The 2018.19 season includes world premiere performances of four large-scale works by Scott Ordway: a commissioned orchestral piece in Tucson; an opera-in-development in New York; a 45-minute monodrama on original texts in Frankfurt; and an evening-length theater of music, directed by the composer, in San Antonio. There will also be performances of the Nineteen Movements for Unaccompanied Cello in New York and New Brunswick, North Woods at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music in New Haven, The Sky Itself Was In This Very Room by the Jasper String Quartet, and a new song cycle for the acclaimed contralto Emily Marvosh in Boston.
Spring / a chamber opera
Workshop performance presented by American Opera Projects
Jennifer Goode-Cooper, Blythe Gaissert, Blake Friedman, Adrian Rosas
Music Direction by Kelly Horsted
South Oxford Space
Brookyln, New York
09.28.2018 / 09.29.2018
Spring is a collaboration between Ordway and the Algerian scholar, journalist, and novelist Meryem Belkaïd. The opera, which is told from the perspective of the four ancient winds of North Africa, is based on the 2011 Tunisian Revolution and the ensuing tensions between democracy and chaos, religious freedom and Islamism, activism and terrorism, and peaceful protest and civil war.
Based on first-hand witness accounts, Belkaïd's vibrant polyphonic text explores the psychological realities of life before, during, and after the revolution. Her words capture the polyglot essence of life in North Africa, moving effortlessly between English, French, and Arabic in this intense look at the personal sides of protest, revolution, and political development.
This New York workshop performance is presented by American Opera Projects as part of its Composers and the Voice program, an opera development laboratory that has supported the creation of new works for the dramatic stage since 1988.
Developed with support from American Opera Projects, Bates College Department of Music, and Bowdoin College Department of French and Francophone Literature.
Girl in the Snow / a monodrama in eleven scenes
Julia Dawson, Mezzo-Soprano
Presented by Musica-Plus
Orangerie im Günthersburgpark
For more than a decade, Ordway has worked with literary sources in English, French, German, Spanish, and Latin to create new texts for music. Girl in the Snow is his first original libretto.
A young girl awakens alone, but not afraid, in a cabin in a snow-covered forest. She has no memory of who she is, or how she came to this remote place. Her only feeling is a powerful but aimless love. Through a series of vignettes that are inspired by the pictorial language of children’s books, the girl ventures outside and discovers her world anew through the plants and animals of the forest. Gradually, she finds that a beautiful world awaits her, and is a worthy object of her abundant love. Along the way, she sings four simple “memory plays” that are based on texts adapted from St. Augustine’s Confessions, in which he creates evocative physical metaphors to describe a “palace of memory.” As the girl wanders, singing, through the shining forest, she continues toward a place of fuller remembering, and a more complete understanding of her home in the world.
The acclaimed Canadian mezzo-soprano Julia Dawson, an ensemble member at Oper Frankfurt, will create the role of the Girl in a candlelit greenhouse at the Orangerie im Günthersburgpark. She is joined by the Italian pianist Anna Naretto.
Presented by Musica-Plus.
A concert version of Girl in the Snow was commissioned by Margot Rood. Composed with support from the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (Saratoga, WY).
In the Kingdom of Bells / for orchestra
Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Tucson Music Center
11.30.2018 / 12.02.2018
Ordway's first orchestral work since his Symphony No. 3 (2013), In the Kingdom of Bells is a 12-minute piece that imagines all of the world's bells ringing together at once, alive and resounding together on an occasion of overwhelming and universal joy. The piece was composed on the Swedish island of Gotland, and is infused with the spirit of dense pine forests and the vast expanses of the northern Baltic Sea.
Commissioned by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra; José Louis Gomez, Music Director. In the Kingdom of Bells was composed with additional support from the Visby International Centre for Composers (Visby, Sweden) and the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.
The Clearing & the Forest / a theater of music
SOLI Chamber Ensemble
McNay Art Museum
San Antonio, Texas
The Clearing and the Forest invites audiences to explore the powerful emotional resonance of the contemporary subject of international borders and the related issues of displacement, immigration, and refuge through a new type of staged chamber music.
In this evening-length “theater of music,” the four members of SOLI Chamber Ensemble become actors with specifically articulated characteristics, objectives, and interrelationships. At times, they play their instruments in front of, behind, above, and hidden from the audience. At other times, they move through the space as silent actors. Their movements are carefully choreographed and supported by simple, elegant staging and lighting design.
Projected texts drawn from a variety of historical and contemporary sources guide the audience through a series of border crossings: the threshold of the home; the walls of the garden; the clearing into the forest; the home country into the unknown.
The decision to leave home—at whatever scale—is among the most difficult that any person can make. This piece honors the profound bravery of that act, and celebrates the sacredness of homes both new and old.
The Clearing & the Forest is Commissioned by the SOLI Chamber Ensemble.