Fort Greene

BAM, Brooklyn youth chorus present ‘Black Mountain Songs’

October 23, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform “Black Mountain Songs” at BAM from Nov. 20 to 23.
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Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will present “Black Mountain Songs” — an evening-length choral work produced and performed by Brooklyn Youth Chorus (BYC) — from Nov. 20 to 23.

“Black Mountain Songs” is dedicated to the late Mary Anne Yancey, former board chair of Brooklyn Youth Chorus and longstanding BAM supporter.

The production celebrates a historic period of artistic collaboration at Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC. In the mid-20th century, a group of American artists and European refugees —including Willem de Kooning, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, Josef and Anni Albers, Franz Kline, and Robert Rauschenberg —converged at Black Mountain and developed new artistic tactics and aesthetics and a culture of collaborative art that would come to define the American century. 

Inspired by this prolific community and its work, BAM and BYC commissioned composer and curator Bryce Dessner, along with his co-curator Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), to assemble a diverse group of collaborators to work with the chorus, including composers Jherek Bischoff, Parry, Caroline Shaw, Nico Muhly, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Tim Hecker and John King. BYC also worked on the project with director Maureen Towey (creative director for musicians including Arcade Fire, Tune-Yards, and Ray LaMontagne) and filmmaker Matt Wolf (Teenage,” “Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell”). Dancers Gus Solomons, Jr. and Adam Gauzza and instrumentalists Bryce Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, Caroline Shaw, Paul Wiancko, Ning Yu, David Cossin and others to be announced will perform. Narration of the evening is by Basil King.

Dessner has worked closely with BYC since he performed with them in the 2011 world premiere of “Tell the Way,” commissioned by BYC and curated and composed by Muhly. Dessner hosted the Chorus at MusicNOW in Cincinnati and twice featured them in the “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” festival he and his brother Aaron curated at BAM. Dessner’s recent album with Kronos Quartet, “Aheym,” features the Chorus performing “Tour Eiffel,” a piece they commissioned him to write for “Tell the Way.” 

The Nov. 22-22 performances begin at 7 p.m. and the Nov. 23 performance begins at 3 p.m. at BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St. in Fort Greene).

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