Season 5 Opening – A Night of Women Composers: From Clara Schumann to Meredith Monk
Featuring music by Clara Schumann, Ellen Reid, Emma O'Halloran, Mary Lou Williams, Missy Mazzoli, Meredith Monk, and Paola Prestini, performed by Timo Andres, Rafiq Bhatia and Ian Chang, Arnold Geis, Nico Muhly, Naomi Louisa O'Connell, Samora Pinderhuges and Elena Pinderhughes, Alexandra Smither, Young People's Chorus of New York City, National Sawdust Ensemble, and Nelson Patton
6:30pm doors • 7:30pm show
Season 5 launches with a nod to National Sawdust’s roots as a women-led institution. From Clara Schumann to Meredith Monk, National Sawdust will spotlight and celebrate the dynamism and diversity of these innovative pioneers.
Featuring work by Clara Schumann, Mary Lou Williams, Meredith Monk, Missy Mazzoli, Paola Prestini, Ellen Reid, and inaugural Hildegard Competition winner Emma O’Halloran, the evening includes performances by two of the brightest stars in contemporary music, Nico Muhly and Timo Andres. Joining these two legends on stage will be soprano Naomi Louisa O’Connell; tenor Arnold Geis; Young People’s Chorus of New York City with Artistic Director/Founder Francisco J. Núñez; composer and pianist Samora Pinderhughes; flutist Elena Pinderhuges; Nelson Patton; guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang of Son Lux; and the newly formed National Sawdust Ensemble, featuring violinist Miranda Cuckson, pianist Kathleen Tagg, flutist Allison Loggins-Hull, clarinetist Chris Grymes, and violist Lev Zurbin, with musical direction by former Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and conducted by Daniela Candillari.
Some of the many pieces these luminaries will perform include selections from Silent Light, a new opera by Composer, Co-Founder, and Artistic Director of National Sawdust Paola Prestini; excerpts from composer Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up; and a tribute to composer Mary Lou Williams, an icon of swing and bebop who wrote and arranged for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman.
Join National Sawdust for this special evening honoring seven women whose work and undeniable talent have indelibly changed the landscape of classical and new music.
Timo Andres (b. 1985, Palo Alto, CA) is a composer and pianist who grew up in rural Connecticut and lives in Brooklyn, NY. A Nonesuch Records artist, his album of orchestral works, Home Stretch, has been hailed for its “playful intelligence and individuality,” (The Guardian) and of his 2010 debut album for two pianos Shy and Mighty (performed by himself and duo partner David Kaplan), Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that “it achieves an unhurried grandeur that has rarely been felt in American music since John Adams came on the scene… more mighty than shy, (Andres) sounds like himself.”
Notable works include Everything Happens So Much for the Boston Symphony with Andris Nelsons; Strong Language, a string quartet for the Takács Quartet, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Shriver Hall Concert Series; Steady Hand, a two-piano concerto commissioned by the Britten Sinfonia and premiered at the Barbican with Andres and pianist David Kaplan; and The Blind Banister, a piano concerto for Jonathan Biss, which was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist.
As a pianist, Timo Andres has appeared with the LA Phil, North Carolina Symphony, the Britten Sinfonia, the Albany Symphony, New World Symphony, and in many collaborations with Andrew Cyr and Metropolis Ensemble. He has performed solo recitals for Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, San Francisco Performances, the Phillips Collection, and (le) Poisson Rouge. Among others, Andres has collaborated with Ted Hearne, Becca Stevens, Jeffrey Kahane, Gabriel Kahane, Brad Mehldau, Nadia Sirota, the Kronos Quartet, the LA Dance Project, John Adams, and Philip Glass, with whom he has performed the complete Glass Etudes around the world, and who selected Andres as the recipient of the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize in 2016.
