This Sunday members of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band will perform a program of music completely by women composers, including New York native violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery, well-known American composer Joan Tower, and Caroline Shaw, the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music. According to concert coordinator clarinetist Staff Sgt. Lucia Disano, this Fall Chamber Music Series performance consists of a “small representative sampling of a huge swath of output by amazing women composers, just a tiny fraction of what all is out there.” The free concert will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, at John Philip Sousa Band Hall located in the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C. The program will also be streamed live at www.marineband.marines.mil and youtube.com/usmarineband.
“I wanted to showcase fantastic music by women composers on this program,” Disano said. “We have an obligation to make that extra effort to program not only the best music we can find, but the best music representing all kinds of voices. The result is well worth the effort. The music on this program could not be more varied and exciting. It is romantic, wild, melancholy, unhinged, contemplative, sweet, playful, and dramatic.”
Disano also wanted to include as many different instrument groups as possible resulting in an interesting mix of solo pieces and a range of duos, trios, and quartets. “I think the audience will be delighted and surprised by the range of narratives and styles in the music on this program,” she said. “What I tried to do is provide a wide variety of characters and styles, so there’s a balance between typical, listenable pieces of music and music that’s a little more challenging. Joan Towers is very well known while Caroline Shaw and Jessie Montgomery are contemporary and up and coming. I think the label of ‘contemporary’ or ‘modern’ could inspire certain preconceptions about what this type of music will sound like, but there really will be something for everyone on the program.”
The concert will begin with Shaw’s Blueprint, which the composer describes as a harmonic reduction of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 18, No. 6, and a type of conversation between the performers, Beethoven, and Joseph Haydn. According to Disano, “Blueprint is a cool blend of old sounds with more modern sounds, a way to warm up our audience’s ears to a more modern program. It is followed by Shulamit Ran’s Inscriptions for solo violin, which is very ‘in your face,’ then Rebecca Clarke’s Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale which is tonal and melancholy with some very pretty moments but also has ethereal and dark moody moments as well.”
The first half of the concert will close with Madeleine Dring’s lovely and romantic Trio for Flute, Oboe, and Piano. The second half of the concert begins with Tower’s Small, which Disano programmed because “it comes out of nothing and plays with the negative space and the empty air and the sounds you can fit in that.” Percussionist Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Bisesi will utilize a setup of small percussive instruments to include a wooden bowl, piccolo wood block, Tibetan Prayer Bowl, tiny bell, maracas, small sleigh bells, and more. The program will continue with Sofia Gubaidulina’s Trio for Three Trumpets—a fun piece Disano describes as atonal, wild, and unhinged—and conclude with Montgomery’s Strum for string quartet.
“The composers represented on this program are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to quality repertoire written by women,” she continued. “I hope this concert will be a chance for people to discover and fall in love with some composers they haven’t heard from before.”
Complete program and program notes
Directions and Parking Information
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