2017 was an exciting year for Benjamin Verdery, beginning with a world premiere by one of his closest mentors, Seymour Bernstein, entitled Searching for a Chorale. The work has been published by Doberman-Yipan with a video also available on YouTube.
Furthermore, Beat Box champion/vocal artist Mark Martin and the MICHIYAYA Dance Company, who choreographed a group of Verdery’s Etudes, joined him for East Coast concerts. Verdery was also honored to write a competition piece, the rain falls equally on all things for the Changsha International Guitar Festival in China. Doberman-Yipan has published the work, and it will appear on Verdery’s forthcoming album on Elm City Records. Verdery and Solomon Silber continue to release new videos with a variety of performers on Elm City Records.
A highlight of 2018 will be the world premiere of a new piece by Bryce Dessner (The National) for string quartet and guitar with the St. Lawrence Quartet, premiering at 92nd Street Y on May 10. Verdery will be recording this work along with his new arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s Clarinet Sonata for guitar and string quartet.
Verdery has also been commissioned by Javier Farias to write a new piece for the Chilean Guitar Ensemble and singer/songwriter Nano Stern. The premiere will be in Santiago, Chile in November 2018.
Finally, a book entitled Benjamin Verdery A Montage of a Classical Guitarist, published by Hamilton Books and written by Thomas Donahue, including several of Verdery’s own essays, will be released in May 2018.
Verderu is in his 33rd year as guitar professor at the Yale School of Music, 10th year as Artistic Director of 92Y’s Art of the Guitar Series, and 19th year of Maui Summer Master Class. Additionally, he has recently accepted the position of Artistic Director of the Connecticut Guitar Festival.
Verdery uses D'Addario strings and guitars by Garrett Lee, Otto Vowinkel, and Greg Smallman. He is represented by http://www.gamisimonds.com/verdery. Visit benjaminverdery.com for more information.
Hailed by The New York Times as “striking and resourceful…handsomely brooding,” Hannah Lash’s music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall, Lincoln Center, the Times Center in Manhattan, the Chicago Art Institute, Tanglewood Music Center, Harvard University, The Aspen Music Festival & School, The Chelsea Art Museum, and on the American Opera Project’s stage in New York City. Commissions include The Fromm Foundation, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Northwest, the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, American Composers Orchestra, Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, The Naumburg Foundation, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Arditti Quartet, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Colorado Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival and School, among many others.
Lash has received numerous honors and prizes, including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, a Charles Ives Scholarship (2011) and Fellowship (2016) from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fromm Foundation Commission, a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant, a fellowship from Yaddo Artist Colony, the Naumburg Prize in Composition, the Barnard Rogers Prize in Composition, the Bernard and Rose Sernoffsky Prize in Composition, and numerous academic awards. Her orchestral work Furthermore was selected by the American Composers Orchestra for the 2010 Underwood New Music Readings. Her chamber opera, Blood Rose, was presented by New York City Opera’s VOX in the spring of 2011.
The New York Times music critic Steve Smith praised Lash’s work for the JACK Quartet, Frayed: “Ms. Lash’s compact sequence of pale brush strokes, ghostly keening and punchy outbursts was striking and resourceful; you hoped to hear it again…” Esteemed music critic Bruce Hodges lauded Lash’s piece Stalk for solo harp as being “appealing…florid, and introspective.”
In addition to performances of her music in the USA, Lash’s music is also well known internationally. In April of 2008, her string quartet Four Still was performed in Kiev in the Ukraine’s largest international new music festival, “Musical Premieres of the Season,” curated by Carson Cooman. In the summer of 2010, her piece Unclose was premiered by members of Eighth Blackbird at the MusicX festival in Blonay, Switzerland. In 2016, her chamber orchestra work This Ease saw its German premiere and was selected as “audience favorite” in performances by the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz, conducted by Hermann Bäumer.
