LPR X at SummerStage: BOWIE SYMPHONIC
with Evan Ziporyn, cello soloist Maya Beiser & Donny McCaslin Group
Sat June 9th, 2018
SummerStage in Central Park
Minimum Age: All Ages
Doors Open: 6:00PM
Show Time: 7:00PM
Bowie Symphonic: Ensemble LPR performs David Bowie’s Blackstar led by Evan Ziporyn with cello soloist Maya Beiser / Donny McCaslin Group
This is a free LPR X event at SummerStage in Central Park: Rumsey Playfield, Manhattan, 10021 – Click here for more info
The cultural influence that the late musician, iconoclast, and actor David Bowie had on millions of people can’t be overstated. The late British star, who called New York his home, recorded his final album Blackstar in secret. A star-studded orchestra arranged by Evan Ziporyn will perform the album in full with cello soloist Maya Beiser, along with a special performance by the Donny McCaslin Group, whose ensemble worked with Bowie on Blackstar.
Named after and headquartered at the acclaimed New York City venue Le Poisson Rouge, Ensemble LPR is an assemblage of New York’s finest musicians. The group personifies the venue’s commitment to aesthetic diversity and artistic excellence.
Ensemble LPR performs an eclectic spectrum of music—from works by the finest living composers, to compelling interpretations of the standard repertoire—and collaborates with distinguished artists from classical and non-classical backgrounds: Timo Andres, Simone Dinnerstein, San Fermin, Daniel Hope, Taka Kigawa, Jennifer Koh, Mica Levi, David Longstreth (of Dirty Projectors), John Lurie, Ursula Oppens, Max Richter, André de Ridder, Christopher Rountree and Fred Sherry, to name a few.
In January 2015 Ensemble LPR made its Deutsche Grammophon debut with Follow, Poet, featuring the music of Mohammed Fairouz and the words of Seamus Heaney and John F. Kennedy. Ensemble LPR’s acclaimed Central Park performance last June, part of the 110th Anniversary of the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts.
In 2008 Le Poisson Rouge changed the classical music landscape, creating a new environment in which to experience art music. In doing so, Le Poisson Rouge expanded classical music listenership. The New York Times has heralded Le Poisson Rouge as “[a] forward-thinking venue that seeks to showcase disparate musical styles under one roof” and “[the] coolest place to hear contemporary music.” The Los Angeles Times raves, “[The] place isn’t merely cool…the venue is a downright musical marvel.” Le Poisson Rouge Co-Founder David Handler brings this same ethos to Ensemble LPR, of which he is Founding Executive & Artistic Director.
Evan Ziporyn (b. 1959, Chicago) makes music at the crossroads between genres and cultures, east and west. He studied at Eastman, Yale & UC Berkeley with Joseph Schwantner, Martin Bresnick, & Gerard Grisey. He first traveled to Bali in 1981, studying with Madé Lebah, Colin McPhee’s 1930s musical informant. He returned on a Fulbright in 1987.
Earlier that year, he performed a clarinet solo at the First Bang on a Can Marathon in New York. His involvement with BOAC continued for 25 years: in 1992 he co-founded the Bang on a Can All-stars (Musical America’s 2005 Ensemble of the Year), with whom he toured the globe and premiered over 100 commissioned works, collaborating with Nik Bartsch, Iva Bittova, Don Byron, Ornette Coleman, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Thurston Moore, Terry Riley and Tan Dun. He co-produced their seminal 1996 recording of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, as well as their most recent CD, Big Beautiful Dark & Scary (2012).
Ziporyn joined the MIT faculty in 1990, founding Gamelan Galak Tika there in 1993, and beginning a series of groundbreaking compositions for gamelan & western instruments. These include three evening-length works, 2001’s ShadowBang, 2004’s Oedipus Rex (Robert Woodruff, director), and 2009’s A House in Bali, an opera which joins western singers with Balinese traditional performers, and the All-stars with a full gamelan. It received its world premiere in Bali that summer and its New York premiere at BAM Next Wave in October 2010.
As a clarinetist, Ziporyn recorded the definitive version of Steve Reich’s multi-clarinet NY Counterpoint in 1996, sharing in that ensemble’s Grammy in 1998. In 2001 his solo clarinet CD, This is Not A Clarinet, made Top Ten lists across the country. His compositions have been commissioned by Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road, Kronos Quartet, American Composers Orchestra, Maya Beiser, So Percussion, Wu Man, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, with whom he recorded his most recent CD, Big Grenadilla/Mumbai (2012). His honors include awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (2011), The Herb Alpert Foundation (2011), USA Artists Walker Fellowship (2007), MIT’s Kepes Prize (2006), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Goddard Lieberson Fellowship (2004), as well as commissions from Meet the Composer/Commissioning Music USA and the Rockefeller MAP Fund. Recordings of his works have been been released on Cantaloupe, Sony Classical, New Albion, New World, Koch, Naxos, Innova, and CRI.
