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Partnership Enhances GU Music Program

Classical Ensemble

Post-Classical Ensemble Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez conducts the Georgetown University Chamber Singers as part of the collaborative The Mexican Odyssey Festival in Nov. 2008. (photo by David Jones)

January 5, 2011 – New interdisciplinary events involving music by Stravinsky, Schubert and Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas, among others, will take place at Washington, D.C., area venues 2011-2013 thanks to a continuing partnership with the Post-Classical Ensemble.

A recent $200,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Ensemble supports the group’s goal of embracing collaborative and educational activities not normally associated with orchestras, including conferences, theater and dance in addition to music.

The grant targets an ongoing partnership among the Ensemble, Georgetown, the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Md., and the film division of the National Gallery of Art.

National Template

“The Mellon Foundation is supporting the creation of a new national template for performing arts programming by awarding this grant to the Post-Classical Ensemble,” says Anna Celenza, Georgetown’s Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music.

As an educational partner, Georgetown integrates Ensemble programs and themes into its performing arts curriculum, hosts event-related academic conferences and busses students to off-campus events with free tickets.

The Washington Post has called the Post-Classical Ensemble, which debuted in 2003, “the most thought-provoking music group in town.”

Historical and Cultural Context

Over the past three years, Georgetown’s Music Program and Post-Classical Ensemble have worked together on a series of interdisciplinary conferences and multimedia performances, including Defining Mexico, Copland and the Cold War and Interpreting Liszt.

“In each of these events, student actors and singers performed with Post-Classical Ensemble’s professional musicians, and faculty from various departments put the music into a historical and cultural context via public talks and classroom discussions,” Celenza says. “The Mellon grant will enable a leading professional ensemble to continue its deep engagement with one of the nation’s finest universities.”

Classical Collaboration

In addition to engaging Georgetown students, faculty members and student ensembles as participants in its programs, the Post-Classical Ensemble provides performers and speakers for Georgetown’s Friday Music Series. Georgetown hosts a variety of Post-Classical Ensemble programs, including concerts and conferences at one of its three concert halls.  

Students also talk about Ensemble events in class and write reviews.

“We’re looking forward to our continued collaborations,” Celenza says.  “Our work with Post-Classical Ensemble embraces one of the central goals of Georgetown’s Music Program – to experience music as both a creative activity within contemporary society and an intellectual manifestation of multiculturalism.”

The programs include:

2011-2012

The Stravinsky Project (April 8-10, 2011) – comprises a Stravinsky conference at Georgetown on April 8, the Washington premier of a Stravinsky documentary, a photograph exhibit and other events at the Strathmore and the National Gallery.

Falla/Stravinsky (Dec. 3-4, 2011) – involves fully staged productions at Georgetown of Falla’s Amor Brujo and Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale featuring the Spanish flamenco cantoara (Esperanza Fernandez), a leading New York choreographer (Igal Perry) and Georgetown student performers.

Schubert Uncorked (March 31, 2012) – features bass trombone virtuoso David Taylor, film biography and other events at Georgetown and the National Gallery.

2012-2013

Interpreting Shostakovich will feature live performances, historic recordings, a conference and film screenings at Georgetown and the National Gallery.

Mexican Revolution realizes The Post-Classical Ensemble’s long-planned Revueltas DVD project, which includes the music of Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas and the 1936 film Redes at the Strathmore, Georgetown and the National Gallery.

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