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Press Releases

Aug. 20 & 21: Lisa Bielawa’s Broadcast from Home - presented by Kaufman Music Center for the first time in its entirety with live conversations

August 12, 2020 | By Maggie Stapleton
Jensen Artists

Kaufman Music Center Presents Lisa Bielawa’s Broadcast from Home for the First Time in its Entirety 

A Free Two-Part Event Featuring Discussions with Bielawa and Broadcast from Home Participants

LisaBielawa1_Courtesy_of_the_Artist.jpg

Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 2pm ET – Part 1 – Register Here

Friday, August 21, 2020 at 2pm ET – Part 2 – Register Here

 More information at www.kaufmanmusiccenter.org and www.lisabielawa.net/broadcast-from-home

New York, NY – On Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 2pm and Friday, August 21, 2020 at 2pmKaufman Music Center presents a free, two-part online listening event of the entire cycle of composer Lisa Bielawa’s Broadcast from Homean inspired musical response to the shelter-in-place measure put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time, audiences will have the opportunity to hear the work in its entirety, as well as Bielawa live in conversation with contributors from around the globe who participated in the project. The conversations will be moderated by John Glover, Director of Artistic Planning at Kaufman Music Center, which has been the Lead Partner for Broadcast from Home

Begun on April 9th, Broadcast from Home is a musical work from composer, vocalist and producer Lisa Bielawa that has created community during the isolation of the coronavirus crisis. Bielawa asked the public at large to submit testimonies about their own experience of this crisis. She then selected testimonies to set to music and invited the public, as well as some frequent collaborators, to perform the music from their homes and submit recordings. This process resulted in a new chapter each week, composed by Lisa and created in collaboration with musicians connected in their experience of this global pandemic, featuring testimonies and recorded vocal lines from over 300 people across five continents.

Some of the collaborators came on to the project from places as wide-ranging as the University of South Florida (a whole chorus there), Wisconsin, and Kenya. The events on August 20 and 21 will be an opportunity to hear insights from Bielawa and the collaborators, some of whom are known to her only through their participation in this project, about the creation of Broadcast from Home. These people range in experience from high school music students to professional musicians and ages from teens to 60s.

August 20 Featured Guests and Collaborators:

Natalie Mallis, Director of Choral Studies, School of Music, University of South Florida

Edith Knight Magak, writer, participant based in Kenya

Benjamin Barham-Weise, student percussionist at Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School, NYC

Federico Ramirez, student cellist, Mannes School of Music, NYC

August 21 Featured Guests and Collaborators:

Seth Brenzel, Executive Director of The Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat, based in San Francisco

Elizandro Garcia Montoya, clarinetist, Fifth House Ensemble, based in Chicago

Gregory Purnhagen, baritone, collaborator on all chapters of Broadcast from Home

Deborah Meadows, writer, participant based in Los Angeles

Describing Bielawa’s composition process for this work, The Washington Post reports, “The collected lines (‘I want to sit across from you,’ ‘I don’t want to meet you for happy hour online’) are then layered and formed by Bielawa into spellbinding, sparsely accompanied socially distanced choral pieces that play with absence and presence, isolation and community, fear and solace — and sound an awful lot like the voices in your head.”

NPR has featured Broadcast from Home, which aired on Morning Edition, and was included in the Washington Post's list of four timely musical projects. The San Francisco Classical Voice interviewed Lisa for its Artist Spotlight series and the Houston Chronicle and CSO Sounds and Stories featured the project, as well. You can hear Lisa speak about the project in interviews on BBC's New Music Show, WPR's To The Best of Our Knowledge, ABC SydneyClassical Classroomand WWFM's On a Positive Note.

Bielawa says, “Broadcast from Home arose organically out of an unprecedented moment: worldwide stay-at-home orders in response to a global pandemic, and the universal feelings of shock, grief, disorientation, hope and fear that overtook us as we navigated our strange new isolation, and then the surge of calls for justice in the midst of it all. I am so grateful to the hundreds of people, sheltering in place from NYC to Nairobi to Melbourne to Rio de Janiero, who shared their personal experiences and raised their singing voices from their own homes to build this work with me. It stands as a document of the crisis through the lens of people’s most private experiences. Ironically, I have never felt more connected to people through my work than I did through this period of utter isolation. I’ve learned how transformative radical listening can be. The grain of individual voices (old and young, with so many regional inflections and varieties), the kinetic energy of bodies playing instruments in solitude, the moving accounts of people’s private experiences – all of these things gave solace and built community between and around us.”

