From Lisa Bielawa

Lisa Bielawa to be inaugural Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator of the Institute.

The Philip Glass Ensemble will also debut as Ensemble-in-Residence at The New School with a concert on January 6th, 2019 at 4:30 pm.

Philip Glass by Timothy Judd

Lisa Bielawa – Daniel Clark

New York, December 5, 2018 – The New School’s College of Performing Arts (CoPA) today announced a landmark partnership with the Philip Glass Ensemble (PGE) and long-time PGE member, Lisa Bielawa, around the work of Philip Glass, one of the world’s preeminent composers, musicians, and authors, to form a new learning and creative center. Building on Glass’s enduring contributions to modern culture, the Philip Glass Institute (PGI) will offer students, faculty, and the public the opportunity to immerse themselves in the work of Philip Glass, other important artists within his circle, and the work of the iconic Philip Glass Ensemble. Renowned composer and long-time vocalist for the PGE Lisa Bielawa will become the inaugural Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator of the Philip Glass Institute.

The institute will launch with a performance by the Philip Glass Ensemble and a panel discussion with Glass, Bielawa, and Richard Kessler, Executive Dean of CoPA on January 6, 2019 at 4:30 pm, at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium. The event will also include a performance of an excerpt from Bielawa’s made-for-TV opera, Vireo, which will be workshopped for live performance at the Institute in spring 2020.

Peerless in his originality as a composer and musician, Glass’s work has been instrumental in breaking down barriers across genres. His work includes the groundbreaking opera Einstein on the Beach, Music in Twelve Parts, and Academy Award-nominated scores for three films. Glass has captivated audiences worldwide with his bold artistic vision, which fuses a truly original musical language and an unparalleled collaborative practice, all in a singular entrepreneurial spirit.

The idea for the Philip Glass Institute originated between Glass and Bielawa, who both felt that The New School would be the ideal setting for such an institute. Subsequently, Bielawa approached Kessler about the future of the Philip Glass Ensemble, Philip’s legacy, the continuation of his work, along with her own work, and how this all might work together under a single umbrella. Both Kessler and Bielawa were struck by the ways in which Glass has built community throughout his career, a practice that Bielawa has honored in her own work and life as well. Together, Glass, Bielawa, and Kessler were drawn toward creating an institute to further that ethos.

“I can think of no better home for the Philip Glass Institute and the Philip Glass Ensemble than The New School’s College of Performing Arts,” said Kessler. “Over the past century, The New School has been a home to John Cage, Henry Cowell, Martha Graham, Aaron Copland, the Fluxus Movement, and scores of trailblazing artists and scholars. Today, the original, highly influential, and beloved work of Philip Glass will become accessible for a long time to come to new generations of students and audiences through this exciting new partnership.”

“I am very pleased about the Philip Glass Institute at The New School,” Glass said. “My own legacy flourished in a wide garden of music going on all at the same time. In my lifetime I was contemporaneous with all kinds of music, and I rejoiced in it…In terms of range and variety of modern music, it is important to be unafflicted by prejudice. The music stands by itself. At the new PGI we can prioritize a curriculum which doesn’t require critical approval of any period or style…Young composers need to be true to their voices. ‘Coming up’ can be very independent, and this is what will be guiding our work at The New School.”

As the inaugural Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator of the Philip Glass Institute, Bielawa will serve not just to preserve Glass’s legacy, but to further it by creating new works, curating concerts, and creating new courses and curricula that build on the ethos and vision of Philip Glass. Bielawa, an award-winning multidisciplinary artist-composer, is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition and recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

“It is a huge honor and pleasure to spearhead this new initiative at The New School, which has a long history of charting new territory in the way that artists share their work and lives with the next generation,” said Bielawa. “The Philip Glass Institute is a new and lasting way to celebrate Philip’s ethos: an NYC incubator for the sharing of ideas, among a multi-generational community of composers, performers, and music industry professionals.”

The Philip Glass Institute at The New School will create new learning opportunities rooted in Glass’s contributions to modern musical and cultural life. Students across CoPA’s three schools — Mannes School of Music, School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and School of Drama — will learn composition, sound design, musicology, and arts management, among other disciplines, from members of the Philip Glass Ensemble and CoPA faculty who are frequent collaborators with Glass, including Matt Haimovitz, Jennifer Koh, Bob Hurwitz, and Dennis Russell Davies.

