Yellow Barn Artist Residencies

Click on the links below for more information about each residency, including artist biographies, press articles, and additional performances.

See a list of individuals and ensembles who have been in residence at Yellow Barn

Read a history of Yellow Barn's Artist Residencies program

Apply for an Artist Residency

2016-2017 RESIDENCY SEASON

Paddle to the Sea
Works for percussion ensemble by Philip Glass, John Luther Adams, and Jacob Druckman, as well as original compositions by Third Coast
November 2016

The classic children’s book and Academy Award-nominated film Paddle to the Sea is the focus of a new performance project that looks at our relationship to the bodies of water that connect our lives.

Honoring Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Works by Granados and Moya
December 2016

The years 2016 and 2017 mark a double-anniversary for the great Spanish composer Enrique Granados: the 100th anniversary of his untimely death in 1916, and the 150th anniversary of his birth in 1867. Granados is often cited particularly as a composer for the piano, but his lesser-known songs are also a seminal achievement.

Faithful to the Spirit
Works by Brahms, Chausson, and Dvořák
March 2017

Despite the interest in historical performance, mainstream performers have largely ignored the hardest evidence of all: early recordings. These performances, often made by contemporaries of or in consultation with composers, may tell us something about the spirit of music making that a composer’s words and notation cannot.

Das heiße Herz (The Hot Heart)
Works by Widmann and Schumann
April 2017

Jörg Widmann, Yellow Barn’s Composer in Residence, returns to Putney to work with baritone William Sharp and pianist Seth Knopp, as they prepare for the North American premiere of Das heiße Herz, Widmann’s song cycle inspired by Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe.

2015-2016 RESIDENCY SEASON

Breath and Hammer
Works for clarinet, piano, and electronics by Krakauer, Tagg, Zorn, and more 
September 2015

This project expands the concept of the clarinet and piano recital by taking simple songs from folk and improvisation-based traditions and re-imagining them for clarinet, piano, and electronics. Creating something orchestral in scope, David Krakauer and Kathleen Tagg will draw upon a rich variety of source material, including South African and klezmer traditions, "tunes" from Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and “downtown” contemporary music from New York composer John Zorn, as well as original compositions by Krakauer and Tagg born out of their exposure to a multitude of cultures and traditions.

So you want to write a fugue? 
Works for string quartet by Bach, Haydn, Harbison, and Beethoven
October 2015

Since Johann Sebastian Bach, the musical form of the fugue has represented the ultimate challenge of counterpoint in which the composer must strike that intricate balance between each voice’s individual integrity and its role within the greater whole. Similarly, the string quartet is a medium that inherently balances between the unity of the homogenous collective and the expressive individuality of four independent voices. Following the fugue’s full maturation in the works of Bach, composers have used the string quartet as a vessel to explore the form and mold it to each of their compositional styles. The Telegraph Quartet explores the fugue and its evolution from Bach to our time, through Bach’s Art of Fugue, works of Haydn and Harbison, and Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, the apotheosis of the fugue through the string quartet.

A Thousand Cranes
Works for strings and harp by Theofanidis, Widmann, Hersant, and Bach
December 2015

This residency, held in collaboration with the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, brings ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra) and harpist Sivan Magen to Putney to prepare Chris Theofanidis’ new work A Thousand Cranes for its world premiere on the Nasher’s Soundings series. Inspired by the power of a child’s innocence to transcend human tragedy, Theofanidis’ work forms the cornerstone of a program that includes works by Jörg Widmann, Philippe Hersant, and Johann Sebastian Bach, reflecting both the human desire to harness unattainable power and the limitless power of human expression. 

Faithful to the Spirit
Works for piano and strings by Elgar, Grieg, and Vaughn Williams
May 2016

Examining playing styles heard on rare, early recordings of works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Edvard Grieg, and Edward Elgar, along with recording notes, correspondence, and other historical evidence, this residency constitutes the performer’s response to this information. Questions and debates that arise, approaches chosen to adopt or discard, are all aimed at using this evidence of past performance as a lens through which the interpreter can reconsider, and better understand, how we interact with music today.

This Yellow Barn Artist Residency continues the work made possible by a British Library Edison Fellowship, awarded to pianist Marisa Gupta, for the study of recordings held in the British National Sound Archives. She will be joined by violinist Maria Włoszczowska, violist Rosalind Ventris, cellist Jonathan Dormand, and double bassist Lizzie Burns.

2014-2015 Residency Season

In Return for My Song: Tonalities at once ancient and new
Works for string quartet and percussion by Beethoven, Berio, Dun, Harvey, Olson, Rzewski, Webern, and Wood
December 2014

The play of tension and release is a vitally important element in our experience of music, and tonality, the hierarchical relationship between pitches or harmonies, is one framework that guides us. Much is asked of an audience experiencing new works with sounds that are less familiar but the ear is quick and can adapt to new sounds when context is there to guide us. Percussionist Ian Rosenbaum and the Parker Quartet lead us on a sonic adventure through tonalities at once ancient and new.

