Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Funding Announcements, Press, Press Releases

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Awarded Grant to Support Its Production of Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields, Premiering April, 2014

CONTACTS:

December 9, 2013
Janelle McCoy, Executive Director
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
215.735.9922

Edward McNally, Above The Fold
404.281.641

The Aaron Copeland Fund for Music Performing Ensembles Program
Announces Its First Award to Philadelphia’s Largest Symphonic Chorus

(Philadelphia) Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia has been awarded a $9,000 grant by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music to support its world premiere production of Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields. The 140-member symphonic chorus will give four performances of the work in the historic Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral April 26 and 27, 2014.

Anthracite Fields is inspired by Wolfe’s own research into Pennsylvania coal mining culture and interviews with miners and their families. Wolfe’s folk-classical hybrid will incorporate the historic Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral as a dramatic backdrop. Mendelssohn Club will be joined by the musicians of the Bang on a Can All-Stars for all four performances of this important world premiere.

“We are uniquely honored to be awarded a grant by a national Fund as prestigious as The Aaron Copland Fund for Music,” said Mendelssohn Club Artistic Director Alan Harler. “The Julia Wolfe composition is among some of our most groundbreaking projects in the 140-year history of this chorus. It certainly matches such groundbreaking productions as battle hymns and Urban Echo: Circle Told, our work with composer Pauline Oliveros, from several years ago.“ Harler added, “Not only will we be working with Julia Wolfe, an acclaimed finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, but also with Bang on a Can All-Stars, one of the foremost musical ensembles in contemporary music.”

In keeping with his lifelong devotion to contemporary music, composer Aaron Copland created the Fund for Music and bequeathed to it a large part of his estate. The Fund’s purpose is to encourage and improve public knowledge and appreciation of contemporary American music. The Fund operates three grant programs and also grants permission for the use of Copland’s music. Past award recipients in the Performing Ensembles category have included the Baltimore Symphony, eighth blackbird and JACK Quartet.

According to Christopher Rouse, President of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, “The grant proposal review committee looked at artistic quality of the ensemble and its repertoire, the chorus’ commitment to the performance of contemporary American music over a substantial period of time and its demonstrated financial ability to carry a season or project to completion.” Rouse added, “We are delighted to be able to support an ensemble with such a rich history that also continues to commission and present great music by some of the most exciting and innovative American composers.”

In keeping with his lifelong devotion to contemporary music, composer Aaron Copland created the Fund for Music and bequeathed to it a large part of his estate. The Fund’s purpose is to encourage and improve public knowledge and appreciation of contemporary American music. The Fund operates three grant programs and also grants permission for the use of Copland’s music. Past award recipients in the Performing Ensembles category have included the Baltimore Symphony, eighth blackbird and JACK Quartet.

Anthracite Fields was commissioned through Meet the Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. Additional support was made possible through the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Alan Harler New Ventures Fund; The Presser Foundation; The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; the National Endowment for the Arts; and The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia.

Anthracite Fields will be the fifth of six concert programs in Philadelphia featuring the historic chorus during the 2013-14 season. The concerts will guide audiences across a range of musical genres and performance spaces. Mendelssohn Club will open and close their season in Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center.

About The Aaron Copland Fund for Music
In keeping with his lifelong devotion to contemporary music, composer Aaron Copland created the Fund and bequeathed to it a large part of his estate. The Fund’s purpose is to encourage and improve public knowledge and appreciation of contemporary American music. The Fund operates three grant programs and also grants permission for the use of Copland’s music.

The Program’s Objective is to support performing organizations whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appreciation of serious contemporary American music. Funds are available for general operating support or project support for professional performing ensembles with a history of substantial commitment to contemporary American music and with plans to continue that commitment.

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
Since its founding fifteen decades ago, Mendelssohn Club Chorus has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities. Mendelssohn Club, one of America’s oldest choruses, continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of musical organizations, each of which is devoted to representing, or reaching out to, new audiences in innovative ways. Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performs choral music to create a shared transcendent experience among its singers and audiences. Through the excellence of its adventurous performances, Mendelssohn Club advances the development of choral music as an art form.

