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Jan. 27: American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) Presented by The Morgan Library & Museum

Featuring the World Premiere of The Exaltation of Inanna

by Artistic Director Clarice Jensen

Plus Music by Susie Ibarra and Ravel

Photo credit (ACME): Sachyn Mital | Available in hi-resolution at: Friday, January 27, 2023, 6:30pm Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum | 225 Madison Avenue | New York, NY Tickets: ACME: | Clarice Jensen: About The Morgan’s Exhibition She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia, ca. 3400–2000 B.C.: “contemporary music dynamos” - NPR on ACME “blazing intensity," "vital," "brilliant," "electrifying” - The New York Times

New York, NY – On Friday, January 27, 2023 at 6:30pm, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) will be presented by The Morgan Library & Museum at Gilder Lehrman Hall (225 Madison Avenue). The concert features three dynamic works that focus on the unique perspective of women from ancient through contemporary times in poetry, writing, and music, including the world premiere of The Exaltation of Inanna by ACME Artistic Director and cellist Clarice Jensen, Pulsation by Susie Ibarra, and Chansons Madécasses by Ravel. Jensen’s new work is tied to the Morgan’s current exhibition, She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia, ca. 3400-2000 B.C. Concert attendees will have access to the exhibit beginning at 5:30pm the evening of the performance.

Clarice Jensen’s new work for six female voices, string quartet, and electronics, is based on Enheduanna’s The Exaltation of Inanna. The world’s first author known by name, Enheduanna (2300 BC) was the daughter of the first king to build an empire, Sargon. He appointed Enheduanna to the position of high priestess at the most prestigious temple in the ancient city of Ur, where she presided for over forty years, spreading her theological ideas and authoring hymns.

Jensen had been inspired by reading about Enheduanna, and when she learned about The Morgan Library’s exhibition, felt it was the perfect occasion to propose premiering the new piece. She says, “The piece addresses the duality of two women, the high priestess and first known author Enheduanna, and the goddess Inanna, whom she invokes, praises, and requests intercession from in one of the oldest known texts. The piece addresses also the duality of earthbound strength of rule versus all encompassing mysticism and belief. Using as inspiration and material a work by a woman that celebrates a most powerful female deity celebrates the fact of ancient female influence and power of creation.”

Ravel composed his Chansons Madécasses (“Songs of Madagascar”) – a set of three songs for soprano (Francesca Federico), cello (Clarice Jensen), flute (Andrew Rehrig), and piano (Timo Andres) – with text from poet’s Évariste de Parny collection of the same name. With a woman as narrator, the first song, “Nahandove,” depicts de Parny’s lover and the anticipation of her arrival. In contrast, the second song, “Aoua,” serves as a warning to the indigenous people of Madagascar against the white men who captured them and colonized Madagascar. The final song, “Il est doux,” echoes the soothing nature of the first song and is also inspired by the poet’s intrigue of women.

Of her quartet, Susie Ibarra says, “Pulsation, like a pulse in the human body, is written with a continuous rhythm beating throughout the music, which flows through different pathways and patterns. Some beat patterns are inspired by pulsating signaling language from Philippine kulintang gong rhythmic modes. These are pulses that are beats of communication. Some of these patterns cross rhythms, changing how it feels, such as when a person experiences playing or listening to a polyrhythm. If we sit in these cross rhythms and listen to the shifts as it is played, our sense and perspective can shift where beginnings and ends are, and we can shift our sense of hearing multiple rhythms.”

ACME performers for this concert are Clarice Jensen, cello and ACME artistic director; Ben Russell and Laura Lutzke, violins; Kal Sugatski, viola; Grey Mcmurray, guitar; Timo Andres, piano; Andrew Rehrig, flute; Francesca Federico, Victoria Davis, AddieRose Brown, and Barbee Monk, sopranos; and Heather Jones and Alexa Rosenberg, mezzo sopranos.

About ACME:

Since 2004, led by cellist and artistic director Clarice Jensen, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) has risen to the highest ranks of American new music through a mix of meticulous musicianship, artistic vision, engaging collaborations, and unwavering standards in every regard. The membership of the amorphous collective includes some of the brightest young stars in the field. NPR calls them “contemporary music dynamos,” and Strings reports, “ACME’s absorbing playing pulsed with warm energy. . . Shared glances and inhales triggered transitions in a flow so seamless it seemed learned in a Jedi temple.” ACME was honored by ASCAP during its 10th anniversary season in 2015 for the “virtuosity, passion, and commitment with which it performs and champions American composers.”

The ensemble has performed at leading international venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAM, The Kennedy Center, Washington Performing Arts, UCLA's Royce Hall, Stanford Live, Chicago’s Millennium Park, Duke Performances, The Satellite in Los Angeles, STG Presents in Seattle, Melbourne Recital Hall and Sydney Opera House in Australia, and at festivals including the Sacrum Profanum Festival in Poland, All Tomorrow's Parties in England, Auckland Arts Festival in New Zealand, Summer Nostos Festival in Greece, Boston Calling, and Big Ears in Knoxville, TN.

More about ACME:

About Clarice Jensen:

About The Morgan Library & Museum:

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