Anna Thorvaldsdottir: A Part of Nature by Anne Lanzilotti

I wrote about Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Aeriality for Music & Literature.

Photo by Thorvaldsdottir

Photo by Thorvaldsdottir

In anticipation of the New York Philharmonic performing Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Aeriality this week, this profile of Thorvaldsdottir discusses her inspirations from nature and her compositional process, and gives an in-depth listening guide to Aeriality.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s music is powerful and visceral. Merely saying that it represents nature does not express the depth of her compositional process. Many composers are inspired by the natural world, but what makes Thorvaldsdottir’s works unique is her imaginative rendering of nature—her ability to create the affect of tangible, physical landscapes through sound. She is enthralled by large-scale ensembles, and writes detailed orchestral scores that draw the listener in with layers of sonic perspectives. Read on

Experience Aeriality live with the New York Philharmonic May 19, 20, and 23 at David Geffen Hall.

Music Mondays: Hear by Design by Anne Lanzilotti

Music Mondays Presents: Hear by Design: Music of Andrew Norman

This coming Monday, May 1st, at 7:30pm at Advent Lutheran Church I'll be playing the New York premiere of Andrew Norman's new string quartet, Still Life, on a portrait concert of his works as influenced by architecture.

Jennifer Koh, violin

Variation Trio - Jennifer Koh, violin; Scott St. John, viola; Wilhelmina Smith, cello

Rhythm Method - Leah Asher, violin; Maria Kifferstein, violin; Anne Lanzilotti, viola; Meaghan Burke, cello

Trident Ensemble - Daniel Moody, countertenor; Owen McIntosh, tenor; Edmund Milly, baritone; Jonathan Woody, bass-baritone

Aaron Wunsch, piano

From the Music Mondays website:

Composer Andrew Norman’s music of “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors” (New York Times) has made him one of the most widely admired young composers working today. His “staggering imagination” (Boston Globe) draws inspiration from disparate sources, including architecture, cinema, and video games – resulting in music that is fun, funny, and deeply moving. The fourteen performers include violinist Jennifer Koh ("one of our most thoughtful and intense musicians," New York Times), the Variation Trio, and string quartet The Rhythm Method ("uncompromising and unreserved," examiner.com) - with Andrew on hand to introduce his music.

PROGRAM

Andrew Norman: Stop Motion for String Quartet (New York Premiere)

Dufay - Nuper rosarum flores

Andrew Norman - Farnsworth: Four Portraits of a House

J. S. Bach - Two Part Inventions (arr. for strings)

Andrew Norman - The Companion Guide to Rome

Kurtág: Hommage à Ránki György

Andrew Norman - Still Life

LOCATION

Advent Lutheran Church
2504 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

For tickets, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/music-mondays-hear-by-design-music-of-andrew-norman-tickets-33777176444?aff=es2

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An Architecture of Society: Andrew Norman by Anne Lanzilotti

I wrote a profile of Andrew Norman for Neue Zeitschrift für Musik that is in the February 2017 issue. The publisher has generously allowed me to share a PDF of the English version of the article. Here's an excerpt:

Try. Split. Suspend. Switch. Play. Many of the titles for Andrew Norman’s recent works are both a window into formal devices used in the piece and an invitation for the audience to engage in active listening. Often, Norman presents a complex texture at the beginning of a work that is slowly untangled through actions in the orchestra—actions which sometimes contradict each other as the orchestra tries to resolve the formal puzzle of non-linear narratives. Processing these contradictions in a meaningful way requires both the calm ability to recognize them, and the empathy to take on different perspectives. Contemporary music requires one to confront pre-conceived notions of sound, and challenges the listener to process these contradictions in real time. Therefore, although listening to a classical music concert is often considered a passive activity, Norman is asking the audience to make it an active one by questioning their aesthetic assumptions and being open to problem-solving. Read on

You may access the German version (translation by Friedrich Heinrich Kern) here: "Architektur der Gesellschaft: Der US-Amerikanische Komponist Andrew Norman."

Wanderweg by Anne Lanzilotti

Excited to share my debut EP, Wanderweg! It includes a piece for Noguchi sounding stones, an amplification of beautiful construction noise, a sickly, stuck cover of "Hawaiʻi Aloha," and a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Music by Anne Lanzilotti

Anne Lanzilotti, viola(s), mixing

Bernd Klug, mixing & mastering 

Credits for birth, death
Anne Lanzilotti, Noguchi sounding stones
Alice Teyssier, voice
Leah Asher & Marina Kifferstein, violins
Meaghan Burke, cello
Bernd Klug, recording engineer
Recorded at The Noguchi Museum, New York 

Cover Photography: Salvatore Lanzilotti

Law of Mosaics with A Far Cry by Anne Lanzilotti

In Boston this week to play Ted Hearne's Law of Mosaics and Andrew Norman's The Companion Guide to Rome with A Far Cry! Concert Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 7:00pm at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Tickets here.

Hearne's Law of Mosaics explores the idea of mosaics to an extreme. The piece asks: What does it mean to take things out of context? Do moments of beauty taken out of context lose their meaning? Is it enough to make a beautiful thing?

See some photos of the churches that inspired The Companion Guide to Rome and read more about the piece herehere, or here if you really have a lot of time on your hands.

