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SF contemporary chamber music group Ensemble for These Times announces release of third recording: 'Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan'

July 29, 2020 | By Nanette McGuinness
Artistic Executive Director


Ensemble for These Times
announces the release of
“Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan”
Performed by
Nanette McGuinness, soprano, Laura Reynolds, English horn, Ilana Blumberg, violin,
Anne Lerner, cello, and Xin Zhao, piano
New Music about the World & Works of Paul Celan:
Two commissioned works to his poetry, by David Garner and Jared Redmond;
One Commissioned work to poetry by Czelsaw Milozs, by Stephen Eddins;
“4 ½” by Libby Larsen
June 30, 2020

 San Francisco, CA – Ensemble for These TimesNanette McGuinness, soprano and cellist Anne Lerner, joined by Laura Reynolds (English horn), Ilana Blumberg (violin) and Xin Zhao (piano)—is proud to announce the release of the group’s third CD, “Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan.” The digital EP focuses on the world and works of Paul Celan, with performances of three E4TT commissions, two to poetry by Celan—“Die Eichne Tuer” by David Garner and Nachtlang” by Jared Redmond—and one to “A Song On the End of the World” by Celan’s contemporary, Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milozs, by Stephen Eddins—with the poet’s son and translator, Anthony Milosz, reading the poem—as well as “4 ½” by American icon, Libby Larsen.

About Paul Celan
 “Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan” focuses on one of the most important post-WWII poets, who greatly influenced 20th Century European literature. Born to a German-speaking Romanian Jewish family, Celan was profoundly affected by the rise of Nazism. His parents perished in a concentration camp and he barely survived a forced labor camp, only to commit suicide in 1970. His poems—written in German, his mother tongue—speak to his experience of loss, imprisonment, disempowerment, and survival under a brutal regime and the themes in his work—the rise of fascism, "strong men" leaders, and nations marching to the drumbeat of nationalism—deeply resonate today with the global right-wing resurgence. These themes are the force behind “Once/Memory/Night.”

Download the press release as a pdf.  Download the one sheet and bio page as pdfs.
 For E4TT’s third release, the group is commemorating the centennial of the birth of seminal 20th century poet Paul Celan, with three pieces premiered in 2018 that focus on his world and his work: “Die eichne Tür (The Oaken Door), a seven-movement cycle by E4TT composer David Garner, for soprano, violin, English horn, cello, and piano, to poems by Paul Celan, including "Espenbaum” (“Aspen Tree”), the poet's heartrending reflection on his survival and his mother’s death; "Nachtlang" (Nightlong) by Jared Redmond, setting Celan’s “Notturno” (Night) and “Einmal” (“Once”) for soprano, cello, and piano; "A Song on the End of the World" by Stephen Eddins, setting a poem by Celan’s Nobel Prize-winning contemporary, Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004), also  for soprano, cello, and piano.   The recording also features “4 ½” for solo piano, by world-renowned composer Libby Larsen (b. 1950, whose “Cowboy Songs” McGuinness made the premiere recording of on her first CD, “Fabulous Femmes”). A suite for solo piano, “4 ½” consists of five interrelated movements, the final one of which, subtitled “In Memoriam,” is “an elegy for departed, beloved ones.” 

 E4TT composer and founding member DAVID GARNER (b. 1954) won The American Prize in 2015 for his String Quartet No. 2. Garner's music has been reviewed as "alluring" and "a heady and touching revelation," and his works have been performed nationally and internationally by artists such as Suzanne Mentzner, Catherine Cook, Crystal Philippi, David Krakauer, and Matt Haimowitz. Garner's opera, "Mary Pleasant at Land's End,” is in the final stages of preproduction. A faculty member in composition, chamber music, music theory and literature at the SF Conservatory of Music, Garner is a member of BMI, American Composers Forum, and the American Music Center.
 One of America’s most performed living composers, LIBBY LARSEN (b. 1950) has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Grammy Award winning and widely recorded, including over fifty CD’s of her work, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory. A vigorous, articulate advocate for the music and musicians of our time, Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers (now the American Composer’s) Forum, which has become an invaluable aid for composers in a transitional time for American arts. A former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Charlotte and Colorado Symphonies.

 JARED REDMOND (b. 1986) is a musician based in Seoul, Berlin, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He writes for new music soloists and ensembles, and develops experimental works and new notation systems for Korean traditional performers. He is artistic director of new music collective Geori, and performs as pianist in both Geori and Boston-based experimental ensemble Ehnahre. In Seoul, he plays in the free improvisation duo Beheaded. Jared has appeared as a piano soloist throughout North America, Europe, and Korea, and composes for himself and others internationally. He holds degrees from Brandeis University and the University of California at Berkeley, and has been a researcher at the Academy of Korean studies and the Kyujanggak Institute of Seoul National University.

