Earplay launches its 33rd season next Monday with a program called ‘A Delicate Arrangement of Sounds,’ which includes a world premiere, and a West Coast premiere, with pieces inspired by poetry, painting, and friendship. Conductor Mary Chun says on each of the concerts this season there will be a work by Richard Festinger, who was one of the founders of the ensemble.
There’s more information about Monday night’s concert at the Taube Atrium Theater, at the Earplay website.
Festinger is 70 this year, and as Chun explains, “We’re actually celebrating Richard’s birthday that ends in a zero, and since he’s our founder and a wonderful composer in the Bay Area, every year we’ve been featuring a spotlight composer of the 21st or 20th century, and this year we’ve chosen Richard in honor and to help celebrate his auspicious occasion.” His piece in the first concert is called The Coming of Age, which has soprano Nikki Enfield joining the ensemble. The texts are by Denis Johnson, who before writing such story collections as Jesus’ Son, and the National Book Award winning novel Tree of Smoke, had his first book of poetry published by the time he was twenty. In the early 1980s, the composer and the writer met. “We had a mutual friend who introduced us, I went up and spent a couple of days with Denis staying in Robert Frost’s house in Franconia, and having a great time. I was a resident at the MacDowell Colony in southern New Hampshire, and every year the town of Franconia in northern New Hampshire has a Frost Festival, and they invite a young poet to be the poet-in-residence, and Denis was the Frost poet that year.” When he was commissioned by the Works in Process series at the Guggenheim Museum, Festinger says his first thought was of Johnson’s poems, and he pulled four “…that all shared love in one of its many aspects as a theme.”