Lisa Bielawa

Lisa Bielawa, Artistic Director Emeritus

Composer/vocalist Lisa Bielawa often takes inspiration from close artistic collaborations and from literary sources. (She graduated from Yale with a summa cum laude in Literature.)

Her music explores ritual and phenomenological elements, employing instrumental forces in ways that are both dramatic and intimate in their use of time and space.

Bielawa’s The Lay of the Love and Death, based on an epic poem by Rilke, premiered at Alice Tully Hall in March 2006. Hurry, for soprano and chamber ensemble, was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and premiered in 2004 as part of Dawn Upshaw’s Perspectives series. The inaugural season of Zankel Hall included the first performance of The Right Weather (prompted by an excerpt from Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin ), by American Composers Orchestra (ACO) and Van Cliburn prize-winning pianist Andrew Armstrong.

In November, 2006 she appeared as vocalist in unfinish’d, sent at the inaugural concert of her three-year residency with Boston Modern Orchestra Project. The residency, which will yield several new works and culminate in a recording of her orchestral music, is part of Music Alive, a joint program of Meet The Composer and the American Symphony Orchestra League.

She is currently at work on a piece for migrating ensembles and soprano Susan Narucki for performance in public spaces, a multi-year project of Creative Capital, and is recording a CD of her music for the Composers Series on the Tzadik label for release in 2007.

Roam has been played by the Minnesota Orchestra (2002), ACO (2002), and the New England Conservatory Philharmonia (2003).

Other recent performances include: the String Orchestra of New York City at Merkin Concert Hall (2005, 2006) and at Weill Recital Hall (2003); the Bay Atlantic Symphony (2003); the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne at the MATA Festival (2002); and the Miami String Quartet on the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center series (2001).

Bielawa has appeared as vocalist in her own work at the Seattle Symphony’s Made in America festival (2006); Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan (2000); in a music-theatre work with playwright Erik Ehn at the INFANT Festival in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (2000); in several works as composer-in-residence at American Music Week in Sofia, Bulgaria (2000); at the 1999 Bang On A Can Festival; and at the 1998 Lincoln Center Festival and the World Financial Center Winter Garden in the Electric Ordo Virtutum. In 1997, her chamber opera Phrenic Crush (libretto by Erik Ehn) received its premiere production in San Francisco through the Haas Foundation Creative Work Fund.

Bielawa has received grants, fellowships and awards from the Alpert-Ucross Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, the Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation, ASCAP, and the Fondation Royaumont in France. She is a 2001 Copland Award recipient.

An enthusiastic advocate for new music and young composers, Bielawa serves on the Board of the American Music Center, and is Assistant Director and teaches composition through the New York Youth Symphony Making Score program. As a vocalist, she has premiered and recorded countless works by her composer colleagues.

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