Nina C. Young: Agnosco Veteris [West Coast Premiere]
Caroline Shaw: Entr’acte for string orchestra
Melody Eötvös: The Saqqara Bird [West Coast Premiere]
Kristin Kuster When There Are Nine (Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano; Roomful of Teeth, vocal ensemble) [World Premiere | Festival Commission]
Maestro Măcelaru kicks off an ambitious women-centric season with music by four audacious female composers. A centerpiece of this year’s Cabrillo Festival will be the highly anticipated premiere of Kristin Kuster’s When There Are Nine, a momentous and timely work celebrating United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A libretto by poet Megan Levad features nine poems touching upon Justice Ginsburg’s life and the pivotal civil rights issues that she has faced over the course of her distinguished career. Starring the acclaimed mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, and the incomparable Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, this Festival commission promises to be–like “RBG” herself–innovative, relevant, and brave. An American electro-acoustic composer, Nina Young was named one of WQXR’s “Top Ten Imagination-Grabbing, Trailblazing Artists.” Her Agnosco Veteris is loosely based on quotes found in the literary works of Virgil and Dante, and reflects central concepts of lost memories, vestigial emotions, and melancholy for the passage of time. Young joins us as composer-in-residence for the West Coast premiere, as will Australian composer Melody Eötvös for the West Coast premiere of her work, The Saqqara Bird. Inspired by the story of a mysterious bird-shaped wooden relic discovered during an 1898 expedition in Saqqara, Egypt, Eötvös explains, “Some hypothesize it is a ceremonial object, while others radically envision it as evidence that the Egyptians were dabbling in the principles of aviation. It has also been posited as a weather vane, an elite child’s toy, some sort of boomerang, and as a featured carving on the masthead of a sacred boat. This orchestral work places the Saqqara Bird at the intersection of all these theories in an imagined tapestry of the mechanical, the living, and the ancient becoming new again.” The program includes Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte for string orchestra. Inspired by the unexpected shift of character and key in Haydn’s Op. 77 No. 2., Entr’acte quietly captivates the audience as it moves between moments that Shaw hopes will “take you to the other side of Alice’s looking glass, in a kind of absurd, subtle, technicolor transition.”
MEETUP! The evening begins with an outdoor Pre-Concert Talk moderated by Tim Munro and including Cristi Măcelaru, composer Kristin Kuster, poet Megan Levad, and Roomful of Teeth director Brad Wells. A special dinner will be prepared by Feast for a King and served alfresco at the Civic Auditorium; order dinner and concert tickets here.