Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt
Composer: Missy Mazzoli
Composer Bio: Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (New York Times), “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out New York) and “one of the new wave of scarily smart young composers” (, Missy Mazzoli’s music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, the American Composers Orchestra, New York City Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, the South Carolina Philharmonic, NOW Ensemble and many others. She has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, Bard College Conservatory, and the Whitney Museum of Art. Her music has been featured on numerous festivals including the 2007 and 2009 Bang-on-a-Can New Music Marathon, the Cabrillo Festival (Santa Cruz), the Gaudeamus New Music Festival (Amsterdam) and the Ecstatic Music Festival (New York).
In 2011 she will premiere Violent, Violent Sea, a new orchestral work, performed by the League of Composer’s Chamber Orchestra at New York’s Miller Theater, as well as Dissolve, O my Heart, a new solo work for violinist Jennifer Koh commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Other upcoming projects include the February, 2012 premiere of her first multimedia chamber opera, Song from the Uproar, at venerable New York venue The Kitchen. Excerpts of this work were previously performed by New York City Opera as part of their VOX series, and by students at the Bard College Conservatory under the direction of Dawn Upshaw. The New York Times called this piece “a haunting multi-media work… performance and video fused with unusual potency”.
Recent projects include new works for eighth blackbird, Kronos Quartet, the Santa Fe Chamber Players, violist Nadia Sirota, Ensemble ACJW (commissioned by Carnegie Hall), and Present Music (Milwaukee), and film scores to accompany films by Alice Guy Blaché, commissioned by the Whitney Museum of Art.
Mazzoli is the recipient of four ASCAP Young Composer Awards, a Fulbright Grant to the Netherlands, and grants from the Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, and the Barlow Endowment. She is also active as an educator and a mentor to young composers; in 2006 she taught composition in the Music Department of Yale University, and from 2007-2010 was Executive Director of the MATA Festival in New York City, an organization dedicated to promoting the work of young composers.
Mazzoli is an active pianist and keyboardist, and often performs with Victoire, an “all-star, all-female quintet” (Time Out New York) she founded in 2008 dedicated exclusively to her own compositions. In the past few years they have played in venues all over the world including Millennium Park (Chicago), The Winter Garden (New York, as part of the Bang-on-a-Can New Music Marathon), The Music Gallery (Toronto) and Le Poisson Rouge (New York, as part of the Wordless Music Series). In February 2011 they joined The National, Owen Pallett and Efterklang on a tour of the Netherlands as part of the Cross-Linx Festival. Their debut full-length CD, Cathedral City, was named one of 2010′s best classical albums by Time Out New York, NPR, the New Yorker and the New York Times. Pitchfork called Victoire “so good… a pleasingly accessible entreé into the world of pseudo-classical music”, WNYC dubbed the group “consuming and arresting”, and NPR’s First Listen asks “Is Victoire’s music post-rock, post-mimimalist or pseudo-post-pre-modernist indie-chamber-electronica? It doesn’t particularly matter. It’s just good music.”
Missy attended the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Boston University.
Her music is published by G. Schirmer.
Librettist: Royce Vavrek
Original Cast: Abigail Flescher
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: February 12, 2012
Description: Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904) was an explorer, nomad, journalist, novelist, passionate romantic, Sufi, and one of the most unique and unusual women of her era. At age twenty, after the death of her mother, brother and father, she left her life in Switzerland for a nomadic and unfettered existence in the deserts of North Africa. She traveled extensively through the desert on horseback, often dressed as a man, relentlessly documenting her travels through detailed journals. At age twenty-seven Isabelle drowned in a flash flood in the desert. Song from the Uproar uses texts inspired by her writing to immerse the audience in the surreal landscapes of Isabelle's life; she describes the death of her family, the thrill of her arrival in Africa, her tentative joy at falling in love, the elation of self-discovery and the mystery of death.
Length: 0:40
Total Acts: Not Available
Orchestration: Chamber Orchestra
Contact: Missy Mazzoli
E-mail Address:
Composer Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
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