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The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the St. Louis Symphony Present: The Pulitzer Contemporary Music Festival
January 17, 2012

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the St. Louis Symphony Present The Pulitzer Contemporary Music Festival, Retrospectives and Innovations: A Celebration of 10 Years of
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
June 14–17, 2012

Festival to Present Important Works by
Unsuk Chin, Steve Reich, George Crumb, David Lang,
Frederic Rzewski, Olivier Messiaen and Franco Donatoni
St. Louis Missouri, December 6, 2011—The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the St. Louis Symphony today announced the programming for The Pulitzer Contemporary Music Festival, Retrospectives and Innovations: A Celebration of 10 Years of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. Presented June 14 to 17, 2012 at the Pulitzer and programmed by renowned St. Louis Symphony Music Director David Robertson, the Festival will include three concerts of contemporary chamber music, featuring members of the St. Louis Symphony and a performance by the cutting-edge quartet So Percussion. 

Each concert includes at least one work previously performed at the Pulitzer (dates below), as well as a piece that will be performed there for the first time.  The music programmed largely consists of works composed during the last 40 years.  Robertson will introduce each of the performances and programs, including Unsuk Chin’s Fantaisie mécanique (coinciding with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s American premiere of her opera Alice in Wonderland); works by David Lang and Frederic Rzewski; three works by Steve Reich; George Crumb’s Black Angels; and selected works by Donatoni and Messiaen. Tickets for Retrospectives and Innovations are available for sale beginning January 6, 2012. Complete program information is listed below. 

The Pulitzer and the St. Louis Symphony began collaborating in 2004 on a concert series exploring the intimate setting of the Tadao Ando-designed Pulitzer building as an unparalleled setting for art and music, in part because of the building’s fine acoustics for chamber music, and the programs, selected by Robertson, have been presented in relation to works on view at the Pulitzer. 

Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Founder and Chair of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, stated, “Our annual concert series with David Robertson and members of the St. Louis Symphony began within three years of the opening of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and has been integral to the life of this institution ever since. David’s inventive and illuminating programs are a perfect marriage with our building and exhibitions. Our ongoing partnership with David and the St. Louis Symphony underscores and advances the Pulitzer’s commitment to and desire for innovation, collaboration and experimentation.”

“This is a celebration exemplifying the type of programming that we’ve done since our partnership with the Pulitzer began in 2004. For the festival, we connected a number of pieces that we’ve performed before, the ones that we thought would bring back amazing memories from previous Pulitzer concerts, such as Black Angels by George Crumb for string quartet, or Donatoni’s La Souris sans sourire, as well as important works that are new to the series, including Fantaisie mécanique by composer Unsuk Chin, in celebration of the U.S. premiere of her opera Alice in Wonderland at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis,” said David Robertson. “The hallmark of the Pulitzer is that every exhibition is something that is transformative and really alters your perspective once you come into contact with it. We try to show on a parallel level in sound that same connection to quality and transformation. You may not know any piece on the program, but by coming in, you will have an experience that you can’t get in any other way and that will probably remain with you for the rest of your life in a very positive way.”

About the Selections in the Pulitzer Contemporary Music Festival
Unsuk Chin’s Fantaisie mécanique, conducted by Robertson, is scored for trumpet, trombone, piano and percussion. In the composer’s words, “…the work is a union of two contradictory concepts: improvisation and predetermined structure.  While giving the illusion of free expression, the work actually adheres to the strictest virtuosity and ensemble playing of the performers.” 

George Crumb’s Black Angels, a theatrical work for amplified string quartet, is likely one of the only quartets to have been inspired by the Vietnam War. The work draws from an arsenal of sounds including shouting, chanting, whistling, whispering, gongs, maracas, and crystal glasses, portraying a voyage of the soul. The three stages of this voyage are Departure (fall from grace), Absence (spiritual annihilation) and Return (redemption). 

Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, a solo piano work, is a set of 36 variations on the Chilean song "¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!" by composer and pianist Sergio Ortega and the folk music group Quilapayún.  The work received its world premiere in 1976 by Ursula Oppens.  Rzewski dedicated the composition to Oppens, who had commissioned it as a companion piece to Beethoven's Diabelli Variations

The 2012 series also will include three works by the trailblazing American minimalist composer
Steve Reich:

  • Clapping Music was composed, in Reich’s words, because he wanted to “create a piece of music that needed no instruments beyond the human body.”  One clapper performs a basic rhythm for the entirety of the piece, while another claps the same pattern, but after every 8 or 12 bars shifts by one eighth-note.
  • Four Organs is a work for electronic organs and maraca (which beats a continuous rhythm, serving as the framework for the piece). Throughout the composition, the organs play a dominant eleventh chord, which they dissect by playing parts of it sequentially. The chord gradually increases in duration, from a single eighth-note at the beginning, to 200 beats at the end.
  • Mallet Quartet, (co-commissioned by So Percussion) is scored for two five-octave marimbas and two vibraphones and is in three movements: Fast, Slow, and Fast. According to Reich, “In the two outer fast movements the marimbas set the harmonic background…and eventually interlock in canon. The vibraphones present the melodic material first solo and then in canon.” 