 STEPHEN EDDINS (b. 1954) wrote his first compositions when he was nine, songs for his church’s children’s choir, and a fascination with literary texts and the interplay between words and music has been a catalyst for much of his work. He received music degrees from Oberlin, the University of Akron, and a doctorate in composition from the University of Michigan. His stage works include Paranoia: A Psycho-Opera, incidental music for Henry V, Macbeth, The Only Jealousy of Emer (Yeats) and Why I Live at the P.O. (Eudora Welty), scenes from which were performed by Tapestry Opera; Fort Worth Opera's Frontiers Festival and West Edge Opera's Snapshot showcase, where it was described as "the home run... the highlight of a strong program." He recently participated in Opera Theater Unlimited's initial 48-Hour Opera Festival. Three Canadian companies have mounted his opera The Doll's House, with one production nominated for seven Toronto Theatre Guild awards, including Outstanding New Musical."
 Violinist ILANA BLUMBERG has appeared across the United States and internationally, in solo appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, the Albany Symphony (NY), Symphony Napa Valley, and the Merced Symphony, as well as performances at the prestigious Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Marlboro Music Festival, the La Jolla Summerfest as a 'Rising Star', the Aspen Music Festival, and many others. She appears frequently throughout the Bay Area with the Marin, Silicon Valley, West Edge Opera, Berkeley, and California Symphonies, as well as with the Golden Gate String Quartet, eco ensemble, and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.
 Cellist ANNE LERNER completed her B.A. in Music at Northwestern University as a Cello Performance major after three years as a Spanish Literature major at Bryn Mawr College, earning an M.M. in cello performance at the San Francisco Conservatory. She has performed with numerous Bay Area orchestras and is a sought-after chamber musician and performer of contemporary music. A dedicated educator, Anne conducts two youth orchestras in the Marin Symphony Youth Program, is on the faculties of Dominican University and San Rafael High School and maintains a large private studio.
 Soprano and E4TT co-founder and co-director NANETTE MCGUINNESS Hailed in the press for her "creamy golden tone, "glorious soprano," and "magnetic stage presence, lyric soprano NANETTE MCGUINNESS has performed in 12 languages on two continents in over 25 roles, with a repertory that ranges from 1600 to today. Her CD of music by 19th and 20th century women composers, “Fabulous Femmes” (Centaur CRC 2461) was called “perfect for the song recital lover” by Chamber Music Magazine and features several premiere recordings. McGuinness won First Prize at the Martinez Opera Competition, First Prize at the Santa Clara University Art Song Festival Competition, and was a Semi-Finalist in the International Opera Competition in New York. She earned a PhD in Music from U.C. Berkeley, an M.M. in Vocal Performance from Holy Names University, and a B.A. in Music from Cornell University.
 LAURA REYNOLDS is an active chamber and orchestral performer throughout Northern California. Principal oboist with the Santa Rosa Symphony, the California Symphony, and English horn with Marin Symphony, Ms. Reynolds is additionally a member of the wind Trois Bois and was a founding member of Citywinds, a San Francisco woodwind quintet dedicated to contemporary repertoire. She is a past participant in the Carmel Bach Festival and Sun Valley Music Festival and is currently a member of the applied faculty of Sonoma State University and the Pre-College and Extension Divisions at the SF Conservatory of Music.
 Pianist XIN ZHAO received a B.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and an M.M. in Chamber Music Performance. Zhao received the San Francisco Conservatory’s Mirina Grin Award, and the second annual Kristin Pankonin Art Song Award; she was also the First Place winner in the Fresno Music Club Awards, receiving the Bell T. Ritchie Award. Zhao has collaborated with the Master Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra and many prominent musicians including Menahem Pressler, Richard Fleischman, Pinchas Zukerman, Jeff Nuttall, members of Miro Quartet, and JeanMichel Fonteneau. In 2016, Zhao’s piano trio, the Capitoline, won the Berkeley Piano Club’s Emerging Artist Award.
Awarded second place for Chamber Music Performance in 2019 by The American Prize and a Finalist for the 2019 Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music, Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) consists of award-winning soprano and co-director Nanette McGuinness, Van Cliburn competitor pianist Dale Tsang, cellist Anne Lerner, and co-director and 2015 The American Prize in Composition winner composer David Garner, regularly joined by exemplary guest artists violinist Ilana Blumberg, English hornist Laura Reynolds, pianist Xin Zhao, and others. Founded in 2007 as the Jewish Music & Poetry Project (which remains an important group project), the group rebranded in 2015 and focuses on 20th and 21st century music that is relevant, engaging, original and compelling—music that resonates with today and speaks to tomorrow, that harnesses the power of artistic beauty, intelligence, wit, lyricism, and irony to create a deep understanding of our times and the human condition.
E4TT performed at the 2016 Krakow Culture Festival and the Conservatorio Teresa Berganza in 2017, was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Budapest in 2014 for a four-city tour in Hungary, and made its international debut in Berlin in 2012. E4TT has performed at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Paderewski Festival, and UCLA and in the SF Bay Area at the German Consulate General, SF Conservatory of Music, Old First Concerts, JCC Peninsula, Trinity Chamber Concerts, and Noontime Concerts, among other venues.
 E4TT’s debut CD, Surviving: Women’s Words (Centaur CRC 3490, 2016) won a Silver Medal in the 2016 Global Music Awards; Lesley Mitchell-Clarke in The Whole Note wrote of it, “Now more than ever […] the potent and timeless messages of survival, love, tolerance and forgiveness contained on this brilliant presentation need to resonate throughout the world.”
 E4TT’s second CD, “The Hungarians: From Rózsa to Justus” (Centaur, 2018) won a Gold Medal in the 2018 Global Music Awards and features a rarely heard cello duo composed by Hollywood movie maven (and Hungarian émigré) Miklós Rózsa (Spellbound, Ben-Hur), along with works by three others of his compatriots who perished in the Holocaust, including the premiere recording of a work by the young Lajos Delej (1920-1945). ).  Stephen Smoliar wrote in The Rehearsal Studio, “Lerner-Wright and Tsang knew how to tap into the rhetorical side of Rósza’s Opus 8 duo, making it clear that there was more to the music than the composer’s skill in reflecting Hungarian idioms.”
Available for streaming purchase or download on all major online channels (iTunes, Spotify, etc.)

To view the CD booklet as a flipbook, go to or as a a downloadable pdf,
To view the EPK, go to
To listen to the CD, visit or request a physical copy.
For more information about E4TT’s 2019/20 Season, go to our website (
High resolution jpgs are available for download at





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