About Notes on Fiction
With a thoughtfully curated, fiction-inspired program, each Notes on Fiction concert captures the spirit of a book in sound and features short readings of passages that inspired the musical program. Performances are followed by a wine reception, where the audience can mingle with the musicians.
Big Read: Edgar Allan Poe Notes on Fiction concert
Thursday October 23, 2014
Pulling from both Poe’s famous and lesser-known works, The Curiosity Cabinet performed an evening length concert of works inspired by the famous poet. The haunting "Fall of the House of Usher" and "Tell-Tale Heart" were presented with American experimental silent films from the 1920s, accompanied by a live chamber ensemble of eight players. Written by the ensemble’s founder and conductor Whitney George, these film scores are parallel dramas to what is seen on screen, creating an operatic approach where the combination of music, text, and visual elements are synergistically combined to create an all-encompassing and accessible experience for audiences of all ages. Covering the breadth of Poe's work, the concert also included a setting of Poe's lesser known and intimate poem "Evening Star." Puppeteer Daniel Fay collaborated with the ensemble for a re-telling of Poe's "The Raven," contributing rarely seen visceral and tangible elements to the otherwise subtle psychological drama that the author is better known for.
Founded in 2009 by composer and conductor Whitney George, The Curiosity Cabinet is a chamber orchestra dedicated to performing works of the 20th/21st-century standard repertoire and premiering works by living composers working in interdisciplinary mediums. The group began as a Pierrot Ensemble, and has since grown into a collective of more than 20 instrumentalists and 6 singers, with a core group of 10 performers and a conductor. The ensemble has been involved in a variety of festivals and performances in New York and the East Coast since it’s creation. In 2010, the ensemble was awarded the Robert Engelman Award for the premiere performance of George’s 50-minute monodrama 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. In the Spring of 2011, the ensemble premiered a 13-movement work written for the ensemble by George entitled 'The Anatomy of the Curiosity Cabinet'. This performance won the CUNY Graduate Center's prestigious Robert Starer Award. In the same year, the ensemble premiered selections of a new opera by David Bridges, and was the ensemble-in-residence at the annual Hartford Women Composers' Festival. This Fall season, the ensemble will be in-residence with Concrete Timbre’s artist collective for a Satie-inspired work titled 'Un Lieu de Vie', and in the Spring of 2015, the ensemble is collaborating with puppeteer Daniel Fay for a collaborative performance at the Standard Toykraft Theater in Brooklyn. Since 2011, the ensemble has been involved in the annual NY-wide "Composers Now" event. The group has performed works by composers Whitney George, David Bridges, Ellen O'Meara, Miriam Gideon, Faye-Ellen Silverman, and Karen Powers.
Whitney George is a composer and conductor who specializes in the use of mixed media to blur the distinctions between concert performance, installation art, and theater. Utilizing a wide variety of material including literary texts, silent film, stock footage, and visual arts, George's compositions are characterized by an immersive theatricality that thrives on collaboration in all phases of the creative process. Her affinity for the macabre, the fantastic, and the bizarre frequently gives rise to musical programs that evoke the traditions of phantasmagoria and melodrama, challenging musicians to experiment liberally with their stage personae, and audiences to widen the scope of their attention.
George's projects have incorporated the talents of photographers, actors, graphic designers, writers, and fellow musicians. She is the artistic director and conductor of The Curiosity Cabinet, a chamber orchestra formed in 2009 whose members were culled from a network of close collaborators within New York's diverse new music scene. The Cabinet's live performances often engage playfully with the prototype of the classical concert, imbuing even non-theatrical compositions with elements of drama. For more information, visit www.whitneygeorge.com .