Also included in the series are David Lang’s the so-called laws of nature, which represents the composer’s exploration of the meaning of various processes and mathematical formulas that are found in music; Italian composer Franco Donatoni’s La Souris sans sourire for string quartet, and French composer Olivier Messiaen’s expansive work for two pianos, Visions de l’Amen

The Retrospectives and Innovation Festival coincides with the much-anticipated American premiere of Unsuk Chin and David Henry Hwang’s Alice in Wonderland (2007), presented by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on June 13 (the eve of the Pulitzer series).  Starring Ashley Emerson as Alice, this American debut is directed by OTSL Artistic Director James Robinson and conducted by Michael Christie.  Additional performances will be presented on June 15, 17, 19, 21, and 23, 2012. For more information, please visit ExperienceOpera.org .

About The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
Through art exhibitions, programs, collaborations and exchanges with other institutions, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts aims to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of art and architecture and is a resource for artists, architects, scholars, students and the general public. 

In celebration of the Pulitzer’s tenth anniversary, Reflections of the Buddha, a superb selection of some of the greatest Buddhist sculptures and hanging scrolls held in United States collections, is currently on view at the Foundation through March 10, 2012.  Throughout the year, social workers on the Pulitzer’s staff will organize innovative community engagement programs in St. Louis, which are connected to the exhibitions’ themes, including Staging Reflections of the Buddha, a community project inspired by the Pulitzer’s highly successful Staging Old Masters, which unites theater, visual arts, and social work to build connections between art and audiences of all kinds. Other exhibition related public programming includes curatorial lectures, frame-of-reference series, and symposia.  The Pulitzer is open and free to the public Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, please visit pulitzerarts.org .

About the Artists
A consummate musician, masterful programmer and dynamic presence, David Robertson has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after conductors. With an extensive knowledge of orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras. In fall 2011, Mr. Robertson embarked on his seventh season as Music Director of the 132-year-old St. Louis Symphony, while continuing as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a post he has held since 2005.

Founded in 1880, the St. Louis Symphony is recognized internationally as an ensemble of the highest caliber, performing a broad musical repertoire with skill and spirit. The STL Symphony continues to build upon its reputation for musical excellence while maintaining its commitment to local education and community activities.  Recordings by the Symphony have been honored with six Grammy Awards and 56 Grammy nominations.

Since 1999, So Percussion (Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting) has been creating music that explores all the extremes of emotion and musical possibility.  The Brooklyn-based percussion quartet’s innovative work with today’s most exciting composers and their own original music has quickly helped them forge a unique and diverse career. 

Born in Seoul, Unsuk Chin studied with György Ligeti in Hamburg, and now resides in Berlin.  Winner of the 2004 Grawemeyer Award for her Violin Concerto and the 2005 Arnold Schoenberg prize, she has composed both electronic and acoustic scores.  Chin’s works have been programmed by contemporary music ensembles such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, and Kronos Quartet.  She has been a composer-in-residence with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and artistic director of its Contemporary Music Series since 2006. 

Program Information

Thursday, June 14, 2012, 7.30pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
3716 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108

MEMBERS OF THE ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY

GEORGE CRUMB Black Angels (1970) [previously performed in Pulitzer concerts February 14 & 15, 2007]
FREDERIC RZEWSKI The People United Will Never Be Defeated! (1975)
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Saturday, June 16, 2012, 7.30pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
3716 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108

SO PERCUSSION

STEVE REICH Clapping Music (1972)
STEVE REICH Four Organs (1970) [previously performed in a Pulitzer concert June 18, 2008]
STEVE REICH Mallet Quartet (2009)
DAVID LANG the so-called laws of nature (2002)
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Sunday, June 17, 2012, 2.00pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
3716 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108

MEMBERS OF THE ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY
DAVID ROBERTSON, conductor (for Unsuk Chin work)

FRANCO DONATONI La Souris sans sourire (1988) [previously performed in a Pulitzer concert January 12, 2011]
UNSUK CHIN Fantaisie mécanique (1994, rev. 1997)
OLIVIER MESSIAEN Visions de l’Amen (1943) [previously performed in a Pulitzer concert November 13, 2006]
________________________

Ticket Information
The on sale date for tickets is January 6, 2012.  Single tickets for each concert are $20 each and a festival pass to all 3 St. Louis Symphony programs is $48.  Tickets may be purchased online at stlsymphony.org , at the St. Louis Symphony Box Office (located at 718 North Grand Boulevard 63103, St. Louis, MO 63103), and by calling 314-534-1700 or 800-232-1880

Press Contacts
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts / Lisa Rimmert / lrimmert@pulitzerarts.org / 314-446-2053
St. Louis Symphony / Erika Ebsworth-Goold / erikae@stlsymphony.org / 314-533-2500 or 800-232-1880
Ruder Finn Arts & Communications Counselors / Jennifer Essen / essenj@ruderfinn.com / 212-593-5881

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