March 13, 2012
Bruce Brubaker, Ursula Oppens Join Forces to Perform Meredith Monk’s Complete Piano Music, April 5 in NEC’s Jordan Hall
First Complete Performance of All Piano Music Anywhere
Composer Named 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America
Bruce Brubaker, Chair of Piano at New England Conservatory, will team up with pianist Ursula Oppens to perform Meredith Monk’s complete piano music, both solo and two-piano, April 5 at 8 p.m. in NEC’s Jordan Hall. Monk, recently named Musical America’s Composer of the Year for 2012, will be in Boston for the concert—the first time all her piano music has been performed complete anywhere. The performance, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a Question and Answer session with Monk and the performers. The music will also be recorded in Jordan Hall for commercial release.
The program, highlighted by four new transcriptions for two pianos by Brubaker, includes Railroad (Travel Song), Paris, Window in 7's, St. Petersburg Waltz, Ellis Island, Folkdance, Phantom Waltz, totentanz from impermanence (arranged for two pianos), urban march (shadow) for two pianos, Tower (for two pianos), Parlour Games (for two pianos), Obsolete Objects (for two pianos). Brubaker and Oppens have been frequent collaborators with Monk and were featured in Carnegie Hall’s celebration of Monk’s 40-year performance career in 2005.
Monk (in photo right), who has won three Obie Awards and was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 1995 is not only a composer but also a singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music theater works, films and installations. She is a pioneer in what is called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance.” Most of her music is written with the intention of her performing it herself, or with members of her Vocal Ensemble. She has, however, been commissioned recently by Michael Tilson Thomas of the New World Symphony and San Francisco Symphony, Kronos Quartet, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and Los Angeles Master Chorale.
As Bernard Holland wrote in The New York Times in 2005, “Ms. Monk danced, played the piano and wrote music as well, gradually surrounding herself with vocal and instrumental collaborators, not to mention an enduring public that now includes fans young enough to be her grandchildren. She may not be the source of the term '’performance artist,' but she is the first person we think of when we hear it.” Alex Ross wrote in the New Yorker in 2008: If Monk is seeking a place in the classical firmament, classical music has much to learn from her...she may loom even larger as the new century unfolds, and later generations will envy those who got to see her live."
Although some commentators have described Monk’s idiom as “minimalist”—a term she dismisses, her music is evocative of many kinds of traditions and sounds, including folk, plain chant, animal and bird calls. The critic Gregory Sandow described Monk in the Grove Dictionary of American Music as sounding “as if she might be singing ethnic music from a culture she invented herself.” Monk herself writes: "I work in between the cracks, where the voice starts dancing, where the body starts singing, where theater becomes cinema...The voice is my soul's messenger. I try to never forget that I enjoy the privilege of engaging in an activity that affirms the spirit of inquiry and allows me to make an offering of what I have found. I am grateful for being part of music, for the magic of music permeating my life."
For further information, check the NEC Website or call the NEC Concert Line at 617-585-1122. NEC’s Jordan Hall, Brown Hall, Williams Hall and the Keller Room are located at 30 Gainsborough St., corner of Huntington Ave. St. Botolph Hall is located at 241 St. Botolph St. between Gainsborough and Mass Ave.
ABOUT NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY
Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 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 Programs and Partnerships Program, 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, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.
NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall. These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes. Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theatre in Boston.
NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.
Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115