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Riverside Choral Society Presents the New York Premiere of Scott Ordway’s Multimedia Symphony, The End of Rain

February 20, 2024 | By Morahan Arts and Media

Contact: Mallory McFarland | Morahan Arts and Media
mallory@morahanartsandmedia.com | 646.241.0899

Riverside Choral Society Presents the
New York Premiere of Scott Ordway’s
Multimedia Symphony, The End of Rain

Also Featured are Alberto Grau’s Kasar Mie La Gaji
(“The Earth is Tired”) and John Luther Adams’s Night Peace

Featured Soloists Include Harrison Hintzsche, Sylvia Leith,
Erin Schwab, and Sonja Tengblad

Thursday, April 25 at 8pm
Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center

“Sublime” –The New York Times


New York, NY (February 20, 2024) — The New York City-based Riverside Choral Society, led by director Patrick Gardner, presents the New York premiere of Scott Ordway’s The End of Rain on Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 8:00 pm at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. With the program’s ultimate message of hope and renewal for the planet, the concert also includes Alberto Grau’s Kasar Mie La Gaji (“The Earth is Tired”) and an encore performance of John Luther Adams’s Night Peace. Featured soloists include baritone Harrison Hintzsche, mezzo-soprano Sylvia Leith, soprano Erin Schwab, and soprano Sonja Tengblad.

Described as “a haunting and beautiful new multimedia work” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Ordway’s The End of Rain is a deeply personal response to the California wildfires of the last five years. The composer’s critically acclaimed symphony, which was commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and written for Roomful of Teeth, takes us on a multimedia journey, blending documentary video with choral music and a text crowdsourced from more than 200 Californians who experienced this environmental maelstrom. This new rendition of the piece for Riverside Choral Society allows more accessibility to different performing groups and introduces East Coast audiences to the work and its messaging.

Scott Ordway shares that “The End of Rain is a work about wildfire, but it’s also a work about the California that you don’t see in the news: a place of farms and forests, ranches and orchards, endless landscapes and small towns. These are the places on the front lines of climate change, and these are the places which are now burning year after year. This is where I was raised, and these are the places I love best in the world. I spent two years traveling the state, taking pictures, writing music, and learning how wildfire is impacting people in hidden, unseen ways. Now, it’s important to me to share this work with people outside of California. I want to share all the beauty and pride and fear and loss and hope and determination. For me, music is the only medium that can capture all of the depth, intensity, and complexity of those emotions.”

Conductor and director Patrick Gardner describes the program as “works that honor the natural world.” He explains that John Luther Adams' Night Peace is “contemplative and wordless” and “reflects the awe and the ease some of us felt in earlier decades.” John Luther Adams is an American composer whose music is inspired by nature. His work focuses heavily on the landscapes of Alaska, where he lived for many years.

Gardner further describes Alberto Grau’s Kasar Mie La Gaji as a piece that “imitates the wind” with vigorous rhythmic passages, clapping, stomping, whispering, and shouting. Grau is an influential contemporary choral composer and conductor. Kasar Mie La Gaji is his call for environmental awareness and responsiveness, as there is an underlying message and social commentary on the condition of the environment. 

Patrick Gardner additionally shares that as the grandson of Northern California strawberry farmers, he has a “very specific connection” to Ordway’s The End of Rain. “After the smoke from last summer's Canadian wildfires hit the midwest and the east coast, I think many more of us can relate to the fear, grief, and hope for recovery that is so powerfully conveyed in this work. All of the text comes from oral history testimonies and the many conversations Scott had with people from the region. The themes and his harmonic language are accessible and resonant, both musically and emotionally.”

Performance Details
Riverside Choral Society
Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 8:00 pm
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center | 1941 Broadway at, W 65th St | New York, NY 10023
Tickets: Starting at $30
Ticket Link: https://www.lincolncenter.org/venue/alice-tully-hall/the-end-of-rain-600

Scott Ordway: The End of Rain (New York Premiere)
Alberto Grau: Kasar Mie La Gaji (“The Earth is Tired”) 
John Luther Adams: Night Peace

Harrison Hintzsche, baritone
Sylvia Leith, mezzo-soprano
Erin Schwab, soprano
Sonja Tengblad, soprano
Riverside Choral Society and Orchestra
Patrick Gardner, conductor and director

About Scott Ordway
Composer and multimedia artist Scott Ordway (b. 1984, California) is widely recognized for his boundary-defying mixed-media projects, creating critically acclaimed works which blend music, text, and visual elements to explore a wide range of contemporary subjects. In recent years, his work has focused on climate, ecology, and our complex relationships with the changing natural world.

Hailed as “an American response to Sibelius” by the Boston Globe, his music, photography, and video work has been performed, recorded, and exhibited throughout the US, Europe, and Asia through collaborations with the Hong Kong, Buffalo, and Colorado Springs Philharmonics; Tucson Symphony; Hong Kong Arts, Beijing Modern, Bang on a Can, Cabrillo, and Aspen Music Festivals; Tanglewood New Fromm Players; Berlin’s Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler; Sweden’s Norrbotten NEO; Stanford Live; Yale Institute of Sacred Music; Roomful of Teeth, The Thirteen, and Lorelei Ensemble; SOLI Chamber Ensemble; and the Jasper, Momenta, Daedalus, and Arneis String Quartets. His discography includes eight commercial recordings on the Acis, Naxos, Bright Shiny Things, and TRPTK labels. In 2023, the Kunstverein Familie Montez (Frankfurt, Germany) presented his first European solo photography exhibition, Images from the End of Rain.

