April - May
The wind cries Marys
Be In for String Quartet and Bass Clarinet in B-flat Evan Ziporyn (b.1959)
Four Marys Julia Wolfe (b. 1958)
Lies You Can Believe In Missy Mazzoli (b. 1980)
Clarinet Quintet in A-major, K581 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756—1791)
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"Didn't know what time it was and the lights were low
I leaned back on my radio
Some cat was layin' down some rock 'n' roll, he said
That the loud sound did seem to fade
Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase haze..."
– David Bowie, Starman, 1972
For our season finale we put together a program that takes us on a deep dive into the heartbeat of some of our favorite and most meaningful pieces. This rhythmic tour felt like our band could use an extra voice, so we invited rock star clarinetist and composer Evan Ziporyn to sit in. Evan is a genre-defying Grammy winner who has worked with everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Ornette Coleman to Brian Eno to Paul Simon. In 1992 he co-founded the important contemporary music group Bang on a Can All-Stars and went on to numerous honors and prestigious commissions. If any of that wasn’t enough, he also directs Galak Tika (a leading Balinese Gamelan Ensemble), is a full professor at MIT, and loves the music of David Bowie.
We open our first set with the earthy Bass Clarinet grooves of Evan’s own Be-In, a spicy blend of minimalism and old-school pop funk. It’s a little bit like Philip Glass and Bootsy Collins had a baby. Next up is the edgy sound world of Julia Wolfe’s Four Marys. Wolfe, a former colleague of Evan’s from Bang on a Can, was the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music. This piece was written for the all-female Mary Cassatt String Quartet (hence the title) and takes inspiration from the American folk sound of the mountain dulcimer, at times both crude and beautiful. Our first half closes with Missy Mazzoli’s rock and roll string trio Lies You Can Believe In. Born in 1980, Mazzoli is on the composition faculty of the Mannes School of Music in New York City and is the current Composer in Residence at the Chicago Symphony. In Lies You Can Believe In, Mazzoli takes us on a high-octane drive which she describes as “an improvisatory tale, touching upon the violence, energy, mania, and rare moments of calm one finds in a city.” Finally, Evan Ziporyn rejoins for our program’s second half, Mozart’s sublime Clarinet Quintet. This beloved masterpiece weaves together some of history’s most heavenly melodies, knit together by Mozart’s characteristic rhythmic clarity and rebellious spirit—showing us why he is the original king of Rock and Roll.
- Leo Eguchi