Composer Lisa Bielawa Releases New Album – Blueprints I – Music by Lisa Bielawa
Ten World Premiere Recordings of Works from Cancelled Residency at The Stone in March 2020
Release Date: August 14, 2020
Lisa Bielawa: www.lisabielawa.net
New York, NY – On Friday, August 14, 2020 composer, vocalist, and producer Lisa Bielawa releases Blueprints I, a digital-only album featuring ten world premiere recordings of Bielawa’s compositions. Her five-concert residency at The Stone (a performance initiative founded by John Zorn) in NYC was to take place the very week in March 2020 that the city went into coronavirus lockdown. All of the programs were rehearsed and ready, but the performances were not able to take place.
In order to honor the commitment and artistry of these tremendous collaborators, Bielawa decided to offer a chance to share some of the performances that audiences would have heard that week in an album recorded entirely in the performers’ homes, with guidance from engineer Mick Rossi. The musicians featured on this recording are vocalist Lisa Bielawa, pianist Molly Morkoski, flutist Sarah Carrier, violinist/vocalist Rebecca Fischer, clarinetist Ashleé Miller, hornist Michael Atkinson, violist Oriana Hawley, vocalist Gregory Purnhagen, and flutist Alex Sopp.
The Stone residency was conceived as a magnifying glass on Bielawa’s acclaimed large-scale projects, with performances of the intimate chamber-setting pieces she used to develop material for the larger works. Most of the works are for solo instruments, though violinist-vocalist Rebecca Fischer achieves a duet with herself by singing and playing at the same time in One Atom of Faith, and baritone Gregory Purnhagen achieves a duet with himself by recording over a re-edited digital track taken from the TV opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, originally recorded and shot live at Alcatraz prison. The duet Synopsis #13: Thy Sting is Not So Sharp is recorded by mother-and-daughter team Rebecca Fischer and Oriana Hawley, sheltering in place together. The final track, Genesis Again, was recorded in a remote collaborative process by the three performers, incorporating improvised interludes between fully-scored sections. These group improvisations were each created in a different tag-team order, so that each performer had a chance both to lead and to follow.
Blueprints I | Music by Lisa Bielawa | Released August 14, 2020
- “Curfew” fromPhrenic Crush(text by Erik Ehn)
Lisa Bielawa, voice; Molly Morkoski, piano 2:20
Sarah Carrier, flute 8:17
- One Atom of Faith(text by Mary MacLane)
Rebecca Fischer, voice and violin 7:06
- Synopsis#5: He Figures Out What Clouds Mean
Ashleé Miller, clarinet 4:50
- Synopsis#10: I Know This Room So Well
Michael Atkinson, horn 3:03
- Insomnia Etude #2: 4am
Oriana Hawley, viola 6:40
- “Doctor Aria” fromVireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser,Episode 9: Alcatraz (text by Erik Ehn)
Gregory Purnhagen, baritone 3:41
Incorporates audio from live session on Alcatraz Island, June 21, 2016, engineered & edited by Eric Liljestrand, Randall Matamoros, hurdy-gurdy; Members of Cappella SF, Artistic Director, Ragnar Bohlin – Crystal Kim; Gail Nakano; Matthew Peterson; Leandra Ramm; Chung-Wai Soong; Jonathan Thomas
- Synopsis#14: No, No, No – Put That Down!
Ashleé Miller, clarinet 4:15
- Synopsis#13: Thy Sting is Not so Sharp
Rebecca Fischer, violin; Oriana Hawley, viola 5:33
- Genesis Again(text by Erik Ehn)
Lisa Bielawa, voice; Alex Sopp, alto flute; Michael Atkinson, horn 7:23
Recorded April-May 2020 at the performers’ homes while sheltering in place
Produced by Lisa Bielawa and Mick Rossi
Edited by Lisa Bielawa
Mixed and mastered by Mick Rossi
Cover image by Alex Sopp
Special thanks: Andrea Christie
About Lisa Bielawa: Lisa Bielawa is a Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition and takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Her music has been described as “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart,” by The New York Times. She is the recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and was named a William Randolph Hearst Visiting Artist Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society for 2018. In 2020, Bielawa was awarded a Discovery Grant from OPERA America’s Grants for Female Composers for her opera in progress, Centuries in the Hours. In 1997 Bielawa co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers, and for five years she was the artistic director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
She received a 2018 Los Angeles Area Emmy nomination for her unprecedented, made-for-TV-and-online opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, created with librettist Erik Ehn and director Charles Otte. Vireo was filmed in twelve parts in locations across the country and features over 350 musicians. The Los Angeles Times called Vireo an opera, “unlike any you have seen before, in content and in form.” Vireo was produced as part of Bielawa’s artist residency at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California and in partnership with KCETLink and Single Cel. In February 2019, Vireo was released as a two CD + DVD box set on Orange Mountain Music and it is coming to the stage in 2021 as VIREO LIVE, a hybrid film-opera 90-minute experience.
Described by the Washington Post as “spellbinding,” Bielawa’s latest large-scale participatory work, Broadcast from Home, has been realized online throughout the period of the coronavirus lockdown, featuring submitted written and recorded vocal testimonies from over 250 participants from five continents. Broadcast from Home is a follow-up to Lisa Bielawa’s earlier works for performance in public spaces – Airfield Broadcasts (spatialized works for hundreds of musicians on the field of former airfields), and Mauer Broadcast (a participatory work for public performance, for the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall last year). Bielawa is currently at work on another piece called Voters’ Broadcast, which is also meant to be performed in public places in the lead-up to the Presidential Election and will also be developed remotely as needed, as events unfold.
Her work has been premiered at the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, SHIFT Festival, Town Hall Seattle, and Naumburg Orchestral Concerts Summer Series, among others. Orchestras that have championed her music include the The Knights, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, American Composers Orchestra, the Orlando Philharmonic, and ROCO (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra). Premieres of her work have been commissioned and presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Rider, Seattle Chamber Music Society, American Guild of Organists, the ASCAP Foundation Charles Kingsford Fund, and more. She is recorded on the Tzadik, TROY, Innova, BMOP/ sound, Supertrain Records, Cedille, Orange Mountain Music and Sono Luminus labels.
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