He is Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at MIT. He also serves as Head of Music and Theater Arts, and this year was appointed Inaugural Director of MIT’s new Center for Art Science and Technology. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with Christine Southworth, and has two children, Leonardo (19) and Ava (12).
cello soloist Maya Beiser
Avant-garde cellist and multifaceted artist Maya Beiser defies categories. Passionately forging a career path through uncharted territories, she has captivated audiences worldwide with her virtuosity, eclectic repertoire, and relentless quest to redefine her instrument’s boundaries. The Boston Globe praises her “virtuoso chops and rock-star charisma,” describing her as, “a force of nature,” while Rolling Stone calls her a “cello rock star.” Raised in the Galilee Mountains in Israel, surrounded by the music and rituals of Jews, Muslims, and Christians while studying classical cello repertoire, Maya is dedicated to reinventing solo cello performance in the mainstream arena. A featured performer on the world’s most prestigious stages including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAM Next Wave Festival, Kennedy Center, London’s Southbank Centre and the Barbican, Sydney Opera House, Beijing Festival, and the Big Ears Festival, she has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Tan Dun, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen, Shirin Neshat, Robert Woodruff, and Bill Morrison, among many others. Her discography includes ten solo albums; her 2016 album TranceClassical debuted at No. 1 on the Apple Music classical chart and her acclaimed album Uncovered also topped the classical music charts making the number one spot on both Amazon and Apple Music in 2014. Her latest album, David Lang’s the day and world to come, was released in January 2018 on Cantaloupe Music. Maya Beiser is a 2015 United States Artists (USA) Distinguished Fellow and a 2017 Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist at MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology; her 2011 TED Talk has been watched by over one million people, and she was recently a Presenting Artist at the inaugural CultureSummit in Abu Dhabi. Maya was a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and is a graduate of Yale University.
Donny McCaslin Group
Saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his band, featured on David Bowie’s Blackstar, will make their Motéma Music debut with the October 14, 2016 release of Beyond Now, a highly anticipated album dedicated to Bowie. Recorded nearly three months after Bowie’s passing, the project is deeply influenced by their extraordinary experience collaborating with one of the greatest artists of all-time on his final album.
“It was like a dream except it was something I never could have dreamed of,” reflects McCaslin on working hand-in-hand with Bowie on Blackstar. “David Bowie was a visionary artist whose generosity, creative spirit, and fearlessness will stay with me the rest of my days. Beyond Now is dedicated to him and to all who loved him.”
Comprised of core Blackstar personnel, bassist Tim Lefebvre (Tedeschi Trucks Band, Saturday Night Live), drummer Mark Guiliana (Meshell Ndegeocello, Brad Mehldau), and Jason Lindner(Now Vs Now) along with guitarist Nate Wood and producer David Binney, Beyond Now’s repertoire is expansive, comprised of two Bowie songs, covers of Deadmau5, MUTEMATH, and the Chainsmokers, as well as compelling McCaslin originals including the title composition, inspired by a track inspired by a song McCaslin recorded for Blackstar that didn’t make the album.
With three GRAMMY® nominations and 11 albums to his name, McCaslin’s path to Bowie and Beyond Now can be traced back to 2011 with the release of his album Perpetual Motion, taking on an electric direction for the first time in contrast to his previous acoustic projects. Two subsequent albums Casting for Gravity (2012) and Fast Future (2015) released with his working band were directly influenced by electronica artists (covering groups such as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, and Baths), which netted McCaslin a 2013 GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Improvised Jazz Solo.”
The once in a lifetime opportunity to work with David Bowie came after composer Maria Schneider, a longtime collaborator, recommended McCaslin and his group to Bowie. Schneider and Bowie were collaborating on the track “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” which featured McCaslin as a soloist. In June 2014, Bowie heeded Schneider’s advice and made a visit to hear McCaslin and company at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village. Soon after, Bowie began corresponding with McCaslin over email and sending music, forming a new collaboration and friendship that transpired through the recording of Blackstar until Bowie’s passing. The result is Beyond Now, which documents “David Bowie’s Last Band” as they were processing both their grief and Bowie’s distinctive impact.
“This new album is an expression of that journey for all of us,” says McCaslin. “David allowed Blackstar to be what it was going to be regardless of how people might have categorized it. More than anything, it was his fearlessness in crossing musical boundaries and genres in his music and life that inspired the approach I’m taking in Beyond Now. I am indebted to Bowie for showing me the risks and rewards of going for your uncompromising musical vision.”