Elena Ruehr’s Complete Works for Chorus and Orchestra

Trinity Wall Street Launches New-Music Ensemble
NOVUS NY at May 19 Performance of Elena Ruehr’s Complete Works for Chorus and Orchestra

Trinity Wall Street launches its new-music ensemble NOVUS NY on May 19. The newly formed group joins the Trinity Choir in an evening concert showcasing the complete works for chorus and orchestra of Boston-based composer Elena Ruehr, conducted by Julian Wachner, Trinity Wall Street’s director of music and the arts. The program includes Ruehr’s cantata based on American poet Louise Glück’s Averno, which Wachner premiered with the Washington Chorus in early April. Ruehr, born in 1963 and raised in rural Michigan, has been declared “a composer to watch” by Opera News; her music is written “with heart and a forceful sense of character and expression,” according to the Washington Post. Gramophone magazine called her music “unspeakably gorgeous.” Earlier in the day, at 1 pm, there will be a free preview concert.

Interviewed by Classical WETA in Washington, DC, prior to the premiere of Averno, Ruehr explained that this collection of Glück’s poems is “about humans’ relation to the natural world,” with a connection to the myth of Persephone.

Wachner, a longtime friend and colleague of Ruehr’s, will also lead Trinity performances of Ruehr’s Cricket, Spider, Bee (on texts by Emily Dickinson) and Gospel Cha-Cha (text by Langston Hughes). The soloists on the program include baritone Stephen Salters, a close Ruehr collaborator, and soprano Marguerite Krull.

In 2008, Ruehr was a fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute, where she wrote Averno. An instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ruehr was composer-in-residence with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project from 2000 to 2005, and the orchestra premiered her pieces Shimmer, Sky Above Clouds and Ladder to the Moon, as well as her opera Toussaint Before the Spirits. Ruehr’s string quartets have been performed by the Borromeo, Biava, Lark, Shanghai and Cypress quartets, with the latter group recording Nos. 1, 3 and 4 on the album How She Danced (Cypress String Quartet, 2010). The recordings devoted to Ruehr’s music also include the opera Toussaint Before the Spirits (Arsis, 2007) and a collection of chamber pieces, Jane Wang Considers the Dragonfly (Albany, 2009).

Like all concerts at Trinity Wall Street, the May 19 performance of Ruehr’s music will be professionally filmed and broadcast live at trinitywallstreet.org. Trinity Church is located on Broadway at Wall Street, New York City. Tickets are $20 (general admission), $10 (student/senior, available at door); tickets can be purchased at trinitywallstreet.org/tickets or at the Trinity Church gift shop.

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