ALIAS announces major commission and first-ever recording

ALIAS is proud to announce the group’s major new project to feature Guggenheim Fellowship- and Latin Grammy-winning composer Gabriela Lena Frank as the centerpiece.  The overarching project, to take place in 2010, includes a commission of a quartet (for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano) by composer Gabriela Lena Frank; the commission is funded through partnerships with the Music, Authority and Community Project at Vanderbilt University, and with The Schubert Club of St. Paul, Minn.

The project also includes the first-ever ALIAS recording, which will feature Ms. Frank’s chamber works for NAXOS, on its American Classics label. This recording is being made possible with our partnership with Vanderbilt and with support from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission. The recording will include the new commissioned work, and several other works which will be recording premieres.

ALIAS was drawn to Ms. Frank’s music due to her artistic incorporation of folk idioms from the Andes and Peru. She travels extensively and uses the traditional music of South America as inspiration. A date for the recording’s release has not been announced.

“At the time of this announcement, I confess I’ve been in the thick of creating a new piece of music for ALIAS for more than a month,” said the composer, Gabriela Lena Frank. “In these early days of sifting, choosing, discarding, and sometimes rescuing ideas, I’ve frequently been suffused with a feeling of overwhelming gratitude towards these excellent musicians for the confidence and interest they have in my work as a composer. I’m so looking forward to working with them closely in bringing the new work to life, to our recording on the NAXOS label, and to our live performances. ALIAS is exactly why us composers love what we do.”

“We are very excited to work with ALIAS on their upcoming recording featuring the music of Gabriela Lena Frank,” said Lea D. Maitlen, Senior Marketing Manager, Naxos of America, Inc. “This excellent ensemble is an important part of the Nashville community, and I applaud their focus on new composers and lesser known repertoire.”

This commission, as well as the recording, is funded in large part by the ongoing Music, Authority and Community Project, led by Vanderbilt professors Jonathan Neufeld and Jennifer Lena. It combines scholarship from philosophy, sociology and music, and it is an unprecedented means of funding the creation of a new composition. “ALIAS has wanted to commission a new work from Gabriela, and to record it, for a long time,” says Matt Walker, cellist and Executive Director of ALIAS. “We are very grateful that Jonathan and Jenn’s profound academic efforts have helped us bring the idea to fruition.”


About Gabriela Lena Frank:

Identity has always been at the center of Gabriela Lena Frank’s music. Born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartók and Alberto Ginastera, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has travelled extensively throughout South America and her pieces reflect and refract her studies of Latin-American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own. She writes challenging idiomatic parts for solo instrumentalists, vocalists, chamber ensembles, and orchestras.

For full bio, click here.

Interviews with 2007 Joyce Awards winners, Gabriela Lena Frank and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in Indianapolis.

Video of Gabriela Lena Frank, winner of Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s 2008 Brillante Prize.