Madness and Betrayal
Works for string quartet and soprano by Brett Dean and Arnold Schoenberg
February 2015

Two string quartets with soprano form the cornerstone of this residency. Apart from the superficial pairing of two like ensembles, these are works that both wrestle with the most difficult of human circumstance; betrayal, madness, and suicide. Brett Dean’s examination of the plight of Shakespeare’s Ophelia and Schoenberg’s expression of his own very painful biography in the composition of his 2nd string quartet introduce the elements of objectivity and subjectivity in how we create and experience art.

Allison Bell, soprano; Anthony Marwood and Magnus Johnston, violins; Brett Dean, viola; Fernando Arias, cello

Folk Influences
Works for violin and piano by Bartók, Dvořák, Janáček, and Prokofiev
April 2015

The connection of fully notated “art music” to its folk traditions is one that makes it vital, powerful, and relevant. Works of Bartók, Dvořák, Janáček, and Prokofiev for violin and piano form the cornerstone of this residency that explores folk influences on the music of these composers, both those of their respective countries and those of other cultures.

Grace Park, violin, and Joseph Liccardo, piano

Music on the Brink of War
Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire and songs of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht
May 2015

While Arnold Schoenberg embraced new techniques to frame his work and stretch the listener’s imagination, Kurt Weill sought to frame the realities of modern society with music that reflects its popular culture. Both Schoenberg and Weill (with dramatist Bertolt Brecht) found the cabaret to be an environment well-suited to work that blurred the lines separating art and popular music, and the socialist and capitalist worlds to which their music reacted.

Lucy Shelton, soprano; Liza Sadovy, actor; Walter van Dyk, actor; David McCarroll, violin; Michael Kannen, cello; Elizabeth Burns, double bass; Sooyun Kim, flute; Alan Kay, clarinet; Caleb Hudson, trumpet; Michael Hosford, trombone; Oren Fader, guitar; Michael Haslam, keyboard; Seth Knopp, piano; Eduardo Leandro, percussion

2013-2014 Residency Season

Xiang Yu and Mei Rui
September 2013

In anticipation of presenting the season-opening concert at the Louvre on September 19, 2013 violinist Xiang Yu and Yellow Barn alumna pianist Mei Rui were in residence preparing the works included on their program: Beethoven's Sonata in E-flat Major, Debussy’s Sonata in G Minor, Brahms's Sonata in D Minor, two works by Symanowski, and a new work by Eric Nathan, which had its first performance in Putney and then traveled to Paris for its European premiere.

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s Death
November 2013

Honoring President Kennedy, Yellow Barn presented a program in which words, seeking to comprehend the complexities of that time, find illumination in the music of Olivier Messiaen and John Cage, and One Red Rose, a new work by Steven Mackey co-commissioned by Yellow Barn with the Nasher Sculpture Center and Carnegie Hall. In remembrance of a day one half-century ago, this program was developed in residence at Yellow Barn by the Brentano String Quartet, clarinetist Charles Neidich, and pianist Seth Knopp, and then presented in Dallas at the Nasher Sculpture Center on the day after the anniversary, followed by a special performance and worldwide broadcast of One Red Rose from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book
March 2014

A people freed from enslavement, the miraculous Jewish exodus from Egypt is the story told in the Haggadah, the book of prayer central to the ritual feast of Passover. Spanning six centuries and the breadth of Europe, saved from destruction by people of many faiths—the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah is one that is as miraculous as the Biblical one that lies within it. Accordionist and composer Merima Ključo returned to Yellow Barn with video artist Bart Woodstrup and pianist Seth Knopp, creating a new work that illuminates a tale of heroism in the face of violence, born out of deep respect for traditions that are not our own.

The Russian Soul—The Russian Voice
May 2014

Trio Cleonice came to Putney to explore two great masterworks of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio and Shostakovich's 2nd Piano Trio, in the context of Russian literature and the Russian language. Guided by mentors from both fields, Trio Cleonice explored not only these two beloved Russian piano trios, but parallel works of fiction: Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov alongside Tchaikovsky; Zoshchenko and Bulgakov alongside Shostakovich. Studying the linguistic characteristics of Russian, as well as the way both authors and composers navigate the “cursed questions” that plagued 19th-century Russia (What is the meaning of life? Who is responsible for this? Why are we here?), provided an even deeper backdrop against which to study and experiment, yielding a more meaningful, more uniquely Russian take on these epic piano trios.

