Violinist Olivia De Prato (Mivos Quartet) releases this wide ranging release of music for solo violin and violin and electronics. Included are works by a broad cross section of some of the most versatile and interesting composers active today: Reiko Füting, Missy Mazzoli, Taylor Brook, Ned Rothenberg, Victor Lowrie, and Samson Young.
Austro-Italian violinist Olivia De Prato has been an active performer in New York City’s contemporary music community since moving there in 2005. As a member of critically acclaimed ensembles, the Mivos Quartet, Ensemble Signal, and Victoire, De Prato has been invoved in commissioning, premiering, and recording countless new compositions, with a range of figures spanning the diverse landscape of new music. STREYA is a document of some of that work, with a program of six beguiling pieces by figures from Manhattan School of Music composition department member Reiko Füting to avant-garde improviser extraordinaire Ned Rothenberg to Mannes School of Music faculty and composer/songwriter/bandleader Missy Mazzoli. The works and performances herein display De Prato’s versatility as well as the flexible reach of programming in today’s New York concert community. Samson Young’s Ageha.Tokyo deftly merges extended timbres on the violin with electronics that mine a vocabulary that places the listener in a futuristic technological landscape. As the work opens we hear the violin struggling to come out of its cocoon so to speak, as its sound endeavors to fully project past self-imposed restrictions. Lowrie’s Streya contains some of the most conventionally violinistic music on the recording. Lowrie is De Prato’s viola partner in Mivos, and her husband, and displays his versatility as a composer with this music, in turns reminiscent of the solo violin music of Bartok and Ysaye while also exploring more fragile territory evocative of Sciarrino. Ned Rothernberg leans on his background as a free jazz clarinetist to generate a through composed piece that retains a sense of spontaneity. In his liner note, Rothenberg desribes the piece as akin to a short hike that extends itself into various new directions. The excursion that initially was intended to be a short walk has turned into something more — an adventure. In Wane, Taylor Brook takes advantage of multi-tracking possibilities by embellishing a lead violin part with four additional pre-recorded “shadow” violins, all tuned slightly differently (and all recorded by De Prato). When played together, an effect of what Brook calls an “amalgamated glissando” can be heard, coloring the primary violin in an unsettling halo of pitch. As the violin writing becomes more dense and virtuosic, one finds themselves in a disconcerting sonic hall of mirrors. Reiko Füting’s Tanz.Tanz is based on an analysis of Bach’s towering Chaconne in D minor from the Second Partita for unaccompanied violin. The analysis, by German musicologist Helga Thoene posits that Bach integrated hidden chorale tunes into the harmonic fabric of this iconic piece. Füting’s title is inspired by a novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The presence of a work inspired by Bach’s canonic compositions for solo violin connects this collection to the long tradition of unaccompanied violin repertoire. Missy Mazzoli’s Vespers for Violin draws material from her larger ensemble work Vespers for a Dark Age. Sampled keyboards, organs, voices, and strings “drenched in delay and distortion” provide the pre-recorded accompaniment to the solo violin part. Slithering glissandi begin the work, interspersed with quick scale bursts. Despite the wealth of source materials from the earlier work, the new piece is an entirely distinct composition that demonstrates Mazzoli’s ease in navigating the worlds of experimental pop, indie classical, and corners in between. The work is an expansive coda to an album that casts a wide stylistic net through the prism of a treasured genre, works for solo violin.
Internationally recognized as a soloist and chamber musician, Austro-Italian violinist Olivia De Prato has been described as “flamboyant...convincing” (The New York Times) and an “enchanting violinist” (Messaggero Veneto, Italy). After moving to New York City, she quickly established herself as a passionate performer of contemporary and improvised music, breaking boundaries of the traditional violin repertoire, and regularly performs in Europe, South America, China, and the United States.
Her chamber music activities include appearances the Bang on a Can Marathon in NYC, the Lucerne Festival with Pierre Boulez, the Ensemble Modern Festival, June in Buffalo, the Wien Modern Festival, the Shanghai New Music Week, and Lincoln Center Festival with Steve Reich and Brad Lubman. In 2010 and 2011 she toured Europe and South Africa with Grammy-award winner Esperanza Spalding and the Chamber Music Society ensemble on violin and viola.
Olivia is a member of the new music ensembles Signal and Victoire and is the co-founder and first violinist of the Mivos Quartet, which focuses on the performance of contemporary string quartets.
As a guest artist, she has presented solo and chamber music masterclasses for young musicians and composers at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, UC San Diego, Princeton University, New York University, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and internationally at Universidad Eafit (Colombia), Shanghai Conservatory (China), Universidad Salvador (Brazil), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), and MIAM University (Turkey).
Olivia has collaborated closely with composers Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Anthony Braxton, Chaya Czernowin, Peter Eötvös, Luca Francesconi, Beat Furrer, Dai Fujikura, Michael Gordon, Helmut Lachenman, David Lang, Brad Lubman, Philippe Manoury, Benedict Mason, Meredith Monk, Krystof Penderecki, Bernard Rands, Steve Reich, Ned Rothenberg, Julia Wolfe, and Georg Friedrich Haas. At the Lucerne Festival Academy 2007 she worked with composer Peter Eötvös on his new Violin Concerto "Seven" conducted by Pierre Boulez.