As Ensemble in Residence, the Philip Glass Ensemble will base its extensive touring and performance operations out of The New School. Recognized as the premier performers of Glass’s compositions, the Ensemble has been exclusively devoted to performing Glass’s iconic works in some of the world’s most prestigious music festivals and concert venues. At The New School, the group will integrate its rigorous practice-performance methodology into CoPA’s innovative curriculum, hosting workshops, leading masterclasses, and welcoming the public to select rehearsals. This first-of-its-kind residency at CoPA will be instrumental in preparing students to succeed in the 21st century musical landscape.

Philip Glass Institute Launch Event
Sunday, January 6, 2019, 4:30-5:30pm
The New School’s Tishman Auditorium
63 5th Ave., New York, NY 10003
Admission is free, RSVPs required. RSVP here.
Press RSVPs: Will Wilbur –

The Philip Glass Institute will launch with a performance by the Philip Glass Ensemble and a panel discussion with Philip Glass; Lisa Bielawa, Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator of the Philip Glass Institute; and Richard Kessler, Executive Dean of The New School’s College of Performing Arts. The event will also include a performance of an excerpt from Bielawa’s made-for-TV opera, Vireo, which will be workshopped for live performance at the institute in spring 2020.

The Philip Glass Ensemble
Established by composer Philip Glass, the Philip Glass Ensemble (PGE) held its first performance in May 1969 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Since its inception, the Ensemble has been exclusively devoted to performing Glass’s iconic works. The members of the PGE are recognized as the premier performers of Philip Glass’s compositions and the group has performed on four continents in some of the world’s most prestigious music festivals and concert venues.

The PGE is continuing into the future as a performing and educating organization, exclusively performing Philip Glass’s catalog of music written or arranged for the PGE, using the authentic performance practice that the members of the Ensemble have developed over their decades of touring and recording with Glass. The Ensemble is eager to help the next generation of musicians learn this tradition during their touring activities and at their home base in New York City.

Philip Glass
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Philip Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and, while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. By 1974, Glass had a number of innovative projects creating a large collection of new music for The Philip Glass Ensemble and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts and the landmark opera Einstein on the Beach, for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson. Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). In the past few years several new works were unveiled including an opera on the death of Walt Disney, The Perfect American (co-commissioned by Teatro Real, Madrid and the English National Opera), a new touring production of Einstein, the publication of Glass’s memoir, Words Without Music, by Liveright Books, and the premiere of the revised version of Glass’ opera Appomattox, in collaboration with librettist Christopher Hampton, by the Washington National Opera in November 2015.

Glass celebrated his 80th birthday on January 31, 2017 with the world premiere of Symphony No. 11 at Carnegie Hall. His 80th birthday season featured programming around the globe, including the U.S. premieres of operas The Trial and The Perfect American, and world premieres of several new works, including Piano Concerto No. 3, String Quartet No. 8, and Glass’ first Piano Quintet.

In 2015, Glass received the U.S. National Medal of Arts and the 11th Glenn Gould Prize. He was honored with the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair from Carnegie Hall for the 2017-2018 season. Glass will receive the 41st Kennedy Center Honors in December 2018.

On January 10th, 2019, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will present the world premiere of Glass’ Symphony No. 12, based on David Bowie’s album Lodger and a completion of three symphonies based on Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy. Glass continues to perform solo piano and chamber music evenings with world renowned musicians, and regularly appears with the Philip Glass Ensemble.

Lisa Bielawa

Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition. She takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Gramophone reports, “Bielawa is gaining gale force as a composer, churning out impeccably groomed works that at once evoke the layered precision of Vermeer and the conscious recklessness of Jackson Pollock.” Her music has been described as “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart,” by The New York Times, and “fluid and arresting … at once dramatic and probing,” by The San Francisco Chronicle. She is the recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

Lisa Bielawa recently completed her unprecedented, made-for-TV-and-online opera Vireo:The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser with librettist Erik Ehn and director Charles Otte. Vireo was produced as part of Bielawa’s artist residency at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California and in partnership with KCET and Single Cel. The opera was filmed in 12 parts at locations across the country – Alcatraz Island, a monastery on the Hudson River, a studio in Downtown LA, an abandoned train station in Oakland, and the California Redwoods – and featured over 350 musicians in support of its core cast, including soprano Deborah Voigt, Kronos Quartet, violinist Jennifer Koh, San Francisco Girls Chorus, cellist Joshua Roman, Alarm Will Sound, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), and many others. All 12 episodes were broadcast on KCET’s Emmy® award-winning arts and culture series Artbound, as well as online for free, on-demand streaming, which was a first for the network. The Los Angeles Times called Vireo an opera, “unlike any you have seen before, in content and in form,” and San Francisco Classical Voice described it as, “poetic and fantastical, visually stunning and relentlessly abstract.”

