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Press Releases

Ensemble for These Times Announces its 2020/21 Home Season Opener: Old Becomes New

October 16, 2020 | By Brennan Stokes
E4TT Publicity & Design Assistant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2020

Ensemble for These Times
Announces its 2020/21 Home Season Opener:

Old Becomes New

With Two World Premieres by Mary Bianco and
the California Premiere of “Through the Guarded Gate” by Juliana Hall

Performed by
Soprano Nanette McGuinness, Cellist Anne Lerner, and Season Guest Pianist Margaret Halbig
Plus a Special Appearance from New York City by Composer/Pianist Dalit Warshaw

Friday, November 20, 8:00 p.m.
Old First Concerts: LIVE STREAMED ONLINE
(Full calendar listing below)

San Francisco - In these extraordinary times, Ensemble for These Times is to open its 2020/21 home season on November 20, 2020, at Old First Concerts in San Francisco with “Old Becomes New,” a program of works by living composers that reimagine and give new perspectives on old forms, themes, or styles. The concert features World Premieres of “Are You Born” for soprano and piano to a text by Muriel Rukeyser and “For Margaret” for piano by California composer Mary Bianco, along with the California premiere of Juliana Hall’s song cycle “Through the Guarded Gate,” to Pulitzer Prize winning poet Margaret Widdemer's early feminist poems dealing with sexual abuse, war, and human rights and composer/pianist Dalit Warshaw performing her own composition, streamed from New York City. The concert will also feature a rag by John Musto; a mazurka by Alden Jenks; etudes by Marti Epstein; an homage by David Garner; a chaconne by Grigory Smirnov, and four chaconnes for solo cello, by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Pablo Ortiz, Tan Dun, and Steven Stucky. There will be a pre-concert interactive, virtual talk at 7:30 p.m. with composers Bianco and Warshaw. To meet the particular challenges of these times for both artists and audiences, the performance will be live-streamed free (donations encouraged) for virtual participation on the Old First Concerts website.

To download this press release, click here.

Old Becomes New

Ensemble for These Times will kick off its 2020/21 season on November 20 at Old First Concerts in San Francisco, with “Old Becomes New,” a program of new works by living composers harking back to older forms—etudes, chaconnes, mazurkas, rags—themes, and homages written in the styles of older composers. The triple highlights of this program will be two World Premieres of (“For Margaret” for solo piano and “Are You Born,” to a poem by Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)) of commissions by California composer Mary Bianco (b. 1939), along with the California premiere of “Through the Guarded Gate” (2018), a song cycle by 1989 Guggenheim Fellow Juliana Hall (b. 1958) to social justice texts by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Margaret Widdemer (1884-1978), with a guest appearance streamed from New York City by 2016 Guggenheim Fellow composer/pianist Dalit Warshaw (b. 1974), performing her “Winter Dream (in memoriam Charlotte Salomon)” (2014); Warshaw’s appearance was originally scheduled for June 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The program will also include “Gershwin” from Cinq Hommages (1983, rev.) for piano by E4TT’s co-founder David Garner (b. 1954), “In Stride” from Five Concert Rags (1991-8) for piano by John Musto (b. 1954); two etudes from “American Etudes” for piano by 2020 Guggenheim Fellow Marti Epstein Marti “Chaconne” (2013) for cello and piano by Russian-American composer Grigory Smirnov (b. 1982); “Twilight Mazurka” (2019) by Bay Area composer Alden Jenks (b. 1940); and four chaconnes from “Mystery Variations on a Theme by Columbi for Cello” (2010): "Sarabande per un coyote" by Esa-Pekka Salonen (b. 1958); "Partite sopra un basso" by Steven Stucky (1949-2016); "Chiacona - after Columbi" by Tan Dun (b. 1957); "Paloma" by Pablo Ortiz (b. 1956). Joining soprano Nanette McGuinness and cellist Anne Lerner will be season guest pianist Margaret Halbig. Additionally, E4TT will present a virtual interactive pre-concert composer talk with Warshaw and Bianco. The concert will be performed live if permitted by the San Francisco Department of Public Health; it will also be live-streamed on Old First Concert’s website.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Season guest pianist MARGARET HALBIG is in high demand as a collaborative artist in both the instrumental and vocal fields. On staff at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 2011, she regularly performs recitals, masterclasses, and lessons and has collaborated with many of esteemed Bay Area musicians including mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade, San Francisco Symphony Principal Trombonist Timothy Higgins, and SF Symphony’s principal tubist Jeffrey Anderson. An advocate of new and contemporary music, Halbig is the pianist for Ninth Planet, a San Francisco-based new music collective and a member of the wind-and-piano sextet Frequency 49. Halbig was a Teaching fellow at Interlochen Arts in 2017 and 2018 in collaborative and solo piano.

