Living up to its reputation as a "new music" ensemble, Eastmans Musica Nova will present the premieres of two 21st-century works in its debut concert at Cooper Union in New York City Feb. 25.
The group will perform the same program in a free, open dress rehearsal at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, in Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St. For more information, call 274-1100.
The program features Augusta Read Thomass Silver Litanies and conductor Bradley Lubmans Ranting and Raving!, both works completed in January of this year. The ensemble also will perform three 20th-century pieces: Coursing by Oliver Knussen, Chamber Symphony No. 1 by Arnold Schoenberg, and Le Tombeau de Liberace by Michael Daugherty.
Frequently listed among Americas top young composers, Augusta Read Thomas is an associate professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music and also holds the position of Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Conductors including Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Seiji Ozawa, Mstislav
Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin and John Nelson have programmed her music. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, BMI, the American Academy, the Institute for American Music, and the Guggenheim Foundation, among others.
Written for six singers, string quartet, three clarinets and percussion, Silver Litanies involves about 50 texts ranging from ancient times to the 1990s. "My intention is that the audience members will feel that they were taken on a journey and left off in a new space," says the composer.
Lubman has appeared with major orchestras and ensembles including the Deutsches-Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin, the Finnish Radio Symphony, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Steve Reich Ensemble. As a composer, he has had works commissioned by the Cygnus Ensemble, the Guild Trio, the New Millennium Ensemble, the Lawrence Philharmonic, and Percussion Group The Hague.
Ranting and Raving!, which features flute, oboe, bass clarinet, marimba, percussion, piano, violin, viola, and cello, is an exploration of different speeds of time played simultaneously, but all relating to a unifying pulse. "It is, I hope, a music of three dimensions, reflecting how things occur simultaneously in everyday life and nature. On the surface of the piece, however, all is a bit insane and extrovert," says Lubman.
Founded in 1966, Musica Nova is the Eastmans contemporary music ensemble. Made up of graduate and undergraduate students, the ensemble flourished under composer Sydney Hodkinson, who directed the ensemble during his 25 years (1973-1998) at Eastman. Lubman, assistant professor of conducting and ensembles, now leads the group.
The New York City concert Feb. 25 takes place in Cooper Unions Great Hall in the Colleges Foundation Building, East 7th Street at 3rd Ave. Admission is free. For more information, call (212) 353-4195.
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a distinguished private college of art, architecture and engineering founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, an inventor, industrialist and philanthropist.