The Festival’s nature theme is “Songs of the Rolling Earth;” featured composers include Aaron Jay Kernis, Steven Stucky, and Clarice Assad
Troy, NY - In June 2016, the Albany Symphony will close its 86th Season with a five-day celebration of new music and emerging composers during its flagship American Music Festival. For more than a decade, the American Music Festival has grown, under the baton of Music Director David Alan Miller, into a multifaceted event exploding with creativity, showcasing the Capital Region as a national destination for emerging art. This year’s Festival, “Songs of the Rolling Earth,” will include works by Aaron Jay Kernis, Steven Stucky, Clarice Assad, Jessie Montgomery, Loren Loiacono, members of the composer’s collective, Sleeping Giant, and the 13 graduate composers of Yale School of Music, as well as the winners of a call-for-scores competition. Many of the works amplify the Festival’s theme which explores humankind’s place in the natural world and across our global ecosystems. Steven Stucky’s Silent Spring, the program’s centerpiece, is a haunting memorial to Pittsburgh environmentalist Rachel Carson’s eponymous work on the harm of chemical pollutants. American soprano Talise Trevigne will sing in Aaron Jay Kernis’ song-cycle, Simple Songs.
The Festival includes more than 15 concerts and events between Wednesday, June 8 and Sunday, June 12. In addition to the full orchestra’s signature performance on June 11 and Dogs of Desire performance on June 10, Festival highlights include a piano duo concert featuring two of the world’s greatest new music pianists, Stephen Gosling and Blair McMillan; the Living Earth Show, an electro-acoustic chamber duo; and Tigue Percussion, a phenomenal art-rock ensemble performing original compositions by members of the Sleeping Giant composers collective. All thirteen graduate student composers from the Yale University School of Music will join the Symphony for “Songs of the Earth”, a one-of-a-kind song project curated by Aaron Jay Kernis and featuring four young vocalists. Community events beyond the concert hall include a nature walk with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, a Tiffany Tour of Troy, and “Living Poets Musical Theatre”.
In announcing the Festival, Maestro Miller commented: The 2016 American Music Festival is, by far, the most comprehensive and multifaceted Festival we’ve ever assembled. We are immensely proud of our role as a champion of the very best American composers and their music, which the Festival celebrates in unique ways. We hope all our friends will not only come hear all the exceptional programs we’re offering, but also come “hang out” before and after events with the myriad brilliant composers young and old who will be spending the week with us. We are particularly excited about all the new works we’ll be premiering, including a very exciting collaboration with GE Renewables, which has commissioned a new wind-inspired piece by Clarice Assad for our Dogs of Desire concert, and our collaboration with the 13 graduate student composers of the Yale School of Music.
Tickets for the American Music Festival are on sale now and can be purchased through the Albany Symphony Box Office: (518) 694-3300, Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm or online at www.albanysymphony.com. Performances take place in Troy, NY at EMPAC Concert Hall, on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
About The Albany Symphony:
The Albany Symphony is one of this region’s most revered music and cultural institutions, having won numerous national awards for its adventurous concert programming, recording projects, composer residencies, and innovative educational efforts involving area schools.
The Albany Symphony’s season, which spans nine months from October through June, features timeless masterpieces, brilliant soloists, thrilling new compositions, and holiday and family programming. The trailblazing American Music Festival caps each season with a full week of dynamic new works by some of today’s best composers. As the only professional orchestra based in the Capital Region, the Albany Symphony enriches a broad and diverse community and engages more than 150,000 people each year throughout the area.
For more information, visit albanysymphony.com.
About David Alan Miller:
Grammy® Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller has established a reputation as one of the leading American conductors of his generation. Music Director of the Albany Symphony since 1992, Mr. Miller has proven himself a creative and compelling orchestra builder. Through exploration of unusual repertoire, educational programming, community outreach and recording initiatives, he has reaffirmed the Albany Symphony’s reputation as the nation’s leading champion of American symphonic music and one of its most innovative orchestras.
A native of Los Angeles, David Alan Miller holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School. Prior to his appointment in Albany, Mr. Miller was Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. From 1982 to 1988, he was Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony, earning considerable acclaim for his work with that ensemble. Mr. Miller lives with his wife and three children in Slingerlands, New York.
