OF THE 400 MINUTES OF MUSIC HEARD ACROSS THE FESTIVAL’S 3 DAYS:
Two-thirds was by American composers
89% was written in the last 5 years
47% was world premieres
44% was written by female composers
The festival’s opening night, co-presented by Merkin Concert Hall on September 9th, 2015, was heard by a sold-out, inter-generational audience of 450 people. Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times wrote,
“For new-music lovers, [the] evening’s performance at Merkin Concert Hall outdid any of those old Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras three-tenor spectacles. Presented by the indispensable Resonant Bodies Festival, here were the Three Experimental Sopranos, given the freedom to program their own 45-minute sets.”
Tony Arnold featured works by composers György Kurtág, David Liptak, Fredrick Gifford, George Crumb, Jason Eckardt, Anton Webern, Beat Furrer, and Thomas Adès, and was joined by five fantastic collaborators, including pianist Jacob Greenberg of the International Contemporary Ensemble.
Dawn Upshaw and longtime collaborator, pianist Gilbert Kalish, presented a world premiere by Sheila Silver, On Loving. Upshaw then was joined by young new music ensemble Contemporaneous for Shawn Jaeger’s The Cold Pane, written for Upshaw in 2013.
Lucy Shelton’s set featured four world premieres, one each from Susan Botti, Richard Festinger, Icli Zitella, and Eric Nathan (whose finale, “Canon for Three,” brought the three sopranos onstage together for the first time), and other works by John Chowning, Elliott Carter, Tom Flaherty, and James Yannatos. Shelton was joined by former students Meaghan Burke (cello) and Carlos Cordeiro (clarinet).
The second night played to a sold-out crowd of 90 patrons at the Abrons Arts Center’s underground theatre. Co-presented by ICE, the featured vocalists were Amanda DeBoer Bartlett (Dal Niente, Quince), Australian vocalist Jessica Aszodi, and composer-performer Du Yun with her new band, Ok Miss. This evening was an exploration of experimental sounds and compositional techniques. Out of 12 pieces on the evening, 9 were world premieres, with one each by composers Ray Evanoff, Max Grafe, Morgan Krauss, Jonathan Sokol, Jenna Lyle, and 4 new pieces by Du Yun for her band. David Allen’s review in the New York Times said of the festival, “It’s an enterprise that wants and deserves to go everywhere, geographically and artistically.”
The closing night of the festival was co-presented by Roulette. 145 audience members gathered to listen to a wide variety of works presented by vocalists Rachel Calloway, Jeffrey Gavett, and Kate Soper. Calloway began the evening with a US premiere for solo voice by David Reminick, and was then joined by close collaborator Ari Streisfeld (Jack Quartet) for three works written for their brand-new duo, Duo Cortona: a world premiere by Amadeus Regucera, and pieces by Forrest Pierce (US premiere) and Kamala Sankaram. Gavett’s fearless one-man show presented world premieres by Chaya Czernowin, Martin Iddon, Joan Arnau Pamiès, Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, and Timothy McCormack. Soper was joined by members of The Wet Ink Ensemble for her inventive masterpiece IPSA DIXIT, which featured quartets and duos for herself and her ensemble members, and a world premiere from this evolving, evening-length work.