In May of 2015 Alia Musica Pittsburgh received a grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments to launch a year-long residency with California composer and vocalist Ken Ueno. The two main components of the residence are the Pittsburgh premiere of Ueno’s On a Sufficient Condition (concerto for overtone singer and orchestra), and the commission of a new work, which Ken will write in Pittsburgh for Alia Musica’s chamber ensemble.
Alia Musica continues to champion new music as a leading form of contemporary expression. The grant is one of only three such awards in the Western Pennsylvania region, the other two going to the Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the writer program City of Asylum.
By bringing Ken’s music to Pittsburgh, the organization continues its recent history of producing epic, landmark works by living composers. In 2014, as part of the Pittsburgh Festival of New Music, Alia Musica presented John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit (for 99 percussionists at a park) and Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives (adapted for live performance by Collective Varispeed). In 2015, Frederic Rzewski performed his own The People United for the first time in the city.
With the commission and performance of a new work from Ken, Alia Musica continues to have an active role in creation of new music as well. Ken’s name adds itself to a growing list of composers whose music Alia Musica premieres: George Tsontakis, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez.
In addition to these performances, the residency with Ken involves lectures and workshops at the city’s music schools, from the high school to the graduate levels. The two performances are scheduled for November 12, 2015 (the vocal concerto) and May 20, 2016 (the premiere of the new work, headlining the ensemble’s Spring 2016 concert). The latter will also include the premiere of GPS, written for Alia Musica by Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez. A first movement of the work was premiered in June 2015 at the MusicArte Festival in Panama.
We seek support to further fund the activities of the Ken Ueno residency. The funds will ensure documentation of the residency, fully adequate rehearsal time, and a marketing campaign that mirrors the potential audience impact of such an epic production as the vocal concerto.