Momenta Quartet
May 2014

Since its founding in 2004, the Momenta Quartet has been exploring new ways of expanding the tradition of the string quartet, presenting works by living composers of diverse musical backgrounds and cultures that are often underrepresented or unknown in this country, including 75 world premieres. Their residency at Yellow Barn took them down a different path with works by Debussy and Ives, two forward-thinking composers who revolutionized the musical traditions of their own times. Momenta focused on Debussy's String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10, a masterpiece of the string quartet canon that broke the traditional rules of harmony and structure, greatly influencing string quartet writing of the 20th Century; and Ives’s String Quartet No. 2, a piece intended to shake up what the composer perceived to be an overly effete tradition of string quartet performance.

2012-2013 Residency Season

Our Local Schools: Music of time and place
September and December 2012, April 2013

Under the auspices of Chamber Music America, this residency brought curriculums created by Due East (flutist Erin Lesser and percussionist Greg Beyer) to public school students in the Putney community. Building upon Putney Central School’s commitment to respecting and exploring its own environment, Due East, together with composer Elainie Lillios, inspired 8th-grade students to listen with new awareness, incorporating sounds of nature from their world into poetry and using familiar technology to create musical vignettes out of what they have heard and written. At Brattleboro Union High School, a fundamentally strong music program allowed Due East to unite classroom and music studio through the study of Brazilian texts and culture, and the performance of a chamber concerto based on Brazil’s musical heritage written by Mr. Beyer for the indigenous berimbau, wind ensemble, and choir.

The Jasper String Quartet
December 2012

The Jasper String Quartet came to Yellow Barn to focus on two masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire: Mendelssohn’s F Minor string quartet and Beethoven’s Opus 131. Recipients of the 2012 Cleveland Quartet Award, the Jasper String Quartet spent their 10-day residency preparing these works for concerts associated with the award, in concentrated sessions with mentoring musicians, and in performance.

Utopia/Dystopia
January 2013

Utopia/Dystopia, a work conceived by composers David Smooke and Ken Ueno, harpist Jacqueline Pollauf, and saxophonist Noah Getz, considers how the harp and saxophone might have developed in alternative worlds where physical limitations of portability and practicality create little concern, where the deranged dreams of insane innovators can be brought to sonic life. During their week in Putney, the artists of Utopia/Dystopia began their work, exploring the possibilities of sculpture, movement and drama derived from an imagined history of perfect euphony and noisy failures.

Counterpoint: Structure and improvisation
February 2012

Cellist Jay Campbell and pianist Conor Hanick explored the dialogue between the unbridled imagination of the Baroque and our contemporary world, finding complement and contrast in the rigorous, structurally rich writing of J.S. Bach and Charles Wuorinen and the more intuitive and improvisatory C.P.E. Bach and Matthias Pintscher. Premieres of new works by composers Wei-Chieh Lin and David Fulmer added new voice to this counterpoint.

Cuatro Corridos: Four ballades from the U.S. – Mexico border
March 2013

Cuatro Corridos is a new chamber opera addressing human trafficking across the U.S. – Mexico border. The telling of a story based on true events from the perspectives of four women brought a group of Mexican and American artists together, and they began their work at Yellow Barn. The composers (Lei Liang, Hilda Paredes, Hebert Sandrin, and Arlene Sierra), the ensemble (soprano Susan Narucki, guitarist Pablo Gomez, pianist Aleck Karis, and percussionist Ayano Kataoka) and librettist Jorge Volpi, work in residence in Putney. Led by Ms. Narucki and Mr. Volpi, this chamber opera is becoming the centerpiece of an effort to heighten public awareness about human trafficking and encouraging social activism wherever the work is performed. In Putney, this included discussions in the community, including on campus at the Greenwood School, where this residency inspired its faculty to make human rights a central theme for the year’s curriculum.

Remembering 9/11 Through New Music
June 2013

Family members from Tuesday’s Children, an organization committed to providing long-term support and services for the children of 9/11, participate in a residency within Yellow Barn’s Young Artist Program, participating with its musicians (composers and performers ages 13-20) in the process of creating new music that memorializes and brings unique perspective to the events of 9/11. Staff members from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and Tuesday’s Children join composers Stephen Coxe, Stephen Mackey, and Christopher Theofanidis in guiding this collaboration.

2011-2012 Residency Season

Intimate Letters: Cultural outrage and personal tragedy from Mahler to slam poetry
September 2011

In the mid-1980s, three decades after the flowering of the Beat Generation brought us Alan Ginsburg’s rhythmic, streaming lament Howl, a poetry appeared in a Chicago jazz club that shared the riveting qualities of it predecessor. In this residency, slam poets from Stockton, California (ages 17-24) joined baritone William Sharp, pianist Seth Knopp, and the Parker Quartet to create a program combining poetry and music from Kurtág, Mahler, Janáček, and Lee Hyla.

