It’s lovely to hear Jack Van Zandt’s news from LA, including updates on the current situation in that part of the globe, his upcoming recordings and a heartfelt note about the great Nobel Lauriat poet Rabindranath Tagore whose 80th death anniversary we are commemorating this month.
Jack Van Zandt
Letter from Los Angeles
Greetings from very hot and bone dry southwest California where the effects of climate change are evident everywhere you turn. Never was rain more wanted or needed! Let’s hope for a wet winter to keep us from severe water rationing next year. Fortunately the pandemic has become a less pressing issue with more than 60 percent of Californians now completely vaccinated and businesses opening up again. The live concerts are coming back in the big venues, the Hollywood Bowl and Disney Hall for instance, but the smaller theaters and halls in cities and universities that are the homes of the new music community for the most part remain dark, hopefully for only a short while longer.
The recording studios are opening up now, and I have several sessions coming up in the coming months and throughout 2022 to record a number of my pieces for release in streaming, DVD and CD formats. First up in August is the long delayed recording of my A Chaos of Light and Motion: Four Dramatic Songs from Shelley with the dedicatee, soprano Stacey Fraser, and an ensemble of some of LA’s best performers: Sara Andon: Flute, alto flute, piccolo, bass flute; Cynthia Fogg: Viola; Nadia Shpachenko: Celesta; Alastair Edmonstone: Piano; Alison Bjorkedal: Harp; Yuri Inoo Miyoshi: Vibraphone; and Cory Hills: Marimba and chimes. The song cycle will be released on Fraser’s forthcoming CD in 2022, and there will be more info on that in due course. The score and parts for this work are available from CE, and there is a video on YouTube of the first performance that took place last year just before the lockdown.
At the end of August, we will be video recording my short song cycle with poems by Jorge Luis Borges in Spanish, El Oro de los Tigres, for September streaming in this year’s Hear Now Festival of LA Composers. This will be the cycle’s North American premiere, the world premiere having been in St. John’s, Smith Square, London in 1986. The work will be performed by Kirsten Ashley Wiest, coloratura soprano; Cecilia Tsan, cello; Brian Walsh, clarinet; Alison Bjorkedal, harp; and conducted by Anthony Parnther, who is the music director of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra. The score and parts are available from CE and there is a recording of the London performance on YouTube. The new recording will be available on my YouTube channel in October.
The Bengali Hindu poet, Nobel Lauriat Rabindranath Tagore, has been a huge influence on me and my work for many years. In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of his death on Saturday 07 August, I am releasing video recordings of two arias from On the Shores of Eternity, my two hour multimedia dramatic madrigal exploring the work of this great poet. The set of two arias, scored for soprano, alto flute, harp, electric fretless bass guitar, electronic cello and electronics, will be published together by CE during August. The complete work for soprano, 5-part vocal ensemble, electronics and an array of acoustic and digital instruments, dancers and video, is in preparation for a 2023 release on streaming platforms, and will be coproduced by the Beyond Opera Collective and California State University San Bernardino.
Two Arias from On the Shores of Eternity may be seen on my YouTube channel. Thanks to my dear friends Stacey Fraser, soprano, and Jane Rigler, alto flute, for their beautiful performances on this very recent recording.
Have a happy and safe summer everyone! I will be back with a new letter from LA in October.
Tags: A chaos of Light and Motion, Alastair Edmonstone, Alison Bjorkedal, Anthony Parnther, Beyond Opera Collective, Brian Walsh, California State University San Bernadino, Cecilia Tsan, Cory Hills, Cynthia Fogg, El Oro de los Tigres, Hear Now Festival, jack van zandt, Jane Rigler, Jorge Luis Borges, Kirsten Ashley Wiest, Nadia Shpachenko, On the Shores of Eternity, Rabindranath Tagore, Sara Andon, Stacey Fraser, Yuri Inoo Miyoshi