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Music Returns to MoMA's Sculpture Garden with Summergarden 2009
Dafnis Prieto. Photo credit: Henry Lopez. © 2008 The Museum of Modern Art.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Modern Art’s Summergarden concert series returns to The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden for four Sunday evenings beginning July 5, 2009. Summergarden, a tradition that began in 1971, is part of MoMA’s long history of presenting jazz and new music concerts in the Sculpture Garden. MoMA once again welcomes the participation of The Juilliard School and Jazz at Lincoln Center, whose collaboration makes possible Summergarden’s continuing programs of musical premieres.

Young members of The New Juilliard Ensemble will perform new chamber music that has never been heard in New York, by composers from all over the world writing in a vast range of styles. In the opening concert on July 5, musicians will perform New York and Western Hemisphere premieres for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion by American and European composers, including Andy Vores (Wales), Atli Heimir Sveinsson (Iceland), and others.

A string quartet program on July 19 will include the New York premiere of String Quartet No. 1, "X" (1993) by Daniel Bernard Roumain, an innovative Haitian-American composer and violinist; the Western Hemisphere premieres of works by young German composer Jörg Widmann and Irish composer David Flynn; and the World premiere of String Quartet No. 17 by Boguslaw Schaeffer, Poland’s senior avant-garde composer.

Jazz at Lincoln Center has selected two cutting-edge jazz artists, each of whose concerts will emphasize original works. The Billy Harper Quintet, led by the renowned veteran saxophonist, will perform on July 12, and the Si o Si Quartet, featuring Cuban-born drummer and composer Dafnis Prieto, will give the program’s final performance on July 26.

Summergarden 2009 Schedule

July 5
Juilliard Concert I: Music For Ensembles

Members of New Juilliard Ensemble: Nadia Kyne, flute; Sean Rice, clarinet; Sean Riley, violin; Alex Tasopoulos, viola; Mimi Yu, cello; Paul Nemeth, double bass; David Stevens, percussion; Jennifer Chu, piano; Joel Sachs, conductor

Eric Tanguy (France, b. 1968)
Duo for flute and clarinet (1994) Western Hemisphere premiere`

Andy Vores (UK [Wales]/US, b. 1956)
Often (2003) New York premiere

Dorothy Chang (US, b. 1970)
Falling Sky (2000) New York premiere

Alti Heimir Sveinsson (Iceland, b. 1938)
Swedish Rapp: Rondo Fantastico II (1999) Western Hemisphere premiere

Robert Xavier Rodríguez (US, b. 1946)
Música, por un tiempo (2008) New York premiere

Members of the New Juilliard Ensemble, directed by Joel Sachs, perform five New York and American premieres by composers from around the world. In the first piece, Duo for flute and clarinet (1994) by French composer Eric Tanguy, the composer creates variations and transformations of polyphony and harmony using the same harmonic, rhythmic and melodic elements in three short and contrasting movements.

Welsh composer Andy Vores originally created the evening’s second piece, Often (2003), to accompany a video projection about the Iraq War by artist Jessie Shefrin. The composition, like Shefrin’s video, rocks between relentless rapid events and an elegiac, pastoral atmosphere.

The title of Falling Sky (2000), by Dorothy Chang, reflects the nervous energy and jagged, angular lines of this three-movement work. Falling Sky was written in 2000 for the Boston ensemble Collage New Music.

In Swedish Rapp: Rondo Fantastico II (1999), Icelandic composer Alti Heimir Sveinsson improvised melodies over an Icelandic medieval irregular dance rhythm, resulting in a composition with a playful, humorous tone.

The final piece for the evening, Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s Música, por un tiempo (2008) combines two widely divergent musical entities: the ground bass from the song “Music, for a while,” by the 17th-century English composer Henry Purcell, and the traditional Latin dance rhythm of the rumba.

July 12
Jazz Concert I: Billy Harper Quintet

Francesca Tanksley , piano; Keyon Harrold, trumpet; Clarence Seay ,bass; Aaron Scott, drums; Billy Harper, saxophone

Jazz saxophonist Billy Harper has established himself as an original, inventive performer and composer. His 1973 release Capra Black has been described as “one of the seminal recordings of jazz’s black consciousness movement.” Harper performs with his long-standing quintet, most recently featured on the 2008 release Blueprints of Jazz, vol. 2.

July 19
Juilliard Concert II: New Music for String Quartet

David Fulmer and Arthur Moeller, violins; Jen Herman, viola; Elizabeth Lara, cello

Jörg Widmann (Germany, b. 1973)
String Quartet No. 3, “Jagdquartett” (Hunting Quartet, 2003) Western Hemisphere premiere

David Flynn (Ireland, b. 1977)
String Quartet No.2, “The Cranning” (2004-5) Western Hemisphere premiere

Boguslaw Schaeffer (Poland, b. 1929)
String Quartet No. 17 (2006) World premiere

Daniel Bernard Roumain [DBR] (US, b. 1972)
String Quartet No. 1, “X” (1993) New York premiere

The performance opens with Jörg Widmann’s String Quartet No. 3, Jagdquartett (Hunting Quartet, 2003). The third of Widmann’s five string quartets, Hunting Quartet quotes from the finale of Robert Schumann’ s piano cycle Papillons, a fragment that pervades the piece as it seems to gallop through an imaginary chase.

In String Quartet No. 2, “The Cranning” (2004-05), David Flynn conveys the essence of traditional Irish music in a contemporary classical setting. While employing techniques, modes, rhythms and feelings from Irish music, the piece also includes references to African, Balkan, classical, jazz, and rock traditions.

Boguslaw Schaeffer, one of the most prominent leaders of the post-war European avantgarde, composed the evening’s third piece. String Quartet No. 17, in five parts, juxtaposes many different combinations of texture and tempo, sometimes giving the impression of free improvisation. Summergarden is especially happy to present this world premiere shortly after Mr. Schaeffer’s 80th birthday.

Haitian composer Daniel Bernard Roumain’s String Quartet No. 1, “X” (1993) is the final performance of the evening. The angular, agile and angry sound of X, written in Roumain’s early twenties, reflects the composer’s reaction to the autobiography of Malcolm X. The piece combines selected motifs from Bela Bartok with the composer’s own developing sense of funk.

July 26
Jazz Concert II: Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet

Peter Apfelbaum, tenor and soprano saxophones, percussion; Manuel Valera, piano; Charles Flores, bass; Dafnis Prieto, drums

Cuban-born drummer Dafnis Prieto’s revolutionary drumming techniques have had a powerful impact on both the Latin and jazz music scene, locally and internationally. His Absolute Quintet (2006) received a Grammy Award Nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album. This evening, the Si o Si Quartet performs “Bla Bla Bla,” which draws from the sounds of Cuban Carnivals and the music of New Orleans.

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