Given that we are now in the midst of a “season of uncertainty,” Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) has released its plans as “its Virtual and (We Hope) Live 2020/21 Home Season.” The musical ensemble is a trio led by soprano Nanette McGuinness with Anne Lerner-Wright on cello. The third “voice” in the trio is a piano; and, for the coming season, the pianist will be Season Guest Margaret Halbig. The other member of the group is the composer David Garner, who is both co-founder and Artistic Advisor.
Four programs have been planned for the coming (thirteenth) season. As of this writing, a venue has been arranged for each of them; but plans are also in place for live-streaming to YouTube. Each event has its own Web page, which will provide the necessary hyperlink for its respective live-stream. Any information about performing in the presence of an audience will be provided at a later date. Plans for each of the programs, along with the hyperlink to its Web page, are as follows:
Friday, November 20, 8 p.m., Old Becomes New: This will be a program of music by living composers inspired by older forms, styles, and themes, taking something old and refashioning it into something brand new. Composer Dalit Warshaw will appear as guest pianist, performing her “Winter Dream (in memoriam Charlotte Salomon)” through a live-stream from New York City. There will also be world premiere performances of two commissioned works by Mary Bianco and the California premiere of “Through the Guarded Gate,” a setting of poetry by Margaret Widdemer composed for soprano and piano by Juliana Hall. Other contributing composers will be Marti Epstein, John Musto, Alden Jenks, Grigory Smirnov, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, Tan Dun, Pablo Ortiz, and Garner.
Saturday, January 30, 7:30 p.m., Anemones: Music by Women Composers: This program will showcase music by ten contemporary women composers. The title of the program is also the title of Emily Doolittle’s song cycle setting texts by Rachel Richardson, which will be receiving its world premiere performance. The other nine composers will be Elinor Armer, Tania León, Claudia Montero, Marti Epstein, Caroline Shaw, Jennifer Higdon, Missy Mazzoli, Anna Clyne, and Vivian Fung. The program will also include the “Mazovian Dance” by Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz.
Saturday, April 17, 7:30 p.m., The Cassandra Project: This program will feature the results of four commissions, all requiring the recipients to create new compositions inspired by the Greek myths about Cassandra. Garner will be one of those four composers. The other three will be Hannah Lash, Jessica Rudman (setting a libretto by Kendra Preston Leonard), and Valerie Liu. All four compositions will be given world premiere performances. The program will also include three earlier works related to Cassandra composed by Mary Kouyoumdjian, Nina C. Young, and Tina Davidson, respectively.
Saturday, June 12, 7:30 p.m., Émigrés & Exiles in Hollywood: This program will survey European composers that escaped World War II and the events leading up to it by finding work in the Hollywood film industry. The composers whose works will be performed are Alexandre Tansman, Franz Waxman, Miklós Rózsa, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Eric Zeisl, Henryk Vars, and Hanns Eisler. The program will also include another Bacewicz composition (“Moravian Dance”), as well as short pieces by Szymon Laks, Mieczysław Weinberg, and André Tchaikowsky.