208 ensemble introduces its third concert season with contemporary chamber music that celebrates the Centennial of the National Parks Service. This concert features music by David Biedenbender, Alex Shapiro, John Luther Adams, and Mason Bates that was written for or inspired by the landscape of the American West.
“David Biedenbender (b. 1984, Waukesha, Wisconsin) is a composer, conductor, performer, educator, and interdisciplinary collaborator. David’s music has been described as “simply beautiful” [twincities.com], “striking” and “brilliantly crafted” [Times Argus] and is noted for its “rhythmic intensity” [NewMusicBox] and “stirring harmonies” [Boston Classical Review]. “Modern, venturesome, and inexorable…The excitement, intensity, and freshness that characterizes Biedenbender’s music hung in the [air] long after the last note was played” [Examiner.com]. He has written music for the concert stage as well as for dance and multimedia collaborations, and his work is often influenced by his diverse musical experiences in rock and jazz bands as an electric bassist, in wind, jazz, and New Orleans-style brass bands as a euphonium, bass trombone, and tuba player, and by his study of Indian Carnatic music. His present creative interests include working with everyone from classically trained musicians to improvisers, acoustic chamber music to large ensembles, and interactive electronic interfaces to live brain data.”
“Composer Alex Shapiro aligns note after note with the hope that at least a few of them will actually sound good next to each other. Her persistence at this activity, as well as non-fiction music writing, arts advocacy, public speaking, wildlife photography, and the shameless instigation of insufferable puns on Facebook, has led to a happy life. Drawing from a broad musical palette that defies genre, Alex’s acoustic and electroacoustic works are published by Activist Music,performed and broadcast daily, and can be found on over twenty commercial releases from record labels around the world.”
“John Luther Adams is a composer whose life and work are deeply rooted in the natural world. Adams was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his symphonic work Become Ocean, and a 2015 Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary Classical Composition”. Inuksuit, his outdoor work for up to 99 percussionists, is regularly performed all over the world. Columbia University has honored Adams with the William Schuman Award “to recognize the lifetime achievement of an American composer whose works have been widely performed and generally acknowledged to be of lasting significance.” A recipient of the Heinz Award for his contributions to raising environmental awareness, JLA has also been honored with the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University “for melding the physical and musical worlds into a unique artistic vision that transcends stylistic boundaries.””
Recently named the second most-performed living composer, Mason Bates currently serves as the first composer-in-residence of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His music fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, the harmonies of jazz and the rhythms of techno, and it has been the first symphonic music to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds. Leading conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Leonard Slatkin have championed his diverse catalogue. He has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships such as his residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or through his club/classical project Mercury Soul, which has transformed spaces ranging from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls into exciting, hybrid musical events drawing over a thousand people. In awarding Bates the Heinz Medal, Teresa Heinz Kerry remarked that “his music has moved the orchestra into the digital age and dissolved the boundaries of classical music.”
Find out more about the National Parks Service Centennial here.