About Aaron Jay Kernis:
Winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, 1998 Pulitzer Prize, and 2011 Nemmers Award, Aaron Jay Kernis is one of America’s most honored composers. His music appears prominently on concert programs worldwide, and he has been commissioned by America’s preeminent performing organizations and artists, including the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestras, Walt Disney Company, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Sharon Isbin. Recent and upcoming commissions include works for the San Antonio Symphony, a violin concerto for James Ehnes, a cello concerto for Joshua Roman, a viola concerto for Paul Neubauer, and a flute concerto for Marina Piccinini, along with his third string quartet for the Jasper Quartet, all with international consortiums of commissioners.
His works have been recorded on Virgin, Dorian, Arabesque, Phoenix, Argo, Signum, Cedille, and many other labels. His newest release appears on Naxos and features pianist Andrew Russo, violinist James Ehnes, and the Albany Symphony under David Alan Miller’s direction.
About Steven Stucky:
Steven Stucky (1949–2016) was one of America’s most highly regarded and frequently performed contemporary composers. Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for his Second Concerto for Orchestra, he was a trustee of the American Academy in Rome, a director of New Music USA, a board member of the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, besides being active as a conductor, writer, lecturer, and teacher. As he told the Aspen Times in 2013, “I don’t think music teaches about mundane, everyday life. It teaches us what it is to be a human being. I’m trying to do the exact thing Verdi or Mendelssohn did – open up that spiritual space where we can all be fully ourselves.”
At 21 years, Stucky’s relationship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic is the longest on record between a composer and an American orchestra. Consequently, as the Los Angeles Times notes, he “proved indispensable to the L.A. Philharmonic’s rise,” and to the “new music ascendancy nationally and internationally” of the West Coast itself. His association with the orchestra dated from 1988, when André Previn appointed him Composer-in-Residence. Later, as its Consulting Composer for New Music, he worked closely with Esa-Pekka Salonen on contemporary programming, the awarding of commissions, and programming for nontraditional audiences, besides founding the orchestra’s Composer Fellowship Program for high school-aged composers. Among a host of other prominent orchestral residencies, Stucky hosted the New York Philharmonic’s acclaimed “Hear & Now” pre-concert programs for several seasons, introducing important works and premieres to Philharmonic audiences.
About Clarice Assad:
Brazilian-American Clarice Assad is a Grammy-nominated composer, pianist, and vocalist of musical depth and ability. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "a serious triple threat", Assad is equally comfortable as a performer and band leader. Her music is vibrant, diverse, soulful, colorful. Carefully crafted textures permeate her musical world, which embraces a wide variety of styles, including her own original concepts.
World premieres for the 2016–17 season include The Saci-Pererê, written for Marc Teicholz and commissioned by the Harris Foundation, Z SONATA, commissioned by the Ocean Reef Music Festival for Opus One, ELEMENTOS, commissioned by SOLI ensemble, Sephardic Suite, commissioned by Cedille Records for the Cavatina duo and the Avalon String Quartet to be premiered at the Ravinia Festival.
Assad’s music has also been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Fundação OSESP, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the New Chamber Orchestra, Concordia Chamber Players, the Albany Symphony, the Harris Foundation, Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, the BRAVO! Music Festival, La Jolla Music Festival, among others. Her works has been recorded and performed by some of the most prominent soloists and conductors today, including Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Yo-Yo Ma, Mike Marshall, the Turtle Island String Quartet, LA Guitar Quartet, Anne-Marie McDermott, Eugenia Zuckerman, Ida Kavafian, Chanticleer, among others. Her music has been performed by internationally acclaimed orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, Queensland Symphony, the Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo, led by some of today’s most exciting conductors such as Marin Alsop, David Alan Miller, Alondra de la Parra and Christoph Eschenbach.
About Talise Trevigne:
American soprano Talise Trevigne begins the 2015-16 season as Pamina The Magic Flute at Hawaii Opera Theatre, before making her role debut as Cio-Cio-San Madama Butterfly at North Carolina Opera. She continues to Birmingham Opera to appear in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice. She returns to Fort Worth Opera to create the role of Clara JFK in David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s world premiere; later the artist joins Albany Symphony to sing Kernis’ Love Songs and during the summer, she sings the title role Iris at Bard Music Festival.
Last season, Talise Trevigne made role debuts as Sister Rose in Jake Heggie’sDead Man Walking with Opera Parallele in San Francisco, and as Ophelia Hamlet at Fort Worth Opera. She joined Opera Lafayette for a recording and performances of the rarely-heard L’Epreuve Villageoise, and appeared in concert in programmes of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Florida Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the UK.
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