This week marks the New York Premiere of a project we’ve been working on for a very long time. Together, The Meredith Monk Ensemble and The Todd Reynolds String Quartet, together first at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, then Stanford Lively Arts, then at Ann Hamilton’s Tower in Geyserville, California, we finally return home to New York to present the work here on BAM’s Next Wave festival which we’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
Songs of Ascension is Meredith Monk‘s seminal work for her own vocal ensemble and string quartet. It’s the first time Meredith has used string quartet as part of a larger work, and of course, as Meredith is one of my most-revered interdisciplinary and musical heroes, I am honored to be a part. Early on, Meredith asked me to collaborate with her on this project and to put together the perfect string quartet team with great-spirited, flexible, excellent players, willing to seek virtuosity in the clear and simple, willing to memorize an hour’s worth of music and treat physical space as if it were the greatest musical score.
And that’s what we did. Matt Albert (from Eighth Blackbird), Nadia Sirota (from WNYC & ACME) and cellist/composer Ha-Yang Kim join me in this beautiful piece, supporting and folding into Meredith Monk’s longstanding ensemble.
Performances at BAM begin tonight at 7:30 with a video description and tickets to be found at the BAM website. The Harvey Theater looks unbelievably beautiful with Ann Hamilton’s projections amplifying and lighting that space, already spectacular in its raw beauty.
This is indeed a performance not to be missed, and as an early show, it’s also the perfect precursor “feast for the senses” to precede or follow a great meal in in the area (which is saturated with lovely restaurants), with friends and companions.