Her discography includes recordings on Tzadik, New Amsterdam Records, Sunnyside Records, New Focus Recordings, Mode, Cantaloupe, Porter Records, and Harmonia Mundi. She also self-released a live recording of Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto with the Filarmonica de Staat Sibiu (Romania).
Olivia De Prato studied at the University of Music and Arts in Vienna and received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the Eastman School of Music. She received her Master of Music as a member of the first graduating class from the Contemporary Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music.
Composer Samson Young received his PhD in composition from Princeton University and his music has been presented at various festivals including Manchester International Festival (UK), Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt (Germany), Austin’s Fusebox Festival (Texas), and the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland).
Victor Lowrie is a versatile violist, improviser and composer based in New York City. As a passionate advocate of new music, he has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician and educator throughout the United States, South America, Europe and Asia. Victor is a founding member of the Mivos Quartet, and performs regularly with Ensemble Signal, Slee Sinfonietta and the Wet Ink Ensemble among others. He can be heard on recordings from Carrier, New Amsterdam, Kill Rock Stars, New Focus Recordings, and Tzadik Records. As a composer, Victor writes for soloists and chamber ensembles, combining a ever-evolving personal sense of melody and harmony with explorations into improvisation and electronics. He earned his Bachelor of Music performance from San Francisco State University, and was the inaugural graduating class of the Master in Contemporary Performance program from the Manhattan School of Music. Victor grew up on the idyllic central coast of California and currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife Olivia and their son.
Composer/Performer Ned Rothenberg has been internationally acclaimed for both his solo and ensemble music, presented for the past 33 years on 5 continents. He performs primarily on alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, and the shakuhachi - an endblown Japanese bamboo flute. His solo work utilizes an expanded palette of sonic language, creating a kind of personal idiom all its own. In an ensemble setting, he leads the trio Sync, with Jerome Harris, guitars and Samir Chatterjee, tabla, works with the Mivos string quartet playing his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and collaborates around the world with fellow improvisors. Recent recordings include this Quintet, The World of Odd Harmonics, Ryu Nashi (new music for shakuhachi), and Inner Diaspora, all on John Zorn's Tzadik label, as well as Live at Roulette with Evan Parker, and The Fell Clutch, on Rothenberg’s Animul label.
Taylor Brook has studied composition with Brian Cherney in Montreal, Luc Brewaeys in Brussels, and George Lewis, and Georg Haas in New York. Brook has also studied Hindustani musical performance in Kolkata, India, with Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya. His music is often concerned with finely-tuned microtonal sonorities and toying with multifarious musical references and styles.
Brook writes concert music, music for video, and music for theater and dance. His work has been performed around the world and has been described as “gripping” and “engrossing” by the New York Times. Brook has won numerous awards and prizes for his compositions, including the MIVOS/Kantor prize, the Lee Ettelson award, and several SOCAN young composers awards including the grand prize in 2016. Brook has been a finalist in the Gaudeamus prize and was awarded honorable mention for the Jules Leger prize two years in a row. His music has been performed by ensembles and soloists such as the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Quatour Bozzini, JACK Quartet, MIVOS quartet, Talea Ensemble, Ascolta Ensemble, and many others.
Brook's current projects include a new piece for New Thread Saxophone Quartet and a new string quartet for the JACK quartet. Brook holds a master’s degree in music composition from McGill University. He currently resides in New York City, where he is completing a doctorate in music composition at Columbia University and working as a freelance composer.
Reiko Füting was born in 1970 in Königs Wusterhausen in the German Democratic Republic. He studied composition and piano at the Dresden Conservatory (Germany), Rice University, Manhattan School of Music, and Seoul National University (South Korea). Some of his most influential teachers have been Jörg Herchet and Nils Vigeland (composition), and Winfried Apel (piano). Füting has received numerous prizes, awards, scholarships, grants, and commissions. In addition to being a composer, he is an avid performer who has appeared in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Since 2000, Füting has been teaching composition and theory at Manhattan School of Music, where he serves as the chair of theory department. He has also taught vocal accompanying at the Conservatory of Music and Theater in Rostock, Germany, and appeared as guest faculty and lecturer at universities and conservatories in China, Colombia, Germany, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
Missy Mazzoli was recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (The New York Times) and “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out New York). Her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, pianist Emanuel Ax, Opera Philadelphia, LA Opera, Cincinnati Opera, New York City Opera, Chicago Fringe Opera, the Detroit Symphony, the LA Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, JACK Quartet, cellist Maya Beiser, violinist Jennifer Koh, pianist Kathleen Supové, Dublin’s Crash Ensemble, the Sydney Symphony and many others. Her second opera, Breaking the Waves, a collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Beth Morrison Projects, premiered to great acclaim in Philadelphia in September 2016 and as part of New York’s Prototype Festival in January 2017. The work was described as “among the best 21st-century operas yet” (Opera News), “savage, heartbreaking and thoroughly original” (Wall Street Journal), and “dark and daring” (New York Times). From 2012-2015 Missy was Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia, Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre-Group, and in 2011/12 was Composer/Educator in residence with the Albany Symphony. Missy was a visiting professor of music at New York University in 2013, and later that year joined the composition faculty at the Mannes College of Music, a division of the New School.