Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti: Sola

, composer


Violist Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti releases the first in a series of three digital albums chronicling her commissioning work with three prominent composers of our era. Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir's atmospheric Sola for viola and electronics is featured on this first volume, along with engaging conversations between Lanzilotti and Thorvaldsdottir about the work and the process of collaboration


Violist Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti releases the first in a series of three digital albums chronicling her commissioning work with prominent composers of our era as part of The 20/19 Project. Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir's atmospheric Sola for viola and electronics is featured on this first volume, along with engaging conversations between Lanzilotti and Thorvaldsdottir about the work and the process of collaboration.

From the composer, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, “Sola is inspired by abstract structural elements of solitariness in the midst of turmoil — by the desire of calm and focus in chaos. Focusing on intimate materials in a flowing progression that seethe under the surface of disruption, only occasionally observing elements from the surface.”

Sola is in three movements, the first of which is longer than the second two combined. This ten minute opening movement largely explores three contrasting kinds of music: shrouded gestures that integrate pitch with gradations of bow noise and ethereal harmonics, skittering chromatic passagework, and prayerful melodic gestures played in double stops, often over an open string pedal point. Throughout, Thorvaldsdottir’s electronics frame the expansive environment that the viola inhabits. The movement ends with a halo of harmonics echoing in the electronics, a scintillating house of sonic mirrors. Movement two reprises the prayerful double stops and skittering chromatic material without electronics, bringing the listener back into the fragile sound world of the acoustic viola on its own. The electronics return for the final movement, enveloping long limbed singing phrases in a gentle sea of delays and layered material that is drawn from the work’s overall vocabulary. The piece ends as it began, receding back into unpitched white noise generated by the bow. Consistent with much of Thorvaldsdottir’s music, Sola is melancholy and atmospheric, evoking a strikingly barren landscape, and the alienation of a lone individual within it.

The artwork commissioned for these series of albums is by Jasmine Parsia. Reflecting on her inspiration for the work, she writes, “I've been thinking a lot about landscapes and their way of acting as a snapshot of time, but also made through an accumulation of time. Time felt like a natural direction in thinking about The 20/19 Project. This started first with thinking about rock formations while digging more into Anna’s work and the interviews on her site. Then it felt natural to carry this theme across the other two artists’ albums—made with pieces from my prints, and the photographs are mine as well.”

– Dan Lippel

Sola electronics stems recorded by Greg Heimbecker at University of Northern Colorado Recording Studio in Greeley, CO

Sola electronics composed, edited, and mixed by Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Sola viola recorded and edited by Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio in Mount Vernon, NY

Anna Thorvaldsdottir in Conversation with Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti recorded by Evan Chapman and Kevin Eikenberg of Four/Ten Media in Thorvaldsdottir’s Studio in Surrey, UK

Album mixed and mastered by Ryan Streber

Sola is part of The 20/19 Project — Commissioned by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti with the generous support of Elizabeth & Justus Schlichting

Workshop in Surrey, UK supported by the University of Northern Colorado through an award from the Provost Fund for Faculty Scholarship and Professional Development

Supported in part by the Western Arts Alliance through an award from the Advancing Indigenous Performance (AIP) Native Launchpad program

Cover artwork by Jasmine Parsia

Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti

Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti is a "leading composer-performer" (The New York Times) dedicated to the music of our time. In Fall 2019, Lanzilotti will begin her tenure as the new Curator of Music at The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Lanzilotti has performed with contemporary music ensembles such as A Far Cry, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Ensemble Échappé, and Ensemble Signal. As a recording artist, she has played on albums from Björk's Vulnicura Live and Joan Osborne's Love and Hate, to Dai Fujikura's Chance Monsoon and Ted Hearne's The Source. Lanzilotti’s current commissioning initiative, The 20/19 Project, includes new works by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Andrew Norman, and Scott Wollschleger.

As a composer, Lanzilotti is interested in translating sounds from everyday life onto traditional instruments using nontraditional playing methods. Her compositions often deal with unique instrument-objects, such as her commissions from The Noguchi Museum involving sound sculptures or the Akari Light Sculpture installation, and collaborations with Nina C. Young and Senem Pirler. Lanzilotti has been featured as a composer-performer on Tulsa Living Arts OK Electric Festival, the Dots+Loops series and Sound School series in Australia, and a guest composer at Thailand International Composers Festival.

To reach new audiences and share contemporary music, Lanzilotti has published articles in Music & Literature and Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, and written program notes for London Symphony Orchestra. Lanzilotti's dissertation is an analysis of Andrew Norman’s The Companion Guide to Rome showing the influence of architecture and visual art on the work. As an extension of the research, she created Shaken Not Stuttered, a free online resource demonstrating extended techniques for strings.

A passionate teaching artist, Lanzilotti is viola and composition faculty at Point CounterPoint (Vermont) and Montecito International Music Festival (California). Previously she was on the faculty at New York University, University of Northern Colorado, and Casalmaggiore International Music Festival. Lanzilotti is a co-founder and Artistic Consultant for Kalikolehua — El Sistema Hawai‘i, a free orchestra program for underserved youth.

Dr. Lanzilotti studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Yale School of Music, and Manhattan School of Music. In addition, Lanzilotti was an orchestral fellow in the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the New World Symphony. She participated in the Lucerne Festival Academy under Pierre Boulez, and was the original violist in the Lucerne Festival Alumni Ensemble. Her mentors include Hiroko Primrose, Peter Slowik, Jesse Levine, Martin Bresnick, Wilfried Strehle, Karen Ritscher, and Reiko Füting.

Anna Thorvaldsdóttir

Anna Thorvaldsdóttir’s music is composed as much by sounds and nuances as by harmonies and lyrical material. It is written as an ecosystem of sounds and materials that are carried from one performer - or performers - to the next throughout the progress of a work. All materials continuously grow in and out of each other - as a performer plays a phrase, harmony, texture or lyrical line, it is being delivered to another performer as it transforms and develops, passed on to be carried through until it is passed on again to yet another. Anna’s music is often inspired in an important way by nature and its many qualities, and the qualities she tends to be inspired by are often structural, like proportion and flow, as well as relationships of balance between details within a larger structure, and how to move in perspective between the two - the details and the unity of the whole.

Anna’s music is frequently performed internationally, and has been featured at several major venues and music festivals such as Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC, the Composer Portraits Series at NYC's Miller Theatre, the Leading International Composers series at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, Big Ears Festival, Spitalfields Music Festival, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival, Lucerne Summer Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Tectonics, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions - most notably, Anna is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work Dreaming, the New York Philharmonic's Kravis Emerging Composer Award in 2015, and Lincoln Center’s 2018 Emerging Artist Award and 2018 Martin E. Segal Award.

Some of the orchestras and ensembles that have performed Anna's work include International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, NDR Elbphilharmonie, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Yarn/Wire, The Crossing, the Bavarian Radio Choir, Münchener Kammerorchester, Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Avanti Chamber Ensemble, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, CAPUT Ensemble, Oslo Philharmonic, and Either/Or Ensemble. In April 2018, Esa-Pekka Salonen lead the New York Philharmonic in the premiere of Anna’s work Metacosmos, which was commissioned by the orchestra, and the work received its European premiere with the Berlin Philharmonic in January 2019, conducted by Alan Gilbert. Metacosmos will receive its UK premiere at the BBC Proms 2019. Anna is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. In spring 2019, she is also Composer-in-Residence at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Anna holds a PhD from the University of California in San Diego.

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