Lisa Bielawa’s music is frequently performed throughout the US and abroad. Two of her works received their world premieres at the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL: My Outstretched Hand by The Knights, San Francisco Girls Chorus, and Brooklyn Youth Chorus, which was recently given a second performance at The Kennedy Center; and Vireo Caprice by violinist Jennifer Koh at National Sawdust. The Seattle Chamber Music Society recently commissioned and premiered Bielawa’s Fictional Migrations for flute, horn, and piano, which The Seattle Times called, “sophisticated, propulsive, complex, and often beautiful.” In December 2016, the Orlando Philharmonic performed the world premiere of Bielawa’s Drama/Self Pity for orchestra and in January 2017, The Kennedy Center presented two of her works with Bielawa as soloist as part of their KC Jukebox series. Recent highlights also include performances of Start for piano and chamber orchestra by pianist Andrew Armstrong and the Orchestra of the League of Composers; 50 Measures for Aaron by SOLI Chamber Ensemble; One Atom of Faith by violinist Rebecca Fischer of the Chiara String Quartet; The Trojan Women by the String Orchestra of New York City; and Insomnia Etudes, commissioned for the Klein Competition.

Other performance highlights include Bielawa’s The Trojan Women at Le Poisson Rouge; a Radio France commission for Ensemble Variances titled Cri Selon Cri; a residency at John Zorn’s The Stone; and the world premieres of Hypermelodia at The Rivers School Conservatory, Rondolette by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and pianist Bruce Levingston, Double Duet by the Washington Saxophone Quartet (with subsequent performances by the PRISM Quartet), Graffiti dell’amante by Bielawa with the Chicago Chamber Musicians in Chicago and with Brooklyn Rider in New York and Rome, The Project of Collecting Clouds at Town Hall in Seattle by cellist Joshua Roman and chamber ensemble, Double Violin Concerto and In medias res by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, The Right Weather by American Composers Orchestra and pianist Andrew Armstrong at Carnegie Hall, and The Lay of the Love and Death at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

Bielawa’s music can be found outside the concert hall as well, with two major works written for performance in public spaces. Chance Encounter is a piece comprising songs and arias constructed of speech overheard in transient public spaces, which was premiered by soprano Susan Narucki and The Knights in Lower Manhattan’s Seward Park. A project of Creative Capital, the 35-minute work for roving soprano and chamber ensemble has since been performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, in Vancouver, Venice, and in Rome on the banks of the Tiber River in partnership with urban placemaker Robert Hammond, a founder of The High Line in New York. Bielawa’s latest work for performance in public places is Airfield Broadcasts, a massive 60-minute work for hundreds of musicians that premiered on the tarmac of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin (Tempelhof Broadcast, May 2013) and was also performed at Crissy Field in San Francisco (Crissy Broadcast, October 2013). Bielawa turns these former airfields into vast musical canvases, as professional, amateur and student musicians execute a spatial symphony. Students at the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts recently performed a section from Airfield Broadcasts as part of Bielawa’s artist residency there.

Bielawa’s latest album, The Lay of the Love, was released on Innova in June 2015 and features performances by baritone Jesse Blumberg; soprano Sadie Dawkins Rosales; pianists Jocelyn Dueck, Benjamin Hochman and Evelyne Luest; violinist Colin Jacobsen; cellist Eric Jacobsen; clarinetist Anthony McGill; and flutist Lance Suzuki. The centerpiece of the album is Bielawa’s 25-minute work The Lay of the Love and Death, based on the text of Rainer Maria Rilke’s epic poem, The Lay of the Love and Death of Cornet Christopher Rilke. Bielawa’s discography also includes A Handful of World (Tzadik); The Trojan Women on a disc entitled First Takes (TROY); Hildegurls: Electric Ordo Virtutum, (Innova); The Trojan Women in a version for string quartet performed by the Miami String Quartet on The NYFA Collection (Innova); In medias res (BMOP/sound), a double-disc set of Bielawa’s solo and orchestral works; the world premiere recording of Chance Encounter (Orange Mountain Music), and Elegy-Portrait on pianist Bruce Levingston’s 2011 album, Heart Shadow (Sono Luminus).

Born in San Francisco into a musical family, Lisa Bielawa played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature in 1990 from Yale University, and became an active participant in New York musical life. She began touring as the vocalist with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1992, and has also premiered and toured works by John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, and Michael Gordon. In 1997 she co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers. Bielawa was appointed Artistic Director of the acclaimed San Francisco Girls Chorus in 2013 and recently completed her residency at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California. In 2016, Bielawa was awarded grants from New York Foundation for the Arts, the MAP Fund, and New Music USA.

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