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This season at New England Conservatory, 30+ concerts demonstrate just how vital music is to human struggle, and what revolution in artistic expression sounds like. Programs range from roots music to Beethoven, fight songs to anti-war anthems. Join our year-long exploration of how music speaks truth to power!
John Harbison says that his Abu Ghraib, written after the exposure of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers in Iraq, "is not a protest or moral lesson," but specifies that its opening "scene" for cello and piano "investigates infection and wrongness." The music alternates between "scenes" and "prayers" that draw on similarities between a traditional Iraqi song and well-known American hymns. NEC alumnus David Deveau '71 Prep, '75 premiered the work in 2006 at the Rockport Music Festival, and it has since been performed at Tanglewood.
After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, composer Luciano Berio used the sounds that make up King's name to create the chorus for eight voices that makes up the second movement of his Sinfonia, subtitled "O King."
Berio is heard in a lighter vein in Opus Number Zoo, a musical menagerie intended for an audience of young people, based on poems by Rhoda Levine. Other works on this program represent a spectrum of 20th-century music.
Since 1967, John Heiss has taught NEC students the roots of 20th-century modernism both in the classroom and as a conductor and coach. His courses on Ives, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky have shaped generations of musicians. Each year Heiss recruits students interested in performing 20th- and 21st-century music to join the NEC Contemporary Ensemble. Tonight's performers include the Philharmonic Five, selected as an NEC Honors Ensemble for the second year in a row. Earl Lee, conductor of the Britten Serenade, is a student in NEC's graduate orchestral conducting program.
Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
David Charles Tay, tenor
Michael Alexander, horn
with string orchestra conducted by Earl Lee
Harbison Abu Ghraib
Julia Yang, cello
Patricia Au, piano
Berio O King
Jacquelyn Stucker, soprano
Allison Poh, flute
Dustin Chung, clarinet
Lisa Goddard, violin
Mira Luxion, cello
Joshua Marzan, piano
Opus Number Zoo
Adrian Sanborn, flute
Timothy Feil, oboe
Hunter Bennett, clarinet
Brittney Walker, bassoon
Paige McGrath, horn
Heiss Wanderings (Fantasy-Prelude on Bach's "O Lamm Gottes")
Elizabeth O'Neil, oboe
Laura Liu, violin
Dana Kelley, viola
Daniel Mitnitsky, cello
Robert Anemone, violin
Katherine Balch, piano
String Orchestra in Britten
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