Recent premieres include the multi-movement orchestral work The Voynich Symphony by the New Haven Symphony, Form and Postlude for Chamber Music Northwest, a new Requiem for the Yale Choral Artists, How to Remember Seeds for The Calidore String Quartet, Three Shades Without Angles, for flute, viola and harp, by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Two Movements for violin and piano, commissioned by the Library of Congress for Ensemble Intercontemporain, and a new chamber opera, Beowulf, for Guerilla Opera, as well as several new orchestral works: Chaconnes, for the New York Philharmonic's Biennial, Eating Flowers, for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Nymphs, for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and This Ease, for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as well as two concerti for harp premiered by the American Composers Orchestra (Concerto No. 1 for Harp and Chamber Orchestra) and the Colorado Music Festival (Concerto No. 2 for Harp and Orchestra), both with Lash as soloist.
Other recent premieres include God Music Bug Music (2011) with the Minnesota Orchestra, the monodrama Stoned Prince (2013) by loadbang, Subtilior Lamento (2012) with the Da Capo Chamber Players at Carnegie Hall, and Glockenliebe (2012), for three glockenspiels, with Talujon Percussion. Her 2011 orchestral work, Hush, was featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2013 Brooklyn Festival. In 2016, Lash was honored with a Composer Portrait Concert at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, which included newly commissioned works for pianist Lisa Moore (Six Etudes and a Dream) and loadbang (Music for Eight Lungs). In the 2017-2018 season, Lash's piano concerto is given its premiere performances by Jeremy Denk and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Atlantic Classical Orchestra debuts a new orchestral work and tenor Paul Appleby will give the premiere of a new song cycle commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Hannah Lash is currently developing a new chamber opera and a concerto for two harps and orchestra, which will both see premieres in 2019.
Brasil Guitar Duo
Brasil Guitar Duo, a 2006 winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, and hailed by Classical Guitar magazine for its "maturity of musicianship and technical virtuosity," is equally at home on a classical or a world-music series. Its innovative programming features a seamless blend of traditional and Brazilian works, resulting in a full global touring schedule and a growing catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings. The Duo has appeared internationally on major concert series and at festivals in Cuba, Germany, England, South Korea, Colombia, Brazil, Austria, Panama, Poland, and Bermuda. Recent and upcoming U.S. engagements include recitals in such major venues as New York, Santa Barbara, Miami, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, St. Louis, Tucson, Portland, Nashville, San Jose, and Oakland.
Committed to performing new chamber music employing the guitar, the Duo joined cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Carlos Prieto in the October 2014 world premiere of El arco y la lira, a work for two cellos and two guitars by the esteemed Cuban composer Leo Brouwer. On the same program—a highlight of the sixth annual Festival Leo Brouwer in Havana—the Duo gave the Cuban premiere of Brouwer’s Sonata de Los Viajeros, which they had presented in its U.S. premiere the previous month and recorded for a Naxos CD of Brouwer’s complete works for two guitars, scheduled for release in 2015.
Eager advocates for both traditional and new concerti for two guitars and orchestra, the Duo premiered a Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra by Brazilian composer Paulo Bellinati with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in June 2012,, under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero, and gave the work its U.S. premiere in April 2013. Recent concerto engagements include concerts with the Dallas and Houston symphony orchestras, Ohio's Dayton Philharmonic and Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in New York City, and the Heartland Festival Orchestra in Peoria, Illinois.
The Duo's first CD, in 2007, was Bom Partido, a CAG Records release featuring all Brazilian repertoire that prompted Steve Marsh to write in Classical Guitar, "The maturity of musicianship and technical virtuosity displayed on this debut recording by João Luiz and Douglas Lora is simply outstanding...The original compositions by Douglas Lora comfortably stand alongside the ‘big names' on the rest of the programme and are well crafted and very appealing new works." Two critically acclaimed CDs on the Naxos label, released in 2008 and 2009, contain the complete works for two guitars by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The Duo has also won praise for its most recent CD, released on the Avie label: a collaboration with flutist Marina Piccinini that features all of J.S. Bach's sonatas for flute and harpsichord, as arranged by the Duo for flute and two guitars.
Brasil Guitar Duo actively strives to expand the repertoire for two guitars, with Lora contributing works of his own and Luiz arranging both classical and Brazilian music. Appearing frequently in diverse non-traditional spaces, the Duo brings a broad repertoire of classical guitar duos (Bach, Sor, Scarlatti, Debussy, etc.) combined with such traditional Brazilian dance forms as choro, samba, maxixe, and baião.
