Dana Jessen, bassoonist, on commissioning Rushes

Commissioning Rushes
by Dana Jessen


As musicians, we frequently talk about the process of composing music. Most often we discuss the various methods a composer goes through to realize his or her work. Yet there is another facet of such an undertaking that often isn’t discussed—the performer’s side of commissioning a large-scale work. On September 15th, six colleagues and I gave the world premiere of Rushes, a new 60-minute composition for seven bassoons by Michael Gordon…

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Big risks and adventurous friends: How composer Julia Wolfe became a renegade

September 15, 2022
NPR Music
Editors’ Picks

Sometimes, all you need is a little push. In the fall of 1976, when Julia Wolfe arrived at the University of Michigan from Pennsylvania, she was just 17 and viewed herself as a “wild teenager” with her sights on social sciences and politics. Activism was a possible path. Music wasn’t on her radar.

But one day, a friend coaxed Wolfe into taking a peculiar music class, taught by a forward-thinking Quaker who didn’t care how much you knew about composing…

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Her Story world premiere September 15

read New York Times review from the premiere

listen to NPR interview with Wolfe about Her Story

Julia Wolfe’s Her Story, a 40-minute, theatrical work for orchestra and women’s chamber choir, received its world premiere September 15-17 with the Nashville Symphony and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. The world premiere is followed by performances in 2023 from co-commissioners Chicago Symphony Orchestra (January 6–7), Boston Symphony Orchestra (March 16–18), and San Francisco Symphony (May 25–27); National Symphony Orchestra concerts will be announced at a later date…

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David Lang Profile in New York Times

DAVID LANG first heard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” at the San Francisco Opera in 1974, as an undergraduate student and aspiring composer. This was the first opera ticket — standing room — that he had paid for with his own money, and he arrived well prepared, with a copy of the score and a flashlight to study it by.

“It was a really big deal for me,” Mr. Lang, now 55, said recently, sitting on a sofa in his light-flooded SoHo loft while two parakeets called noisily for attention from another room…

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Chicago Symphony premieres ‘Her Story’

[IMAGE] Julia Wolfe's Her Story © 2022, Kurt Heinecke
Her Story
Marin Alsop and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Lorelei
January 6-7, 2023

followed by performances with:
Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony,
and National Symphony

[Her Story] has a ferocity that is literally written into the score, but also an absence of resolution as it looks back to suffrage with one wary eye toward the future steps this country still needs to take for something resembling true equality…continue reading