Recent and upcoming projects include a new work for the Calder Quartet commissioned by the LA Phil, premièred at Noon to Midnight; a major choral-orchestral work for the Orchester Cottbus Staatstheater, Land Mass; orchestrations for Sufjan Stevens and New York City Ballet for Justin Peck’s Principia; and dates at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Neue Galerie, and the Big Ears Festival with vocalist Theo Bleckmann. In November 2019, Andres curates (and performs in) “American Perspective,” a concert with the Cincinnati Symphony, André de Ridder, Dance Heginbotham, and cellist Inbal Segev, playing his concerto, Upstate Obscura. In April 2020, Carnegie Hall presents him in a piano recital at Zankel Hall, playing works by himself, John Adams, Nico Muhly, Robin Holcomb, Philip Glass, Donnacha Dennehy, Louis Andriessen, and the world premiere of a commissioned work by Gabriella Smith.
Timo Andres earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Yale School of Music. He is a Yamaha/Bösendorfer Artist and in 2018 joined the composition faculty at Mannes School of Music.
Download a .docx biography. Download a .pdf works catalogue.
Nico Muhly (b.1981) is an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. The recipient of commissions from the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tallis Scholars, St. John’s College, Cambridge, and others, he has written more than 100 works for the concert stage, including the opera Marnie (2017), which premiered at the English National Opera and was staged by the Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2018.
Muhly is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and, as an arranger, has paired with Sufjan Stevens, Antony and the Johnsons, and others. His work for stage and screen include music for the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie and scores for films including the Academy Award-winning The Reader. Born in Vermont, Muhly studied composition at the Juilliard School before working as an editor and conductor for Philip Glass. He is part of the artist-run record label Bedroom Community, which released his first two albums, Speaks Volumes (2006) and Mothertongue (2008). He lives in New York City.
Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes is a composer/pianist/vocalist known for large multidisciplinary projects and for his use of music to examine sociopolitical issues. Samora has performed in venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, MoMA, the Sundance Film Festival, and the Monterey Jazz Festival, and has toured internationally with artists including Branford Marsalis, Christian Scott, Gretchen Parlato, and Emily King.
Samora is the first-ever 2018 Arts for Justice + Soros Justice Fellow, given to him in support of his upcoming project The Healing Project. He also recently received a Chamber Music of America New Jazz Works Grant for an untitled work to be premiered in 2019. He is a 2018 artist-in-residence at Joe’s Pub/The Public Theater.
Samora was raised in the Bay Area and moved to New York to study jazz at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Kenny Barron and Kendall Briggs. It was in NYC that he met his artistic mentor, playwright Anna Deavere Smith. He is the director and creator of The Transformations Suite, an acclaimed project combining music, theatre, and poetry to examine the radical history of resistance within the communities of the African Diaspora.
Samora has collaborated with artists including Common, Herbie Hancock, Glenn Ligon, Branford Marsalis, Sara Bareilles, Daveed Diggs, and Lalah Hathaway. He is a member of Blackout for Human Rights, the arts and social justice collective founded by Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay, and was musical director for their #MLKNow and #JusticeForFlint events. A Sundance Composers Lab fellow, Samora recently scored the award-winning documentary Whose Streets? and wrote songs for All About Nina, HBO’s The Tale, the Netflix film Burning Sands, and the PBS film The Talk. He is featured as lead vocalist and lyricist on the new album August Greene by Common, Robert Glasper, and Karriem Riggins.
Hailed by the New York Times as “radiant”, Irish actor/singer Naomi Louisa O’Connell made her critically acclaimed stage debut opposite Tyne Daly on London’s West End in Terrence McNally’s play Master Class, produced by Sonia Friedman at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2012. The Times called her performance “spectacular”, and the Independent lauded her “thrilling rendering of an aria from Verdi’s Macbeth.”