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, then attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she earned a Master of Music in Cello Performance. She has performed with numerous Bay Area orchestras and is a much sought-after chamber musician and performer of contemporary music. A dedicated educator, Lerner 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 Artistic Executive Director NANETTE MCGUINNESS has performed in 12 languages on two continents in over 25 roles with the Silesian State (Czech Republic), Opera San Jose (Opera in the Schools), and West Bay, Pacific Repertory, Trinity Lyric, and Livermore Valley Operas, among others. Solo concert engagements include Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, as well as Shéhérézade (Ravel), Nuits d’étés (Berlioz), Stabat Mater (Rossini), Requiem (Fauré), Gloria (Vivaldi), Lord Nelson Mass (Haydn), Vesperae Solennes (Mozart), and Handel’s Messiah and Solomon. Her CD of music by 19th and 20th century women composers, Fabulous Femmes (Centaur)—which was called “perfect for the song recital lover” by Chamber Music Magazine—features several premiere recordings.

DALIT WARSHAW is a New York-based composer, pianist, and thereminist. Her works have been performed internationally by numerous orchestral ensembles. As a pianist, Warshaw has performed widely as both soloist and chamber player, in venues as diverse as Avery Fisher Hall, Miller Theater, Alice Tully Hall and the Stone. She has soloed with the Rockland Symphony, Cheyenne Symphony, and the Misgav Chamber Players. Her awards include five ASCAP Foundation Grants to Young Composers, a Fulbright Scholarship to Israel, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and two BMI Awards. She currently serves on the composition faculty at Juilliard and CUNY-Brooklyn College.

ABOUT ENSEMBLE FOR THESE TIMES

Awarded second place in 2019 for Chamber Music Performance by The American Prize and 2019 Finalists for the Ernest Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music, E4TT consists of award-winning soprano and Artistic Executive Director Nanette McGuinness, cellist Anne Lerner, season guest pianist Margaret Halbig, and Artistic Advisor and 2015 American Prize-winning composer David Garner. The group 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, at the Conservatorio Teresa Berganza in Madrid 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. E4TT has performed locally at the German Consulate General, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Old First Concerts, JCC Peninsula, Trinity Chamber Concerts, and Noontime Concerts, among other venues, and has commissioned 25 works and two arrangements. E4TT’s critically acclaimed debut CD, Surviving: Women’s Words (Centaur, 2016) won a Silver Medal in the 2016 Global Music Award. Its second CD, The Hungarians: From Rózsa to Justus (Centaur, 2018) won a Gold Medal in the 2018 Global Music Awards in three categories: chamber music, ensemble, and album. The group released its third CD, Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan, in June 2020; the recording was chosen as the Center for New Music’s Album of the Week for July 17. Writes curator Kurt Rohde, “The members of Ensemble For These Times are longstanding, expert champions of forgotten work by those nearly lost to history, as well as bringing up new voices who have meaningful new work to share. Their newest recording, “Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan,” released in June 2020 in honor of this seminal poet’s centennial, is further evidence of this mission.

CALENDAR LISTING
Friday, November 20, 2020 at 8:00 p.m., LIVE STREAM
“Old Becomes New”
Artists:
Soprano Nanette McGuinness, cellist Anne Lerner, season guest pianist Margaret Halbig, and guest pianist Dalit Warshaw
Repertoire: World Premieres of “Are You Born” for soprano and piano and “For Margaret” for piano by California composer Mary Bianco (b. 1939); “Winter Dream (in memoriam Charlotte Salomon)” (2016) by 2016 Guggenheim Fellow Dalit Warshaw (b. 1974), streamed from New York; the California premiere of “Through the Garden Gate” (2018) by 1989 Guggenheim Fellow Juliana Hall (b. 1958); two etudes from “American Etudes” (1991-2005) for piano by 2020 Guggenheim Fellow Marti Epstein (b. 1959); “In Stride” from “Five Concert Rags” (1991-8) by John Musto (b. 1954); “Twilight Mazurka” (2019) by Alden Jenks (b. 1940); “Gershwin” from Cinq Hommages (1983, rev.) by E4TT’s Artistic Advisor and co-founder David Garner (b. 1954); “Chaconne” (2013) for cello and piano by Russian-American composer Grigory Smirnov (b. 1982); and four chaconnes from the “Mystery Variations on a Theme by Colombi” (2010): “Sarabande per un coyote" by Esa-Pekka Salonen (b. 1958); "Partite sopra un basso" by Steven Stucky (1949-2016); "Chiacona - after Columbi" by Tan Dun (b. 1957); "Paloma" by Pablo Ortiz (b. 1956).

Pre-concert programming: A transcontinental virtual talk with composer/pianist Dalit Warshaw and composer Mary Bianco at 7:30 p.m.
Venue:
 LIVE STREAMED at Old First Concerts’ website
Tickets: FREE (donations)
Info: www.oldfirstconcerts.org or http://E4TT.org/new.html

For more information about E4TT’s 2020/21 Bay Area Home Season, please visit our website. High resolution jpgs are available for download http://www.e4tt.org/presskit.html.

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