Johnny Gandelsman: This Is America Part III
Performance
Johnny Gandelsman

This Is America: Part III

featuring a Hop Commission and Resident Artist
April 02, 2024

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

Join us for the premiere of the Hop-commissioned new work by Gabriel Kahane, performed by Gandelsman as part of his compelling anthology.

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. Kahane will be in residence to shed light on his new work.

Funded in part by the Marion and Frederick B. Whittemore '53 T'54 Distinguished Artists Series Fund and the Roesch Family Fund. Photos: courtesy of the artists

One Program, Two Locations

For our more southerly audiences, Johnny will be performing the same program the following evening, April 3 at Next Stage Arts Project in Putney, VT. 

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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 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.

Christina Courtin
Christina Courtin's Situation Station, recorded four years after the release of Varsity, can best be described as a tapestry of her musical and life experiences. As she weaves together her dual worlds, the singer-songwriter and classically trained violinist guides listeners through somber plains and heartbreak, all the while surrounding them with warmth, joy and hope. With its stark vocals and rich arrangements, Situation Station seeks to stir the same depth of emotion in others that Courtin has imbued in each of her album's songs. She has also been a collaborator and side(wo)man to many artists and groups, most recently including Bonnie Prince Billy, Planetarium, Doyle Bramhall II, Lee Ann Womack, Nico Muhly, Dr. Dog, Lisa Loeb, Sara Barellies and the Buffalo Philharmonic. She is a featured soloist for the films Chappaquiddick and Free State of Jones, and occasionally writes music for This American Life. As an educator, Christina has led a Songwriting Composition Seminar at Dartmouth College for undergraduates as well as an Independent Study for graduate students, and was also a teaching fellow and performer at Sing-Sing Correctional Facility through the Musical Connections Program at Carnegie Hall.  christinacourtin.com

Gabriel Kahane 
Gabriel Kahane is a musician and storyteller whose work increasingly exists at the intersection of art and social practice. Hailed as "one of the finest songwriters of the day" by The New Yorker. He has released four albums as a singer-songwriter, including, most recently, the intimate Book of Travelers (Nonesuch Records), which Rolling Stone called "a stunning portrait of a singular moment in America." As a composer, he has been commissioned by many of America's leading arts institutions, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Public Theater. In 2019, Kahane was named the inaugural Creative Chair for the Oregon Symphony, following the premiere in Portland of his oratorio emergency shelter intake form, a work that explores inequality in America through the lens of housing issues. Kahane's discography includes 2014's The Ambassador, which received an acclaimed staging at BAM, directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winner John Tiffany; an album of chamber music, The Fiction Issue, with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and vocalist/composer Shara Nova; a recording with The Knights of his orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest; as well as the original cast album for February House.
A frequent collaborator across a range of musical communities, Gabriel has worked with an array of artists including Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Phoebe Bridgers, Caroline Shaw, and Chris Thile. After nearly two decades in Brooklyn, Kahane relocated with his family to Portland, Oregon, in March of 2020. 

Bojan Louis 
Bojan Louis (Diné) is the author of the poetry collection Currents (BkMk Press 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, and the nonfiction chapbook Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona (The Guillotine Series 2012). He is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing and American Indian Studies programs at the University of Arizona. bojanlouis.com

Aeryn Santillan 
Aeryn Santillan (she/her) is a composer, guitarist and bassist whose work is heavily influenced by the DIY punk scene and actively aims to blur the lines between band/ensemble and song/composition. Aeryn performs bass in the New Jersey-based, internationally touring screamo quartet, Massa Nera. Along with composer/guitarist Andrew Noseworthy, she co-founded this place is actually the worst, an experimental mathcore duo, and post-genre DIY label, people | places | records. Aeryn holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Columbia College Chicago and a Master of Music in Theory and Composition degree from New York University. Previous mentors include Gabriela Lena Frank, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, Marcos Balter, David Reminick, Drew Baker, and Ilya Levinson. Aeryn has been a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, Toronto Creative Music Lab, and the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music. Aeryn enjoys biking, skateboarding, RPGs and vegan tacos. She lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with her partner and two cats.  aerynsantillan.com