Naomi trained at The Juilliard School as a singer, and graduated in 2013 from the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program (the only intensive acting program for singers in the world) under the tutelage of director Stephen Wadsworth. In the USA, she headlined the 2014 McCarter Theatre productions of the Beaumarchais Figaro Plays, playing the role of Rosine/Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville. In 2016, she joined the Cincinnati Symphony for their Pelléas Trilogy, playing the role of Mélisande in a new translation of the Maeterlinck play Pelléas & Mélisande. She returned the following year to play the same role in the opera of Debussy, conducted by Louis Langrée, where she was hailed as a “wistful, other-worldly Mélisande” by Musical America.
Her international operatic credits include leading roles at Frankfurt Opera, Welsh National Opera, Geneva Opera, Atlanta Opera, Garsington Opera, Opera Omaha, Spoleto Festival USA, and New York City Opera. Notable roles performed include Monteverdi’s Poppea and Ottavia, Ravel’s L’Enfant, Debussy’s Mélisande, Mozart’s Cherubino and Despina, Purcell’s Dido, and Offenbach’s La Périchole and La Corilla. An enthusiastic proponent of contemporary music, Naomi has created the role of Serafin in the world premiere of Figaro Gets A Divorce (Elena Langer/David Pountney) with Welsh National Opera, Anna in The Flood (Korine Fujiwara/Stephen Wadsworth) with Opera Columbus, and recently premiered Irish composer Emma O’Halloran’s monodrama Mary Motorhead with Beth Morrison Opera Projects.
A gifted musician and natural performer, Naomi deftly balances her love of the stage with that of song, with repertoire ranging from Mozart, Strauss, and Ravel to Tom Lehrer, Kurt Weill, and Randy Newman. This versatility led to her First Prize victory at the 2011 Concert Artists Guild International competition, and at her subsequent Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall — entitled ‘Witches, Bitches & Women in Britches’ — the New York Times hailed her as “a natural in the recital format, winning over the audience with her rich, silvery voice and charming stage presence.”
In 2014, she made her debut at New York’s Neue Galerie with an all-German cabaret of songs and monologues entitled FRAU, and has returned there for four consecutive seasons, most recently last December with her sold-out cabaret program The Cheater’s Almanac. Her strong partnership with pianist Brent Funderburk began in 2011 for their debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital, and has continued with collaborative recitals across the United States. Naomi has performed in venues including Carnegie Hall, Brazil’s Sala São Paulo, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, Stanford University, Detroit Institute of Arts, Merkin Concert Hall, Rockefeller University, and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Her recital performances have been broadcast on WQXR, PBS, and the Metropolitan Museum Live Arts Series.
Notable awards include the Makiko Narumi Award for Outstanding Mezzo-soprano from the Juilliard School, Garsington Opera’s 2012 Leonard Ingrams Award, First Prize at the 2011 Caruso/Altamura International Vocal Competition, and First Prize in Operetta at the 2008 International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna.
Born to Irish/German parents in County Clare, Ireland, Naomi Louisa O’Connell is a proud alumna of the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Juilliard School. She is currently based in New York City, where she lives with her husband, and enjoys writing, yoga, telling terrible jokes, and yearning after her neighbor’s dogs.
In many ways, the National Sawdust Ensemble has existed for as long as the venue, National Sawdust, has been open. The National Sawdust Ensemble is a natural culmination for the Brooklyn-based musicians who have performed countless times at National Sawdust and, in so doing, have made the space their creative home over the years.
The National Sawdust Ensemble is led by former Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler. Its aim is to give composers and artists access to the high caliber of musicianship that is native to National Sawdust. The National Sawdust Ensemble will open itself up for collaboration with artists traveling to National Sawdust from all over the globe.
For Opening Night, the National Sawdust Ensemble is conducted by Daniela Candillari and features:
Miranda Cuckson, violin
Kathleen Tagg, piano
Allison Loggins-Hull, flute
Chris Grymes, clarinet
Lev Zurbin, viola
The Young People’s Chorus of New York City (YPC) is a multicultural youth chorus internationally renowned for its superb virtuosity and brilliant showmanship. Founded in 1988 by Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, a MacArthur Fellow, and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year, YPC has created an awareness of the ability of young people to rise to unforeseen heights of artistry. Each year over 2,000 children benefit musically, academically, and socially from YPC’s after-school, in-school, and community programs throughout the New York City area, and today, YPC reaches hundreds more in YPC-inspired choruses across the country and in the Caribbean through its YPC National program. Among YPC’s many awards is America’s highest honor for youth programs, a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.
