Prominent composer and GRAMMY® nominee to write first composition for flute and classical guitar
Valparaiso-based classical flute and guitar chamber music ensemble Duo Sequenza is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded funding for a commission by prominent American composer and GRAMMY® nominee Jonathan Leshnoff. Funding is provided by the Walder Charitable Fund, a donor-advised fund. The award is the single largest project grant in Duo Sequenza’s history.
Based in Northwest Indiana, Duo Sequenza is an internationally lauded concert artist chamber ensemble featuring Debra Silvert, flute of Valparaiso, and Paul Bowman, classical guitar, a native of Chesterton. Silvert and Bowman have long admired the work of Jonathan Leshnoff. As concert artists strategically developing new audiences for today’s classical music, Duo Sequenza promotes the works of living composers. The desire to create this new work comes from a shared belief between Silvert, Bowman, and Leshnoff that “classical music possesses the rare ability to transform the mundane realities of everyday life into a lofty spiritual realm which can heal and elevate our world.”
Of the composition and collaboration, Leshnoff said, “I have been waiting to write a work for Debra and Paul for some time, as their talent and passion inspires me. This work in particular is dear to my heart as I am able to set a passage of the Talmud to music—a first for me and a long-awaited step in my musical and spiritual growth. We are grateful for the generous support that has made this work possible; without it, the work would have remained a dream.”
“We could not be more excited, honored, or grateful to receive this award and move forward with Jonathan’s commission,” said Silvert. “Jonathan’s music is exquisite and inspired, and we can’t wait to bring it to life.” As Bowman noted, “This is a major milestone not only for us, but for all concert artist ensembles of our pairing, to add a work by a composer of this prominence to our repertoire.”
Leshnoff has been hailed by The New York Times as a “leader of contemporary American lyricism.” His music is renowned for its striking harmonies, structural complexity, and powerful themes. His compositions have been performed by leading international orchestras and chamber ensembles in hundreds of concerts worldwide. Leshnoff has been commissioned recently by Carnegie Hall, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, and Pittsburgh, among others. Leshnoff is the composer-in-residence with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Fairfax and Harrisburg symphony orchestras and is a professor of music at Towson University.
His first for the pairing of flute and guitar, Leshnoff’s commission is inspired by the Babylonian Talmud, Gemara Brachot 3A: “A lyre hung over the bed of David and when midnight came, a northern wind would blow upon it, and it would play of its own accord.” Duo Sequenza will give the live world premiere of this work in late 2022 and, in accordance with the prominence of the composition, is evaluating concert venues for the premiere. Duo Sequenza will tour the work exclusively through June 2024 throughout the United States on two concert programs: “American Made! Our Commissions by Leshnoff, Blackwood, Muniz, Owen, and Schocker” and “Yes, It’s a (Jewish) Thing! Works by Leshnoff, Clearfield, Hand, Schocker, Dorff, and Dimow.”
Interested presenting organizations are encouraged to contact Duo Sequenza for more details.