Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will present COMPOSERS IN FOCUS: Mary Kouyoumdjian
On Wednesday March 30, 2022 at 6:30 p.m., the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society will present Composers On pointa digital event celebrating the Armenian-American composer and documentary filmmaker Marie Kouyoumdjian. After a discussion with the composer, violinist Jesse Millscellist Mihai Marica, bassist Brendan Kane, clarinetist Todd Palm Treeand trumpeter Gareth Flowers will perform 30 minutes to open up, shout by Kouyoumdjian with visuals by artist Kevork Mourad. Composers On point gives audiences a rare opportunity to witness intimate conversations between composers and musicians who know each other and, in some cases, have known and worked together for years.
Open Up, Scream (2017) is a portrait of Roma artist, writer, musician and Holocaust survivor Ceija Stojka. Kouyoumdjian says, “What draws me to Stojka’s work are his themes of nostalgia for the past and dealing with the aftermath of unimaginable trauma. As the granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors, these themes are familiar to me in my own culture and family history, and they are common themes in other cultures that have experienced and continue to experience mass extermination. strongly believe in the arts as a medium for change, and I hope to continue the conversation about how we empathize with those who experience the unimaginable, and how we can learn from the past to move forward.”
Each movement is inspired by various Stojka paintings – from her paintings that celebrate her free and vibrant Roma life to those that explore the horrific experiences she endured during the Holocaust. Composed for mixed ensemble and electronic track, the music often incorporates elements of folk music into a contemporary musical language. The ensemble members play amplified with pre-recorded samples of themselves – playing in the present while engaging in the past. Inspired by Stojka’s fond memories of her mother, who would calm her with her singing, a distant, intangible voice presents itself throughout the work. The music alternates between the polarities of happiness and tragedy, in an effort to understand Stojka’s unique perspective, and draws on imagery related to family, community, nature, seasons, fear , nakedness and shame. The piece and the movements are titled after Stojka’s own words.
Digital event details
Composers On point: Marie Kouyoumdjian
Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Available on request from April 6, 2022
Tickets: Free, but RSVP required.
Kouyoumdjian – open me up, scream for clarinet, trumpet, violin, cello, bass, audio playback and film
I. I dream of living
ii. We were ashamed
iii. In the shadow of a smoking crematorium
iv. Auschwitz only sleeps
About Marie Kouyoumdjian
Mary Kouyoumdjian is a composer and documentary filmmaker with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first-generation Armenian-American from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and the Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, her interest in music as a documentary, and her training in experimental composition to gradually blend the old with the new. A strong believer in freedom of expression and the arts as an amplifier of expression, his compositional work often incorporates recorded testimonials with resilient individuals and field recordings of places to invite empathy by humanizing experiences. complexes around social and political conflicts.
Kouyoumdjian has received commissions for organizations such as the New York Philharmonic, the Kronos Quartet, Carnegie HallMetropolitan Museum of Art, Beth Morrison Projects/OPERA America, Alarm Will Sound, Bang on a Can, International Contemporary Ensemble, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the American Composers Forum, Roomful of Teeth, WQXR, REDSHIFT, Experiments in Opera, Helen Simoneau Danse, the Nouveau Classical Project, Music of Remembrance, Friction Quartet, Ensemble Oktoplus and the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble, among others. His work has been performed internationally at Carnegie HallLincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MASS MoCA, the center of the barbican, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Millennium Park, Benaroya Hall, Prototype Festival, New York Philharmonic Biennial, Cabrillo Festival, Big Ears Festival, 21C Music Festival and Cal Performances. His residencies include those with EMPAC, Buffalo String Works, Alarm Will Sound/The Mizzou International Composers Festival, Roulette/The Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center and Exploring the Metropolis. His music has been described as “eloquently scripted” and “emotionally overwhelming” by The New York Times and as “politically fearless” and “the most heartbreaking moments on stage while performing in New York” by the New York Music Daily. . In her work as a composer, orchestrator and music editor for film, she has collaborated on a wide range of motion pictures, including orchestrating the soundtracks for The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus Features) and Demonic (Dimension Films ).
Kouyoumdjian holds an DMA and an MA in composition from Columbia University, where she studied primarily with Zosha Di Castri, Georg Friedrich Haas, Fred Lerdahl and George Lewis; a master’s degree in notation for film and multimedia from New York University; and a BA in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied with Chaya Czernowin, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, Anthony Davis, Steven Schick and Chinary Ung. Dedicated to the defense of new music, Kouyoumdjian is co-founder of the annual new music conference i??New Music Gathering, was the founding executive director of the contemporary music ensemble Hoteli?? Elefant, and served as co-artistic director of Alaska’s new music festival Wild Shore New Music. A passionate educator, Kouyoumdjian is Assistant Professor of Composition at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and has taught at Columbia University, The New School, Feirstein School of Cinema at Brooklyn College, Mannes Prep, The Very Young Composers of the New York Philharmonic. Kouyoumdjian is a proud member of the American Composers Forum Board of Directors and is published by Schott’s PSNY. Learn more about www.marykouyoumdjian.com.
Photo credit: Desmond White