LSM Newswire

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Miller Theatre 2011-2012: 23rd Season

Opening Night
All concerts begin at 8:00PM

“an immense occasion, unquestionably the most significant new-music event this year.”

The Guardian, London

“This may go down in history as the most cancelled premiere of all time.”

James Dillon, in The Telegraph

Miller opens the season with an ambitious, three-night staging of James Dillon’s Nine Rivers, a symphonic cycle of monumental proportions, and one of the most talked-about new works of the past few years. Written over several decades—and scored for a formidable assemblage of musicians and multimedia artists—the cycle covers a vast sonic terrain, from hushed a cappella singing to high-octane drumming. For this event, Miller is bringing together members of the original creative team with some of the best new music performers on both coasts.

Nine Rivers

*Listen Here*

By James Dillon; U.S. premiere

Co-produced with Works & Process at the Guggenheim; Mary Sharp Cronson, producer

September 14 - Part I: Leukosis

The cycle begins with four immersive movements, performed without pause, for six percussionists, six violins, 16 solo voices, and chamber ensemble.

September 16 - Part II: Iosis

Night two features the evening-length work La coupure, for percussion solo with live electronics and video projection, performed by Steven Schick.

September 17 - Part III: Melanosis

The journey comes to a close with four movements for chamber ensemble, live electronics, tape, brass ensemble, percussion, and voices, including a finale for all 50 musicians.


Steven Schick, conductor and percussion

International Contemporary Ensemble

The Crossing

Red Fish Blue Fish

Ross Karre, video design

Nicholas Houfek, lighting design

Composer Portraits

All concerts begin at 8:00PM

“Miller Theatre has become one of the city’s most popular venues for

new music, offbeat ensembles, and adventurous concerts.” —

“For 10 years now, the Composer Portraits have enticed young people who are curious about

all kinds of extreme contemporary music to take chances on living classical composers.”

The New York Times

The Composer Portraits series—now in its 12th season—remains the heart of Miller Theatre’s programming. Each concert investigates the work of a single composer by offering a prismatic view of their oeuvre. This season features a fascinatingly diverse group of composers in a series studded with commissions and premieres—plus, every composer will participate in an onstage discussion at his or her Portrait.

Tobias Picker (b. 1954)

*Listen Here*

October 6

Acclaimed by The New Yorker as “a genuine creator with a fertile unforced vein of invention,” Tobias Picker’s music melds the discipline and rigor of his mentors—Charles Wuorinen, Elliott Carter, and Milton Babbitt—with an unabashed and impassioned Romantic streak. Perhaps best known for his operas, which have premiered at major houses such as the Met to widespread critical acclaim, Picker brings an equal sense of drama to his chamber music. A highlight of Miller’s Portrait is his exuberant piano concerto Keys to the City, written to commemorate the centenary of the Brooklyn Bridge. Plus, Sarah Rothenberg and members of the Brentano String Quartet premiere Picker’s new Piano Quintet.

George Lewis (b. 1952)

*Listen Here*

November 12

MacArthur “genius” George Lewis brings an eclectic background—as a jazz trombonist with Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, a professor and scholar at Columbia, and a pioneer of computer music—to his work as a composer. A former curator at the iconic downtown multi-arts venue The Kitchen and a longtime member and champion of AACM, Lewis’s work explores and pushes boundaries, bringing fresh and wide-ranging influences to his so-called “classical” music. ICE is joined by percussionist and conductor Steven Schick in this program, featuring a brand new work written especially for them.

John Zorn (b. 1953)

December 9

The iconic avant-gardist John Zorn returns to Miller with an incredibly ambitious lineup, featuring five world premieres played by some of his favorite musicians from New York and beyond. (Complete all-star lineup available online.) A top-shelf selection of soloists will play virtuosic new works written just for them, while larger ensemble pieces round out the program, infused throughout with Zorn’s characteristic vitality, rhythmic drive, and rockstar solo passages.

Karin Rehnqvist (b. 1957)

*Listen Here*

March 22

One of Sweden’s best-known and widely performed composers, Karin Rehnqvist is just starting to make waves in the international community. A recent rave in Gramophone called her music “marvelous” and “stunning,” the sort of revelatory work that “requires one to discard preconceptions of what constitutes Western art music.” A highlight of this Portrait is her “extraordinary” song cycle, given its U.S. premiere by two Swedish singers specializing in Kulning, the extended vocal technique drawn from Nordic folk traditions. The entire evening will feature the remarkable Either/Or ensemble, who are among Rehnqvist’s greatest champions.

Hilda Paredes (b. 1957)

*Listen Here*

May 12

Rooted in Mayan thought, tinged with Indian rhythms, and shaped by studies in London, Hilda Paredes’ music seems to exist outside time and place, evoking ancient South American civilization with modern European language. Widely recognized as the leading Mexican composer of her generation, Paredes has won a number of prestigious fellowships and commissions and her music is increasingly performed throughout Europe, her adopted home, as well as in her native Mexico. This program pairs her “concerto for ensemble” with a new piece commissioned by Miller for Signal.

Georges Aperghis (b. 1945)

*Listen Here*

May 24

A sometime pupil of Xenakis, though largely self-taught, the music of experimental Greek-born composer Georges Aperghis is often theatrical and always provocative. Prolific, unfailingly inventive, and not easily categorized, he has written for a wide array of instruments and ensembles. ICE gives a tour of his works from the 70’s to the present day—from duo to trio to quartet to chamber ensemble—led by Ludovic Morlot, a rising star and former assistant to James Levine. A highlight of the program is the world premiere of a new Miller/ICE co-commission.

Touring Composer Portrait:
Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952)
May 3, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
This Portrait of a Miller-favorite features the International Contemporary Ensemble. *Listen Here*

Special Events

Miller is proud to be one of the key partners in SONiC, a new nine-day festival devoted to emerging composers and music written in the first decade of the new millennium. Produced in partnership with American Composers Orchestra and the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, the concept hearkens back to the remarkable Ditson festivals of contemporary music, held at Miller Theatre in the 1940’s and 50’s, which featured premieres by Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, Samuel Barber, and Paul Hindemith, among many others. Could the next Ives be among this crop of new voices? Miller hosts three performances during the festival’s opening weekend.

SONiC: Sounds of a New Century Festival

October 15, 7:30PM

eighth blackbird with music by Timothy Andres, Bruno Mantovani, Amy Beth Kirsten, Mayke Nas, Fabien Svensson, Dan Visconti, and Caleb Burhans.

October 16, 12:00PM

Extended Play: Marathon Concert hosted by the JACK quartet and featuring performances by Dither Electric Guitar Quartet, The New York Virtuoso Singers, Imani Winds, Talea Ensemble, Prism Saxophone Quartet, and many others.

October 17, 7:30PM

Either/Or with music by Jonny Greenwood, Keeril Makan, Richard Carrick, Hans Tomalla and Ashley Fure.

Bach and the Baroque

“The ovation was so ardent that Ms. Koh, who had been

visibly engrossed in her performance, wiped away tears.”

The New York Times, on Koh’s Partita performance at Miller Theatre’s Lunchtime Concerts

“She played with ample clarity and brilliance”

The New York Times, on a June 2011 performance by Simone Dinnerstein

The popular Bach series is back with two beloved returning performers and one group new to the series, in three concerts that investigate Bach’s music in depth. Programs feature Bach’s solo violin works, performed back-to-back over one afternoon; a recital mixing Bach keyboard works with those of the Romantic tradition that followed; and an evening centered on a cantata by one of Bach’s heroes, Dietrich Buxtehude.

Bach: The Complete Solo Violin Works

October 23, 2:00PM

American Academy of Arts & Letters

Perhaps Brahms best described what Bach achieved with his landmark solo violin works: “On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings.” The exceptional violinist Jennifer Koh follows up her acclaimed rendition of these works, heard over several recitals in Miller’s 2009-10 Lunchtime series, with this marathon performance of all six solo sonatas and partitas, played over the course of a single afternoon.

Bach and the Romantics

*Listen Here*

February 2, 8:00PM

Miller Theatre

Best known for her inspired recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Brooklyn-based pianist Simone Dinnerstein offers selections from her forthcoming CD in this first solo recital at Miller, again breathing fresh air into the music of Bach. Her inventive program alternates between Bach’s partitas and gems of the Romantic era by Brahms, Chopin, and Schubert, juxtaposing evocative nocturnes, intermezzos, and impromptus with Baroque dance-inspired courantes, allemandes, and sarabandes.

Three Beautiful Things

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March 3, 8:00PM

American Academy of Arts & Letters

The cantata Drei schöne Dinge sind, composed by J. S. Bach’s mentor Dietrich Buxtehude, celebrates three beautiful things: friendship, brotherhood, and marital bliss. This program augments Buxtehude’s homage with a variety of duets, arias, and instrumental works extolling these same virtues by Bach, Buxtehude, Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, Johann Philipp Krieger, and other distinguished German musicans of the era. Repast Baroque Ensemble brings together an extended family of accomplished Baroque performers for this special program at the intimate and acoustically outstanding Academy.

Early Music

“It truly was an event: this congregation of performers was having a spiritual moment onstage, an experience in which we counted ourselves lucky to take part.”


Le Poème Harmonique's five singers produced beautifully balanced sound.THE NEW YORK TIMES

This season features four Early Music concerts in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin (affectionately known to insiders as Smoky Mary’s) and uptown at The American Academy of Arts & Letters. Miller is pleased to offer revered returning groups hailing from two continents. Two British ensembles—The Tallis Scholars and Stile Antico—open and close the series with timeless vocal pieces. New York’s young-yet-polished New York Polyphony brings a Valentines program, complete with a champagne reception during intermission. France’s Le Poème Harmonique makes a stop on Miller’s series as part of their international tour to perform emotional works by flickering candlelight.

Songs of Mary: A Christmas Celebration

*Listen Here*

December 10, 8:00PM

Church of St. Mary the Virgin (145 W. 46th Street)

Perennial favorites The Tallis Scholars return with a program for the Christmas season structured around the Magnificat, or Song of Mary, and other texts associated with Jesus’s birth. Selections include masterpieces by Taverner, Praetorius, and Palestrina, as well as more modern works by Britten and Pärt. The beautifully resonant Church of St. Mary provides the ideal setting for these hymns to the Virgin.

A Renaissance Valentine

*Listen Here*

February 12, 3:00PM

American Academy of Arts & Letters (156th Street b/w Broadway and Riverside Drive)

On the heels of their extraordinarily successful CD Tudor City, New York Polyphony follows up last year’s Miller debut with this unique exploration of love and its many forms. Lauded for their rich sound and impeccable tuning, the all-male quartet pairs lusty Italian madrigals with soulful settings of the Song of Songs, an anthology of passionate Hebrew love poems.


*Listen Here*

March 17, 8:00PM

Church of St. Mary the Virgin

François Couperin’s Tenebrae (the “dark hours”) sets to music the verses of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, traditionally heard during the Holy Week leading up to Easter, and marked by the extinguishing of candles as a sign of mourning. Internationally acclaimed French ensemble Le Poème Harmonique deftly performs Couperin’s intimate, sorrowful melodies in a moving candlelit concert.

Treasures of the Renaissance

*Listen Here*

April 21, 8:00PM

Church of St. Mary the Virgin

The “crystalline and ethereal voices” of the young British choir Stile Antico are back with a program of masterpieces from the golden age of choral music. The richly varied repertoire features works by 15 composers, including Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, and represents a broad range of Renaissance styles from Flemish to Tudor to Jacobean—even a piece based on a medieval text, but written specifically for the 12 voices of Stile Antico.

All concerts begin at 8:00PM
“The presentations are offbeat and inventive.”
— JazzTimes
New York’s jazz heart wasn’t always located downtown. Once upon a time it was found on 52nd Street and before that on 125th, and for many decades its most powerful radio voice has been WKCR-FM on the campus of Columbia University. Just a few yards away, Columbia’s Miller Theatre continues its focus on great jazz artists, collaborating closely with them on concerts the same way it does with John Zorn or George Lewis. This season, Melissa Smey selected groups from the top of her wish list in a Jazz series that she calls “the coolest one I’ve ever programmed.”

Lionel Loueke Trio

*Listen Here*

November 5

The Lionel Loueke Trio makes its Miller debut, with original and inventive compositions that seamlessly blend modern jazz with samba, the instrumental traditions of Mali and Nigeria, and the folklore of the guitarist’s native Benin. Loueke’s evocative sound palette combines intricate guitar plucking techniques, undulating pedal effects, and unique vocals inspired by the sounds of African languages, earning accolades from jazz greats including Herbie Hancock, who calls him “a musical painter.”

Renee Rosnes Quartet

*Listen Here*

November 19

Pianist Renee Rosnes returns to Miller to headline a show featuring her original works for quartet. Stints with such jazz greats as Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Buster Williams, and Bobby Hutcherson helped propel Rosnes’ career and develop her strong, unique voice. The winner of four Juno Awards (the Canadian Grammy), she has an extensive discography—including several collaborations with members of her quartet, all outstanding musicians in their own right.

Anat Cohen Quartet

*Listen Here*

February 11

Known for artistically adventurous writing and performances, the Anat Cohen Quartet makes its first appearance on Miller’s stage with exciting new works by the Israeli woodwind virtuoso. Fluent in modern and traditional jazz, klezmer, Brazilian Choro, Argentine tango, and an expansive timeline of Afro-Cuban styles, Cohen “has expanded the vocabulary of jazz with a distinctive accent of her own,” according to The Washington Post.

Don Byron New Gospel Quintet

*Listen Here*

February 25

A master interpreter of a variety of genres, Don Byron has worked in an astounding range of musical contexts. His latest project, the Don Byron New Gospel Quintet, is informed by Byron’s in-depth studies of gospel music, particularly the songs of Thomas A. Dorsey. In his words: “I am combining my own compositions with traditional Gospel pieces in a way I have not attempted before.” The result is a joyous, profound, and affecting musical experience.

Lunchtime Concerts
Details to be announced

“The idea behind this series could not be more simple or more inspired.”


Miller Theatre’s free midday concert series features informal, one-hour concerts performance by world-class musicians in an intimate setting—for free. The Lunchtime series will return in 2011-12, however due to renovations scheduled to take place throughout the year in Philosophy Hall, the reading room where the concerts have been held to date, the concerts will move to an alternate location for the 2011-12 season. Details will be announced at a later date.

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