Jane Antonia Cornish: Duende

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Jane Antonia Cornish stepsComposer Jane Antonia Cornish grew up in England and currently resides in New York City.

Her interest in film music began while she was studying in university. Since then she’s led a fruitful career writing both music for the concert hall and for the big screen. Credits in the latter include the 2008 film “Fireflies in the Garden,” starring Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds and Willem Dafoe, and, most recently, Disney’s “Maleficent.”

Cornish’s chamber music is the focus of a new release on the Delos label, named after her piano trio “Duende.” The piece takes its conceptual impetus from the lectures and writings of poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca.

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Mohammed Fairouz: Drawing Inspiration from Text

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Photo credit: Samantha West

Photo credit: Samantha West

Although he’s only in his late twenties, composer Mohammed Fairouz is already one of today’s most-performed and commissioned composers. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine, the Imani Winds, and clarinetist David Krakauer are among the many champions of Fairouz’s work.

His international childhood has given him a uniquely cosmopolitan outlook which is immediately discernible in his work. Drawing from the music, poetry and philosophy of the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and the Mediterranean, Fairouz aims to illuminate the similarities of these cultures while also celebrating their uniqueness.

Fairouz’s Symphony No. 3 can be heard on a new CD release from the Sono Luminus label, along with his “Tahrir”, a concerto for clarinet and chamber orchestra inspired by the 2011 protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square.

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Christopher Rouse: Writing A Head-Scratcher

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Christopher Rouse

Christopher Rouse – (C) Jeff Herman

Christopher Rouse has just finished his second year as the Marie-Josée Kravis composer-in-residence at the New York Philharmonic. His residency was just extended for another year into the 2014/15 season.

Earlier this month, the New York Phil put on its first-ever Biennial new music festival. Over the course of 11 days, there were concerts of all types, ranging from opera to solo piano, orchestra and chamber music.

Perhaps the most visible of these events was the premiere of Rouse’s “Symphony No. 4″, a roughly 20-minute work in two movements. The piece is, in the composer’s own words, a “head-scratcher.” After a long stretch of bright, festive music, the symphony turns on a dime to become something else altogether: a dark, elegiac reflection concentrated in the lower reaches of the orchestra.

A complete recording of the symphony (made by WQXR at the premiere performance) can be found here.

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Charles Wuorinen: Reconciling Past and Present

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Composer Charles Wuorinen’s operatic adaptation of Annie Proulx’s short story “Brokeback Mountain” premiered earlier this year at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain. Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch sang the role of Ennis del Mar, and tenor Tom Randle sang as Jack Twist. Annie Proulx herself provided the libretto, and was reportedly delighted with this new incarnation of her 1997 short story.

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Annie Proulx and Charles Wuorinen, courtesy BroadwayWorld.com

A new CD of Wuorinen’s chamber music is being released this month on the Albany label. It features world premiere recordings of “Metagong” for two percussionists and two pianos, and his “Trio” for flute, bass clarinet, and piano. Both pieces were written in 2008. Two classics from the Wuorinen catalog are also included: the “Sonata” for violin and piano from 1988, and “Janissary Music” for percussion from 1966.

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Daniel Felsenfeld: They’re Just Words

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DanielFelsenfeld_galleryComposer and writer Daniel Felsenfeld studied at the New England Conservatory under Arthur Berger and Lee Hyla. His interests are remarkably wide-ranging, yet he manages to be astute in all of them, as evidenced by his vast catalogue of musical works as well as numerous essays on musical figures and issues.

In addition to writing operas, choral and solo vocal works, music for solo piano, chamber and symphony orchestra, Felsenfeld has also worked as an arranger for Jay-Z and has collaborated with ?uestlove and The Roots. His music was also recently featured as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial new music festival.

“It stopped being novel a long time ago to be a classical musician who doesn’t just listen to classical music.”

He has also been a resident artist at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.

Felsenfeld’s opera “The Inner Circle”, which deals with the life and times of sexologist Alfred Kinsey, is currently in progress, with readings scheduled for next spring.

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