Francisco J. Núñez, a MacArthur Fellow and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year, is a composer, conductor, visionary, leading figure in music education, and the artistic director/founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. Mr. Núñez also leads the University Glee Club of New York City, its fifth conductor since the all-men’s chorus was established in 1894, and is sought after nationwide as a guest conductor by professional orchestras and choirs, and as a master teacher. Through the creation of YPC National, he is now expanding the YPC model to children’s choruses beyond New York City, and is a frequent keynote speaker as a leading authority on the role of music in achieving equality and diversity among children in today’s society. NYU Steinhardt presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award, and he holds honorary doctor of music degrees from Ithaca College and Gettysburg College.
Conductor Daniela Candillari continues to be recognized for her dynamic and compelling performances at opera houses and concert stages throughout North America and Europe. Her 2019-20 season features a number of important debuts, including her New York Philharmonic debut conducting Thomson’s The Mother of us All at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She makes her main stage debut at Arizona Opera in November conducting Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers, which she led in previous seasons with both the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Minnesota Opera. Following her acclaimed performances of Acquanetta with the PROTOTYPE Festival, Candillari returns to New York in January to conduct Rev. 23, produced by Trinity Wall Street and directed by James Darrah. An avid educator, she spent the summer of 2019 conducting the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain at the Music Academy of the West. She makes her debut at the Mannes School of Music this season for performances of Turn of the Screw, and returns to the Manhattan School of Music for a new production of Martha. Candillari makes her debut with Cincinnati Opera in the summer of 2020 for the company’s 100th Anniversary season, leading Dvořák’s Rusalka.
Recent engagements include her debut with Los Angeles Opera for Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera, p r i s m, Opera Philadelphia in a new production of Rene Orth’s Empty the House, her Boston conducting debut in the world premiere of PermaDeath, and her Asian debut in Hong Kong conducting Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera, Angel’s Bone. She appeared in concert with Trinity Wall Street’s NOVUS NY Festival to open their 2018 season in celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s Centennial, and returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2019 for Perla’s An American Dream.
In past seasons Candillari has collaborated with Matthew Aucoin on his opera Crossing for The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s NEXT WAVE Festival and Vasily Petrenko on a production of Falstaff with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic featuring Sir Bryn Terfel. In addition to leading workshops for Arizona Opera (The Copper Queen) and Opera Philadelphia (Double Exposure), she workshopped Rachel Peters’ and Royce Vavrek’s opera Wild Beast of the Bungalow and gave the first public presentation of Hannah Lash’s opera Beowulf at the Center for Contemporary Opera. Candillari conducted the world premiere of Stefania de Kenessey’s Bonfire of the Vanities at the Museo del Barrio in New York.
As a composer, Candillari has been commissioned by artists including instrumentalists from the Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh Symphonies, as well as the three resident orchestras of Lincoln Center – the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the New York City Ballet. A champion of contemporary repertoire, Candillari founded her own chamber orchestra Gravity Shift in New York City in order to bring traditional repertoire to new audiences.
A native of Slovenia, Candillari holds a Doctorate in Musicology from the Universität für Musik in Vienna, a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and a Master of Music and Bachelor in Piano Performance from the Universität für Musik in Graz. She was a Fulbright Scholarship recipient and was subsequently awarded a TED Fellowship.
Drummer Ian Chang makes electronic music physical. Using drums to control and manipulate samples, Chang brings human fluidity to a metronomic genre. The result is a seamless marriage of raw performative intensity and sophisticated sound design.