Duo members João Luiz and Douglas Lora met in São Paulo as teenage guitar students and have been performing together for more than fifteen years. The Duo's primary studies were with Henrique Pinto, Fabio Zanon, Paulo Martelli, Sergio Abreu, and Alice Artz. Douglas Lora earned his Master's degree at the University of Miami as a student of Dr. Rene Gonzalez. João Luiz received his Master’s degree from Mannes College the New School for Music under Michael Newman, and with sponsorship from the Augustine Guitar Scholarship Fund he received a Doctoral degree at Manhattan School of Music as a student of David Leisner. He is head of the guitar department at the State University of New York-Purchase, and also teaches guitar at New Jersey City University.
Danny Morrison and Solomon Silber
With music ranging from roots rock n roll and psychedelic blues to acoustic ballads, Songs from the Speakeasy - a collaboration between vocalist Danny Morrison and guitarist Solomon Silber - is a testament to the duos creative breadth and commitment to American music roots.
Matthew Wadsworth studied lute at London’s Royal Academy of Music with Nigel North, after which he spent a year at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague.
Working in the UK, Europe and North America as a soloist and chamber musician, Wadsworth has appeared at most major concert halls and festivals, and can often be heard on radio, both in live performance and recordings.
His 8 CD recordings for Channel Classics, Linn Records, Deux-Elles and Wigmore Live have all received international critical acclaim, and have been featured as Gramophone Editors Choice on 3 occasions.
Matthew’s Colaborations with singers include Sopranos Carolyn Sampson, Julia Doyle and Emma Kirkby, counter-tenor Christopher Ainslie, tenor James Gilchrist and baritone Peter Harvey.
In 2017, Matthew gave the world premier at the Wigmore Hall of ‘The Miller’s Tale’, a solo theorbo piece written for him by composer Stephen Goss, and commissioned by guitarist John Williams.
In 2018, he will give the rst performances of a theorbo concerto being written for him by Stephen Goss. This includes the premier in Hong Kong, and then a tour with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Matthew has given concerts at the Bruges festival, the Klara festival, the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, The Sam Wanamaker Theatre at Shakespeares Globe, the Georgian Concert Society (Edinburgh), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Lufthansa, York, Beverley, Warwick, Spitalelds, Holt, North York Moores, Budapest, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal Baroque, Mitte-Europa and Innsbruck festivals.
He has also worked with The Academy of Ancient Music, English Touring Opera, Birmingham Opera Company, Independent Opera, The Netherlands Bach Society, I Fagiolini, The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, The Musicians of the Globe, Arion, Constantinople, The Theatre of Early Music and Les Violons du Roy.
Australian composer Nicole Murphy’s music has been described as “exquisite, sensitive and delicate”. She is the recipient of various awards, including the ICEBERG International Call for Scores (2017), Nief Norf International Call for Scores (2016), the MAFB International Commissioning Prize (2015), the Theodore Front International Orchestral Prize (2013), and the Definiens C3 International Composer’s Award (2011). She was chosen as the young composer to represent Australia at the 30th Asian Composers League Festival in Tel Aviv (2012). Recently, Nicole was selected as one of six composers to work with Steve Reich in Toronto (2016) as a part of Soundstreams celebrations of his 80th birthday.
Nicole has been commissioned by eminent arts organisations including the Australian Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance (London), Experiments in Opera/Symphony Space (New York), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Wild Rumpus (San Francisco), Chamber Sounds (Singapore), and the Definiens Project (Los Angeles). Her music has been performed by ensembles such as the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, NOWensemble (New York), Ars Nova (Dallas), and Halcyon (Sydney). She has received performances at numerous festivals including the Atlantic Music Festival (Maine), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Connecticut), the Dallas Festival of Modern Music, the Nief Norf Festival (Tennessee) and the Bowdoin International Music Festival (Maine).
Nicole is represented as an Associate Artist by the Australian Music Centre and holds the position of Composer-in-Residence at the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries. Her music is published by Wirripang and Nicole holds a PhD from the University of Queensland.