“With a passionate commitment to artistic excellence, repertoire diversity, audience engagement, and commissioning new works, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, under the direction of Maestro Alan Harler, continues to be a dynamic, vibrant, and relevant choral ensemble in the greater Philadelphia community.”

Rollo Dillworth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chorus America

For information about Mendelssohn Club’s concerts and programs, or to order tickets for the 2013-14 season, visit www.mcchorus.org.

You can also find Mendelssohn Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcchorus.

Julia Wolfe

Drawing inspiration from folk, classical, and rock genres, Julia Wolfe’s music brings a modern sensibility to each while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them. Her music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes and demands attention from the audience. In the words of the Wall Street Journal, Wolfe has “long inhabited a terrain of [her] own, a place where classical forms are recharged by the repetitive patterns of minimalism and the driving energy of rock.”

Wolfe has collaborated with theater artist Anna Deveare Smith, architects Diller, Scofidio+Renfro, filmmaker Bill Morrison, Ridge Theater, director Francois Girard, Jim Findlay, and choreographer Susan Marshall among others. Her music has been heard at BAM, the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival, Settembre Musica (Italy), Theatre de la Ville (Paris), Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and has been recorded on Cantaloupe, Teldec, Point/Universal, Sony Classical, and Argo/Decca. In 2009, Wolfe joined the NYU Steinhardt School composition faculty. She is co-founder of New York’s music collective Bang On A Can All-Stars. Wolfe was nominated for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Steel Hammer, an innovative composition that, with voices and old-time instruments, turns the old folk tune John Henry into an epic distillation of Appalachia.

Wolfe has written a major body of work for strings, from quartets to full orchestra. Her quartets, as described by the New Yorker magazine “combine the violent forward drive of rock music with an aura of minimalist serenity [using] the four instruments as a big guitar, whipping psychedelic states of mind into frenzied and ecstatic climaxes.

Wolfe’s Cruel Sister for string orchestra, inspired by a traditional English ballad of a love rivalry between sisters, was commissioned by the Munich Chamber Orchestra and received its US premiere at the Spoleto Festival, and was recently released (along with her other string orchestra piece, Fuel) on Cantaloupe Records. Written shortly after September 11, 2001, her string quartet concerto My Beautiful Scream, written for Kronos Quartet and the Orchestre National de France (premiered in the US at the Cabrillo Festival under the direction of Marin Alsop), was inspired by the idea of a slow motion scream. The Vermeer Room, Girlfriend, and Window of Vulnerability exemplify Wolfe’s ability to create vivid sonic images. Girlfriend, for mixed chamber ensemble and recorded sound, uses a haunting audio landscape that consists of skidding cars and breaking glass. The Vermeer Room, inspired by the Vermeer painting “A Girl Asleep” — which when x-rayed reveals a hidden figure — received its orchestral premiere with the San Francisco Symphony. Window of Vulnerability, written for the American Composers Orchestra and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, Wolfe creates a massive sonic universe of dense textures and fragile windows.

Wolfe has also extended her talents to theatre by composing for Anna Deveare Smith’s House Arrest, and won an Obie award for her score to Ridge Theater’s Jennie Richie. She has compiled a series of collaborative multimedia works with composers Michael Gordon and David Lang, including Lost Objects (Concerto Koln, directed by Francois Girard), Shelter (Musikfabrik and Ridge Theater), and The Carbon Copy Building (with comic-book artist Ben Katchor). Wolfe recently created the city-wide spectacle Traveling Music with architects Diller Scofidio+Renfro in Bordeaux, France, filling the streets of the old city with 100 musicians walking and riding in pedi-cabs. Her work with film includes Fuel for the Hamburg-based Ensemble Resonanz and filmmaker Bill Morrison, and Impatience and Combat de Boxe for the Asko-Schoenberg Ensemble and 1920s film experimentalist Charles De Keukeleire.

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