Abstract Expressions: A musical exhibit in four parts

Abstract Expressions: A musical exhibit in four parts


September 23, 2017

1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Michael Conforti Pavilion

Reserve here for Part I at 1 pm: International Contemporary Ensemble chamber concert.
Free; reservations required.

In celebration of No Rules: Helen Frankenthaler Woodcuts and As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings, the Clark presents “Abstract Expressions,” focusing on the aural history of the abstract expressionism period. The program features the music of American composers performed in various locations on the Clark’s campus.


International Contemporary Ensemble
David Fulmer, Conductor

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG: Pierrot Lunaire, Op 21 (1912)
PAULINE OLIVEROS: Earth Ears: A Sonic Ritual (1982-85)
(Program length: approximately 55 minutes)

Abstract expressionism was the first specifically American artistic movement to achieve international influence, and to establish New York City as the center of the western art world—a position formerly occupied by Paris. But even before the consolidation of this movement in New York City, threads of stylistic development were being cultivated in Germany shortly after the turn of the twentieth century.

Post-war music was no less creative than its contemporary in visual arts. In the decades after World War II, the New York music scene witnessed an explosion of new compositional ideas, activities, and personalities.

“Abstract Expressions” includes luminaries of the current music scene, including composer, conductor, and violinist David Fulmer (Ensemble Intercontemporain, Berlin Philharmonic), the young firebrands of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and members of Ensemble Connect, a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute.

Parts I and IV are free but require registration; parts II and III are free and do not require registration.

Part I, 1–2 pm: Soprano Lucy Shelton, members of ICE, and conductor David Fulmer perform Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Pauline Oliveros’s Earth Ears (fresh from performing this piece at the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival). “...Every ‘icicle,’ as its members are affectionately called, possesses the requisite killer instinct to tackle virtuosic new music.” (New York Times)
Free; reservations required
Michael Conforti Pavilion

Part II, 2–4 pm: Piano Concert
Pianist Conor Hanick performs Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories and a composition by David Fulmer, inspired by Helen Frankenthaler’s Tethys.
Free; no reservations required
Clark Center, Lower Lobby

Part III, 2:30–3:15 pm: Abstract for Winds
Outdoor chamber music performance featuring works by Ruth Crawford Seeger, Elliott Carter, and Edgard Varèse.
Free; no reservations required
Spencer Terrace, Lunder Center at Stone Hill

Part IV, 5–6 pm: Chamber Music Concert
Members of the Ensemble Connect perform works by John Cage, Elliott Carter, Mario Davidovsky, and Charles Wuorinen.
Free; reservations required
Michael Conforti Pavilion


David Fulmer,
conductor, is a leader in his generation of composer-performers. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and summer 2017 guest artist at Tanglewood. New commissions include the New York Philharmonic, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Carnegie Hall, Alte Oper Frankfurt, and Amsterdam’s Asko Ensemble, among others.

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced. As performers, curators, and educators, ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The ensemble’s thirty-five members (some of whom will perform in “Abstract Expressions”) are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators. A recipient of the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named 2014 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America.

Lucy Shelton is the winner of two Walter W. Naumburg Awards, as chamber musician and solo recitalist. She continues to enjoy an international career bringing her dramatic vocalism and brilliant interpretive skills to repertoire of all periods. An avid chamber musician, she has been a guest artist with ensembles such as the Emerson, Brentano, Enso, Mendelssohn, Chiara and Guarnieri string quartets, the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, 21st Century Consort, Speculum Musicae, Da Capo Chamber Players, Sospeso, New York New Music Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, Da Camera of Houston, eighth blackbird, Dolce Suono Ensemble, the Ensemble Moderne, Nash Ensemble, Klangform Wien, Schoenberg-Asko, and Ensemble Intercontemporain. She was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2010 (with the Enso Quartet) for the Naxos release of Ginastera’s string quartets.

Conor Hanick is a pianist that “defies human description” for some (Concerto Net) and recalls “a young Peter Serkin” for others (The New York Times). He has performed to acclaim throughout the world with some of the leading ensembles, instrumentalists, and conductors, and worked with composers as diverse as John Adams and Pierre Boulez. Hanick recently appeared with The Juilliard Orchestra in Milton Babbitt's Second Piano Concerto at Alice Tully Hall; the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in the premiere of Matthew Aucoin's Piano Concerto; and Alan Gilbert in György Ligeti's Piano Concerto for the New York Philharmonic Biennial. This season he presents recitals in New York, Houston, Portland, Indianapolis, and Chicago for the Chicago Symphony's MusicNOW series; joins The Knights at the Kennedy Center; and collaborates with composers Caroline Shaw, Chris Cerrone, and Sam Adams. A recent finalist for the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, Mr. Hanick is a graduate of Northwestern University and The Juilliard School.

Ensemble Connect—formerly known as Ensemble ACJW—is a two-year fellowship program for the finest young professional classical musicians in the United States, preparing them for careers combining musical excellence with teaching, community engagement, advocacy, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

This program is made possible in part with the support of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. 

Yamaha CFX and C7X grand pianos are provided by Yamaha Artist Services, New York, in association with Falcetti Pianos in Natick, MA.