Dec. 2: GRAMMY-Nominated Violinist Curtis Stewart with Experiential Orchestra
Experiential Orchestra (EXO) and ChamberMusicNY present
An Evening with GRAMMY®-Nominated
Violinist and Composer Curtis Stewart
Conducted by EXO Music Director James Blachly
Featuring Curtis Stewart in the World Premiere of Julia Perry’s Violin Concerto with her 1977 Revisions; New York Premiere of the Piece
Plus Music by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson & Stewart
EXO’s partnership with ChamberMusicNY expands access with free tickets
Audience invited to sit among the orchestra members
Friday, December 2, 2022 at 8pm
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music | 450 West 37th Street | New York, NY
Tickets: $20-75 at www.experientialorchestra.com
Audience members must show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks while in attendance
New York, NY – Violinist and composer Curtis Stewart, nominated this year for a GRAMMY® for his celebrated album On Power, joins Experiential Orchestra (EXO) and Music Director James Blachly as the featured guest soloist with the orchestra on Friday, December 2, 2022 at 8pm at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music (450 W. 37th St.). Stewart, who co-curated the program with Blachly, will give the world premiere of a new edition of Julia Perry’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, which includes the revisions that she made in 1977 to this piece from 1963, by Roger Zahab. The performance will be the first time that Perry’s Violin Concerto will be performed in New York, in any edition. The concert will also include Curtis Stewart in music from his album On Power and in Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s Louisiana Blues Strut for solo violin in a new orchestration by David Krivit, and EXO in Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s virtuosic Sinfonietta No. 1 for string orchestra. As part of the experiential nature of the concert, audience members will be invited to sit among the orchestra.
Composer Julia Perry’s early career was filled with promise: she spent two summers at the Berkshire Music Center, studied with Luigi Dallapiccola and briefly with Nadia Boulanger, won the Prix de Fountainbleu and two Guggenheim Fellowships, and her Study for Orchestra was performed by the New York Philharmonic in 1965. But tragically, many of her roughly 100 compositions remain unknown. As J. Michele Edwards writes, “Her career was curtailed because of health problems, especially a paralytic stroke affecting her right side in 1971. Her letters reveal her effort to walk, talk, and conduct again. She did learn to write with her left hand and resumed composing; however, she endured tragic emotional and financial difficulties.”
Perry’s Violin Concerto was composed in 1963 and revised in 1968, but she continued to update the score until 1977, only two years before her death. This performance marks not only the New York premiere of the work, but the world premiere of the newly updated edition, incorporating Perry’s extensive revisions to its orchestration.
James Blachly says, “In this concert, EXO is continuing its tradition of collaborating with some of today’s most innovative artists to create engaging, immersive concert experiences. Curtis Stewart has been a colleague for more than a decade, and we are so thrilled for him to bring his unique voice and perspective to our audience. We both have been fascinated by the music of Julia Perry and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson for many years, and this concert seemed like the perfect way to amplify Curtis’s extraordinary work and vision.”
Curtis Stewart says, “The music of Coleridge-Taylor Perkinison and Julia Perry is near and dear to me - the first time I heard of Perkinson was through a mentor - Ashley Horne, who knew "Perky" personally. We both ended up playing his solo work Louisiana Blues Strut on Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage back to back in the program. He would tell me stories about his friend and share anecdotes and attitudes about music making. Julia Perry has occupied a mysterious space in my musical world for a while - for years, Jannina Norpoth from our ensemble PUBLIQuartet has been bringing works of hers, but we have been grappling with the quirks of her publishing (or lack thereof) and unable to perform much of what she originally wrote. I am so excited to be able to finally play one of her original works! These composers both capture the abstract, soulful, individualistic and grounded spirit of late 20th century American composition - pairing these works with my own arrangements of Coleridge-Taylor 24 Negro Melodies and re-workings of Duke Ellington feels like a fitting, if not incomplete, tribute to some of my own musical ancestors.”
