NationalSawdust+ presents: Jad Abumrad’s "Covering Home" with Caroline Shaw, Bora Yoon, and Shelley Washington
6:30pm doors • 7:30pm performance
Photo credit: Elena Park
MacArthur Award-winning radio host and composer Jad Abumrad (Radiolab, More Perfect) takes part in his fourth NationalSawdust+ program: Covering Home, a playful evening of storytelling and song that explores ideas of home, loss, and migration. Taking us from the mountains ranges of Tennessee to Jabal Lubnān in his father’s homeland of Lebanon, his program will showcase abstracted covers of traditional song performed by singular singer/violinist and Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Caroline Shaw (joined by cellist Andrew Yee); haunting music by Korean-American composer, vocalist, and performing sound artist Bora Yoon; and the arresting work of multi-instrumentalist/composer Shelley Washington, who will perform a solo piece on the baritone saxophone. Abumrad will also share mash-ups with the iconic voices of Dolly Parton and Fairouz.
(Tamino, who was previously announced, has had to cancel this and several other appearances.)
NationalSawdust+ is a lively performance and conversation series in which luminaries from across disciplines share their passion for music and explore ideas and issues, making surprising connections. Curated by Elena Park, the series taps artists and thinkers from theater, film and visual art, literature, science and beyond, to create insightful programs that reflect their own interests. Whether through live performances, conversations, or readings, each program has its own alchemy, engaging the audience in new and unexpected ways. Often topical, and always imaginative, NationalSawdust+ is an ideal space for those with curiosity, adventure, and vision.
Caroline Shaw is a New York-based musician—vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer—who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming with Inon Barnatan, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion and Gil Kalish, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with John Lithgow, the Dover Quartet, TENET, The Crossing, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Baltimore Symphony, and Roomful of Teeth with A Far Cry. Caroline’s film scores include Erica Fae’s To Keep the Light and Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline as well as the upcoming short 8th Year of the Emergency by Maureen Towey. She has produced for Kanye West (The Life of Pablo; Ye) and Nas (NASIR), and has contributed to records by The National, and by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. Once she got to sing in three part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center, and that was pretty much the bees’ knees and elbows. Caroline has studied at Rice, Yale, and Princeton, currently teaches at NYU, and is a Creative Associate at the Juilliard School. She has held residencies at Dumbarton Oaks, the Banff Centre, Music on Main, and the Vail Dance Festival. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, Kinhaven, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.
Korean-American composer, vocalist and performing sound artist Bora Yoon creates immersive electroacoustic soundscapes using digital devices, voice and found objects and instruments from a variety of cultures and historical centuries – evoking memory and association, to formulate a multimedia narrative through music, sound, and song.
She is classically trained in the school of studied thought and improvisational sciences, and is endlessly fascinated by the intersection of space and sound, maps, human Venn diagrams, handsome sounding kitchenware, sonorities, and the pulleys and strings that hold everything together. Yoon is a TED fellow, and is currently a doctoral fellow in music composition and the interdisciplinary humanities at Princeton University.
Her music has been awarded by the New York Foundation for the Arts, Asian American Arts Alliance, Billboard, BMI, and the Arion Foundation; published by SubRosa, Innova, Swirl Records, and the Journal of Popular Noise; and commissioned by So Percussion, SYMPHO, Metropolis Ensemble, Young People’s Chorus of NYC the Sayaka Ladies Consort of Tokyo, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and in WIRE Magazine for her musical innovations, — Yoon’s works have been presented by Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Nam June Paik Art Center (Korea), Festival of World Cultures (Poland), Park Avenue Armory, MADE Festival (Sweden) and Walker Art Center, and universities around the world.
Commissions in collaboration with architecture include choral surround-sound composition Semaphore Conductus, kinetic choral work“Doppler Dreams” for sopranos on bicycles in a 55,000 square foot abandoned pool, live score for ariel dance ontop a Frank Gehry building, the architecture of Frank Gehry, and ARCO, the first symphonic commission created specifically for the vast Park Avenue Armory military drill hall space.
In Shelley’s own words:
Hello! I am a composer, performer, collaborator, and educator who grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. I like to write music with a big palette that draws elements from jazz, rock, American folk and other contemporary musical spaces. I also perform regularly as a saxophonist, primarily wielding the baritone saxophone, and I love making lots and lots of noise.
The music I write focuses on exploring emotions and intentions by finding their root cause. I want a listener to somehow move, for their emotions or imaginations to be altered, or even just be moved to tap their toes. My music explores intricate rhythms to encourage a sort of layered listening through grooves, melody, and harmony. In the music I write that confronts known social injustices, I want to create a space for public dialogue while personally reclaiming power for my own experienced inequalities. Shaking the cages, raging against the machine, and supporting others make me happy.
I am also a vocalist, and double on flute, piccolo, clarinet, and (when the opportunity arises) English handbells. I really enjoy playing music from any genre, and enjoy it most when my friends, new and old, write for me.
Andrew Yee has been praised by Michael Kennedy of the London Telegraph as “spellbindingly virtuosic…remember that you heard [his] name here first.” He is a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet, winners of the 7th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and winners of the Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the 60th annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition. Praised by Strad for possessing “maturity beyond its members’ years,” the Attacca Quartet has recorded the complete string quartet works of John Adams and recently finished an ambitious six-year project called “the 68” in which they performed all sixty-eight of Haydn’s string quartets in concert. In the 2015-16 season they were the resident string quartet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (a position formerly held for 43 years by the Guarneri Quartet). His other interests include; making coffee (he was an espresso educator at Joe coffee for several years), making and consuming old-fashioneds (he washed dishes at his favorite cocktail bar in New York), cooking like an Italian grandma (he apprenticed in a little old lady’s restaurant in Italy while he was at the Spoleto Festival in Umbria), drawing still lifes of apples with charcoal, and making stop-motion recipes with a quartet soundtrack (thehungrycellist.tumblr.com). He plays on an 1884 Eugenio Degani cello on loan from the Five Partners Foundation.
photo credit: Brigitte Lacombe