Yellow Barn in 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

This year Yellow Barn is reaching out from its summer retreat in new ways, partnering with “Yellow Barns” in other fields to bring our Vermont-based mission to an international community of musicians and listeners.

1.  Summers at Yellow Barn

Yellow Barn’s reach is deepening locally and growing nationally through partnerships in the education and arts worlds, yet we continue to draw energy from our roots, the summer festival that David and Janet Wells began in 1969 in their home in Putney, Vermont. Each year 36 young professional musicians, selected from over 400 applicants from across the United States and abroad, travel to Putney along with an internationally renowned faculty to rehearse and perform together in 20 concerts at the Big Barn, Yellow Barn's intimate concert hall in Putney. This program has been an important haven for musical exploration since the first Yellow Barn participants came to live, study, and perform in the original “yellow barn”. For one Yellow Barn musician, “In this world, the impossible becomes possible and the beautiful becomes sublime!”

2.  Counterpoint: Structure and Improvisation

Cellist Jay Campbell and pianist Conor Hanick explore 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 add new voice to this counterpoint. During their Artist Residency in Putney, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Hanick, and Mr. Lin lead a workshop creating texts inspired by music with students at the Greenwood School, a school for boys with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. Along with other Yellow Barn-Greenwood School partnership projects, this collaboration will be filmed for a Ken Burns documentary focusing on the extraordinary work of the Greenwood School.

3. Cuatro Corridos (Four Ballades) From the U.S. – Mexico Border

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 brings a group of Mexican and American artists together to begin their work during a Yellow Barn Artist Residency. 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 becomes the centerpiece of an effort to heighten public awareness about human trafficking and encouraging social activism wherever the work is performed. In Putney, this includes 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.

4. Our Local Schools: Music of Time and Place

Under the auspices of Chamber Music America, a Yellow Barn Artist Residency brings 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, inspires 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 allows 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.

5. Le Noir de l’Etoile (The Black of the Star) in Dallas and Marfa

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. — Astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Luminet

Music From Yellow Barn takes Gérard Grisey’s 1981 masterpiece based on the discovery and sounds of pulsars and staged for six percussionists surrounding an audience, to Dallas for sunset and midnight performances at the Nasher Sculpture Center, and then to a remote ranch in Marfa, Texas for its first performance out-of-doors. Astronomers Matthew Shetrone of the McDonald Observatory (Ft. Davis, TX) and Tom Geballe of the Gemini Observatory (Hilo, HI) lead a day of discussions with the artists and audience.

6. Remembering 9/11 Through New Music

Family members from Tuesday’s Children, an organization committed to providing long-term support and services for the children of 9/11, travel to 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.

7. Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s Death

In the history of a people there are moments and lives too important to be left untouched by artistic illumination. John F. Kennedy once said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”

Honoring President Kennedy, Yellow Barn presents 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 is developed in residence at Yellow Barn by the Brentano String Quartet, clarinetist Charles Neidich, and pianist Seth Knopp, and then presented in Dallas, with a special performance and worldwide broadcast of One Red Rose from the Sixth Floor Museum.

2013 Collaborators

Brattleboro Union High School (Brattleboro, VT)

Carnegie Hall (New York, NY)

The Greenwood School (Putney, VT)

The McDonald Observatory (Ft. Davis, TX)

The Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX)

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum (New York, NY)

Putney Central School (Putney, VT)

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (Dallas, TX)

Tuesday’s Children (New York, NY)