News and Announcements
Hagen's Songs for Muska
Lutheran Arts member, Jocelyn Hagen, announces her evening-length work commissioned by Conspirare, Songs for Muska, will receive its full premiere this March in Austin, Texas, as part of their March Moderns Festival!
This piece is nearly four years in the making, and is inspired by the incredible poetry of the women of Afghanistan. When beginning our brainstorming about what kind of piece she should create for Conspirare, Craig Hella Johnson recommended that she pick up a newly published book called I am the Beggar of the World, which featured English translations of landays (folk couplets ~ an oral tradition and anonymous scrap of song). Hagen was instantly drawn in by the beauty, efficiency, and hard truths packed into these dense statements created by the women of that part of the world. Because of restrictions made by the Taliban, these women weren't allowed to read or write, let alone show ownership of any kind of creative free speech. These landays have traditionally belonged to no single Pashtun woman, and, therefore, belonged to all of them.
"Known But to God" features new oratorio
KMBC Channel 9 in Kansas City airs an hour-long program featuring the story behind LutheranArts member Timothy Takach's new oratorio "We, the Unknown." The oratorio was premiered by the Heartland Men's Chorus, 5 soloists and a chamber orchestra. It's a 40-minute work that imagines who might lie in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. KMBC 9 in Kansas City came up to snowy Minnesota in February to do some interviews with Takach about his process
The finished story is amazing, informative, and really well done.
Lutheran Arts Member Wins American Prize
American Prize national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts awarded the American Prize (Opera/Musical Theatre division) to Test Pilot, an intimate chamber dance opera by choreographer Penelope Freeh and Lutheran Arts member, Jocelyn Hagen.
Test Pilot explores the power and wonder of creativity and invention through the birth of flight and the story of the Wright Brothers. Their sister, Katharine, is an often overlooked member of the Wright family, and her contribution to the family and their success is examined in this work through song and dance. The creators' personal family legends and aviation heroics are also woven into the oblique narrative.
Test Pilot premiered September 12-13, 2014, as part of The O’Shaughnessy Women of Substance Series and utilized a string quartet, six singers, four dancers and a video artist. Two years later we received a Minnesota Arts Touring grant and were able to relaunch the show, making small edits and giving performances in a variety of venues across Minnesota.
In 2015 it received a Sage Dance Award for "Overall Design," and the panel declared the work "a tour-de-force of originality."
A World Premiere in Rome
One thing leads to another.
A gift in 2014 formed the financial support for our Composers Committee to envision the Martin Luther Hymn Prizes. More funds were raised and three sets of prizes were awarded to composers of text and music. (see Martin Luther Hymn Prize Recipients). Then Lutheran friends of the Minnesota Orchestra joined in a LutheranArts collaboration to secure the New Re-formation Symphony by Sebastian Currier. It was premiered at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis the first weekend of November to honor the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
In December of 2017, LutheranArts received funds from Celia Ellingson for us to be the commissioning agent of two new works by the Norwegian composer Kim Andre Arnesen. A new Christmas anthem and a motet for choir and orchestra are on the horizon, along with premiere performances in Rome.
The Together In Hope Choir, founded by Gary Aamodt and Celia Ellingson, includes the finest voices in the Twin Cities area. The choir will perform two Kim Andre Arnesen commissioned works at the inaugural concert of the 17th Annual International Festival of Sacred Music and Art. The LutheranArts commission ‘So That the World May Believe’ will be premiered at this October 31 concert, and it is our intent to dedicate the piece to Pope Francis. Additional choir performances during this week will be at a private event in the Sistine Chapel, and at the All Saints Day Mass at St. Peter’s.
You can learn more at the new website, Together in Hope.