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South Hudson Music Project Joins This Is Beethoven


SEATTLE-AREA ARTS ORGANIZATIONS JOIN FORCES TO CATALYZE

THE LARGEST-EVER CITY-WIDE DIGITAL ARTS FESTIVAL

December 16 – 18, 2020 (7:30 – 10 PM PT)

December 19, 2020 (Marathon Day beginning at 12 PM PT)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: info@shmproject.org

(Seattle, WA) – South Hudson Music Project joins This is Beethoven, a collaboration uniting twenty arts organizations in a city-wide festival demonstrating the power of arts to articulate our society’s moment in time. Centered around the 250th birthday anniversary of the revolutionary composer Ludwig Van Beethoven, this festival symbolically pays homage to the composer while making current the same pioneering spirit he represented during his time.

Beethoven’s presence in musical history is a great example of current needs in the time of COVID-19: pushing for change, unafraid of our voice, and transforming vulnerability to creativity. A side of his life often unknown, Beethoven dealt with abuse by his own father at a young age, battled custody over his own brother’s son, felt social anxiety due to his deafness, and constantly contemplated over life’s purpose. Beethoven inspires the theme of the festival because it symbolizes what it means to be human – to see beauty through the imperfections – and still come together.

“At a time when the ability to share art with others isn’t as easy to do, we are taking this as an opportunity to celebrate the collective power of what Seattle arts have to offer,” shared Kristin Lee, Artistic Director of Emerald City Music. “Beethoven’s 250th birthday gives us a reason to pause and implement the revolutionary qualities he carried that evolved the art form. Seattle arts are pioneers in their fields, and on the other side of COVID, will pave the way for the next Seattle arts evolution.”

South Hudson Music Project

Composer and South Hudson Music Project executive director Wayne Horvitz has composed “R and R”, a suite in three movements, each 10 minutes in length for string trio, percussion and improvising soloists. Inspired by the recordings of the Sonatas for Cello and Piano by Mstislav Rostropovich and Sviatoslav Richter, each of the three movements plays with the sonata as interpreted for the 21st century, with each movement representing one part of a three-part sonata form. The piece will be performed by Horvitz and special guest improvising soloists. Learn more about Wayne Horvitz at www.waynehorvitz.com.

“Music is the healing force of the universe. It is a powerful language, but it is often expressed in dialects that keep us separate. By forging opportunities for artists and audiences to communicate, share, and explore through music, we can bring people from all walks of life to transform our world.”

­– Wayne Horvitz, Executive Director of South Hudson Music Project

This ticketed multi-day online festival will be accessible by visiting www.thisisbeethoven.org, with more details forthcoming. If you are interested in joining the project, please contact Emerald City Music at thisisbeethovenseattle@gmail.com by September 21. All partners will be confirmed by October 1.

Performances spanning from 30 – 60 minutes in length will be pre-recorded live at Vashon Center for the Arts in early December and produced for the late December festival. Partner organizations confirmed thus far include:

  • Emerald City Music, organizers

  • Amazon Symphony Orchestra

  • Byron Schenkman & Friends

  • Classical 98.1 KING FM

  • Northwest Film Forum

  • Northwest Sinfonietta

  • The Rhapsody Project

  • Seattle Modern Orchestra

  • Seattle Pro Musica

  • Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra

  • South Hudson Music Project

  • University of Washington School of Drama

  • Vashon Center for the Arts

  • Zoe | Juniper

PARTNERSHIPS AND PROGRAMMING*

* More programming details with all partner organizations will be confirmed and announced by November 1. Below are summaries of the current, confirmed programming.

