Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Jessie Montgomery Music: Find Out What's Next!

Jessie Montgomery
(Jiyang Chen)

Jessie Montgomery sends this newsletter:

winter '18 - spring '19

collaboration | new works | concerts

Well, THAT went by fast!
This fall seemed to just whiz by, and I missed sending you an update! Well, it was certainly a busy time and I am happy to offer a brief recap and share highlights for the new year. 2018 was a challenge in more ways than one, but as the great Joan Tower once said to me, "music is a constant friend." That it is, and it was the fabric that held everything together. I hope that for you, music provided as much of an opportunity for reflection, respite and inspiration as it did for me. Onward, folks!

Last fall, basically...
September: I began my fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU as a Virginia B. Toulmin Fellow to work on a new ballet I am composing for the Dance Theatre of Harlem in collaboration with choreographer Claudia Schreier. October: After a debut performance at the Met Museum with Julia Bullock of my new song-cycle of Black spiritual arrangements, I traveled to Melbourne, Australia with Silkroad and Mark Morris Dance Group for the penultimate run of Layla and Majnun as part of the Melbourne Arts Festival. November: I saw London again with the Silkroad and Mark Morris crew for final performances of their collaboration at Sadler's Wells. It was a joy to perform in the closing of that beautiful production! Jannina Norpoth and I started to wind up our final arrangements for Treemonisha (see below) and in early December I rejoined the stage at the Met Museum with Julia Bullock, Nicole Cabell, Anthony McGill, and Ricky Ian Gordon for a night of music centered around the poetry of Langston Hughes, with the Young People's Chorus of New York giving their 3rd performance of my piece Danse Africaine.   

Jannina Norpoth and I are busy finishing up the final version of Treemonisha for a staging workshop coming up in Toronto in January. We are set to premiere in the spring of 2020 at Stanford Live, so please stay tuned for those developments! 

Dance Theatre of Harlem Collaboration
Choreographer Claudia Schreier is in the thick of her work crafting a new ballet to my music which will have its debut at the Virginia Arts Festival and the Kennedy Center in May. I am excited to be working with the Catalyst Quartet in collaboration with musicians from the Virginia Symphony and National Symphony for these debut performances! 

New Julius Eastman Arrangement for the CSO!
I have been given the distinct honor of a commission by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to create a new arrangement for strings of Gay Guerrilla by Julius Eastman, whose work has gained attention recently for playing a critical role in the "downtown" and "minimalist" movements in the 1960s. Originally scored for 4-6 pianos, this arrangement will be performed by 7 string players from the CSO as part of the MusicNOW series curated by amazing composer and friend Missy Mazzoli. This concert will also feature my piece Break Away for string quartet. May 20, 2019, Harris Theater, Chicago. Info 

For the kiddos--Children's concerts galore!
This past fall, the National Symphony Orchestra performed my work Starburst on their Inside the Music education concerts, and they will have repeat performances in March 19-22, 2019! If you have family in the DC area, come and see the great work they are doing at NSO to enrich the lives of youth! Similarly, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, in collaboration with playwright Harrison David Rivers, actor H Adam Harris and conductor Christian Reif performed "A Nighttime Story", a beautiful tale of a young boy who learns of his ancestry by his loving grandmother, was set entirely to an immaculate quilt of my works for chamber orchestra including Banner, Source Code, and Records from a Vanishing City. It was a tender and moving portrait and a generous setting of those works. Video of the event will be available on the SPCO Library in the new year, so look out for that.

New Year Premieres...
  • January 26, Toronto, CA: EXCLUSIVE (Invitation only) staging workshop run-through of Treemonisha: A Reimagining of of Scott Joplin's Ragtime Opera. If you have special interests in the production and will be in Toronto, please email me directly
  • May 3-5, Norfolk, VA: New Ballet (title TBD) for Dance Theatre of Harlem in collaboration with choreographer Claudia Schreier, Catalyst Quartet and musicians form the Virginia Symphony. Moss Arts Center. Info
  • May 12, Detroit, MI: New Work for 4 String Quartets: Attacca Quartet, Catalyst Quartet, Dover Quartet and Harlem Quartet, to close the 75th Celebration season of the Detroit Chamber Music Society. Detroit Symphony Hall. Info
  • May 20, Chicago, IL: Arrangement of Julius Eastman's Gay Guerrilla, for 7 string players. Program also features Break Away for string quartet. Harris Theater. Info
  • May 28-30, Washington, DC: New Ballet (title TBD) for Dance Theatre of Harlem in collaboration with choreographer Claudia Schreier, Catalyst Quartet and musicians form the National Symphony Orchestra. Kennedy Center Opera House. Info
Visit and stay updated via social media (Facebook and Instagram: @jmontgomerymusic) and as always, thank you all for listening! Sincerely, Jessie. 

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