A new commission from composer Nell Shaw Cohen.
A love letter to wanderlust, this World Premiere commission weaves together art songs, choral music, and literature into an expansive cantata on the theme of walking. Influences from rock, folk, and musical theater shine in a lyrical and evocative score by composer/librettist Nell Shaw Cohen (It’s a Long Way, Transform the World with Beauty), marrying Skylark’s voices with an instrumental quartet. From Walt Whitman to the present day, Sauntering Songs celebrates diverse characters who search for freedom and fulfillment through subversive journeys on foot.
Nell Shaw Cohen (b. 1988) is a composer, librettist, and multimedia artist. She evokes landscapes, visual art, and the lives of mavericks in her lyrical works for the stage, concert hall, and visual media. Her commissions have included Houston Grand Opera, Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Boston Choral Ensemble, Juventas New Music Ensemble, American Wild Ensemble, The Brass Project, Laura Strickling, and Montage Music Society. Her operas have had workshops with Fort Worth Opera, The American Opera Project, New Dramatists, New York University, and University of New Mexico, and she was first runner-up for the 2020 Zepick Modern Opera Competition. Cohen earned degrees in composition from NYU and New England Conservatory, where her teachers included Herschel Garfein and Michael Gandolfi. Previously Artist-in-Residence with Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Cohen has received an OPERA America Commissioning Grant for Female Composers, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music. As Founder & Director of Landscape Music, an international network of composers and performers, she advocates for music inspired by landscape, nature, and place. She lives in the Shawangunk Mountains of New York's Hudson Valley.
James Moore, Guitar
James Moore is a composer, guitarist, and bandleader who has earned the titles of “local electric guitar hero" by Time Out New York and "model new music citizen" by The New York Times. He enjoys an active career writing, performing, and collaborating with an eclectic community of artists, bringing in influences from classical, folk, jazz, indie rock, and experimental music. As a chamber and orchestral player, Moore has performed with Dawn Upshaw & Gilbert Kalish, Alarm Will Sound, Bang on a Can, Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion, The LA Phil New Music Group, Wet Ink, and Clogs. As a sideman, he has backed up vocalists Toshi Reagon and Rhiannon Giddens, and played with members of Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, Wilco, and The National. Composers he has worked with include Robert Ashley, John Adams, Eve Beglarian, Pauline Oliveros, Larry Polansky, and Steve Reich. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Moore received his B.A. in Music from The University of California, Santa Cruz; his M.M. in Classical Guitar Performance from Yale University; and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Music Composition at Princeton University. He has served on the faculty of Princeton's Atelier program, and has been a guest lecturer at universities across the country and abroad. His writings include articles for NewMusicBox and Arcana: Musicians on Music.
Juventas New Music Ensemble
Juventas New Music Ensemble is a contemporary chamber group with a special focus on emerging voices. Juventas shares classical music as a vibrant, living art form, bringing audiences music from a diverse array of composers that live in today’s world and respond to our time. Since its founding in 2005, Juventas has performed the music of more than 300 living composers. The ensemble has earned a reputation as a curator with a keen eye for new talent. It opens doors for composers with top-notch professional performances that present their work in the best possible light. Recognition for the ensemble’s work includes the American Prize in Opera Performance and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Boston Foundation. Juventas is featured on albums by Innova Recordings, Parma Records, and New Dynamic Records, and has held residencies at Boston Conservatory, Harvard University, Longy School of Music, Middlebury College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Juventas has a storied history of dynamic collaboration with artists in other media, including dancers, painters, scientists, poets, puppeteers, and robotics engineers. A leader in the field, Juventas also facilitates the Boston New Music Festival, a week-long showcase of Boston’s contemporary music scene.
This program is supported in part by grants from the Falmouth Cultural Council and the Newton Cultural Council, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
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