Emerald City Music

The Miro Quartet- one of America's most celebrated quartets- represents Emerald City Music and performs one of Beethoven's most monumental works, Op. 130 String Quartet with Op. 133, the "Große Fuge" (Grand Fugue). This work features the ultimate expansion of the string quartet to the possible limits of its scope through its length, compositional complexity, and the emotional depth. Indeed, this piece as a whole was completely unprecedented in its time, and remains truly inimitable in its depth and profundity by any compositions in any genre written by anyone to this day. www.emeraldcitymusic.org

“As we navigate these extraordinary times, we're reminded of why music is so important to our city right now. It plays a core role in inspiring change, healing, and hope. This is what Beethoven truly did in his time, and this is exactly what Emerald City Music is uniting with our region's arts partners to do now."

Andrew Goldstein, Emerald City Music Executive Director and Co-Founder

Amazon Symphony Orchestra

The Op. 11 trio in B-flat major, scored for clarinet, cello and piano, is one of Beethoven's earliest chamber pieces. It earned this nickname because of the popularity of the tune that the third movement, a theme and variations movement, is based on. "Gasse" in German means "street", and "Gassenhauer" was the term used for any tune so popular that it was commonly heard in the streets. Though no longer used today, the closest equivalent term today would be a "hit" -- which this Trio certainly remains, at least to clarinetists, to this day.

“The Amazon Symphony Orchestra is an unusual group to form inside a company focused on high tech, but as we have grown, we have seen the importance of sharing music with each other and with others. Now, during this time of social distancing, it's more important than ever to keep music alive as a way of connecting with our community and celebrate humanity's strength in unity -- something Beethoven strove to express through his music throughout his life.”

– Hsing-Hui Hsu, Amazon Symphony Director of Programming

Byron Schenkman & Friends | Beethoven’s Legacy

Beethoven’s life and work changed the course of Western music history, redefining the roles of musicians in society, and paving the way for a canon of Western Classical Music. In this lively and informal talk, distinguished performer and scholar Byron Schenkman will explore factors leading up to that change, Beethoven’s part in it, and ways Beethoven’s legacy has impacted our experience of music today. This will serve as a starting point for further discussion on how we might move forward from here, retaining the best of Beethoven’s legacy while redefining it for a more diverse and inclusive future. www.byronandfriends.org

“Music has the power to bring people together for healing and joy. In these challenging times it is more important than ever to build and strengthen community. It is an honor to join with our friends and colleagues in the Seattle Arts community to help bring people together through music.”

Margy Crosby, General Manager of Byron Schenkman & Friends

Classical 98.1 KING FM

KING FM joins THIS IS BEETHOVEN as a media partner in amplifying this city-wide celebration of arts in Seattle. Listeners can tune in by visiting 98.1 FM on the radio dial, or by visiting www.king.org

Northwest Sinfonietta

Northwest Sinfonietta’s program for the Beethoven Festival centers around the slow movement from Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132. Beethoven wrote this movement of surpassing beauty and hope, titled Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, as a thanksgiving after a serious illness. It is our hope that it will lift spirits as we look for the end of the Covid Pandemic and the suffering of so many. Around this centerpiece, Sinfonietta will explore Beethoven as a connection or conduit between composers old and new, including music of Palestrina and Alan Hovhaness’ Prayer of St. Gregory for trumpet and strings. www.nwsinfonietta.org

“Northwest Sinfonietta is thrilled to be part of this unique celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Beethoven’s life and music are a continual source of inspiration and hope, and are so relevant to the challenging times in which we are currently living.”

– Karin Choo, Northwest Sinfonietta Executive Director

The Rhapsody Project

The Rhapsody Project’s performance will highlight the social dimensions of music making, and the fact that folk music continues to play an important role in the culture that informs current composers who extend Beethoven’s legacy to this day. Our teenaged cohort of songsters will present a wide variety of popular and obscure songs that reflect the spirit of Beethoven’s music. By providing historical context, rewriting and adapting traditional songs, and highlighting the perspectives of Black and LGBTQ youth, the Rhapsody songsters will demonstrate how community is strengthened and enriched through music. www.therhapsodyproject.org

“The Rhapsody Project is taking part in this festival to provide our young Seattle songsters with a platform to share their views and perspectives on the spirit of Beethoven, the meaning of music making in the current pandemic, and the role of social music as it relates to the formal approaches associated with classical music today. Our project’s leaders view this confluence of different communities and musical disciplines as long overdue, and are thrilled to take part and see where this can lead!”

