Lisa Bielawa Premieres Two New Works for 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial

By Philip Trapp on May 12, 2016 10:49 AM EDT

Lisa Bielawa, new music composer and Philip Glass Ensemble alumna, will host two world premieres of her work for New York Philharmonic's upcoming biennial. Vireo Caprice debuts later this month, with My Outstretched Hand following in June.

Vireo Caprice, performed by violinist Jennifer Koh, is a solo string spectacle excerpted from its namesake, Vireo, Bielawa's in-progress modern opera. Vireo will unfurl next year as a 12-episode television and internet miniseries aired by KCET Los Angeles' program Artbound and broadcast online at KCETLink.

Bielawa, herself a virtuosic solist, values collaboration between composer and performer. Speaking to music magazine Tokafi, she shared her enthusiasm for artistic alliances like that of her partnership with Koh:

"I greatly prefer to work closely with the performers [or] 'interpreters' of my music because I am actually social and community-oriented at heart. In fact, I am most inspired when I feel I am in the presence of a performing artist whose interpretive skills [and] gifts I really admire -- then I am compelled to write scores that leave room for their own interpretive decision-making to blossom."

My Outstretched Hand is Bielawa's grandiose choral symphony based on turn-of-the-century author Mary MacLane's provocative memoirs. The piece combines the vocal power of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (of which Bielawa is artistic director) and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with the music of eclectic New York orchestra the Knights, conducted by the Knights' co-artistic director, Eric Jacobsen.

In an interview with writer Thomas Healy at Classical Voice of New England, Bielawa offered her thought process on composing works for large orchestras:

"With orchestral music you have to take elephant steps. I find that, when I'm writing pieces that have a grand scale, it's really effective to allow things to unfold harmonically at a pace that matches this grand scale. It unfolds at a pace that the listener can take in."

My Outstretched Hand will be premiere at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Thursday, June 9 at 8:30 p.m. Vireo Caprice opens on Tuesday, May 31 at 7:00 p.m at Brooklyn venue National Sawdust.

Below, watch a short biopic from New Music USA on Bielawa. The video features portions of her site-specific musical work, "Chance Encounter."

© 2016 The Classical Art, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

TagsBrooklyn Youth Chorus, Jennifer Koh, Lisa Bielawa, New York Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic Biennial, Philip Glass, Philip Glass Ensemble, San Francisco Girls Chorus, The Knights

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