Musical Fund Society Bicentennial: New Commissions from Tania León, Stephen Jaffe, Roberto Sierra, Augusta Read Thomas
The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2020 by commissioning four eminent American composers to create works connected to the city of Philadelphia, to be premiered by four acclaimed Philadelphia ensembles:
World premieres of all four works will be presented in partnership with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society on April 26, 2020 at Settlement Music School, the nation’s largest community music school.
The concert will go hand-in-hand with a special exhibit of historic Musical Fund Society memorabilia—including the manuscript of the Bartok third string quartet and a lock of hair from Niccolo Paganini—at the Kislak Center in the University of Pennsylvania Library, and a display of Society-related manuscripts at the Fleisher Collection of The Free Library of Philadelphia.
These exciting events will celebrate music in Philadelphia, from the Society’s inception in 1820 through the present time, and connect Philadelphia audiences with the city’s rich musical life. The bicentennial celebration calls attention to the Society’s unique role in promoting, supporting and encouraging this rich musical legacy by providing vital opportunities to deserving composers, outstanding performing artists, and regional audiences.
Tania León’s work for the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble will celebrate the Musical Fund Society’s long-lasting and unwavering support of people from all heritages who have helped build Philadelphia’s music scene, and the Society’s ability to embrace the sounds of each generation, foreseeing what might be relevant for future ones and supporting innovators who later became music icons. “Nowadays, society is more mindful of the contributions composers and musicians have made to humanity,” León said.
In describing his piece, Stephen Jaffe wrote, “As I soak up ideas and ambiance, let them ferment, and aim to produce something previously unheard, new, beautiful and curious, my work for Network for New Music will celebrate the city and the region for its plentifulness and effervescence.”
Roberto Sierra will write a work for the PRISM Quartet inspired by the urban street as a sequel to his work Graffiti, written in 2017. He said “Philadelphia, like all major American cities has great street art, which I intend to explore through the sounds of saxophones, a soulful instrument at home in many settings.”
Augusta Read Thomas is picking up on Philadelphia’s history of inclusion, innovation, communication, industry, fertile fields, and the brother and sisterhood that binds us all together. “My work for the Rolston Quartet will flow like the arc of the rivers that define this great city. From planting seeds to harvesting the fruit of mind and labor embodied in the spirit of Philadelphia, thanks is given for our mutual celebration of justice, love and joy, health and knowledge, beauty and insight into the nature of being.”
Rolston String Quartet of Astral Artists: String Quartet No. 1, “Métamorphoses nocturnes” by Ligeti (excerpt)
3:06: Network for New Music Ensemble; Jan Krzywicki, conductor: Light and Shadow by Pierre Jalbert
5:58: PRISM Quartet (saxophones): Short Stories, Chase by Jennifer Higdon
9:21 Curtis Institute 20/21 Ensemble: Sparkle by Chen Yi
Start and End Dates
07/01/2019 — 06/01/2020