Concert at Villa Aurelia: Erin Gee, Yotam Haber

A SRO audience packed the Villa Aurelia on the evening of Saturday 31 May 2008 to hear performances of music by Academy composers Erin Gee and Yotam Haber.

Erin Gee, winner of the Samuel Barber Rome Prize in Musical Composition, presented five pieces from her Mouthpiece series, variously for chamber ensemble—on this evening, Rome’s Alter Ego Ensemble—solo voice, or for voice and chamber ensemble. Austrian-born singer Anna Maria Pammer and (memorably) Ms. Gee herself performed the electrifying vocal segments.

Erin Gee is currently based in Graz, Austria, where she completed a Ph.D. in music theory from the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in 2007. Her forthcoming opera SLEEP will be premiered by the Zürich Opera House in January 2009, followed by a premiere with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

For a 2004 video performance of Gee’s Mouthpiece VI:

Yotam Haber is the Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize Fellow in Musical Composition. A 2004 Cornell University Ph.D., he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. Haber has twice won the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Award (2002, 2004); in 2004, he also won the second bi-annual Frederick Fennell Prize for his wind ensemble work Espresso.

On this evening Yotam Haber premiered his explosive death will come and she shall have your eyes, a song-cycle in five movements for string orchestra, voice, and archival recordings. Fabio Maestri conducted the Umbrian-based Ensemble in Canto (performing with singer Alda Caiello). The piece “explores the ancient music of the Roman Jewish community in a modern voice”, explains Haber, “combining biblical texts, modern poetry by Italian and American poets, as well as the notorious 1555 Papal Bull by Paul IV, Cum Nimis Absurdum.”

For a video recording of a piano etude by Yotam Haber entitled “Slip”, played by Augustus Arnone:

The Villa Aurelia concert was made possible by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Fromm Music Foundation, the Herman Goldman Foundation, the estate of Kent W. Kennan (FAAR’39), and Janice and George Scantland. ISRAELE60 provided additional funding for the performance of Yotam Haber’s song-cycle.

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