It is really inspiring to receive news from Jack van Zandt about his current projects, also his words of encouragement for these days we are living in right now. Among them is a film in production featuring performances of his solo viola etudes Stoicheia with violist Carmen Flores. Carmen Flores, violinist Tamaki Higashi and Jack van Zandt are also working on filmed performances of Ceól na hÉirean. Last month Carmen Flores and Tamaki Higashi conducted a broadcast conversation as members of Villiers Quartet with Jack Van Zandt, talking about their work and how they are adapting to the sudden and dramatic change brought on by the pandemic. You can watch the video here below:
Jack van Zandt also brings news of several other projects in progress including his music theatre work The New Frontier and two song cycles.
“I have been seeing the ground shift in our business here in LA and around the world, with many performers and composers seeking, developing and finding new ways to carry on during the pandemic, when all the traditional avenues of performance are closed. The result is that it is now a given that close collaborations and partnerships of composers, performers, videographers, visual artists and others, in creating projects for the digital world are the wave of the future. That is certainly the case with me and my work, and I have developed multiple collaborative projects with partners in North American and Europe.
A big new development in my life concerns the music theater work in progress, “The New Frontier”, which I am writing with librettist Jill Freeman for soprano Stacey Fraser. Our original intention was to stage the premiere of the work at California State University San Bernardino’s (CSUSB) fabulous theater early next year. However, given the circumstances, we are in the process of reimagining the work as a video recorded project for internet streaming. Jill Freeman and I conceived of the work as a 75-minute chamber opera focusing on how “The Bomb” (A and H bombs) affected our everyday lives when we were growing up in the 50s and 60s. It is a monodrama with a 50s jazz-type ensemble in beatnik costume (Trumpet, tenor sax, piano, bass, drum set, vibes/marimba, and spaced-out bongo player), in which Stacey Fraser plays a different character in each “song”. The work is partly sarcastic and partly serious. The production will be available on You Tube in 2021. We demoed two of the songs in trio versions at the Wende Museum in Culver City, California last year that can be heard here:
My recent work, A Chaos of Light and Motion: Four Shelley Songs, that was premiered on January 30 by soprano Stacey Fraser and a fabulous ensemble of seven instruments conducted by Ruth Charloff, has received a grant to record it in a studio. We are working out a way of doing it this summer hopefully, and will be working with legendary recording engineer Talley Sherwood in his Trident Studio in Burbank, California.
My miniature song cycle on texts by Jorge Luis Borges, El Oro de los Tigres, that was supposed to have its North American premiere in the LA Hear Now Festival in early May, will now be heard in the 2021 festival, all being well. In the meantime, the score and parts and audio for this work are now available from Composers Edition.
Best wishes to all my fellow Composers Edition friends and family out there, wherever you may be. Stay well and safe and hopefully we will be on the other side of this crazy pandemic in the not-too-distant future, with new tools and models at our disposal for creating our music and making it available to the world”.
Jack Van Zandt
Tags: A chaos of Light and Motion, Carmen Flores, Ceol na hEirean, El Oro de los Tigres, jack van zandt, Jill Freeman, LA Hear Now Festival, Ruth Charloff, Stacey Fraser, Stoicheia, Talley Sherwood, Tamaki Higashi, The New Frontier, Trident Studio, Villiers String Quartet, Wende Museum