The Beethoven Sonatas for cello and piano
December 2011 and April 2012

Beethoven's five Sonatas for Cello and Piano form the cornerstone of repertoire for that instrumental partnership. Between the two early sonatas, written at the height of his pianistic powers, the great A Major Sonata composed in the wake of his tragic Heiligenstadt Testament, and his two late sonatas, Beethoven revolutionizes the nature of that relationship, creating works that for the first time treat cello and piano as equal partners. Cellist Alice Yoo and pianist Roman Rabinovich explored these great works during their two weeks in residence.

The Crumb Madrigals Project
March 2012

In this now famous series of works, Crumb sets fragments of beautiful poetry by the Spanish surrealist, Federico García Lorca (1898-1936). The succinct, ethereal texts evoke strong visual possibilities. The musicians of the Madrigals Project (Mary Bonhag, soprano, Erin Lesser, flutes, Evan Premo, bass, Jacqueline Kerrod, harp, and Greg Beyer, percussion) collaborated with video artist Bart Woodstrup to expand the musical cycle with video images meant to subtly highlight both music and text.

Grisey’s Le Noir de l’Etoile
May 2012

In 1967, a young astronomer detected in the heavens a rapidly varying radio signal, in the form of periodic impulses 1.3 seconds apart. The discovery caused a sensation. The impulses were so regular that for a while they were taken to be signals coming from extraterrestrial civilizations. Then astrophysicists revealed a truth that was just as surprising: the signals were being emitted by a pulsar, the fantastic compact residue created by the supernova explosions that long ago disintegrated the massive stars. More than twenty years later, inspired by this discovery and those sounds, the composer Gérard Grisey wrote Le Noir de l’Etoile, for six percussionists placed around an audience.

2010-2011 Residency Season

Checkpoint KBK
September 2010

Checkpoint KBK brought together for the first time clarinetist David Krakauer, violinist/vocalist Iva Bittová, and concert accordionist Merima Ključo. For eight days they experimented with new repertoire, uniting their remarkable range of musical styles and backgrounds in bringing a new musical entity to life. Influences from the cultural heritage of each of these performers came into play with improvisation and original compositions to create a provocative statement about a shared central European identity.

Transcribing Bach and Shostakovich
October 2010

Flutist Zara Lawler and marimbist Paul Fadoul came to Putney to focus on the preludes and fugues of Bach and Shostakovich. Shostakovich's effort is, in itself, an act of supreme devotion to Bach, and together with pianist Christina Dahl, the Fadoul/Lawler Duo furthered that tradition of devotion through transcription while enriching the literature for their ensemble with these celebrated works.

Eight Songs for a Mad King
November 2010

In partnership with the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, TX, Yellow Barn presented a staged performance of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King, his chamber music tour de force vividly depicting the tragic insanity of King George III. British actor Kelvin Thomas, violinist Curtis Macomber, clarinetist Alan Kay, cellist Claire Bryant, pianist Ilya Poletkaev, and percussionist Greg Beyer developed their performance in Putney, and then traveled to Dallas where they launched the inaugural season of Nasher Sculpture Center's concert series “Soundings: New Music at the Nasher”.

Exploring the Beethoven Quartets
April and May 2011

In two residency weeks the Jupiter Quartet prepared itself to perform the Beethoven string quartets, one of the defining experiences in the life of any string quartet. The six concerts they presented during their residency were given in anticipation of their performance of the complete cycle at the 2011 Aspen Music Festival.

Pilot Residencies

The 2008 Election: Debate and Elliott Carter's 2nd String Quartet
November 2008

Just days after the 2008 presidential election, the Ariel Quartet came to Yellow Barn for an 8-day residency culminating in a weekend of concerts and political discussions, including a special presentation of Elliott Carter’s second string quartet. This inaugural residency featured special guests pianist Roman Rabinovich, clarinetist Charles Neidich, and political scientist Adam Sheingate.

The Parker Quartet
October 2009

In the early stages of their career, the Parker Quartet spent a week in Putney developing a program of Beethoven, Bartók, and Mendelssohn.

György Kurtág’s “Kafka Fragments”
March 2010

Yellow Barn, in partnership with New England Conservatory, hosted a week-long workshop focusing on Kafka Fragments, György Kurtág’s monumental seventy-minute song cycle for soprano and violin based on texts of Franz Kafka. Eight violinists and sopranos participated in this workshop led by violinist Violaine Melançon and soprano Susan Narucki, experienced interpreters of Kurtág’s work. Eminent Kafka scholar, Stanley Corngold of Princeton University, joined the musicians during the workshop, helping to illuminate the interpretive process with discussions on Kafka and his writings.