I’m so excited to welcome you to our annual American Music Festival, which celebrates our nation’s best living composers and embraces the entire spectrum of new American concert music. It is a privilege once again to make use of the magnificent spaces of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s EMPAC, our region’s epicenter for innovative arts and media. I invite you to explore this unique venue before and between our expansive series of Festival events, which offers something for every listener to love.
This year’s Festival, “Songs of the Rolling Earth,” explores humankind’s place in the natural world and across our global ecosystems. The work of each participating composer, artist, and community partner is infused with this common theme, culminating in our full Symphony performance on Saturday. 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. Stucky guides the listener through sea (‘The Sea Around Us’), earth (‘The Lost Woods’), river (‘Rivers of Death’) and air (‘Silent Spring’) in the evolving sections of this arresting one-movement work. Also featured on the program is Aaron Jay Kernis’ radiant song-cycle, Simple Songs, featuring our fellow Grammy nominee, soprano Talise Trevigne, and two world-premiere works by Loren Loiacono and Jessie Montgomery, our 2015-16 Composer Educator.
The Symphony’s cutting edge chamber ensemble, Dogs of Desire, will be in full force with the performance of three world-premiere compositions by Clarice Assad, Conor Brown, and Rob Honstein. Clarice has harnessed the power of wind through a collaboration with GE Renewables, creating a piece inspired by her journey into the clouds atop a wind turbine. I hope you’ll join us for two remarkable opportunities to enjoy these tremendous new pieces at our Thursday open rehearsal and Friday’s Dogs concert! Stay with us after the show to see Clarice with her four-piece ensemble, “Off the Cliff”, presenting an exciting repertoire of classical, jazz, avant-garde, Brazilian and world music.
More 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 composer collective. We’ll also welcome all thirteen graduate student composers from Yale University for “Songs of the Earth”, a one-of-a-kind song project curated by Aaron Jay Kernis, featuring four brilliant young vocalists. Then, journey with us beyond the walls of the concert hall between these remarkable events for a nature walk with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, a Tiffany Tour of Troy, or a bite at the Troy Farmer’s Market.
It is an honor to bring this multifaceted festival experience to you, our bold and sophisticated Albany Symphony audience. I hope you’ll take part in our next great adventure by subscribing to our 2016-17 season, which you can find on page # of this program book. To all of you who attend our concerts and support us in so many ways, thank you – YOU make our music possible.
David Alan Miller, Music Director