This Is America - Part 1
Performance
Johnny Gandelsman

This Is America: Part I

featuring a Hop Commission and Resident Artist
September 26, 2023

This event occurred as part of the 23/24 Hop Presents season. This is an archived view.

The virtuosic violinist kicks off his anthology with a program of diverse works, including the premiere of a Hop-commissioned composition by Carla Kihlstedt.

23/24 Hop Presents

This is America comes as a response to the turbulent year of 2020 and celebrates America's rich cultural tapestry as seen through the perspectives of contemporary composers.

Over the course of a year-long residency at the Hop, violinist and former member of Silkroad Ensemble Johnny Gandelsman performs the entire anthology for the first time and expands the project with four new Hop-commissioned pieces. A former resident artist, Kihlstedt will return to the Hop to shed light on her work.

Funded in part by the Class of 1961 Legacy: The American Tradition in Performance Fund. 

Photo: Marco Giannavola

Johnny Gandelsman
Grammy award-winning violinist and producer Johnny Gandelsman's musical voice reflects the artistic collaborations he has been a part of since moving to the United States in 1995. The New Yorker has called Johnny "revelatory," placing him in the company of "radically transformative" performers like Maurizio Pollini, Peter Serkin and Christian Zacharias. As a founding member of Brooklyn Rider and a former member of the Silkroad Ensemble, Johnny has closely worked with such luminaries as Bela Fleck, Martin Hayes, Kayhan Kalhor, Yo-Yo Ma and Mark Morris. Gandelsman integrates a wide range of creative sensibilities into a unique style amongst today's violinists. Johnny's recording of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, which reached #1 on the Billboard Classical Chart, and made it onto NY Magazine and NY Times Best of the Year lists. A passionate advocate for new music, Johnny has premiered dozens of new works and has been producing records since starting his label, In a Circle Records in 2008. Recent credits include the Silkroad Ensemble's critically-acclaimed recording of Osvaldo Golijov's tone poem in voices Falling out of Time (In a Circle Records); Brooklyn Rider's Healing Modes and The Wanderer (In a Circle Records); and Sing Me Home, a Grammy-award winner for Best World Music album (Sony). Johnny also produced music for Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Bottstein's film The US and the Holocaust. Johnny was born in Moscow into a family of musicians. His father Yuri is a violist, his mother Janna is a pianist, and his sister Natasha is a violinist as well. He lives in New York.

Kinan Azmeh 
Hailed as "intensely soulful" and a "virtuoso" by The New York Times and "spellbinding" by The New Yorker, Winner of OpusKlassik award in 2019 clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh has gained international recognition for what the CBC has called his "incredibly rich sound" and his distinctive compositional voice across diverse musical genres. Originally from Damascus, Syria, Kinan Azmeh brings his music to all corners of the world as a soloist, composer and improviser. His compositions were commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, The Silkroad Ensemble, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Elbphilharmonie, Apple Hill String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Quatuor Voce and Bob Wilson for his recent production of Oedipus Rex. https://kinanazmeh.com/ 

Olivia Davis 
Olivia Davis grew up in Eugene, Oregon where she began her studies in violin performance at the age of nine years old. She attended the University of Oregon, receiving her BM in Violin Performance and Composition in 2013. In the third year of her undergrad, she co-founded the Ova Novi Ensemble (ONE) whose mission is to perform works by women and women-identifying composers. Olivia continued her education in 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her MM in Composition. She was a founding (and current) member of the prismatx ensemble, a group whose mission is to combine visual arts with new music, collaborating with living artists. Olivia recently graduated from the University of Michigan, receiving a DMA in Composition in August 2020. She is an accomplished visual artist, and continues to be an active performer, performing and premiering colleagues' works as well as her own. https://oliviadavismedia.com/about  

