C&V Composer Lustig wins Charles Ives Fellowship

May 29, 2009
Ray Lustig

Ray Lustig

On May 20, 2009, the Academy of Arts and Letters held a ceremony in their auditorium on West 156 Street honoring men and women in various fields of the arts. 2007-08 C&V composer Ray Lustig was presented with one of two Charles Ives Fellowships.

According to the ceremony program:

Ray Lustig is writing music charged with intensity and leavened by intelligence. His Sonata for Violin and Piano shows the breadth of his vision. In it, a propulsive first movement which is quite shattering is followed by a movement of stillness and simplicity. This superimposition of opposites also applies for his award-winning Unstuck for orchestra, which explores past and present and the expectations they imply with surprising results.

Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, bequeathed to the Academy the royalties of Charles Ives’ music, which has enabled the Academy to give the Ives awards in music since 1970. Poet, librettist, and Academy President J.D. McClatchy presented Lustig with the $15,000 Fellowship.

Ugetsu libretto reading continues C&V 2008-09

October 23, 2008


Tomorrow, AOP will be holding its first libretto reading of Ugetsu, an opera-in-development by composer Michael Rose and librettist Emily Howard to be directed by little old me. If you were at the Composers & the Voice Six Scenes concert in 2003 then you heard a scene from Ugetsu then. I’m not sure how much has changed since then, but that’s something you can definitely ask Michael on Friday.

Michael was a composer during the first season of Composers & the Voice and we’re thrilled to have him bring his piece back with us for our current season of C&V that focuses on presenting works from our stable of 30 C&V composers. Not a bad collection! We paired with Mike just a week ago to present the first event in the C&V 08-09 calendar – Composers Up Close and Personal. There we saw C&V composers Ray Lustig, Daniel Sonenberg, Stefan Weisman, and Kala Pierson present works that first premiered at C&V, were later developed at AOP, and even some brand new music. C&V chair Tan Dun‘s “Pipa Concerto” was also performed.

Ugetsu is based on the 1953 Kenji Mizoguchi film Ugetsu monogatari (Tales of the Pale and Silvery Moon After the Rain) and is a ghost story about love or a love story about ghosts. And since it seems to be a requisite of this genre, there is pottery scene. A few actually. Mizoguchi is considered one of the greatest filmmakers of Japan and by coincidence the Criterion Collection released a box set of his works just this month. So come see the reading and then go home and watch the movies. I think you’ll be turning Japanese. I really think so.

The reading will be about an hour long followed by our discussion period where Michael and Emily will be able to get your feedback about what you just saw. Go to the events page to get your free tickets!

Whitman in Song travels up the Hudson

October 7, 2008
Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

This evening we will be performing our Walt Whitman in Song program in a special presentation for The Rockefeller Brothers Fund at Pocantico, the estate of John D. Rockefeller and home of Kykuit. We will be adding a new song to the program, premiering tonight – Gilda Lyons’s “Old Walt”, an a cappella piece for trio commissioned by AOP.

Walt Whitman in Song at Pocantico
Greg Trupiano, Walt Whitman Project, emcee
Kelly Horsted, music director and keyboard
Donna Smith, soprano
Adrienne Danrich, soprano
Matt Curran, bass

I C&V composers settings of Whitman texts:
“the silvery round moon” – Ray Lustig; (Donna)
“When lilacs last by the dooryard bloomed” – Jack Perla (Adrienne)
Wallabout Martyrs – Gilda Lyons, (Adrienne)
“O Me! O Life!” – Clint Borzoni (Matt)
“Old Walt” (Langston Hughs text) Gilda Lyons (Trio)

II Other composers with texts about or related to Whitman themes:
Aids Quilt song, deBlasio; Whitman text (Matt)
Star Spangled Banner with unpublished words by Whitman (Donna)
Hymn – “ My Days are Swiftly gliding by” Whitman weaves into “Speciman Days” (Donna)

III Other song texts with themes related to Whitman themes:
“Lady of the Harbor” – Lee Hoiby (Adrienne)
“Black Max,” Bill Bolcom (Matt)
“Jewel Song” from Gounod’s FAUST (Adrienne)
Duet from Mozart’s GIOVANNI (Adrienne and Matt)

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