Continuing its Composers OutFront! series, ACO's season-long focus on composer-performers expands to the borough of Brooklyn at BAMCafé, with performances by composer-guitarist Andrew McKenna Lee on Friday, March 2 at 9:30pm; and composer-pipaist Min Xiao-Fen on Friday, March 30 at 9:30pm. Andrew Lee's performance explores the rich stylistic versatility of the acoustic and electric guitars, while Min Xiao-Fen incorporates her Chinese heritage in a fusion of traditional pipa music and jazz-based sonorities.
Composers OutFront! puts composers on stage, and connects the dots between their musical roots as performers and their works for the concert hall. By featuring young musical creators-with interests ranging from jazz and improvised music to rock and pop, and a variety of world music influences-the series introduces an eclectic array of contemporary musicians to new audiences, helps develop the network of composers on whose behalf ACO exists, provides connections with the concerts ACO gives at Carnegie Hall, and establishes a deeper context for audiences to understand the artists' work. "Composers today wear multiple hats-performing, composing and living in more than one realm of musical expression," says ACO Artistic Director Robert Beaser. "If Composers OutFront! helps to debunk any remaining 'ivory tower' stereotypes about who composers are and how they create, all the better," he adds.
"just phenomenal" -Sequenza21/
"hard edged... Lee's command of his style must be respected." -Newark Star Ledger
Guitarist-composer Andrew McKenna Lee braves the wilds of Brooklyn to forge a new path with his axe on March 2. With "phenomenal" performance chops and original compositions ranging from "the raunchy to the refined," Lee demonstrates just how much damage he can do to out-dated expectations of nylon-string and electric guitar in a 90-minute set that includes solo performances as well as collaborations with special guests Janus and NOW Ensemble.
Andrew McKenna Lee began his musical studies on the guitar at age twelve, going on to pursue composition in his late teens. He completed his undergraduate work at Carnegie Mellon University in 1997 and finished his Masters degree in 2000 at the Manhattan School of Music. His teachers have included Leonardo Balada, Richard Danielpour, and Steven Mackey. He is currently in the Ph.D. program in composition at Princeton University. In recent years, his music has been performed by the Brentano String Quartet, ensemble ereprijs, the New Jersey Symphony, Kroumata, and eighth blackbird. His works have also been presented at the International Music Festival of Toroella de Montgrí, Spain, International Gaudeamus Week of the Netherlands, the Stockholm Arts and Sciences Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. As a guitarist and performer, he has given solo recitals and concerts in venues such as New York's Symphony Space, the Harris Theatre of the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, Princeton University's Richardson Auditorium, the Royal University College of Music in Stockholm, and in conjunction with the Aspen Music Festival. Lee's BAMCafé performance previews his appearances at ACO's Orchestra Underground concert at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia on March 25, and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on March 26.
"take(s) her ancient Chinese string instrument into the future" -Village Voice
"astonishing" -Chicago Tribune
Question: What in the world do Chinese folk music, Bluegrass and Thelonious Monk have in common? Answer: Min Xiao-Fen's Blue Pipa Trio, with Bill McCrossen on bass and Steve Salerno on guitar. The Blue Pipa Trio makes "world music" their music, continually exploring the gamut between traditional and modern compositions for pipa, the music of jazz greats Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis, and Min's own experimental works. A breathtaking virtuoso and courageous pioneer in both orchestral and underground projects, Min Xiao-Fen shows audiences exactly what Duke Ellington had in mind when he said that there are only two kinds of music in this world.
Internationally known for her virtuosity and fluid style, Min Xiao-Fen learned the pipa from her father, Min Ji-Qian, a professor and pipa master at Nanjing University. Her work as a pipa soloist for the famed Nanjing National Music Orchestra from 1980 to 1992 set the standard for the rest of her career. Adventure and exploration have always been a hallmark of this great artist's work, and Min has received high acclaim for her classical, new music and jazz performances. She has been featured as a soloist with the New York City Opera, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the vocal ensemble Chanticleer, the San Diego Symphony and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. She has performed solo concerts at the Vienna Music Festival, the Utrecht International Lute Festival, the Geneva Music Festival, the Berlin Chinese Music Festival, the New York Guitar Festival and at various jazz festivals in Paris, Quebec and Jakarta. She has also taught master classes and has been an artist in residence at schools and universities across the United States and Europe, including the Juilliard School, the Boston Conservatory, the New School, the Haystack Mountain School of Arts Crafts and the Amsterdam Conservatory. She currently lives in New York City, and is the founder of Blue Pipa, Inc. (www.bluepipa.org). Min's BAMCafé performance comes directly on the heels of her appearances at ACO's Orchestra Underground concert at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia on March 25, and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on March 26.
Performances are at 9:30pm. Admission is free of charge. BAMCafé is located at the Brooklyn Academy of Music at 30 Lafayette Avenue, in downtown Brooklyn.
Composers OutFront! is made possible by The New York State Music Fund established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. ACO's emerging composers program is supported by The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, The Greenwall Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, The Henfield Foundation, Jerome Foundation, The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts and ACO's Inner Circle.
Major support of American Composers Orchestra is provided by Amphion Foundation, Arlington Associates, ASCAP, ASCAP Foundation, Bay and Paul Foundations, BMI, BMI Foundation, NY City Council Member Gale A. Brewer, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Citigroup Foundation, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Consolidated Edison, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Fidelity Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, Victor Herbert Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, The J.M. Kaplan Fund, John and Evelyn Kossak Foundation, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Neil Family Fund, The New York Community Trust, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Rodgers Family Foundation, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Susan and Ford Schumann Foundation, Emma A. Sheafer Charitable Trust, the Virgil Thomson Foundation, Paul Underwood Charitable Trust, The Sonata and Watchdog Charitable Trusts, and The Isak and Rose Weinman Foundation. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
The residency of Derek Bermel is made possible through Music Alive, a program of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer. This national program is designed to provide orchestras with resources and tools to support their presentation of new music to the public and build support for new music within their institutions. Funding for Music Alive is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music.