He has received numerous awards, fellowships, and grants from ASCAP, NewMusicUSA, Copland House, the American Composers Orchestra, American Music Center, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, American Composers Forum, Rutgers University, and American Opera Projects, where he was a Fellow. A recipient of the Tuttle Creative Residency Award from Haverford College’s Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities, he has also been invited for residencies at the Visby International Center for Composers (Sweden), Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (WY), Willapa Bay AiR (WA), and Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences, where he was awarded the Lee and Margaret Nichols Distinguished Fellowship for Musicians. 2021. He has served as Composer-in-Residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Festival de 4 Ríos (Ecuador), and the Newbury-port and Carolina Chamber Music Festivals.

An active conductor, Ordway has held posts with the Syzygy New Music Ensemble (NYC) and Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (Oregon) and was Associate Conductor of the Juventas New Music Ensemble, an ensemble-in-residence at the Boston Conservatory. As a champion for the music of our time, he has presented more than 50 new works by young and emerging composers, in addition to many of his own large-scale works. 2023–24 season highlights include the east coast premiere of Ordway’s critically acclaimed multimedia symphony End of Rain at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (New York); his choral opera The Outer Edge of Youth with Back Bay Chorale (Boston); a new song cycle commissioned by Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke presented by Stanford Live Arts (Palo Alto, CA); and The Rights of Nature, a choral-orchestral work commissioned by the Universidad de Cuenca (Ecuador). In 2023, Ordway was appointed Associate Professor of Music and Head of Composition in the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. There, he was recently honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Cross-disciplinary Research in recognition of his work at the intersection of music, visual arts, and environmental studies. For more information, please visit scottordway.com.

About Patrick Gardner
Patrick Gardner’s performances have been acclaimed by New York audiences, critics, and an international roster of composers whose orchestral and choral works he has conducted. Active in premiering new music, he has won the praise of such notable composers as William Bolcom, John Harbison, Lou Harrison, and Lukas Foss. Mr. Gardner curated and conducted a performance of major works by Lou Harrison at Trinity Wall Street NYC, which was named in The New York Times list of “Best Classical Performances of 2017”.

Now in his 33rd season as director of the Riverside Choral Society (RCS), Mr. Gardner is also director of choral activities at Rutgers University, where he conducts the Rutgers University Kirkpatrick Choir and the Rutgers University Glee Club. In the spring of 2006, RCS and the Rutgers University Kirkpatrick Choir appeared at Lincoln Center with the Kirov Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic in performances of Shostakovich’s Second and Third Symphonies. In October 2006, Mr. Gardner prepared the men of his combined choirs for performances at Lincoln Center, with the Kirov, of Shostakovich’s Thirteenth Symphony, Babi Yar. In September 2006, Mr. Gardner and the men’s choirs, accompanied by Mischa and Cipa Dichter, at Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, presented the world premiere of the two piano version of the first movement of Babi Yar. In 2005, he prepared RCS for presentations of Mahler’s Second Symphony at Carnegie Hall and the NJPAC. The New York Times noted RCS’s “sublime reading of the choral finale.” Mr. Gardner’s critically acclaimed preparation of the choral work in Handel’s L’Allegro, performed at Lincoln Center in the summer of 2005, led to his engagement to prepare Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas as part of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s 25th anniversary season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  

Recently Mr. Gardner presented concerts in Taichung, Taiwan, and in 2007 Mr. Gardner presented master-classes for professional conductors in the Netherlands for NOVK, Nederlandse Organisatie Voor Koordirigenten.  

Mr. Gardner has prepared the Riverside Choral Society for the Mostly Mozart Festival in performances of Mozart’s Requiem and C minor Mass, Haydn’s Creation, and numerous other major works. In the past decade, RCS appeared with both the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and London’s Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. In the past several years Mr. Gardner has conducted RCS in its own Lincoln Center performances of the Beethoven Missa Solemnis, the Brahms Requiem, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Mozart’s C minor Mass, and Lou Harrison’s La Koro Sutro. In November 2005, Mr. Gardner conducted Haydn’s Creation at Rutgers University, and the previous October he conducted Handel’s Opus 4 Organ Concertos and Coronation Anthem no. 3 with Musica Raritana, a period instrument orchestra of professional instrumentalists and graduate students at Rutgers University. In recent orchestral performances at Rutgers and with the Riverside Choral Society Orchestra Mr. Gardner has conducted the Brahms Second Symphony, the Schubert Fifth Symphony, Haydn’s Symphony no. 88, Shostakovich and Mozart piano concerti, the Ibert Flute Concerto, Arvo Pårt’s   and Jennifer Higdon’s Blue Cathedral.  

Mr. Gardner prepared the Rutgers University Glee Club for a performance of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder with the Philadelphia Singers and The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. He was the chorus master for the internationally acclaimed Robert Altman production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Opéra de Lille in France. 

Mr. Gardner has recorded for Naxos, Albany, Ethereal, and Folkways records.

About Riverside Choral Society
The Riverside Choral Society has made a specialty of presenting finely tuned performances of great classical works with full orchestra and highly esteemed soloists. Under the baton of acclaimed director Patrick Gardner, who is also the director of choral activities at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, RCS has performed major works by Beethoven, Bruckner, Brahms, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Britten, Pärt, Fauré, Harrison, Orff, Stravinsky, Berlioz, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Verdi, and many others at major concert halls throughout the city. RCS has been a featured performer with the Mostly Mozart Festival since 1998, with the Kirov Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, and at the Wall-to-Wall concerts at Symphony Space, among others. Through Patrick Gardner's inspiring leadership, rehearsals with this congenial and welcoming group are not only an opportunity to obtain an intimate and historical knowledge of each piece, but to perfect the craft of singing and choral artistry.

Photo credit: Jody Somers / Rutgers University

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