From A Far Cry's website:

A rare opportunity to hear A Far Cry's acclaimed album in a full live concert performance! Law of Mosaics features two brilliant works by Ted Hearne and Andrew Norman. In Norman’s Companion Guide to Rome, a 2012 Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, A Far Cry explores the composer’s favorite churches in the Eternal City as nine separate string trios. In “Law of Mosaics”, Hearne creates a magnificent sonic patchwork, imaginatively spun by A Far Cry as a unified ensemble. 
In the words of the Washington Post: [the] dense, idea-intensive “Law of Mosaics” for strings focused more on pure music, cutting and knitting together sections from other works, deliberately upending any sense of narrative to explore new paths to meaning. Hearne’s writing is virtuosic, complex and imaginative — almost to the point of brutality — and A Far Cry played it with fierce dedication.

Martin Bresnick's "Josephine (the Singer)" by Anne Lanzilotti

Excited to share this new viola version of Martin Bresnick's Josephine (the Singer) that I edited, now available through Carl Fischer Music: http://www.carlfischer.com/B3462

Bresnick explains in his program notes:

Josephine The Singer takes it's title from Franz Kafka's last published story, "Josephine the Singer or the Mouse People" . This valedictory tale was Kafka's prescient mediation both on musical divas and also what he considered might be the future of the Jews as a persecuted minority in Europe in the 20th century.
The composition is an extended passacaglia on a subject derived from my earlier work Songs of The Mouse People. This subject itself is found to be consistent with the narrow intervals employed in most mouse melodies.

Hope you enjoy this slightly deeper "rat" version of Josephine (the Singer)! Here are a couple excerpts from the premiere (Live at NYU Black Box Theatre, New York, NY. March 12, 2015).

Music Publishing Podcast by Anne Lanzilotti

I talked to Dennis Tobenski about advocacy, commissioning, and collaboration on his wonderful Music Publishing Podcast.

Here are links to the people I mentioned during the course of our conversation: Leah AsherAshley BathgateMartin BresnickMeaghan Burke, Emily BookwalterDai FujikuraTed Hearne, Marina KiffersteinBernd KlugJennifer KohDavid Lang, James MooreAndrew NormanAnna ThorvaldsdottirScott Wollschleger, ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble)

Thanks so much, Dennis, for having me on the podcast!

Obsidian Sound Sculptures at The Noguchi Museum by Anne Lanzilotti

I got another chance to play with these incredible obsidian sounding stones by Isamu Noguchi! Although they are normally not displayed publicly, The Noguchi Museum staff has been very generously allowing me to improvise on them and record the sounds to workshop a new piece I'm writing for the stones, strings and voice [updated link to live recording and sheet music above]. The premiere of my piece will be part of a concert at The Noguchi Museum on Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 3pm. Here are a couple videos from last month when I was experimenting with different ways of playing the stones:

Concert description: In honor of the exhibition of Noguchi’s two sculptures Birth (1934) and Death (1934) together in the same gallery for the first time, The Noguchi Museum presents The Rhythm Method String Quartet featuring Alice Teyssier in a program entitled The Once and Future Maiden. In the same way that Noguchi sought a lifelong balance between figuration and abstraction, the various compositional voices on this program deal with fragmented portraits of women in life and death. In addition to my new piece, the program includes works by Dai Fujikura, Leah Asher, and Franz Schubert. The concert is free with museum admission.

"Cut to a Different World": Andrew Norman by Anne Lanzilotti

I wrote an essay on Andrew Norman's Play for Music & Literature. Here's an excerpt:

“...the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Do you know this building?” Andrew Norman has suddenly switched subjects to architecture—his voice lights up. “Where the entire structure, all the innards of the building are on the outside—all the pipes, and all the vents, and all the support structure—you see everything, none of that is buried.”
My mind flashes to the escalator of the Centre Pompidou, riding up the outside of the building slowly as Paris reveals itself in layers of rooftops, threads of pedestrians. I happened to be in Paris this summer during Fête de la musique, an annual festival of music outdoors that feels more like an Ivesian maze of drum circles and Indie rock bands. Needing a respite from the chaotic buzz of the streets, a friend and I went to the opening of an exhibit at the Centre Pompidou on the Beat Generation. Entering the dimly lit exhibit, we found each artifact a treasure: the long single scrolled manuscript of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road from 1951 almost filled the length of the main room sprawled out in a long glass case.
Adventure and storytelling, noise and a mess of sounds that only reveal themselves through focused engagement with the narrative: all evoked in a moment with the image of the Centre Pompidou. Norman continues—“and that’s, I think, maybe a good metaphor for what I’m trying to do in music, because I want you, the audience, to see and hear everything that I’m doing. I want the music to wear its structure on the surface.”
The audience will have a chance to see what Norman is doing live on October 28 when the Los Angeles Philharmonic premieres the revised version of Play, his celebrated first symphony. Structured in three movements—or “Levels,” as they are titled—it is an intricately planned work dealing with themes of control, free will, hidden messages, and of course, playfulness. The key elements of Play are the things that inspire me in Norman’s music: physicality, the use of form to create narrative, and an interest in the experience of live performance.

Read the entire article here, and experience Play live with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic:

Friday, October 28, 2016 at 8PM
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

Monday, October 31, 2016 at 8PM
Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco


Update — November 29, 2016: Heartfelt congratulations to Andrew on being awarded the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for Play! In this interview with NPR, Andrew talks about the honor of receiving the award and also uses it as a chance to advocate for diversity.

Update — October 27, 2016: Thanks, Ted Gordon for the wonderful post on PSNY's Blog featuring Andrew Norman's Play that included Shaken Not Stuttered and the above article!

For additional reading, check out William Robin's profile of Norman in the New York Times and Alex Ross's piece on Norman in celebration of him being named Musical America's 2017 Composer of the Year.