Researcher: Dr.Eugene Birman
Manifesto is a ten-minute composition for symphony orchestra commissioned by the London Philharmonic for premiere in June 2014 at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, as part of the orchestra’s innovative The Rest Is Noise festival. The work has subsequently been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra (January 2015 at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, MN, USA with Osmo Vänskä, conductor) and the Orchestre Symhonique Ose! (March 2017 as part of the Festival Archipel, Geneva, Switzerland, with Daniel Kawka, conductor), ultimately being part of my portfolio awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018. Manifesto explores the possibility of virtuosic, extended-technique chamber-music writing and vocal effects for the large symphony orchestra, alternating expansive tutti sections with large ensemble combinations, effectively expanding the sound world of groups like Ensemble Modern and Intercontemporain to an ever-larger scale. The work uses an accumulative form (where content does not develop, but merely becomes more and more fragmentized), avoiding a climax at any point in the piece; instead, two quiet, overlapping and increasingly out-of-tune triads (starting from rehearsal letter E through F) cycle into a final melodic statement that references the sparse pitch material of the work. The aforementioned coda (at G) lends context to the otherwise abstract pitch material (mm. 2-5 in the opening, or from B where it constitutes the entirety of the music), so that the work is to be understood essentially in reverse. Vocal effects performed by all orchestra members serve as dramatic punctuations in the texture, forcing an almost-somatic, corporeal contribution to the performance from each orchestra member. The music was labeled “far ahead of its time” by Oxford Music faculty professor, Martin Harry, after its premiere in 2014.