Joe Season, Co-Director and Founder of the Rhapsody Project

Seattle Modern Orchestra

Seattle Modern Orchestra will present music as revolutionary, critical, and responsive in our time–as Beethoven was in his time. The program includes Mauricio Kagel’s Ludwig van (1970), a tribute to Beethoven on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth. The indeterminate “meta-collage” of Beethoven’s music challenges the performers not only in their technical virtuosity but also their ability to recreate music as composers themselves. The concert will also feature a new work by Chinese composer and pianist, Wang Lu. Wang, Professor of Music at Brown University, has received many awards including Berlin Prize in Music Composition, 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation and the Fromm Foundation. This new work will explore Wang’s personal relationship with the music of Beethoven, and is a response to its ideals using her own aesthetic and musical language. www.seattlemodernorchestra.org

“Seattle Modern Orchestra is excited to join this multidisciplinary gathering of local Artists, celebrating each other's contribution to Seattle’s artistic landscape. And, together, we will explore in different ways the works and ideals of Beethoven, in turn setting a new artist vision in our community.”

Jeremy Jolley, Artistic Director of Seattle Modern Orchestra

Seattle Pro Musica | Notes for an uncertain future

As a meditation on our shared inability to know the ultimate course of our lives, Seattle Pro Musica offers three pieces written by composers who, like Beethoven, would be overtaken by deafness in their later years.

Ethel Smyth's The March of the Women (1911) became an anthem of the women's suffrage movement. Her own career was beset by the sexism of being considered merely a "woman composer" with music that was either inappropriately powerful for a woman, or too delicate to stand up to the work of male composers. For her 75th birthday, a festival was organized to celebrate her works, by which time she had grown so deaf that she could hear neither the performances nor the appreciative audiences.

Gabriel Fauré wrote Cantique de Jean Racine (1865) as a 19-year-old student. It is a piece full of the charm that characterizes his early works. This charm gave way to a more somber, withdrawn style as hearing loss set in during his final decades.

Ralph Vaughan Williams composed his Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1912) two years before the outbreak of WWI. He felt compelled to enlist at the relatively advanced age of 42, a choice that would expose him to the loud gunfire that would lead to his eventual deafness. Despite his hearing loss, he continued to compose well regarded works until his death at the age of 85.

www.seattlepromusica.org

“We are excited to be part of This is Beethoven. Everyone who participates in the arts, whether as performer, creator, or audience member, has been profoundly affected by the isolation imposed by COVID-19. In some ways, this isolation has similarities to the isolation that Beethoven endured due to his deafness and social anxiety. Bringing Seattle artists and audiences together at this time is a powerful statement about the resiliency of the arts and of humanity.”

Karen P. Thomas, Seattle Pro Musica Artistic Director

Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra

Every year, talented musicians in the Seattle area compete in the SYSO Concerto Competition. This year, finalists will have the opportunity to join THIS IS BEETHOVEN and live-stream their award-winning performance from the Vashon Arts Center. In addition to the opportunity to join THIS IS BEETHOVEN, the winners will receive coachings and a masterclass from an Emerald City Music musician, and the competition winners will be invited to perform live at a SYSO concert when it is safe to do so. Additionally, all applicants will receive a free coaching from SYSO Music Director Juan Felipe Molano. www.syso.org

South Hudson Music Project

Composer and South Hudson Music Project executive director Wayne Horvitz has composed “R and R”, a suite in three movements, each 10 minutes in length for string trio, percussion and improvising soloists. Inspired by the recordings of the Sonatas for Cello and Piano by Mstislav Rostropovich and Sviatoslav Richter, each of the three movements plays with the sonata form as interpreted for the 21st century, with each movement representing one part of a three-part sonata form. The piece will be performed by Horvitz and special guest improvising soloists. Learn more about Wayne Horvitz at www.waynehorvitz.com.

