Past Events

2016: Premiere Commission and Rooftop Films collaborate at Storm King Art Center

On August 13th, 2016, Premiere Commission collaborated with Rooftop Films in the presentation at the Storm King Art Center of Jarred Alterman’s films An American Citizen and Windows. The event included live music for An American Citizen composed by Nolan Gasser and Windows with live music composed by James Matheson. The new music, commissioned by Premiere Commission, was performed by pianist Bruce Levingston, who also performed works of Chopin, Debussy and Philip Glass.

2016: Windows: 15th Anniversary Gala at Carnegie Hall

On Monday, April 4th, 2016 Premiere Commission celebrated its 15th Anniversary at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. Premiere Commission founder and Artistic Director Bruce Levingston gave premieres of American Academy of Arts Charles Ives Award-winner James Matheson’s Windows and musical genome inventor and composer Nolan Gasser's An American Citizen and Repast: An Oratorio in Honor of Mr. Booker Wright. Gasser’s An American Citizen and Repast honor the lives of Civil Rights era figure Booker Wright and John Wesley Washington, who was born into slavery and became the subject of the acclaimed Marie Hull painting An American Citizen. Gasser brings an eloquent voice to these figures who for so long had none. Levingston was joined for the premiere of Repast by noted bass-baritone Justin Hopkins portraying Booker Wright. PEN/Open Award-winner Kevin Young’s wrote the libretto inspired by Booker Wright’s own indelibly moving and inspiring words.

James Matheson’s Windows was inspired by the exquisite stained glass windows of Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse, commissioned by the Rockefeller family for the Union Church of Pocantico Hills. Both An American Citizen and Windows were performed alongside the showing of two films by the award-winning filmmaker Jarrad Alterman that powerfully depicted and revealed the images that inspired the music.

2015: Repast: An Oratorio in Honor of Mister Booker Wright

Premiere Commission collaborated with Southern Foodways Association on the commission and world premiere of Nolan Gasser's oratorio, Repast, which was based on the life of the civil rights figure Booker Wright. PEN Faulkner Award-winner Kevin Young wrote the libretto. Pianist Bruce Levingston and baritone Justin Hopkins performed the score.

2014: The Complete Etudes With Philip Glass at BAM

Premiere Commission and Premiere Artistic Director Bruce Levingston presented three world premieres at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. The performance included the first performance of acclaimed young composer Timothy Andres' Heavy Sleep as well as the premiere of Mohammed Fairouz' El Male Rachamim. In addition, Levingston performed the premiere of Philip Glass's haunting Dracula Suite. The program also includes works of Bach, Debussy and Ligeti.

2014: Voices from the Sleep

On April 7, 2014, pianist and Premiere Commission Artistic Director Bruce Levingston performed three world premieres at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. In this exciting program, Levingston brought together three great masters of the past with three of the most important musical voices of our time. Each work reflects the deep spirit and timeless influence of Johann Sebastian Bach. The performance included the first performance of acclaimed young composer Timothy Andres' Heavy Sleep as well as the premiere of the brilliant Mohammed Fairouz' El Male Rachamim. In addition, Levingston performed the premiere of Philip Glass's haunting Dracula Suite. The program also includeed works of Bach, Debussy and Ligeti.

2013: Airfield Broadcasts / Lisa Bielawa

Tempelhof Broadcast brought together hundreds of musicians in a large-scale spatial acoustic musical celebration in and about Tempelhofer Park in Berlin, composed by American composer Lisa Bielawa. The 60-minute piece was composed expressly for performance on the tarmac of the former Tempelhof Airport. This site, famous for its role in the Berlin Airlift in 11008-49, was turned into a vast musical canvas, as community and professional musicians executed a spatialized symphony. A partnership between Grün Berlin, Ensemble Mosaik, Work in Progress - Berlin, the Knights Chamber Orchestra of New York, and Bielawa, the performance also included hundreds of amateur and student musicians

Read more >
Read Lisa Bielawa's Article in the New York Times Opinionator column about the project >
Review from San Francisco Chronicle >

2012: Gala Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Premiere Commission at Le Poisson Rouge

On February 13, 2012, Premiere Commission celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gala concert featuring Premiere artistic director pianist Bruce Levingston and acclaimed guest artists Lisa Bielawa, composer and soprano; the adventurous string quartet Brooklyn Rider (Colin Jacobsen, violin; Johnny Gandelsman, violin; Nicholas Cords, viola; Eric Jacobsen, cello); Kimball Gallagher, pianist, and Christopher Tignor, composer and keyboardist.

