Concert Proposal: The 20/19 Project

The 20/19 Project includes new viola sonatas by Andrew Norman, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Scott Wollschleger. The evening-length concert will feature Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti on viola, and Karl Larson on piano. Norman and Wollschleger's new pieces are traditional viola and piano sonatas, while Thorvaldsdottir's sonata will be written for viola and electronics.


About The 20/19 Project

1919 was an important year for the viola: Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge held her annual composition competition, encouraging two of her close friends—Rebecca Clarke and Ernest Bloch—to submit viola sonatas. Half way around the world, a young Paul Hindemith was finding his voice and wrote his own viola sonata inspired by Claude Debussy's colorful writing. These pieces have become staples of the viola repertoire through performances by great viola soloists such as Clarke and Hindemith themselves, scholarship, and recordings/curation of the three works together because of their origins in the same year.

Now approaching 2019, we will celebrate the centennial through these new sonatas by Andrew Norman, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Scott Wollschleger. The 20/19 Project will go beyond the commissions and premieres of the sonatas to include recordings of the works and video tutorials to show extended techniques used with brief interviews of the composers. Through this extensive free educational resource (an expansion of other performers, students, and audience members will have a window into the creative process and a way to continue to learn the works and/or advocate for many more performances. The commissioning fees for the composers have been funded with the generous support of Elizabeth & Justus Schlichting.

Performance Samples


Andrew Norman, Sonnets

This is a professional recording of Sonnets recorded at Oktaven Audio in Yonkers, NY in April 2017. Anne Lanzilotti, viola; Karl Larson, piano.

Sonnets is a collection of miniatures for cello and piano.  To me, these micro-pieces are sonnets not in the rigorously formalized Elizabethan or Petrarchan senses of the word.  Rather, they grow from the term's older, freer roots in the Italian word sonetto, meaning "little song" or "little sound."  Each of my five little songs takes as its title and point of inspiration a fragment from a Shakespeare sonnet. —Andrew Norman


Scott Wollschleger, Soft Aberration

This is a professional recording of Soft Aberration (Anne Lanzilotti, viola; Karl Larson, piano) that was released on Wollschleger's debut album of the same name this fall. It was recently featured by Alex Ross in this piece in The New Yorker, and was one of the magazine's Top Ten Classical recordings of 2017.


Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Shades of Silence

This is a live recording of Anna Thorvaldsdottir's piano quartet, Shades of Silence recorded at the Scandinavia House in New York, NY in February 2017 performed by the piano trio Longleash with special guest Anne Lanzilotti.

Shades of Silence by Anna Thorvaldsdottir performed by Longleash: Pala Garcia - Violin John Popham - Cello Renate Rohlfing - Piano + Special Guest, Anne Lanzilotti - Viola. Audio by Noriko Okabe, Video by Christopher Smith. Kettle Corn New Music, Scandinavia House (February 11, 2017)

About the Composers

Andrew Norman is a composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music.  His work draws on an eclectic mix of sounds and notational practices from both the avant-garde and classical traditions. He is increasingly interested in story-telling in music, and specifically in the ways non-linear, narrative-scrambling techniques from other time-based media like movies and video games might intersect with traditional symphonic forms. His distinctive, often fragmented and highly energetic voice has been cited in the New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors,” in the Boston Globe for its “staggering imagination,” and in the L.A. Times for its “audacious” spirit and “Chaplinesque” wit. Andrew’s 30-minute string trio The Companion Guide to Rome was named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music, and his large-scale orchestral work Play was named one of NPR’s top 50 albums of 2015, nominated for a 2016 Grammy in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category, and recently won the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir frequently works with large sonic structures that tend to reveal the presence of a vast variety of sustained sound materials, reflecting her sense of imaginative listening to landscapes and nature. Her music tends to portray a flowing world of sounds with an enigmatic lyrical atmosphere. Anna’s music is frequently performed internationally, and has been featured at several major venues and music festivals such as Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC, the Composer Portraits Series at NYC's Miller Theatre, the Leading International Composers series at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, Big Ears Festival, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival, Klangspuren Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Tectonics, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions - most notably, Anna is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work Dreaming, and The New York Philharmonic's Kravis Emerging Composer Award in 2015.

Scott Wollschleger (b. 1980) is a composer who grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. His music has been highly praised for its arresting timbres and conceptual originality. His distinct musical language explores themes of art in dystopia, the conceptualization of silence, synesthesia, and creative repetition in form. His music has been described as “evocative” and “kaleidoscopic” (The New York Times) and Alex Ross recently noted that Wollschleger “has become a formidable, individual presence” (The Rest Is Noise). His concert works can be heard across the US and the world, most recently featured at MATA Festival Interval Series, the International Music Institute at Darmstadt, and the Festival of New American Music in Sacramento. His critically acclaimed piano concerto, Meditation on Dust, was recently performed with pianist Karl Larson alongside Bang on a Can Festival fellows at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. His apocalyptic monodrama, We Have Taken and Eaten, was recently featured on NPR’s Arts & Letters.

About the Performers

Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti is a performer, composer, scholar, and educator. In addition to her position as Assistant Professor of Viola at University of Northern Colorado School of Music, she runs the Contemporary Music Ensemble. As a performer, Dr. Lanzilotti has distinguished herself by collaborating with composers of her generation. She has performed with new music ensembles such as Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Ensemble Échappé, and Ensemble Signal. In addition to classical performance, Dr. Lanzilotti has worked with artists such as Björk, DeVotchka, and She & Him. As a recording artist, she has played on albums from Björk's Vulnicura Live and Joan Osborne's Love and Hate, to Dai Fujikura's Chance Monsoon and Ted Hearne's The Source.

Brooklyn based pianist Karl Larson is a specialist in the music of our time, consistently presenting adventurous programs. Karl has premiered many solo piano and chamber pieces, including works by David Rakowski, Ken Thomson, Robert Honstein, Chris Cerrone, and David Lang. He is also well versed in the modern canon, having presented concerts featuring the music of Olivier Messiaen, Morton Feldman, Pierre Boulez, and György Ligeti. Recent performances and projects of note include Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories, Olivier Messiaen’s Harawi, the world premiere of Scott Wollschleger’s Meditations on Dust for solo piano and string orchestra, and the release of Restless, an album of new music by Ken Thomson praised as ‘marvelous’ and ‘powerful’ by Pitchfork. A sought after collaborator, Larson has worked with many notable musicians and ensembles including the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble Signal, the American Composers Orchestra, Ashley Bathgate, Vicky Chow, Erik Carlson, Mantra Percussion, the Eco Ensemble, the Sleeping Giant Composer Collective, and Contemporaneous. He has been featured on many notable series and festivals including the Bang on a Can Marathon, the MATA Festival, WQXR’s New Sounds, the Contagious Sounds Series, the Frequency Series, Make Music New York, the Outpost Concert Series, the Vanguard Series, the Red Note New Music Festival, the Ball State New Music Festival, the Music in the Shape of a Pear Festival, and the Bowling Green State University New Music Festival.