Glass Works: new music inspired by the stained-glass artistry of Judith Schaechter
Rochester-based quintet fivebyfive is excited to commission four works for an exhibition of the renowned stained glass artist, Judith Schaechter, to be held at the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) in February 2020. Schaechter has explored and pushed the limits of the stained-glass medium for over 35 years. Her singular, subversive, and masterful approach has altered the landscape of contemporary American art. She embraces the inherent contradictions of her work, gleefully melding the opposing currents of high and low, beauty and gore, sacred and profane, and transcendence and defeat.
The exhibition will explore her magical, ethereal and other-worldly images. Combined with the lush, rich colors and patterns, fivebyfive is eager to bring Schaechter’s works to life musically, and will commission four composers to write pieces inspired by her work.
Composers Edie Hill, Jung Sun Kang, Andrea Mazzariello and Jonathan Russell will write pieces for a premiere concert that will coincide with the exhibition and a visit by the artist in February 2020. These composers were chosen for their unique compositional voices that we believe will effectively capture and reflect upon the emotional, color-filled world of Ms. Schaechter’s work. The commissioned works will be completed in the Fall of 2019. Following the premiere concert, fivebyfive will include these works on its tour and make a documentary and recording of the project.
Concerning process and presentation
Embracing the spirit of accessibility, fivebyfive and MAG propose a large window of time for preparations. Through open rehearsals and preview performances, audiences will be given the opportunity to connect with the artists, ask questions and experience the work as it evolves. Both fivebyfive and MAG believe this to be essential to the ultimate understanding of the art and to the development of an engaged audience.
Fall 2019 – delivery of score and materials to fivebyfive
Fall 2019 – open rehearsals at MAG
February 2020 – premiere performances of commissioned compositions at MAG
Late Spring 2020 – subsequent performances of works, tour and recording of project
Schaechter’s bold stained glass works illuminate a wide range of human experience from humor and beauty to pain and suffering. fivebyfive’s huge color palette is a fantastic medium to musically illustrate her work.
I’ve always found the duality of the things around the world fascinating and her art reflects in a way of juxtaposing sacred and profane, small details and a large scale, old and new.
– Jung Sun Kang
Schaechter describes her medium’s noncompliance: glass is unforgiving, cruel. I want to reconcile the ideal of “speaking music” fluently with a celebration of the ways music pushes back. fivebyfive is committed to advocating for new repertoire and is the ideal ensemble for this exploration.
– Andrea Mazzariello
Her work is uniquely striking, combining luminously gorgeous materials with complex, often disturbing subject matter. fivebyfive’s adventurous and eclectic spirit is a perfect complement to her work, and I would be deeply inspired by the opportunity to respond to her work with a piece for them.
– Jonathan Russell
Awake combines the cyclic processes and layers of Javanese gamelan music with harmonies and colors of Western classical and popular music, composed by Patrick Burke. This performance features fivebyfive in a live performance on WXXI Radio’s program “Live from Hochstein” in Rochester, NY on April 26, 2017.
Cue @ 2:25-5:00
Fantasy on Five is a double concerto of sorts for solo soprano and baritone saxophones with wind ensemble. It plays with the idea of “five-ness” in several different ways. Fantasy on Five was commissioned and premiered by the Bando/Wintringham saxophone duo with the Eastman Wind Ensemble May 2, 2016.
Cue @ 4:26 until 7:36
Home Body was written for Vic Firth Artist David Degge, as part of his initiative to commission new works for hammered dulcimer. The piece asks David to play irregular patterns in the dulcimer in his hands while his feet lay down a basic 4/4 break between kick drum and hi-hat. When his voice enters another level of independence and meaning is added to the piece.
Cue @ 7:50
Start and End Dates
09/30/2019 — 12/31/2019
Rochester, New York