The program included World Premieres of music by Lisa Bielawa, Augusta Gross, and Christopher Tignor and music of Philip Glass, Henry Purcell and Alfred Schnittke.

The concert also included a special tribute to composer Lisa Bielawa for her consistent and inspiring high level of composition as well as her sustained advocacy for new music. Bielawa has distinguished herself as one of the most vital and important musical figures of her generation. In honor of her outstanding work, Premiere Commission arranged that a portion of the evening's proceeds were given to support Bielawa's new and important Berlin project Tempelhof Broadcast. The performance was recorded and broadcast by WQXR.

Hear the performance >
Read the review from The New York Times.

2011: Impressions & Influences

On May 6 and May 12, 2011, violinist Colin Jacobsen and pianist Bruce Levingston performed premieres at Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and Carnegie Hall in New York City.The New York Times reported that "Mr. Levingston has found a soul mate in Colin Jacobsen...they joined forces in the kind of recital for which each has become known: "driven by ideas and filled with music old, new and well worth hearing."

Read more >
Read the review from The New York Times of the concert at Carnegie Hall.
Read the review from The Washington Post of the concert at Library of Congress

2010: Impression de la Vie: World Premiere of New Composition by Philippe Manoury at French Institute/Alliance Française

Acclaimed pianist Bruce Levingston performed an evening of evocative French music reflecting the exquisite sounds, colors and textures found in nature. This fascinating program took listeners from Debussy's vivid impressions of rippling water, solitary snowscapes and flashing, golden fins to Ravel's sultry reflections of torpid summer sounds and exotic syncopations, and, ultimately, into the ecstatic harmonies and melodies of Messiaen's radiant, breathtaking portrayals of virtuosic birdsong. The concert also featured the sensual music of the modernist master Henri Dutilleux and a special world premiere of the brilliant French composer Philippe Manoury's "Spins" inspired by the mysterious sounds, movements and rhythms of air and wind. This exciting new work is both an homage to Manoury's distinguished French heritage as well as the powerful and timeless inspiration of nature upon art and man.

2010: Top of The Standard

On April 28, 2010, Premiere Artistic Director and acclaimed pianist Bruce Levingston appeared in a gala benefit evening on Top of The Standard, New York (recently called by Vanity Fair "the hottest night spot in New York City" and known fondly as the "Boom Boom Room"). The event included a cocktail supper with performances by Bruce Levingston and special friends and guest artists to benefit the Premiere Commission Music Foundation.

2009: The Sacred + The Surreal

On May 7, 2009, Premiere Commission, Inc. presented in conjunction with Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation, Inc., St. Bartholomew's Preservation Foundation, Inc. and Rooftop Films the world premieres of three new works by acclaimed composers Lisa Bielawa and Keeril Makan at magnificent St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City. Inspired by this beautiful location, the selections of works performed were chosen for their sacred as well as surreal influences from art and music.
Read more >

2008: Premiere Commission, Rooftop Films, and The Museum of Modern Art Presented Surreal Sounds and Shorts

On Friday, June 27, 2008, Premiere Commission, Rooftop Films, and The Museum of Modern Art presented an extraordinary night of short films and live music inspired by the life and art of Salvador Dali. The evening included a live performance by pianist Bruce Levingston, who played works by Frederic Chopin, Erik Satie, Claude Debussy and Philip Glass; Mr. Levingston concluded his performance with a new film score by 2008 Rome Prize-winner Keeril Makan, Three Surreal Shorts, played live with a screening of Dali: Home Movie, 1954 and Menjant Garotes two short films from MoMA's Dali: Painting and Film. Following Mr. Levingston's performance, Rooftop Films presented a program of new surreal short films. These shorts showed how Dali's pioneering juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated images and concepts continue to resonate in the playful and profound works of today's short filmmakers.

