Nashville Performing Arts Groups Partner with Pulitzer Prize Winning Composer Paul Moravec
ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, Nashville Ballet, Portara co-commission new work
Three prominent Nashville arts organizations—the GRAMMY-nominated ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, Nashville Ballet, and vocal group Portara Ensemble—have come together to commission a work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec called Amorisms.
The world-premiere will take place in May 2014 in two parts. ALIAS and Portara will give the musical premiere of Amorisms on May 7 as part of the ALIAS Spring concert at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. Also on the program will be Moravec’s Sacred Love Songs rewritten from a recorder quartet to a string quartet for ALIAS, with a revamped fourth movement.
The Nashville Ballet will premiere new choreographies to Amorisms and other works by Moravec as part of the Ballet’s Emergence series from May 29-31, 2014, at the Martin Center. ALIAS and the Portara Ensemble will perform all music.
“I am proud of this collaboration,” said ALIAS Artistic Director Zeneba Bowers. “Our three organizations understand the value of creating and performing new works for the Nashville community, and we pulled together to commission something from Paul Moravec, one of the most exciting composers of our time. It’s inspiring for arts groups across different mediums to come together in this way.”
Amorisms is a work for string quartet, clarinet and five voices (SSATB). According to Moravec, the piece came to him while visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon last May. The title comes from a musical setting of aphorisms on the subject of love from the works of Shakespeare.
“As this is a dance piece, I wanted to keep the texts short, simple and set repetitively so that once the audience gets the idea for each movement, it can focus more readily on the dancers themselves,” Moravec said. “I am excited and inspired by the unusual collaborative nature of this project, combining the special artistry of Alias, Portara, and Nashville Ballet.”
Paul Vasterling, Artistic Director of Nashville Ballet, has engaged choreographers Banning Bouldin, James Gregg and Gina Patterson to create new choreographies for Moravec works for the Ballet’s Emergence series. Patterson will develop choreography for Amorisms, Bouldin for Tempest Fantasy, and Gregg for Sacred Love Songs.
"I love this project, and Emergence in general, because each discipline stimulates the others. Not only is it an amazing way of building community, but this project is also a wonderful way to discover new inspiration,” explained Vasterling. “Mixing up all these artists brings out the best in all of us and creates something that would never have come into existence had it not been for our work together."
Following the premiere of Amorisms, ALIAS and the Portara Ensemble will record a CD of Moravec works on the Delos label. In addition to Amorisms, other works will include Sacred Love Songs, which the composer has arranged specifically for ALIAS and the Portara Ensemble, and Moravec’s Pulitzer Prize winning work Tempest Fantasy. The CD release date is set for early 2015.
ALIAS and Moravec have collaborated on previous projects. In 2004, ALIAS hosted the composer for its performance of Tempest Fantasy—a piece that won him the Pulitzer Prize later that year. Moravec also arranged one of his choral-orchestral works, "Always, Always," from Songs of Love and War as a chamber version for ALIAS to perform in 2009 for a Veteran’s Day program.
ALIAS Spring Concert
May 7, 2014 at 8 pm
Turner Hall, Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music (2400 Blakemore Ave., Nashville)
Moravec: Amorisms for clarinet, string quartet and SSATB voices (2014, World Premiere)
Moravec: Sacred Love Songs for string quartet (2012)
Ravel: Sonatine en Trio for flute, cello, and harp (1905)
Douglas Hill: A Set of Songs and Dances for clarinet, horn, vibraphone, and bass (2006)
Matt Walker: Grooves for string quartet (2013)
Tickets are $15 ($5 for students) and can be purchased on-line at: www.aliasmusic.org. All proceeds go to Students Taking a Right Stand (STARS).
Nashville Ballet Emergence Series
Thursday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 31 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Martin Center for the Nashville Ballet (3630 Redmon St., Nashville)
All music written by Paul Moravec, and choreography by Banning Bouldin (based on Tempest Fantasy), James Gregg (based on Sacred Love Songs), and Gina Patterson (based on Amorisms). Music performed by ALIAS and Portara.
Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased by calling (615) 782-4040 or by visiting nashvilleballet.com.###
About ALIAS Chamber Ensemble
Founded in 2002, ALIAS is a chamber ensemble dedicated to innovative repertoire, artistic excellence, and a desire to give back to the community. Comprised of 13 professional musicians in Nashville, its wide-ranging repertoire brings audiences a mix of chamber music that cannot be heard anywhere else in the region. To date, ALIAS has premiered 16 new works and recorded two CDs—one of which (Naxos: Gabriela Lena Frank, Hilos) was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2012 for Best Small Ensemble Performance. As part of its mission, ALIAS also adopts three nonprofit partners each season and gives 100 percent of its ticket proceeds to these partners. For more information about ALIAS, visit: www.aliasmusic.org
About Nashville Ballet
Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the second company NB2 (a pre-professional training company) serve nearly 60,000 adults and children annually through performances and our outreach and community engagement programming. Curriculum-based outreach programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. The School of Nashville Ballet provides world-class instruction in ballet and other forms of dance for dancers of all ages.
Nashville Ballet is funded in part by Ingram Charitable Trust, Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, The Shubert Foundation, Caterpillar Financial, ELAN Hair and Skin, The Memorial Foundation, Publix Super Market Charities, The HCA Foundation, The Mall at Green Hills and thousands of individuals who contribute to our annual operating fund.
About Portara Ensemble
Portara Ensemble has quickly become a creative force in the music scene of Middle Tennessee. Their innovative programming and artist collaborations have crossed the boundaries of visual and performing arts, and brought exciting new music to their audiences. Led by founder/director Shreyas Patel, Portara Ensemble’s thought-provoking thematic choral programs explore a wide variety of music from around the globe sung by professional, semi-professional, and amateur volunteer singers. 2012 brought the release of Portara’s first CD Recording, Choral Hymns of the Christian Faith. This collection, which delves into the deep tradition of hymn singing in the Christian church, has been lauded “something to celebrate—and to keep close by.” (ClassicsToday.com).
About Paul Moravec:
Moravec has composed numerous chamber works in his career, and ballet adaptation is not a new idea for him either: The Carolina Ballet (Robert Weiss, director) has choreographed ballets to two major works of his in recent years: “Tempest Fantasy” and “The Time Gallery”.
Currently University Professor at Adelphi University (a position unique in the institution), Moravec also recently served as Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. He attended Harvard College and then Columbia University and has taught at Dartmouth, Columbia, Hunter College, and Mannes.
He has received numerous honors throughout his career, including the Pulitzer Prize in Music (2004) , the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (1984), three awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1986, 1991, 2011), as well as fellowships from the NEA (1989) and the Guggenheim Foundation (2013). In 2010, he was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society. Moravec's discography includes four albums on Naxos American Classics and an orchestral album on BMOP Sound, and works on numerous other CDs.