundation at Carnegie Hall and throughout the US.
Ms. Huang has served on the music staffs of the Washington National Opera and New York City Opera. She works annually with Plácido Domingo for his competition Operalia in different countries around the world. Among the conductors she has worked with are James Conlon, Marco Armiliato, Riccardo Frizza, Richard Hickox, Christopher Hogwood, Daniel Oren, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers, and Xian Zhang. From 2006 until 2008, she was a member of the music staff at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Spain where she worked closely with the artistic director Lorin Maazel as well as Zubin Mehta. In 2010, Ms. Huang was invited by the Metropolitan Opera to accompany the singers in the Metropolitan Opera National Council competition onstage at the Met.
A graduate of the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio, Ms. Huang received her Bachelors degree in piano performance from the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Martin Canin, and her Master of Music degree in collaborative piano from Manhattan School of Music under Warren Jones.
Newark-born multi-instrumentalist and composer Tyshawn Sorey (b. 1980) is celebrated for his incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores, and an extraordinary ability to blend composition and improvisation in his work. He has performed nationally and internationally with his own ensembles, as well as with artists such as John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Wadada Leo Smith, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Claire Chase, Steve Coleman, Steve Lehman, Robyn Schulkowsky, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Myra Melford, among many others.
The New York Times has praised Sorey for his instrumental facility and aplomb: “he plays not only with gale-force physicality, but also a sense of scale and equipoise.” The Wall Street Journal notes Sorey is “a composer of radical and seemingly boundless ideas.” The New Yorker recently noted that Sorey is “among the most formidable denizens of the in-between zone… An extraordinary talent who can see across the entire musical landscape.”
Sorey has received support for his creative projects from The Jerome Foundation, The Shifting Foundation, and Van Lier Fellowship. The Spektral Quartet, Ojai Music Festival, and International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) have commissioned his works, which exemplify a penchant for a thorough exploration of the intersection between improvisation and composition. Sorey also collaborates regularly with ICE as a percussionist and resident composer. Future commissions include a residency at the Berlin Jazz Festival and Carnegie Hall’s 125 Commissions Project in partnership with Opera Philadelphia supporting a new work for tenor Lawrence Brownlee addressing themes associated with Black Lives Matter.
As a leader, Sorey has released six critically-acclaimed recordings that feature his work as a composer, multi-instrumentalist and conceptualist, including his latest, Verisimilitude (Pi Recordings, 2017), among many others.
In 2012, he was selected as one of nine composers for the Other Minds Festival, where he exchanged ideas with such like-minded peers as Ikue Mori, Ken Ueno, and Harold Budd. In 2013, Jazz Danmark invited him to serve as the Danish International Visiting Artist. He was a 2015 recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Award. Sorey has taught and lectured on composition and improvisation at Columbia University, The New School, The Banff Centre, Wesleyan University, International Realtime Music Symposium, Hochschule für Musik Köln, Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Danish Rhythmic Conservatory. His work has been premiered at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Ojai Music Festival, The Kitchen, Walt Disney Hall, Roulette, Issue Project Room, and the Stone, among many other established venues and festivals.
Sorey recently received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University. In Fall 2017, he assumed the role of Assistant Professor of Composition and Creative Music at Wesleyan University, where he received his Master’s degree in Composition in 2011.
ROBERT SCHUMANN Dichterliebe, Op. 48
Lead support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Additional funding is provided by members of Carnegie Hall’s Composer Club.
This concert and the Pure Voice series are sponsored by the Jean & Jula Goldwurm Memorial Foundation in memory of Jula Goldwurm.
Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
Photo of Lawrence Brownlee at top of release by Shervin Lainez.