Up Next for EXO:
January 27, 2023: Strauss’s Four Last Songs with soprano Sarah Brailey
February 23, 2023: EXO Residency at Carnegie Hill Concerts
March 19, 2023: Stravinsky at The Phillips Collection
April 27, 2023: EXO Residency at Carnegie Hill Concerts
For details visit: www.experientialorchestra.com/calendar
About Curtis Stewart:
Multi-GRAMMY nominated violinist Curtis Stewart enjoys an eclectic career bouncing between various realms of music: from MTV specials with Wyclef Jean and sold out shows at Madison Square Garden with Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and Seal, to stints at the Kennedy center with the Jimmy Heath Big Band and performance installations at the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
Curtis has performed as a classical soloist at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall, as a special guest soloist/curator with the New York Philharmonic “Bandwagon,” held chamber music residencies at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Sawdust, and appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival. His ensembles PUBLIQuartet and The Mighty Third Rail realize a vision to find personal and powerful connections between styles, cultures and musics. Curtis has worked with today's forward thinking musicians including Henry Threadgill, Jessie Montgomery, Alicia Hall-Moran and Jason Moran, Mark O’Connor, members of International Contemporary Ensemble, Billy Childs, Diane Monroe, the JACK quartet, members of Snarky Puppy, Don Byron, Linda Oh, Ari Hoenig, Matt Wilson, among many others.
An avid teacher, he has taught Chamber Music and “Cultural Equity and Performance Practice” at the Juilliard School, Directed the Contemporary Chamber Music program at the Perlman Music Program, served on the Board of Concert Artist Guild, Directed several orchestras and all levels of music theory at the LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts for ten years, and is currently the Chamber Music and New Juilliard Ensemble Manager at the Juilliard School, in New York City. Curtis graduated magna cum laude from the Eastman School of Music with a BA of Mathematics from the University of Rochester.
About James Blachly:
James Blachly is a Grammy®-winning conductor dedicated to enriching the concert experience by connecting with audiences in memorable and meaningful ways. James Blachly serves as Music Director of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra and of the Experiential Orchestra, and is a versatile guest conductor in diverse repertoire with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.
With the Experiential Orchestra, he has conducted the works of Arvo Pärt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, invited audiences to dance to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, sit within the orchestra at Lincoln Center, and engage with Symphonie fantastique and Petrushka with circus choreography at The Muse in Brooklyn. Their world premiere recording of English composer Dame Ethel Smyth’s 1930 masterpiece The Prison, released on Chandos Records, won a 2021 Grammy Award and was widely acclaimed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Gramophone, San Francisco Chronicle, Financial Times, The Guardian, and many others.
In 2022, he held a week-long artist residency at Montclair State University featuring composer in residence Jessie Montgomery, where he taught courses on composition, conducting, choral techniques, and delivered several keynote lectures, culminating in an Experiential Orchestra-style immersive performance. At the invitation of founder Charles Dickerson, he assisted in curating a concert celebrating works for orchestra by African Diaspora composers, and was one of six conductors to lead the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles at the League of American Orchestras conference.
A strong supporter of composers of our time, Blachly has commissioned and premiered more than 40 works by composers including Jessie Montgomery, Courtney Bryan, Viet Cuong, Michi Wiancko, Kate Copeland Ettinger, Tommy Daugherty, Patrick Castillo, Brad and Doug Balliett, and many others. In recent seasons, he has collaborated with soloists Paul Jacobs, Michelle Cann, Charles Yang, Julia Bullock, Simone Porter, Dashon Burton, Laquita Mitchell, Helga Davis, Sarah Brailey, Andrés Cárdenes, Michael Chioldi, Karen Kim, Andrew Yee, and more.
In 2020, Blachly was invited to serve as the Associate Editor and Orchestral Liaison for the African Diaspora Music Project, directed by Dr. Louise Toppin. In that capacity, he has overseen the compilation of a database and website detailing more than 1,300 published works for orchestra by African diaspora composers.
About Experiential Orchestra:
The Experiential Orchestra (EXO) was founded by conductor James Blachly as a way to invite audiences more deeply into the sound and powerful experience of the symphony orchestra. Their Grammy-winning world-premiere recording of Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Prison (1930) was critically acclaimed in The New York Times, Gramophone, The New Yorker, The Guardian, and many other publications.
The orchestra is drawn from top-level New York freelancers, with members of Decoda, Musicians from Marlboro, Canadian Brass and other elite ensembles in principal positions. As quoted in Symphony Magazine, Blachly says, “We try and keep it fresh for everybody. We are not trying to displace the standard concert experience, but invite people in so that when they next attend a traditional concert they hear things differently.”
Recent concerts have been presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Roulette, National Sawdust, Lincoln Center, Americas Society, and in partnership with Musicambia and Groupmuse at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Concerts have also been presented at Penn State University, American University, and the Phillips Collection in Washington DC.
Founded in 2012 as a way to introduce New Yorkers to the intimacy of live chamber music, ChamberMusicNY is a volunteer-staffed, non-profit with a mission to present free performances of chamber music, small contemporary ensembles, and jazz ensembles to the community and others who may not otherwise be able to experience these cultural events and to employ local musicians and to utilize the concert halls and performance spaces in New York.