LSM Newswire

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Philadelphia singers presents premiere by Philip Glass

This one-night only concert features premieres by Philip Glass and Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steve Reich

PHILADELPHIA, PA - On March 6, 2010 at 8:00pm, The Philadelphia Singers will join forces with new music ensembles Relâche and Orchestra 2001 to present premieres by American composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich, the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner in music as well as British composer Gavin Bryars. The one-night only performance will take place at the Zellerbach Theatre in the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts located at 3680 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. The concert of entirely new works features the premiere of Glass’s Persephone and Philadelphia premieres of Reich’s You Are (Variations) and Laude 23 and 24 from Bryars’ Lauda Cortonese. Tickets are $20-$45, and may be purchased by calling 215-898-3900 or on-line at

Philip Glass and Steve Reich are two of new music’s most influential and renowned composers. Philip Glass’s music and impact reaches from the concert hall and opera house to the dance world, Academy Award winning films and popular music. His critically acclaimed film scores include The Thin Blue Line, The Truman Show, The Hours and Notes on a Scandal.

Philip Glass’s Persephone is a five-movement work for chamber ensemble and chorus. It was commissioned by Relâche and was first recorded and performed by the ensemble in 1994 in Philadelphia with Philip Glass performing the vocal parts in his arrangement for keyboard. The studio recording with voices was arranged by Don Christensen and used for a Robert Wilson theatrical installation, but the vocal parts have never been heard in a live performance.

Steve Reich’s You Are (Variations), which he composed in 2004 is one of his most recent works and is scored for an 18-voice chorus and large instrumental ensemble including four pianos. Steve Reich a winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in music explores the use of the voice as a textural and harmonic focal point in the Philadelphia premiere of this moving work. Similar to earlier Reich works employing texts - such as Tehillim, The Desert Music and Proverb – You Are (Variations) focuses on timeless questions of ethics, aesthetics and the nature of consciousness itself.

Bryars’ Laude 23 and 24 for a cappella women’s chorus fill out this program. Written in Italian and hearkening back to both forms and styles of the earliest polyphony of the Renaissance, The Philadelphia Singers’ music director, David Hayes says, “they form a fascinating bridge between the musical and vocal styles of Glass and Reich.”

Lloyd Shorter, Co-Artistic Director of Relâche remarked, “this combination of musical forces in choral and new music is not typical and a concert featuring instrumental and vocal works by Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Gavin Bryars on the same program is even more unusual, particularly in the United Sates.”

The Philadelphia Singers, a professional choral ensemble engages and inspires a broad range of audiences in the Philadelphia region with compelling concert experiences. The Singers has a special commitment to preserve and strengthen America’s rich choral heritage through performances, commissions, and music education. It seeks to enrich the broader community through embodying the highest standards of classical musicianship and providing a platform for its musicians to serve the community in a wide variety of formats.

Founded in 1972 by Michael Korn, The Philadelphia Singers is now under the dynamic leadership of Music Director and Conductor David Hayes. For 37 years, The Philadelphia Singers has contributed to the city’s vibrant cultural community through presenting choral music of the highest caliber, meaningful education and community programs, and significant collaborations with local, national and internationally recognized performing arts organizations. In 2001, The Philadelphia Singers Chorale was named Resident Chorus of The Philadelphia Orchestra, the first time in the orchestra’s history that a chorus has received this distinction. The Philadelphia Singers Chorale appears on all of the orchestra’s choral subscriptions concerts including performances at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts and annual performances of Handel’s Messiah. Maestro Wolfgang Sawallisch, Conductor Laureate of The Philadelphia Orchestra, hails The Singers as “one of the musical treasures of Philadelphia.”

Relâche is a contemporary music ensemble who for 30 years has maintained an international reputation as a leader in commissioning and performing the innovative music of our time. Relâche has a unique sound - flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, viola, piano, bass and percussion, and performs works from the "downtown" repertoire - a new avant garde that is neither classical, nor popular, but somewhere in between - a melding of Western classical traditions with jazz, rock, electronica, world music, and more. Relâche has performed more than 600 concerts, commissioned over 150 new works (from leading composers like Robert Ashley, John Cage, Philip Glass, and Pauline Oliveros) and released five CDs: RELÂCHE ON EDGE (1991), OUTCOME INEVITABLE (1994), PICK IT UP (1997- nominated for a Grammy), PRESS PLAY (2006), and EIGHT POINT TURN (2008).

Orchestra 2001 was founded in 1988 as ensemble-in-residence at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. In June 2007, the League of American Orchestras and ASCAP recognized Orchestra 2001 and Artistic Director James Freeman, as outstanding leaders of new music in the United States with their “Award for Adventurous Programming”. Orchestra 2001 has had an enormous impact on composers young and old, and on the cultural life of Philadelphia. Throughout its twenty-one year history, Orchestra 2001 has given over 80 world premieres and 105 Greater Philadelphia Premieres. The orchestra has performed 205 works by 125 American composers, of which more than 135 have been by Philadelphia area composers.


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