2008: Points of Departure: Bruce Levingston at Carnegie Hall

On April 14, 2008, acclaimed pianist and Premiere Commission Artistic Director Bruce Levingston appeared in a special solo concert at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, premiering works by 2007 Grawemeyer Award-winner Sebastian Currier, Germany's celebrated Wolfgang Rihm and Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Wuorinen.
Read more >
Creating a Comfortable Context for the New Pieces That Can Challenge Audiences (The New York Times)
A Boldface Crowd at Zankel Hall (The New York Observer)

2007: Premiere Commission at American Ballet Theatre

American Ballet Theatre presented the world premiere of a new ballet choreographed by Jorma Elo based on Philip Glass's A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close titled "C. to C. (Close to Chuck)", the work originally commissioned and premiered by Premiere Commission, Inc. Glass's musical portrayal of the life of his longtime friend artist Chuck Close was conceived and first performed in 2005 by Premiere artistic director pianist Bruce Levingston. ABT's premiere of the new ballet included three new movements composed by Glass performed live on stage by Levingston. The multi-media work featured a set design by Chuck Close and costumes by acclaimed fashion designer Ralph Rucci.
Portrait of the Artist (Playbill)
Portrait of the Artist (W Magazine)
Choreographer of moment struts multidisciplinary stuff (The San Francisco Chronicle)
Masterworks and Edgy Ventures at American Ballet Theatre (The Village Voice)
A Huddle of Humanity (The New York Sun)

2007: Ballet Gala

Premiere Commission hosts a gala evening of music and dance including the world premiere of Peter Quanz' ballet set to the Milton Babbitt's A Waltzer in the House and a performance of Eliot Feld's Intermezzo No. 1 with New York City Ballet dancers Tyler Angle, Charles Askegard, Megan Fairchild, Robert Fairchild, Sterling Hyltin, and Jenifer Ringer, soprano Jo Ellen Miller, percussionists Alexander Lipowski, pianists Cameron Grant and Bruce Levingston at PaceWildenstein, New York City.
New York Social Diary

2006: Apparition of the Eternal Church Premiere

Premiere Commission presents (in conjunction with Rooftop Films and St. Bart's Church) the New York City premiere of Paul Festa's film "Apparition of the Eternal Church" based on the Messiaen organ work Apparition de l'église éternelle and including a live performance of the work by William Trafka, St. Bart's Church, New York City.
The New York Times: Urbanite. The Best of New York Today

2006: Fifth Anniversary Gala

Premiere Commission presents its Fifth Anniversary Gala Concert featuring the world premiere of Lisa Bielawa's The Lay of the Love and Death and works of Bach, Chopin, Glass and Messiaen with performers Lisa Bielawa, Jesse Blumberg, Michael Cunningham, Jocelyn Dueck, Philip Glass, Ethan Hawke, Colin Jacobsen, Bruce Levingston and Alexandra Montano at Lincoln Center, New York City.
New York Social Diary
Premiere Commission Holds Gala, With a Premiere by Lisa Bielawa (The New York Times)

2005: Premiere of Philip Glass's A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close

Premiere Commission presents the world premiere of Philip Glass's A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close at Lincoln Center, New York City.
A Portraitist Whose Canvas Is a Piano (The New York Times)
A Pianist Turns the Tables on a Portrait Painter (The New York Times)
New York Social Diary

2004: Gala honoring David Rockefeller

Premiere Commission hosts a gala dinner at La Grenouille in honor of the ninetieth birthday of founding benefactor David Rockefeller and presents him with the dedication of Philip Glass's A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close.

2004: William Bolcolm Premiere

Premiere Commission presents the world premiere of William Bolcom's New York Lights and David Del Tredici's Gymnopedie No 1 at Lincoln Center, New York City.

2003: "Snapshots" Premiere

Premiere Commission presents the world premiere of "Snapshots", sixteen new works for string quartet inspired by composers' personal photographs that are shown with the performance in a video constructed by Wendell Harrington at the Kaufman Cultural Center, New York City.
About Last Night from Arts Journal.com
'03! Oh My! The Big Apple's Sweetest Bites (The Washington Post)

2003: Seven Solitudes Premiere

Premiere Commission presents the world premiere of Gregg Wramage's Seven Solitude at Lincoln Center, New York City.

2002: Etudes Premiere

Premiere Commission presents the world premiere of Curtis Curtis-Smith's Etudes at Lincoln Center, New York City.
Sprinting Across All 88 Keys (The New York Times)

 
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