- Noah Greenberg
- Thursday, February 18, 2010
Ricky Ian Gordon to Premiere Concert-Version "Grapes of Wrath" at Carnegie Hall; "Sycamore Trees" at Signature Theatre
Ricky Ian Gordon unveils the two-act concert version of his opera The Grapes of Wrath at Carnegie Hall on March 22, starring Jane Fonda, Nathan Gunn, Victoria Clark, and Christine Ebersole. "With a slyness worthy of Weill," said The New Yorker of the original 2007 opera, "Gordon wields his hummable tunes to critical effect." This spring, Gordon premieres his Sycamore Trees at the Signature Theatre. In a preview, the Washington Post says "Gordon has shown over the course of his career that he's anything but cut from a mold."
- Wednesday, October 1, 2008
With just over four weeks left until election day in the United States, November 4, a number of Nonesuch Records artists will be participating in some very special campaign events. This Monday, k.d. lang will perform at an intimate, in-home fund-raising concert for Obama in New York City with Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, Joseph Biden, and renowned chef Alice Waters. The following evening in New York, composer Ricky Ian Gordon and Tony Award–winning actress Victoria Clark perform at a stellar Obama/Biden fund-raiser at the home of television producer Tom Fontana. On October 10, Brad Mehldau and Chris Thile perform works by Bach as well as their own works at an Obama benefit concert at New York's Poisson Rouge.
About Ricky Ian Gordon
Ricky Ian Gordon, whom the New York Times calls “one of the leading younger composers of songs,” is a composer of unusual scope, equally at home writing for the concert hall, opera, dance, theater and film. When his opera The Tibetan Book of the Dead premiered in Houston, one critic said “it revealed to Houstonians a composer with a facile but compelling gift for song …another exciting moment in the accelerating emergence of a collective American style of art music rooted equally in the country’s vernacular and cultivated traditions.”
In April 2001, Gordon’s debut recording was released on Nonesuch Records. Entitled Bright Eyed Joy: The Songs of Ricky Ian Gordon, it is an album of 18 songs set to texts by James Agee, Langston Hughes, W.S. Merwin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, and Gordon, featuring the singers Audra McDonald, Dawn Upshaw, Adam Guettel, Judy Blazer, Theresa McCarthy, Chris Trakas, and Darius de Haas. Gordon’s works are also featured on McDonald’s debut Nonesuch release, Way Back to Paradise, several of which are also included on Bright Eyed Joy.
Gordon's recent credits include The Grapes of Wrath, a full-scale opera with libretto by Michael Korie, which premiered in 2007 at the Minnesota Opera in a production that then traveled to Utah Opera; Orpheus and Euridice, an hour-long song cycle in two acts, which premiered at Lincoln Center in 2005, directed and choreographed by Doug Varone; and My Life with Albertine, written with Richard Nelson and based on Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, which premiered at New York’s Playwrights Horizons in 2003.
Other works include, Dream True, written with Tina Landau and premiered
in 1999 at The Vineyard Theater, and Only Heaven, based on the works of Langston Hughes and premiered in 1995 at Encompass Opera. Morning Star was written with William Hoffman for The Lyric Opera of Chicago, where Gordon was a composer in residence.
Gordon’s songs and song cycles have been performed by many internationally known singers including Renée Fleming, Carol Vaness, Teresa Stratas, Patricia Schuman, Elizabeth Futral, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Lauren Flanagan, Joyce Castle, Rodney Gilfry, Kurt Ollmann, Harolyn Blackwell, and Betty Buckley.
Gordon was the composer-in residence at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival in the summer of 2008; he premiered Green Sneakers, a new, hour-long song cycle for baritone and string quartet. He is currently working on commissions for New York’s Metropolitan Opera and for the 50th anniversary of the Minnesota Opera. Gordon is also writing new musicals for Playwrights Horizons and The Signature Theater in Arlington, Virginia.
His publications include four songbooks A Horse With Wings, Genius Child, Only Heaven, and Finding Home, all published by Rodgers and Hammerstein / Williamson Music and distributed by Hal Leonard. Hal Leonard also published two choral pieces, Three by Langston and We Will Always Walk Together, Mr. Gordon’s arrangement of the final song from Dream True, which was premiered by Grant Gershon and the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Disney Hall. With Carl Fischer Music, he has published Song for Our Time, Piano Pieces:The Piano Music of Ricky Ian Gordon, Orpheus and Euridice, and Late Afternoon, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano. Carl Fischer will also publish The Grapes of Wrath.
As a teacher, Ricky Ian Gordon has taught both master classes and composition classes in colleges and universities throughout the country including Yale, NYU, Northwestern, Catholic, Bennington, Vassar, Carnegie Mellon, Elon, Michigan State, University of Michigan, and San Francisco Conservatory. He has been the featured composer-in-residence at various festivals including The Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Songfest at Pepperdine University, Chatauqua, Aspen Music Festival, and Ravinia.
Among his honors are the 2003 Alumni Merit Award for exceptional achievement and leadership from Carnegie Mellon University, the Shen Family Foundation Award, the Stephen Sondheim Award, The Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award, The Constance Klinsky Award, and many awards from The National Endowment of the Arts, The American Music Center, and ASCAP, of which he is a member.
April 24, 2001
The New York Times has likened Ricky Ian Gordon to Bernstein and Sondheim. On these pieces, he pairs his music with words from James Agee, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, and others. Joining him are label-mates Audra McDonald, Dawn Upshaw, and Adam Guettel.