Layale Chaker
Layale Chaker's musical world lies at the intersection of classical contemporary music, Jazz, Arabic Music and improvisation. As a violinist and composer, she has received commissions and presented performances and projects around Europe, the Middle-East, North and South America and Asia, and has collaborated with Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Johnny Gandelsman, Holland Baroque, International Contemporary Ensemble, Oxford Orchestra, the New World Symphony, Babylon Orchestra. Her debut album with her ensemble Sarafand, Inner Rhyme, recipient of the AFAC 2018 fund, is dedicated to the sounds, rhythms, rhymes, shapes and forms of Arabic poetry. The album was released on In a Circle Records, and listed as "Top of The World" by Songlines with a five-star review, rated #2 on NPR 10 Best Releases, #1 for several weeks on the World Charts of iTunes and Amazon Music, and has received praises by the BBC Music Magazine, The New York Times, The Strad, Strings Magazine, Jazz World among others. layalechaker.com 

Ebunoluwa Oguntola
Ebunoluwa Oguntola is an avid 14-year-old composer, violinist, pianist and singer from Upstate, New York. Ebun was a 2O19-2O2O Luna Composition Lab Fellow, student of Reena Esmail. As part of Luna Lab, Ebun was the recipient of the Patrina Foundation Fellowship in the end of 2O19. In summer of 2O2O, Ebun attended the internationally acclaimed Eastman Classical Studies program for composition, and was accepted with a merit-based scholarship.  She was also featured on I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, an award-winning publication about contemporary classical music and the preferred source of New Music news. Ebun Oguntola was interviewed for the Local WSYR-TV News as part of the segment, Extraordinary Talent, for music. ebunoguntola.com

Tyshawn Sorey
Newark-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey (b. 1980) is celebrated for his incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores, and an extraordinary ability to blend composition and improvisation in his work. He has performed nationally and internationally with his own ensembles, as well as artists such as John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Wadada Leo Smith, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Claire Chase, Steve Lehman, Jason Moran, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton and Myra Melford, among many others. Sorey has composed works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the International Contemporary Ensemble, soprano Julia Bullock, PRISM Quartet, JACK Quartet, TAK Ensemble, the McGill-McHale Trio, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, Alarm Will Sound, the Louisville Orchestra and tenor Lawrence Brownlee with Opera Philadelphia in partnership with Carnegie Hall, as well as for countless collaborative performers.  https://www.tyshawnsorey.com/ 

Carla Kihlstedt
Carla Kihlstedt is a composer, collaborator, violinist, singer, improviser, educator and instigator. Her musical voice is grounded in the economy and immediacy of song form, which allows her to explore complex worlds—the ocean, dreams, imaginary creatures, the machine age, quarantine—through many different lenses. Carla's music is a palimpsest, connecting and layering her divergent musical experiences. After graduating from the Oberlin Conservatory, she spent her 20s and 30s creating and performing music with bands/composers collectives united by their musical clarity, their commitment to collaboration, and the deep friendships that grounded them all. Carla has written for the International Contemporary Ensemble, Present Music, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Variant 6, the ROVA Saxophone Quartet and the Dither Big Band. Her recent work investigates the natural world and our place in it. She is currently developing an international environmental project for treble chorus called Long for This World. Carla lives on Cape Cod, MA with her two kids and her partner, Matthias Bossi. Along with Jeremy Flower and Jon Evans, they are the band Rabbit Rabbit Radio. She is on the faculty of the Contemporary Improvisation Department of the New England Conservatory and the MFA in Composition program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. https://www.carlakihlstedt.com/

"Rich in diversity but united by interpretative beauty and belief…potentially one of the important recordings of our time"

Gramophone

“Intoxicating…kaleidoscopic invention...Gandelsman is attuned to the precise nature of each artist, and tailors his sound to each one…quietly impressive"

The New York Times
Artist in Residence: Johnny Gandelsman
Johnny Gandelsman

The Hop will present his entire This is America anthology for the first time, including four Hop commissions with guest composers visiting for each concert. Gandelsman will expand the original 24-...

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Richard Move
2023/24 Season

What makes a moment? There are certain times that stick with us. Events that define us as individuals, as communities, as society.

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