The Age of Catastrophes, and the Upcoming Season

Dec. 6th, 2013 was a good day. My piece, The Age of Catastrophes, for mezzo-soprano, baritone, string quartet, piano, and fixed media, was premiered at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago. It was an intense, exhilarating experience, and the piece went over very well. The piece was commissioned by KAM Isaiah Israel and the Rabbi Arnold J. Wolf Memorial committee, and was written in memory of this extraordinary religious leader, orator, scholar, and teacher. The piece featured archived recordings of his sermons quite prominently, and for many in the audience, it was the first time they had heard his voice since his death five years earlier at the age of 86. Some had never heard him speak. With that in mind, I was proudest of the fact that those who didn’t know him seemed just as deeply affected by his words as the ones who knew him their whole lives.

The performers at the premiere were top-notch across the board. Julia Bentley and Alan Dunbar sang the Hebrew text of Isaiah and Job resplendently, their rich voices at times presenting the fullness of a small choir. Spektral Quartet played with incredible focus and nuance, and made the tricky, fluttery passages of the end of the second movement sound easy. Nolan Pearson played with exquisite sensitivity, showing the breadth of his range of touch and expression. Maestro Michael Lewanski led them in a brand new score with calm confidence as if it were a piece he was revisiting rather than premiering. Ryan Ingebritsen’s sound design made Rabbi Wolf’s voice ring through the very space in which he had led services during his lifetime, beginning in the Byzantine domed sanctuary’s lofty PA speakers, and gradually settling into the four-channel speaker array that surrounded the audience. In places, his voice sounded like it was moving through the audience, around them, always immediate yet also from a memory. I consider myself extremely lucky to have worked with all of them.

I will post a recording on this site (and to my SoundCloud page) soon, but in the meantime, here is a picture from the premiere, which shows the majestic sanctuary at KAM Isaiah Israel:

from the Dec. 6th, 2013 premiere at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago

from the Dec. 6th, 2013 premiere at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago

Featured Recordings

Live Performance by eighth blackbird

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

for two alto saxophones, mallet percussion, and piano

live performance by Zach Herchen, Philipp Stäudlin, Ryan Packard, and Aaron Likness, June 26th, 2011

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Events

  • No upcoming events