I hope you are faring well and safe. I’ve just returned from a month in Pittsburgh, where the amazing team from Pittsburgh Opera gave an incredible run of performances of the world premiere production of my new opera, In a Grove, with a libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann, directed by Mary Birnbaum, and conducted by Antony Walker. Everyone involved (the amazing singers, the creative, the production teams, and the music staff) put forth an astonishing amount of effort, and five of the six performances sold out. It’s been called “brilliant” (Classical Voice America), “outstanding” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette), “alluring” (WSJ), “world-class” (onStage Pittsburgh), and “a revelation” (Pittsburgh Quarterly) in five reviews. I’m so excited to share the documentation in the coming months (it’s been filmed and recorded) but wanted to write because of the glut of premieres coming up. The next Grove stop is the LA premiere (the date will be announced in the coming season).
Due to the strange circumstances of the pandemic and its attendant postponements and cancellations, I’ll actually have seven different pieces premieres between now and June and wanted to let you know about them, in case you’re nearby:
This Saturday (March 26), Anthony Demare gives the long-delayed “Kiss Me,” a song by the late, great Stephen Sondheim, reimagined for piano and electronics at Merkin Hall in New York.
On April 6, I’m curating a concert with the Phoenix Symphony under the baton of Tito Munoz, where they will give the world premiere of The Age of Wire and String, a new 18-minute orchestral work written between 2019 and 2022, along with a series of other music by friends that I chose around the themes of musical borrowing.
On April 10, the orchestra and choir of North Carolina State will give the premiere of What Divine Instrument, a short work for choir and orchestra (based on a short text by Bashō) that they commissioned to be performed virtually over the pandemic and now are premiering it live with a brand new film by the brilliant filmmaker Danie Harris (they’ll also perform the last movement of The Branch Will Not Break) on the same concert.
On April 23, my dear friend Adam Tendler will premiere Area of Refuge, a short piano piece he commissioned as part of his inheritances project. The project is created in memory of his father, and my piece is written in memory of my father, so it’s a very special project to me. The piece is being presented by Liquid Music in Minneapolis.
On April 30, Donald Nally leads the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra and Choirs in the premiere of The Last Message at Pick-Staiger Auditorium at 7:30 pm (Donald and I will do a pre-concert talk at 6:30 pm). This piece, delayed since 2020, features text taken from the tumblr of the same name, fashioned by my friend and ongoing collaborator, Stephanie Fleischmann.
On May 24, in LA at Zipper Hall, David Kaplan will give the live premiere of Passagework,a piece he commissioned in 2020, for prepared piano, and previewed last year online. He’ll take it to Vancouver a few days later.
And finally, on June 4-5, also in LA, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra premieres a brand new Clarinet Quintet, co-commissioned by Omega Ensemble (who will give the Australian premiere at the Sydney Opera House and in Melbourne in September), Third Angle New Music, and Chatter ABQ.
Thanks for sticking with me on this longer-than-usual email, and I’m so excited to share the results of all these performances soon. And there are lots of other performances happening, as always, which you can find here.
Thanks for reading, and please stay safe,