The weekly installments of Broadcast from Home were put on hiatus after Chapter 15 was released, as Bielawa begins work on Voters’ Broadcast, a new project created to stimulate voter registration and engagement around the Presidential Election. Bielawa explains, “The organic moment of a monolithic, shared reality has begun to transform and fragment, as different parts of the world grapple and react. Testimony submissions are slowing as people begin to take up the challenging work of reengaging with the world. It feels like the right moment for me to step back and observe, and rest. But I will continue to communicate with this community as we move into this new phase.”

Broadcast from Home is made possible through the collaboration of lead partner Kaufman Music Center and the Mannes School of Music, with support from Joe and Nancy Walker, James Rosenfield, and an anonymous donor.

Broadcast from Home is a follow-up to Lisa Bielawa’s earlier works for performance in public performances – Airfield Broadcasts (spatialized works for hundreds of musicians on the field of former airfields), and Mauer Broadcast (a participatory work for public performance, for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall last year).

About Lisa Bielawa: Lisa Bielawa was recently awarded a 2020 Discovery Grant from OPERA America’s Grants for Female Composers for her opera in progress, Centuries in the Hours, which was premiered in September 2019 as a five-song orchestral cycle by mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), co-commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation Charles Kingsford Fund. Centuries in the Hours brings forward the lives of American women; through the opera, dozens of manuscripts rejoin the flow of public discourse. Based on extensive research undertaken by Lisa Bielawa at the American Antiquarian Society in 2019, resulting in a collection of 72 American women's diaries spanning three centuries, the opera asks the question: What if these women could be lifted out of their historical contexts and respective life circumstances to encounter one another?

Bielawa is a Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition and takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Her music has been described as “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart,” by The New York Times. She is the recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and was named a William Randolph Hearst Visiting Artist Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society for 2018. In 1997 Bielawa co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers, and for five years she was the artistic director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

She received a 2018 Los Angeles Area Emmy nomination for her unprecedented, made-for-TV-and-online opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch's Accuser, created with librettist Erik Ehn and director Charles Otte. Vireo was filmed in twelve parts in locations across the country and features over 350 musicians. The Los Angeles Times called Vireo an opera, “unlike any you have seen before, in content and in form.” Vireo was produced as part of Bielawa’s artist residency at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California and in partnership with KCETLink and Single Cel. In February 2019, Vireo was released as a two CD DVD box set on Orange Mountain Music and it is coming to the stage in 2021 as VIREO LIVE, a hybrid film-opera 90-minute experience.

Her work has been premiered at the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, SHIFT Festival, Town Hall Seattle, and Naumburg Orchestral Concerts Summer Series, among others. Orchestras that have championed her music include the The Knights, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, American Composers Orchestra, the Orlando Philharmonic, and ROCO (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra). Premieres of her work have been commissioned and presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Rider, Seattle Chamber Music Society, American Guild of Organists, the ASCAP Foundation Charles Kingsford Fund, and more. She is recorded on the Tzadik, TROY, Innova, BMOP/ sound, Supertrain Records, Cedille, Orange Mountain Music and Sono Luminus labels. 

About Kaufman Music Center: Kaufman Music Center transforms lives through music education and performance. 

Founded in 1952 as a community music school, today’s Kaufman Music Center is leveling the playing field for kids all over NYC and beyond with innovative programs making music education accessible for 4,000 students of all ages and backgrounds each year at Special Music School; Lucy Moses School, a community arts school for all ages; and groundbreaking teen new music programs like Face the Music and Luna Composition Lab. At Merkin Hall, more than 50,000 audience members each year connect with music at performances ranging from classical to cutting-edge.

 


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