“Music is the healing force of the universe. It is a powerful language, but it is often expressed in dialects that keep us separate. By forging opportunities for artists and audiences to communicate, share, and explore through music, we can bring people from all walks of life to transform our world.”

­– Wayne Horvitz, Executive Director of South Hudson Music Project

University of Washington School of Drama, Dance and Music | A Distant, Guiding Sun: Beethoven’s Letters for Voice, Piano, and Movement

The University of Washington will present a collaboration between artists who teach at the UW School of Drama, School of Music, and Department of Dance. Actor Jeffrey Fracé, pianist Cristina Valdés, and dancer Rachael Lincoln join together to explore excerpts from Beethoven’s letters. An interdisciplinary trio where the music, the movement, and the words lead and follow each other, this is an attempt to glean Beethoven’s meanings in multiple dimensions. These letters resonate with love and striving, and are especially meaningful to artists who are struggling to realize their work’s full potential in our moment of national and global crisis. https://artsci.washington.edu/divisions/arts

“It’s especially meaningful and joyful at this challenging time to work together with artists we admire on material as touching and inspiring as Beethoven’s letters. Different century, similar struggles – and there’s something in that connection that offers comfort and strength.”

– Jeffrey Fracé, Associate Professor, Head of Acting Program at the University of Washington School of Drama

Vashon Arts Center

In addition to providing the venue for streaming THIS IS BEETHOVEN, the Vashon Arts Center will present a piano recital by renowned pianist, Vyacheslav "Slava" Gryaznov, exploring Franz Liszt’s transcriptions of Beethoven’s monumental symphonies. www.vashoncenterforthearts.org

“At Vashon Center for the Arts, we are dedicated to forging new partnerships with fellow arts groups. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, these relationships are more critical than ever. VCA’s auditorium and video broadcasting capabilities allow us to offer resources many artists do not have access to right now. Seeing THIS IS BEETHOVEN take shape has reinforced our commitment to the arts, and proven once again that the arts are resilient.”

– Allison Halstead, Executive Director of the Vashon Arts Center

Zoe | Juniper + Northwest Film Forum

In collaboration with the Northwest Film Forum, Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey (zoe | juniper) are making a dance film in dialogue with Beethoven’s handwritten scores for his late quartets. Filmed with eleven local dancers playing with the fluidity and strength this time calls for. www.zoejuniper.org | www.nwfilmforum.org

“Since the beginning of quarantine, the world-wide recognition of urgencies surrounding anti-racism action, and the subsequent crumbling of all productions and plans, I have been in a perpetual state of shock. This time is asking me to return to my process at it’s very basic level, making art with what I have in front of me. I must admit, I am not much of a Beethoven connoisseur, I don’t know his music beyond the greatest hits.

So I decided to begin with “listening” to his late quartets, and by sitting with the printed score and allowing the notes to turn into movement. To read the timing, pace, tempo and quality through his hand and physicalize it. I traced his notes with my fingers, found shapes in their arrangements, saw dancers, stage, space, and time. It began to feel like a duet with Beethoven, a re-animation of him not just through his music, but alongside the movement of his hand across the page as it made physical the sounds in his head he could no longer hear.”

– Zoe Scofield, zoe | juniper Co-Artistic Director and Choreographer

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The South Hudson Music Project (SHMP) develops, promotes and presents innovative musical collaborations that cross boundaries of genre, culture, generation, and neighborhood in order to strengthen and engage our community. South Hudson Music Project is a not-for-profit funding model designed to sustain the music presentation, education, and community benefit activities of The Royal Room as it continues as a permanent venue in the community. www.shmproject.org.

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