February 10, 2010

Yellow Barn in Collaboration with NEC Presents György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments

Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 8:00 pm, Centre Congregational Church, Brattleboro, VT

Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm, Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA

Franz KafkaFranz KafkaKafka Fragments, György Kurtág’s monumental seventy-minute song cycle on texts of Franz Kafka will be the focus of an unusual performing collaboration by professional and student musicians, March 13 at the Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro, Vermont and  March 14 in New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. The two concerts will be the culmination of a weeklong workshop hosted by Yellow Barn Music School and Festival in partnership with NEC. Four pairs of outstanding student violinists and sopranos will coach the Kurtág work with Yellow Barn faculty members Violaine Melançon, violin, and Susan Narucki, soprano, and then share the performing duties with those senior musicians.

Susan NaruckiSusan NaruckiThe students selected to participate in the workshop include four violinists currently enrolled at NEC and four sopranos from across the country, including one from NEC. They are: violinists Robin Scott '09, '11 G.D., David McCarroll '08, '10 M.M., Hye-Jin Kim '08 M.M., '10 G.D. and Yoon Jung Yang '09 M.M., '12 D. M.; and sopranos Mary Bonhag, Bonnie Lander, Tiffany DuMouchelle and Ceceilia Allwein '10 (double B.M. in theory and voice).  Melançon and Narucki, who are experienced interpreters of Kurtág’s work, will be joined during the workshop by the eminent Kafka scholar, Stanley Corngold, Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Princeton University.  

Gyorgy KurtagGyorgy KurtagComposed of 40 songs in four books, Kafka Fragments are a selection of journal entries, excerpts from letters, and aphorisms by the Czech author set with extraordinary theatrical intensity and economy by the Hungarian composer. In the words of Dr. Corngold, Kurtág’s music "celebrates Kafka’s mind, his sensibility, his inwardness in burning-bright musical vision." The settings provide "an intense fusion of two subjectivities."  In performance, the songs will be divided among the soprano-violinist pairs, with Melançon and Narucki taking on Part II, which consists of a single song, The True Path (Hommage-message à Pierre Boulez)

Violaine MelanconViolaine MelanconCommenting on the upcoming workshop and concerts, Melançon added "Kafka’s words and Kurtág’s music are kindred spirits.  Both creators are masters of the oblique, of the minimal, of expressing worlds of atmosphere between the words, between the notes. Susan Narucki, Stanley Corngold and I are looking forward to exploring this work with eight wonderful young artists and sharing our deep affection and sense of awe for it with audiences in Brattleboro and Boston."

Each concert will begin with a talk by Melançon, Narucki, and Dr. Corngold, who will speak about Kafka and Kurtág’s work. Audiences are cordially invited to continue the conversation at post-concert receptions where they will be able to participate in informal question and answer sessions with the musicians.

Yellow Barn will also hold a series of public events in Vermont during the workshop. These include an evening master class on the performance of Kafka Fragments, Thursday, March 11, and an evening lecture by Dr. Corngold, Friday, March 12.  A schedule of events is available on the Yellow Barn website.

Speaking of the collaboration between Yellow Barn and NEC, Tony Woodcock, President of the Conservatory, expressed his "great pleasure in this joint venture. Many of our students and faculty have taken part in the music-making at Yellow Barn during the summers and in 2008, our Ariel Quartet participated in a residency focused on the Elliott Carter Quartet No. 3. This is a place where the highest standards of music-making are upheld but where there is also a wonderful camaraderie between veteran artists and young musicians."

Yellow Barn Music School & Festival was founded in 1969 by cellist David Wells, then chair of the Chamber Music Department at the Manhattan School of Music.  What began as a small summer workshop for Mr. Wells’s students has evolved into an internationally respected training institute for young professional musicians.  Artistic Director Seth Knopp joined Yellow Barn in 1998, following the Wells’s retirement, and has since gathered together the festival's world-renowned faculty and guest artist groups, and secured Yellow Barn’s international reputation.  

In addition, “over the past two years Yellow Barn has begun to host residencies and workshops, fulfilling the long-held dream of allowing musicians of all ages to pursue projects that develop an aspect of their playing, explore specific works or an area of particular interest on our summer campus,” stated Mr. Knopp.  “I am delighted that with the Kafka Fragments workshop we will expand on our connection with New England Conservatory.  It is a connection that has grown quite naturally over the past years as their students and members of their faculty enrich the music-making at our festival each summer.”

Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 750 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, libraries, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz. For more information, visit our online calendar.

Schedule of Concerts:

Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 8 pm, Centre Congregational Church, Brattleboro, VT, Tickets $20.
Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 8 pm, Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA  Free and open to the public. No reservations required.

Tickets and reservations for the Brattleboro concert are available from Yellow Barn’s box office at 802-387-6637 X 107 or from tickets@yellowbarn.org.  
Tickets also available online.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager

Contact: Willow Cohen     
Development and Marketing Manager                                             
802-387-6637 X 108