Mar 07, 2015
Sound Icon presents an evening of bloodshed, deception and despair with music by Salvatore Sciarrino.
Fanofania (2010) for ensemble
Lohengrin (1982) for soprano, ensemble and men’s chorus
Tony Arnold, soprano
Fanofania, for eleven musicians, sets the stage for Lohengrin in this event. The title, derived from words in Ancient Greek, refers to the occurrence of an outbreak, or the phenomenon of the phenomenon. This piece takes us out of time and space, calling our attention to the act of birth itself with minimal yet secretly gigantic events.
Loosely based on the famous opera by Richard Wagner, Sciarrino’s Lohengrin shifts the ancient tale’s focus to accused murderess Elsa, who tells us her story in a fragmented monologue punctuated by feverish bursts from the amplified ensemble.
Elsa is accused of murdering her brother in order to become Duchess. When challenged, she chooses as her champion a knight she saw in her dreams. When summoned, Elsa’s knight arrives via swan, agreeing to defend her honor only if she will not ask his name or where he comes from. Having defeated Elsa’s accuser, the knight asks for Elsa’s hand in marriage. On their wedding night, Elsa asks the questions she knows she should not ask, resulting in bloodshed. The knight reveals his identity as Lohengrin, a Knight of the Holy Grail, who must remain anonymous or otherwise retire from all human sight. Lohengrin takes his leave, and Elsa is left stricken with grief.
This production is made possible with the friendly support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and with the generous support from producing partners Northeastern Center for the Arts, Boston University Center for New Music, and Sound Icon.
Tony Arnold, Soprano
The Chicago Tribune writes, “anything sung by soprano Tony Arnold is worth hearing.”
Hailed by the New York Times as “a bold, powerful interpreter,” she is recognized internationally as a leading proponent of new music in concert and recording, praised for her sparkling and insightful performances of the most daunting contemporary
scores. Since becoming the first-prize laureate of the both the 2001 Gaudeamus International Competition (NL) and the 2001 Louise D. McMahon Competition (USA), Ms. Arnold has collaborated with the most cutting-edge composers and instrumentalistson the world stage, receiving consistent critical accolades for a voice of beauty and warmth, an uncanny technical facility, sterling musicianship, and riveting stage presence.“Simply put, she is a rock-star in this genre” (Sequenza 21).
Tony Arnold is the soprano of the intrepid International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and with them has premiered over 25 new works written expressly for her voice. In 2013-14, Ms. Arnold will make her debut performances with Ensemble Modern in a new work by Beat Furrer. Her appearances with US ensembles have included Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Talea Ensemble, Ensemble 21, eighth blackbird, Contempo, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York New Music Ensemble, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Fulcrum Point, and many others. She has toured the US extensively as a member of the George Crumb Ensemble.
Salvatore Sciarrino (Palermo, 1947) boasts of being born free and not in a music school. He started composing when he was twelve as a self-taught person and held his first public concert in 1962. But Sciarrino considers all the works before 1966 as an developing apprenticeship because that is when his personal style began to reveal itself. There is something really particular that characterizes this music: it leads to a different way of listening, a global emotional realization, of reality as well as of one’s self. And after forty years, the extensive catalogue of Sciarrino’s compositions is still in a phase of surprising creative development. After his classical studies and a few years of university in his home city, the Sicilian composer moved to Rome in 1969 and in 1977 to Milan. Since 1983, he has lived in Città di Castello, in Umbria.
About [sound icon]
Sound Icon is a sinfonietta committed to performing the most significant progressive works of the past few decades. As a sinfonietta, Sound Icon offers the color palette of a full orchestra with the precision and flexibility of a chamber ensemble. The technical and logistical challenges of contemporary repertoire for sinfonietta often discourage live performance in the United States, however, Sound Icon embraces this compelling music and aims to bring this repertoire to Boston and beyond. Through ambitious programming performed to the highest standards, Sound Icon engages audiences in dialogues about what progressive music is and can be: music that redefines rules, experiences, and expectations.
Sound Icon has quickly become established as a leading artistic force in Boston, performing challenging, cutting-edge contemporary repertoire for sinfonietta that is rarely heard live in Boston and the United States. Sound Icon has worked with prominent composers such as Philippe Leroux and Salvatore Sciarrino and performed works by Gérard Grisey, Helmut Lachenmann, Beat Furrer, Wolfgang Rihm, Salvatore Sciarrino, Georg Friedrich Haas, Fausto Romitelli and many others. Founded in spring 2011, Sound Icon has since established relationships with local cultural institutions such as the Boston University Center for New Music, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, and Northeastern University, creating cross-institutional collaborations that support truly exciting events. In spring 2013, Sound Icon was featured as the Fromm Players at Harvard, and has been involved with other local concert series and presenters. In addition to live concert events, Sound Icon frequently holds workshops with young composers and instrumentalists as part of collaborative academic residencies. Sound Icon’s mission is to perform significant progressive repertoire for sinfonietta and to advocate ambitious music in Boston and beyond. Sound Icon is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.