Natural History will premiere the morning of July 29, 2016, on the rim of the lake at a location that Gordon scouted, with musicians spatially situated around the site. The work will be performed twice more on July 29 and three times on July 30 in a different location in Crater Lake National Park.
The work will be performed by 40 members of the Britt Festival Orchestra (with conductor Teddy Abrams), plus a 70-voice choir, 30 brass and percussionists, and 15 members of the local Klamath Tribes who play and sing on the "Steiger Butte Drum", a third-generation Northern-style powwow drum. Giiwas (Crater Lake), which means "A Spiritual Place", is the ancestral homeland of the Klamath Tribal people.
Gordon visited the lake in the summer of 2015 and winter of 2016 and spent time with both Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman and Park Historian Stephen Mark. He also conversed with local writer Lee Juillerat who provided him with additional background on the history of the region and native lore and tradition. On his last trip to the park, Gordon spent a week in a ranger's house in the dead of winter. During that period, he worked with the Klameth tribal drummers, who are the soloists of the piece.
For Gordon, this work is “designed to be an experiential spectacle. The idea is to draw out the natural sounds in and around Crater Lake and connect the natural sonic environment to the orchestra.”
In my time at Crater Lake last winter, the thing I was thinking about is the symphony that’s going on all year long: the sounds of the animals, the birds chirping, the wind blowing, even that sound of the expanse of the lake. I was imagining this chorus of the animals, the symphony that’s been going for centuries.
The circumstances of this piece are unique — to be able to write a piece of music that’s going to be played at Crater Lake and to work with such a variety of musical forces: Tribal musicians, a full symphony and chorus, brass orchestra and percussionists. It’s a pretty overwhelming feeling. It’s thrilling and humbling.
For more information about this work or anything from Michael Gordon's extensive catalogue, info [at] redpoppymusic [dot] com (please write us)!
On August 13, The Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center gives the world premiere of David Lang's the public domain — a performance that not only welcomes the public as a free and open event, but will also be performed by the public. A piece inspired by the theme of the collective knowledge shared amongst us all, the new work is performed by 1,000 volunteer vocalists from throughout New York City, conducted by Simon Halsey, Choral Director of the London Symphony Orchestra.
The Mostly Mozart Festival presentation of the public domain is made possible in part by the generous support of Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
As part of the New York Commissions to honor the New York Philharmonic's 175th season (2016-17) with New York-themed works by New York-based composers who have strong ties to the Philharmonic, Julia Wolfe presents a new evening-length piece for orchestra and women's choir about women in the American work force. The Philharmonic plans to present this piece in 2018-19.
Wolfe has previously explored American labor history with Steel Hammer, her reimagining of the John Henry legend, and Anthracite Fields, an oratorio about Pennsylvania coal miners. Anthracite Fields was first presented by the Philharmonic at the NY PHIL BIENNIAL and won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music, while the recording with the Bang on a Can All Stars and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street is currently nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. This spring, violinist Jennifer Koh will premiere a new piece by Wolfe at the second NY PHIL BIENNIAL as part of Koh's Shared Madness program.
Following her signature intensive research methods, Wolfe will draw on oral histories, interviews, and historical writings to recreate the world of women working in New York garment factories in the early 20th century. Jeff Sugg's video projection and stage-design will illuminate the premiere. In the next few seasons, as Wolfe gathers information about the events and the characters, she will also lead workshops at the Philharmonic's three commissioning partners: Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley; the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Campus-wide discussions about history, music, and creative writing will be an important part of Wolfe's writing process.
Her previous works on labor history have had extended lives beyond the premieres, with a Steel Hammer stage show and a performance of Anthracite Fields in coal country. The Steel Hammer stage show, which toured the country this fall before ending at BAM's New Wave Festival, incorporated the work of four American playwrights into the original art ballad and was received as “spectacularly inventive and original music theater,” by the Los Angeles Times. At the same time, Wolfe took the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street to Pennsylvania coal country to share Anthracite Fields with the community who inspired her, in a benefit concert for the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton.