Chris Grymes Open G Series:
A Night with George Crumb
6pm doors • 7pm show
Open G Records, founded by clarinetist Chris Grymes, is committed to producing music that is rooted in the classical tradition, but brings artists and their fans together in new and innovative ways.
Chris and Open G present a concert of mystical, celestial music by seminal American composer George Crumb, one of the most significant composers of the last half century, in honor of his 90th birthday. The program includes the classic Night of the Four Moons, a setting of dreamlike texts by Lorca for the intriguing combination of mezzo-soprano, flute, banjo, electric cello, and percussion. Written in 1969 as a response to the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, the piece unfolds in whispers and echoes, amid an enigmatic landscape peppered with the sounds of Tibetan prayer stones, Japanese Kabuki blocks, African thumb pianos, and Chinese temple gongs. The evening will also feature the premiere of a new short film about Crumb by Zac Nicholson, produced by Open G Records and National Sawdust.
Don’t miss this celebration of this titan of contemporary music and some of his most enchanting work.
George Crumb (b. 1929) is one of the most frequently performed composers in today’s musical world. Crumb is the winner of Grammy and Pulitzer Prizes, and continues to compose new scores that enrich the lives of all who come in contact with his profoundly humanistic art. Crumb’s music often juxtaposes contrasting musical styles, ranging from music of the Western art-music tradition, to hymns and folk music, to non-Western musics. Many of Crumb’s works include programmatic, symbolic, mystical, and theatrical elements, which are often reflected in his beautiful and meticulously notated scores.
A shy yet warmly eloquent personality, Crumb retired from his teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania after more than 30 years of service. Honored by numerous institutions with honorary Doctorates, and the recipient of dozens of awards and prizes, Crumb makes his home in Pennsylvania, in the same house where he and his wife of more than 60 years raised their three children. George Crumb’s music is published by C.F. Peters and an ongoing series of Complete Crumb recordings, supervised by the composer, is being issued on Bridge Records.
Praised as “superb,” “luscious-toned,” “extraordinarily precise and expressive,” and “dramatically committed and not averse to risk” by the New York Times, young American soprano Sharon Harms is known for fearless performances and passionate interpretations of works new and old for the recital, concert, and operatic stage.
Sharon has premiered the music of some of today’s leading composers, and her repertoire spans a versatile spectrum of periods and styles. A wide array of collaborations have put Ms. Harms in venues around the world. She is a member of the Argento Ensemble and has been featured with Alter Ego Ensemble, Baroque Band of Chicago, Center for Contemporary Opera, counter)induction, Da Capo Chamber Players, East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, eighth blackbird, Ensemble Mise-en, Ensemble Recherche, Ensemble Signal, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Juilliard Center for Innovation in the Arts, Larchmere String Quartet, Lima Symphony Orchestra, Limón Dance Company, MET Opera Chamber Orchestra, Momenta Quartet, NC New Music Initiative, Network for New Music, New Chamber Ballet, New Dramatists, New Fromm Players, Orchestra of the League of Composers, Pacifica Quartet, Princeton Festival Opera, Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, Simon Bolivar Orchestra, Slee Sinfonietta, Southwest Chamber Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, and Third Coast Percussion.
Recording projects include a 2013 Latin Grammy nomination for Gabriela Ortiz’ Aroma Foliado with Southwest Chamber Ensemble, and a CD of new vocal works by Louis Karchin with Da Capo Chamber Players on Bridge Records. She is also featured on recordings of new pieces by William Bolcom, John Eaton, Jesse Jones, Lowell Liebermann, and Charles Wuorninen.
Christopher Chaffee is Professor of Flute and Director of Graduate Studies in Music at Wright State University. His playing has been hailed as “truly exceptional” (Don Vroon, Editor, American Record Guide), “brilliant” (Middletown Journal), and “sparkling” (Richmond Palladium-Item). At WSU, he teaches flute, chamber music, and global music, and serves on the flute faculty at the world-renown Interlochen Arts Camp. Dr. Chaffee’s students have recently earned prizes in the Central Ohio Flute Association, National Flute Association, and Clark Haines Memorial competitions. Before joining the faculty at WSU in 2004, he taught at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Xavier University, and Miami University. Dr. Chaffee is the co-founder of the Sapphire Winds, a wind chamber ensemble that specializes in performing and recording virtuosic wind music. Recent solo and chamber music highlights include performances at the 2012 International Double Reed Society conference, and the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 National Flute Association conventions.
Dr. Chaffee served as Co-Principal and solo flutist with Sorg Opera (1997-2005), co-principal flute of the Heidelberg Schlossfestspiel Orchestra, and has performed with the ARC contemporary ensemble, Ensemble Sirius, Lansing Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Grand Traverse Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, Penn’s Woods Chamber Orchestra, Dayton Bach Society, Kentucky Symphony, and Dayton Philharmonic. Dr. Chaffee is also a highly respected music writer with hundreds of reviews published in American Record Guide, and is the author of widely popular program notes for the Dayton Philharmonic.
Oren Fader is highly regarded as a performer of classical and electric guitar repertoire, solo and chamber, traditional and contemporary. He has performed in Asia, Europe, and throughout the United States. Concerto performances include the Villa-Lobos Guitar Concerto with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” with the New Jersey and Omaha Symphonies, David Del Puerto’s new concerto, “Zephyr”, with the New Paths in Music Ensemble, and the Vivaldi D Major Concerto, with the Manchester Music Festival.
Mr. Fader has performed hundreds of chamber concerts with a wide range of classical and new music groups, including the Met Chamber Ensemble (directed by James Levine), New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, New World Symphony, Absolute Ensemble, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, American Composers’ Orchestra, Argento Ensemble, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Music from Japan, New Amsterdam Singers, New York Festival of Song, Da Capo Chamber Players, Festival Chamber Music, North Country Chamber Players, and Speculum Musicae. Festival performances include Aspen, Tanglewood, Bach Oregon Festival, Istanbul Festival, Deer Valley Festival (Utah), Yellow Barn, Bard Music Festival, and Morelia, Mexico.
Mr. Fader has premiered or recorded over 200 solo and chamber works with guitar, many as a member of the Award-winning new music group Cygnus Ensemble, including compositions by Babbitt, Wuorinen, Machover, Biscardi, Currier, Naito, and many others. He has worked closely with composers such as Babbitt, Boulez, Carter, Davidovsky, and David Lang. Recent performance highlights include two seasons at the Tanglewood Music Festival, performing works of Carter, Davidovsky, and Chin, and tours around the globe with his chamber group Poetica Musica, performing in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Copenhagen, Iceland, Gayana, Israel, Jordan, and Tajikistan.
Following a recent solo performance, The Strad Magazine wrote about Christopher Gross: “The tone of Gross’s cello enveloped the crowd |as he| showed energy and intonational accuracy, even when racing around the fingerboard.” He is a founding member of the Talea Ensemble, which has appeared at major venues and festivals throughout the United States and Europe. He has also appeared as guest with ensembles including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Cygnus Ensemble, Argento Ensemble, Flux Quartet, and others. As a member of various ensembles he has appeared in recording on the Tzadik, Bridge, Albany, and New World labels. He is the founder of the project Cello Solos Today, which seeks to commission new contemporary works for intermediate cellists, and which recently received grants from New Music USA and the Juilliard Entrepreneurship Award. He is a lead Teaching Artist of the New York Philharmonic, and has given workshops and classes at Harvard University, Brooklyn College, and the University of Sydney (Australia). He is currently on faculty at Lehigh University and in 2016–17 will be the Theodore Horger Artist-in-Residence at the school. He recently received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Juilliard in New York.
James Baker is Principal Percussionist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. He appears often as a percussionist with Orpheus, was a member of the American Composers Orchestra and the Eos Orchestra, and has played with the New York Philharmonic, the Paris Opera Orchestra, Royal Danish and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras, among others. He has appeared as a soloist at the Carnegie Hall Making Music series (with Hans Werner Henze), with American Composers Orchestra, at Lincoln Center Festival, Prague Spring Festival and at NY City Ballet and the Santa Fe and Moab chamber music festivals.
He is Music Director and Conductor of the Composers Conference at Wellesley College and Director of the Percussion Ensemble at the Mannes College of Music. Mr. Baker was the Conductor of the New York New Music Ensemble and is Conductor of the Talea Ensemble. He is Guest Conductor of the Slee Sinfonietta at the Institute for 21st Century Music in Buffalo. He has led the Orchestra of the League of Composers, Speculum Musicae, Ensemble ACJW, the Cygnus Ensemble, the ensemble Tactus at the Manhattan School of Music, Ensemble 21, and the DaCapo Chamber players, among many others. He has conducted at the Darmstadt, Wien Moderne, Transit Belgium, Contempuls Prague, June in Buffalo, Beijing Modern and Monadnok music festivals. He has both played and conducted at the Bang on a Can Marathon and has conducted at the Monday Night Concerts in Los Angeles. He has conducted a number of Composers Portrait concerts at Miller Theater including those of Pierre Boulez (where he led the US premier of Derive II), Toru Takemitsu Jason Eckardt, John Zorn and Chou Wen-chung.
American pianist Steven Beck is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where his teachers were Seymour Lipkin, Peter Serkin and Bruce Brubaker. Mr. Beck made his debut with the National Symphony Orchestra, and has toured Japan as soloist with the New York Symphonic Ensemble. Other orchestras with which he has appeared include the New Juilliard Ensemble (under David Robertson), Sequitur, the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, and the Virginia Symphony.
Mr. Beck has performed as soloist and chamber musician at the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, Miller Theater, Steinway Hall, Tonic, and Barbes, as well as on the New York Philharmonic Ensembles Series and WNYC; summer appearances have been at the Aspen Music Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Greenwich Music Festival, the Woodstock Mozart Festival, and the Wellesley Composers’ Conference. He is an Artist Presenter and regular performer at Bargemusic (where he recently performed all of the Beethoven piano sonatas), performs frequently as a musician with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and has performed with the New York City Ballet. He has worked with Elliott Carter, Henri Dutilleux, George Perle, and Charles Wuorinen, and has appeared with ensembles such as Speculum Musicae, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Manhattan String Quartet, the Pacifica String Quartet, The Metropolis Ensemble, New York Philomusica, the New York New Music Ensemble, Mosaic, the Lyric Chamber Music Society, the Omega Ensemble, Ensemble Sospeso, the Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, Counterinduction, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, the East Coast Composers’ Ensemble, the Fountain Ensemble, Friends and Enemies of New Music, Lost Dog, and Antisocial Music. He is a member of the new music ensemble Future In Reverse (FIRE) as well as the notorious Knights of the Many-Sided Table. His recordings are on the Albany, Bridge, Monument, Mulatta, and Annemarie Classics labels.
Pianist Xak Bjerken has appeared with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, the Schoenberg Ensemble, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Disney Hall. He has performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Glinka Hall in St Petersburg, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, and for many years performed throughout the US as a member of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet. He has performed with the Cuarteto Casals, the Prazak, New Zealand, and Miami string quartets, and held chamber music residencies at the Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival and Olympic Music Festival. He is the director of Ensemble X, a new music ensemble, and has served on the faculty of Kneisel Hall, the Eastern Music Festival, and at the Chamber Music Conference at Bennington College. Bjerken has worked closely with composers Győrgy Kurtag, Sofia Gubaidulina, Steven Stucky, and George Benjamin, and over the next two years, will be presenting premieres of piano concertos by Stephen Hartke, Elizabeth Ogonek, and Jesse Jones. He released his first solo recording on CRI in 2001, and has since recorded for Koch International, Chandos, Albany Records, Artona, and is about to release his third recording for Open G Records, presenting solo and chamber works by Steven Stucky. Xak Bjerken is Professor of Music at Cornell University where he co-directs Mayfest, an international chamber music festival with his wife, pianist Miri Yampolsky. Bjerken studied with Aube Tzerko at the University of California at Los Angeles and received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Peabody Conservatory as a student of and teaching assistant to Leon Fleisher.
Among the honors James Primosch has received are a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three prizes from the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters, a Regional Artists Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Stoeger Prize of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and a fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Center where he studied with John Harbison. Organizations commissioning Primosch include the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Folger Consort, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Barlow Endowment, and the Network for New Music. In 1994 he served as composer-in-residence at the Marlboro Music Festival. Recordings of eighteen compositions by Primosch have appeared on the Albany, Azica, Bard, Bridge, CRI, Centaur, Innova, and New World labels, with new discs of vocal and choral works planned.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1956, James Primosch studied at Cleveland State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University. He counts Mario Davidovsky, George Crumb and Richard Wernick among his principal teachers. He is an active as a pianist, particularly in the realm of contemporary music. He was a prizewinner at the Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in Rotterdam, and appears on recordings for New World, CRI, the Smithsonian Collection, and Crystal Records. He has worked as a jazz pianist and a liturgical musician. Since 1988 he has served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Presser Electronic Music Studio.
Zac James Nicholson is an American filmmaker born in New York and living in Brooklyn. His work as a director and cinematographer spans the medium from narrative to documentary film, and is regarded for its unique character-driven, cinematic perspective.
Most recently, Zac shot the feature-length documentary, Memory Games, which follows four athletes from around the world as they compete in the fascinating and surprisingly visual world of competitive memorization. It’s currently available on Netflix. The short film he shot, Observatory Blues, staring Tom Schiller and Amy Sedaris, has been a favorite at festivals and beyond, picking up a Vimeo Staff Pick among other accolades.
Among a number of feature length projects currently in production, he is co-directing and shooting a documentary about a little known but highly influential 1970s New York area rock club, My Father’s Place, and the unlikely impresario behind it.
Cutting his teeth on the NYC new music scene since 2008, Garth MacAleavey (Sound Designer), specializes in site-specific surround sound design and transparent reinforcement for traditional and experimental music performance. A talented musician since childhood, Garth’s career was strongly influenced by his time as a student of classical music and avant-garde percussion at UCSC. He is the current acting Technical Director and Chief Audio Engineer of Brooklyn’s National Sawdust. Recent design credits include: Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera p r i s m LA Opera/Prototype, Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ “Silent Voices: Lovestate” New Victory Theater, David Lang and Joe Hisaishi with Bang on a Can Zankel Hall, Artist Nick Cave’s “THE LET GO” Park Ave Armory, Michael Gordon’s “Acquanetta”, David T Little’s “Soldier Songs” and “Dog Days” LA Opera, Paola Prestini’s “The Hubble Cantata” LA Opera, Ted Hearne’s “The Source” SF Opera, David Lang’s “Anatomy Theater” LA Opera, and “The Colorado Project” with Glenn Kotche, Jeff Zeigler and Roomful of Teeth.