Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa’s solo and orchestral music will be released as a 2-CD set entitled In medias res by BMOP/sound in June 2010. Performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), conducted by Artistic Director Gil Rose, the first disc, an SACD, includes four orchestral works: Roam (2001); Double Violin Concerto (2008) featuring violinist/vocalist Carla Kihlstedt and violinist Colin Jacobsen; unfinish’d, sent (2000) featuring the composer as soprano soloist; and In medias res, Concerto for Orchestra(2009). Disc two comprises fifteen short solo works, Synopses #1-15, written by Ms. Bielawa over the course of three years for individual members of BMOP. Ms. Bielawa was Composer in Residence with the orchestra from 2006 to 2009. The album was produced by Gil Rose, and engineered by Joel Gordon with David Corcoran.
“These two discs tell the story of a three-year journey undertaken by a whole community. We got to know each other through the performance and recording of two already existing works. The first, Roam, is the piece I was in the process of writing on September 11, 2001, at my home in New York City. It was during that difficult time when Gil Rose and I first met and worked together. unfinish’d, sent is an even earlier piece, written for my own voice and chamber orchestra. The intimate feeling of sharing the stage with Gil and the BMOP players in concert influenced everything I wrote for them afterwards.
I began the process of getting to know the individual musicians of BMOP in 2006 by writing solo Synopses for them. These little pieces – each with a whimsical six-word title – were each composed in just a few days and premiered in Boston over the course of three years at BMOP’s informal Club Concerts, which I curated. Audible connections exist between them and the two orchestral works I composed for the orchestra. My first new work for BMOP brought with it two of my most important collaborators, violinists Colin Jacobsen and Carla Kihlstedt. It was nothing short of exhilarating to write a piece that united all of these muses. By the time I wrote In medias res in 2009, my relationship with the BMOP players had deepened. Writing a large orchestral piece, usually such a lonely process, was suddenly a bustling affair. While I was writing In medias res, I remember looking at the enormous staff paper on my piano and seeing not instrument families on the page, but actual people.”
Lisa Bielawa is currently based in Rome at the American Academy, as a 2009-10 Rome Prize winner. With fellow Rome Prize-winner Robert Hammond (co-founder of The High Line in New York), she is staged her piece Chance Encounter on the Tiber River in Rome on May 31, with a preview performance during the opening weekend festivities of Rome’s celebrated new MAXXI museum on May 30. A recording of Chance Encounter will be released later this year on Philip Glass’ label, Orange Mountain Music. Ms. Bielawa’s music is also available on the Tzadik (A Handful of World), Albany Records (First Takes), and Innova (Hildegurls: Electric Ordo Virtutuum) labels.
Born in San Francisco into a musical family, Lisa Bielawa played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature in 1990 from Yale University, and became an active participant in New York musical life. She began touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1992, and in 1997 co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers. In addition to her work with the Philip Glass Ensemble, she tours and records with John Zorn and has premiered and recorded works by many other composer colleagues.
© 2010 Chip Michael