Works from the 20th and 21st centuries form the heart of the 20/21 Ensemble's repertoire. With a rich legacy of bold collaborations and striking productions, 20/21 embraces the cutting edge of musical exploration through the highest level of artistry. This season's offerings are inspired by the current all-school project, The Edge Effect.
|JULIUS EASTMAN (’63)||Joy Boy|
|PETER MAXWELL DAVIES||Eight Songs for a Mad King|
The Curtis 20/21 Ensemble presents Peter Maxwell Davies’s melodrama Eight Songs for a Mad King, long recognized as a major work of experimental theater. Composed in the late 1960s, Davies captures King George III’s descent into madness through inventive music and a wide array of non-traditional performance techniques, creating an unforgettable experience for the listener. The work is preceded by Joy Boy, a bright and minimal woodwind quartet by Curtis alumnus Julius Eastman, a gifted and idiosyncratic composer, pianist, and one of the first vocalists to take on the Eight Songs in performance.
The program will include a conversation with David Ludwig about the composers on the program; their lives and their works.
|JONATHAN BAILEY HOLLAND (’96)||
|NINA C. YOUNG||
|DAVID LUDWIG (’01)||
Flowers in the Desert
Ode to Napoleon
Curtis alumnus and world-renowned pianist Peter Serkin (’64) joins Curtis 20/21 and the Vera String Quartet to perform Arnold Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon, a work written in 1942 in response to the rise of authoritarianism and World War II. The program features other politically-charged works, including pieces by Curtis alumni Jonathan Bailey Holland and David Ludwig, 20/21’s artistic director, as well as gripping musical statements by David Lang and Nina Young.
There will be a pre-concert conversation on stage with some of the composers of these works, as well as a discussion of the intersection of politics and music.
|AUGUSTA READ THOMAS
Curtis 20/21 performs a selection of works by Curtis’s 2018–19 composer in residence, Augusta Read Thomas. A Grammy award-winning master with an impressive body of works that embody unbridled passion and fierce poetry, she has been called “a true virtuoso composer” (The New Yorker) and “one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American music” (American Academy of Arts and Letters).
An on-stage conversation with Augusta Read Thomas will precede the performance.
Generous support for the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble is provided by the Daniel W. Dietrich II Foundation.