Anjna Swaminathan
Anjna Swaminathan is a queer multidisciplinary composer, musician and theatre artist. Anjna's work exists at the nexus of multiple creative disciplines, simultaneously leaning into the rigor available within each form while seeking release from form entirely. As an artist with a passion for social critique, community building and critical consciousness, Anjna's artistic practice is an extension of an activist spirit. Thus, her/their work uses expression and storytelling to forge connections across cultural, economic, gendered, racial and sexual identities and communities. Anjna is a disciple of the late violin maestro Parur Sri M.S. Gopalakrishnan and Mysore Sri H.K. Narasimhamurthy. In 2015, Anjna came under the tutelage of renowned vocalist and scholar, T.M. Krishna for training in Carnatic music, and vocalist Samarth Nagarkar for training in Hindustani music and accompaniment.

Informed by rigorous training in the art music traditions of India, Anjna incorporates and expands this vocabulary in original compositional work as well as the vibrant creative music and improvisatory scene in New York. Anjna is an active composer who uses both oral tradition and Western classical notation as well as combinations of both to articulate her/their visions.

Anjna envisions art as an extension of our deepest spiritual, political and personal questions. Her/their work emerges from her/their intimate relationship with the violin and engages performers in deepening their technical and emotional vulnerability. Anjna's compositional process is dynamic, loving and expansive, all while rooted in years-long research in Indian classical ornamentation for Western Classical string artists. Anjna offers decades of mastery and a loving spirit, collaborating as a friend, mentor and visionary with those in her/their orbit. anjnaswaminathan.com

Conrad Tao 
Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer and has been dubbed a musician of "probing intellect and open-hearted vision" by The New York Times. He is the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and was named a Gilmore Young Artist—an honor awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. As a composer, he was also the recipient of a 2019 New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Award, for Outstanding Sound Design / Music Composition, for his work on More Forever and his collaboration with dancer and choreographer Caleb Teicher.

Tao has recently appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony. In 20-21, he was the focus of a series of concerts and interviews with the Finnish Radio Symphony, performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with Hannu Lintu and Andrew Norman's Suspend with Sakari Oramo, live on television. While most performances in the 20-21 season were canceled due to the COVID epidemic, he appeared with the Cincinnati Symphony and Louis Langrée, and returned to the Seattle Symphony to perform Beethoven Concerto No. 4. Further invitations included the National Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. His creation with Caleb Teicher, More Forever, commissioned by Works & Process at the Guggenheim, was planned for tours across the US, including Dance Cleveland and Fall for Dance, Toronto. Tao and Teicher's latest collaboration for Works & Process, Rhapsody in Blue, kicked off the Guggenheim's return to in-person performances and was lauded by The New York Times as "monumental." The duo also gave the inaugural virtual recital of the season for Concerts from the Library of Congress. conradtao.com

Rhea Fowler & Micaela Tobin
Rhea Fowler is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and teacher based in Los Angeles. Rhea performs regularly in live theater productions and is an active recording artist. Recent projects include The Lion King, When They See Us, and Ringo Starr's latest single, Grow Old With Me. Rheafowler.bandcamp.com

Micaela Tobin is a soprano, sound artist and teacher based in Los Angeles, who specializes in experimental voice and contemporary opera, composing under the moniker "White Boy Scream." Within this project, Micaela dissects her operatic and extended vocal techniques through the use of electronics. She has performed extensively throughout the western United States, most notably as a guest with hip-hop experimentalists clipping. during their 2017 tour in support of The Flaming Lips. Micaela's most recent full-length release, BAKUNAWA (Deathbomb Arc) is part sonic ritual, part diasporic storytelling. Of the album, Steve Smith of The New Yorker asserts that "opera would do well to pay attention."

As an opera composer, Micaela premiered and earned a five-star review for her first original experimental opera, entitled Unseal Unseam, at the world's largest art festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in summer 2016; the work was described as "hypnotic" and "paralyzingly beautiful," by New Classic LA after its US debut in October 2017. Her most recent opera, Belarion: A Space Opera, which premiered at the American Legion Center in Pasadena in February 2019, is about the magical practices of JPL founder Jack Parsons. Tobin hopes to perform the opera again at the Mount Wilson Observatory in 2021.  micaelatobin.com

"A violinist who can do anything"

Philadelphia Inquirer

"a balletic lightness of touch and a sense of whimsy and imagination"

The Boston Globe

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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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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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