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Volti + Left Coast Premieres: The Tower and the Garden

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble Volti + Left Coast Premieres: The Tower and the Garden

Volti + Left Coast Premieres: The Tower and the Garden is a unique concert that joins the forces of Left Coast Chamber Ensemble’s musicians with the talents of Volti’s new music vocal ensemble to present new works by three acclaimed contemporary composers. The program is highlighted by Gregory Spears’ new major 30-minute piece for voices and string quartet, called The Tower and the Garden. Spears sets the piece to the text of three poems juxtaposing the dangers of unchecked technological advancement (the tower) and the need for a place of refuge (the garden) in a world threatened by war and ecological disaster. Spears writes music that blends aspects of romanticism, minimalism, and early music. His work has been called “astonishingly beautiful” (New York Times), “coolly entrancing” (The New Yorker), and “some of the most beautifully unsettling music to appear in recent memory” (The Boston Globe). The Tower and the Garden was commissioned jointly by Volti, Cantori New York, The Crossing (Philadelphia), and Notre Dame Vocale, with funding provided by The Ann Stookey Fund for New Music. It receives its West Coast premiere at these concerts.

The Volti and Left Coast collaboration continues with the world premiere of Laurie San Martin’s Witches for vocal ensemble, cello and two oboes. Inspired by the dark but playful imagination of young girls conveyed in Lucy Corin’s short story of the same title, San Martin brings together voices and instruments to explore and stretch so that the music reflects the ideas of the story: magic, ritual, timelessness and discovery. Witches was commissioned by Volti, and written by Laurie San Martin under her Guggenheim fellowship. These will be the world premiere performances.

“Working with a great chamber vocal ensemble is a blast,” said LCCE Artistic Director Anna Presler. “Volti has so much energy, creativity, so I'm delighted to continue our year over year collaboration with this wonderful ensemble and can't wait to hear the new works. It feels like a gamble to commission three entirely new works for one show, but with these composers I feel confident we're going to get beautiful music.”

Also commissioned for this concert of premieres is a new piece by Addie Camsuzou. Her new work Murmuration takes inspiration from the flock patterns of starlings, termed murmurations, and continues to explore the dynamic combination of oboe and strings. “From a distance, a murmuration can appear to be a large, ever-shifting dark mass,” explains Camsuzou. “However, closer inspection reveals a flurry of activity as each starling works to perform this whirling, graceful dance. It is these macro and micro level features that inspired and shaped this piece.” The world premiere of Camsuzou's piece is made possible by generous support from the Kurt Rohde Emerging Composer Fund.

Benjamin Britten’s Phantasy Quartet, op. 2, complements the concert of new works. This piece demonstrates the composer’s fondness for the oboe in his orchestral writing and provides Left Coast’s oboist Tom Nugent an extraordinarily challenging and interesting piece to play. “I'm glad we're playing the Britten Phantasy with Tom again,” said LCCE Artistic Director and violinist Anna Presler. “It is a great work, worth revisiting again and again, to again experience its angularity, drama, and distinctive ineffable English quality!”

Additional Dates:
Sun November 18, 2018 7:30pm
Berkeley Hillside Club

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Gregory Spears

The Tower and the Garden for Vocal Ensemble and String Quartet WEST COAST PREMIERE

Laurie San Martin

Witches for Vocal Ensemble, Cello, and Two Oboes WORLD PREMIERE

Addie Camsuzou

Murmurations for Oboes and Strings WORLD PREMIERE

Benjamin Britten

Phantasy Quartet, op. 2



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