World Premiere of
Robert Sirota’s Epimetheus
Performed by yMusic
presented by New York Live Arts
Friday, November 20, 2015 at 8pm
New York Live Arts
219 W 19th Street | New York, NY
Tickets: $25 General Admission; $20 Student and Seniors.
Limited amount of $15 tickets made possible by ConEdison.
More info: www.newyorklivearts.org
Robert Sirota: www.robertsirota.com
New York, NY – Celebrated new music ensemble yMusic, hailed as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” by NPR, will give the world premiere of composer Robert Sirota’s Epimetheus at New York Live Arts (219 W 19th Street) on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 8pm. The concert is part of yMusic’s residency at New York Live Arts’ debut music series, and will also feature world premieres by composers Paul Wiancko and Nate Thatcher.
Of the commission, Sirota says, “I was thrilled when yMusic asked me to compose an ‘encore piece’ for them. Their programs are incredibly virtuosic, high-energy affairs, and I wanted to create something worthy of their joyous gift for powerful declamation. I thought about the connotations of ‘encore’ (bis, reprise, afterthought) and was particularly attracted to the idea of the piece as an afterthought. Given yMusic’s often rapid-fire playing, it was easy to imagine a work that might burn some of the additional rocket fuel left in their tanks at the end of a program.”
Sirota’s new piece Epimetheus is inspired by the Greek Titan god of afterthought of the same name. Sirota explains, “Epimetheus and his brother Prometheus were assigned the task of populating the earth with animals and men. When he came to mankind, Epimetheus had run out of gifts to assign, leaving man helpless. An angry Zeus created Pandora to plague mankind, and despite being warned, Epimetheus took her as his bride. Oops.”
About Robert Sirota:
Over four decades, composer Robert Sirota has developed a distinctive voice, clearly discernible in all of his work – whether symphonic, choral, stage, or chamber music. The New York Times has described his style as, “fashioned with the clean, angular melodies, tart harmonies, lively syncopations and punchy accents of American Neo-Classicism,” and writes, “Thick, astringent chromatic harmonies come in tightly bound chords to create nervous sonorities. Yet the textures are always lucid; details come through.”
Robert Sirota’s chamber works have been performed by the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society; Sequitur; Chameleon Arts Ensemble; New Hudson Saxophone Quartet; Left Bank Concert Society; Dinosaur Annex; the Chiara, American, Ethel, and Blair String Quartets; the Peabody, Concord, and Webster Trios; and the Fischer Duo, and at festivals such as the Tanglewood, Aspen, Yellow Barn, Cooperstown, and Bowdoin’s Gamper Festival. Orchestral performances include the Seattle, Vermont, Virginia, East Texas, Lincoln (Neb), Meridian (Miss), New Haven, Greater Bridgeport, Oradea (Romania) and Saint Petersburg (Russia) symphonies, as well as conservatory orchestras of Oberlin, Peabody, Manhattan School of Music, Toronto, and Singapore.
Sirota’s liturgical works include three major commissions for the American Guild of Organists: In the Fullness of Time, a concerto for organ and orchestra, Mass for chorus, organ and percussion, and Apparitions for organ and string quartet, as well as works for solo organ, organ and cello, and organ and piano.
Recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the United States Information Agency, National Endowment for the Arts, Meet The Composer, and the American Music Center, Sirota is recorded on the Capstone, Albany, New Voice and Gasparo labels. His music is published by Muzzy Ridge Music, Schott, Music Associates of New York, MorningStar, Theodore Presser, and To the Fore.
A native New Yorker, Sirota’s earliest compositional training began at the Juilliard School; he received his bachelor’s degree in piano and composition from the Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with Joseph Wood and Richard Hoffman. A Thomas J. Watson Fellowship allowed him to study and concertize in Paris, where his principal teacher was Nadia Boulanger. Returning to America, Sirota earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University, studying with Earl Kim and Leon Kirchner.
Before becoming Director of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in 1995, Sirota served as Chairman of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions at New York University and Director of Boston University’s School of Music. From 2005-2012, he was the President of Manhattan School of Music, where he was also a member of the School’s composition faculty.
Sirota makes his home in New York and in Searsmont, Maine, with his wife, Episcopal priest and organist Victoria Sirota, Canon Pastor & Vicar of the Congregation at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. For the Sirotas, music is a family affair. They frequently collaborate on new works, with Victoria as librettist and performer, at times also working with their two children, Jonah and Nadia, both world-class violists. In his spare time, Sirota is an amateur painter and often depicts the landscape around Muzzy Ridge and Levenseller Mountain near his home in Maine. For more information, visit www.robertsirota.com.
Hailed by NPR’s Fred Child as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” yMusic is a group of six New York City instrumentalists flourishing in the overlap between the pop and classical worlds. Their virtuosic execution and unique configuration (string trio, flute, clarinet, and trumpet) has attracted the attention of high profile collaborators—from Ben Folds to Dirty Projectors to Jose Gonzalez—and more recently inspired an expanding repertoire of original works by some of today’s foremost composers.
In 2014, yMusic released Balance Problems, the much-anticipated follow-up to 2011’s Beautiful Mechanical (Time Out New York’s #1 Classical Record of the Year). The record features stunning new compositions from Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Norman, Mark Dancigers, Jeremy Turner, Marcos Balter, and Timo Andres, all realized through the ensemble’s striking performances.
In addition to performing its own repertoire, yMusic serves as a ready-made collaborative unit for bands and songwriters. Their most recent collaboration is with Ben Folds, with whom they co-arranged and recorded “So there,” available September 11, 2015. Recent joint performances include The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden and CBS Saturday Sessions. At the inaugural Eaux Claires Festival, curated by Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, the group performed with The Tallest Man on Earth, S Carey and The Staves in the afternoon, then joined Bon Iver for three songs in its evening set. Other recent collaborations include a recording with Antony & the Johnsons for the Red Hot Organization, opening for and performing with Blake Mills, and upcoming shows with José González including Los Angeles’ Disney Hall.
Since their inception in 2008, yMusic has striven to bring a classical chamber music aesthetic to venues outside the traditional concert hall. Its members have individually toured and recorded with artists such as Bon Iver, Paul Simon, Bjork, The National, Meredith Monk, Antony & the Johnsons, David Byrne, The New York Philharmonic and Sufjan Stevens.
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