Composer Faye-Ellen Silverman’s October 2023 schedule is full with three world premieres in New York City—one of which features the composer performing her own music!
On October 14, Silverman premieres her new solo piano work Embracing the Woman in Red as part of Composers Concordance 40th anniversary season. As a composer/performer, Silverman notes, “Since I studied piano for 20 years, including with the well-known teachers Russell Sherman and Irma Wolpe, I enjoy getting back to performing from time to time. That was part of the appeal of this project.” Embracing the Woman in Red is part of the group’s “Shocking Red” program, which features collaborative interpretations of the paintings of artist/musician/poet Mark Kostabi. Silverman continues. “Embracing the Woman in Red is a short work in two movements – ‘Loving Embrace’ and ‘Shared Thoughts.’ The work originated at the request of Gene Pritsker for Composers Concordance. For this project, a poet and a composer were paired, and together, we chose a painting by Mark Kostabi from his permanent collection. The work that [poet] Erik T. Johnson and I chose was a picture of a white figure and a red figure, sitting cheek-to-cheek, encircled in each other’s arms.”
On October 22, the New York Women Composers presents “An October Intermezzo” – a benefit concert featuring tenor Aram Tchobanian singing the composer’s From Adam’s Diary, at the National Opera Center. Silverman shares some thoughts about her new work. “From Adam’s Diary draws its texts from Mark Twain’s book From the Diaries of Adam and Eve. The work was commissioned by tenor Aram Tchobanian via a silent auction to benefit New York Women Composers. Written for tenor and clarinet, it is Twain’s love letter to his deceased wife. In my composition, the pitches center on A for Adam and on E for Eve…The two pitches are joined melodically and harmonically through much of the second part of the tale. The clarinet accompanies and sometimes comments as, for instance, when it plays a chromatic passage for the encounter with the snake…The work is mainly told from Adam’s point of view, but there are also quotes from Eve’s diary, showing her to be a smart, independent, loving partner…”
Finally, on October 28, Silverman’s aria “The Excommunication of Spinoza” receives its premiere as part of the Marshall Opera’s Oral History Project (New York City). The aria – in a revised version – is from Silverman’s cantata A Free Penn, which was written to honor the 200th anniversary of the US Bill of Rights. The cantata is a collection of texts by several historic figures whose writings were considered to be controversial including: Socrates; 18th-century American newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger, and 17th-century Dutch Enlightenment philosopher Baruch/Benedictus de Spinoza, whose texts will sung by soprano Caroline Spaeth, accompanied by pianist Amir Fared at The Cell. Silverman was interviewed for the Oral History Project, and when asked if she has a significant composition that is most personally representative of her works, Silverman replied, “I’m open to various points of view, [and] I would choose A Free Pen [because] it has to do with social justice and the idea of freedom of speech. The whole idea of free speech is very important to me because if you do not allow people to speak freely, you do not get different points of view…[one] needs to hear balance [and] I like the idea that people have different thoughts. It’s fine with me that they choose to reason the world differently and I feel that I can always learn from what they are saying and what they are doing. [If] my ideas can’t hold up against their ideas, then maybe I have to rethink my own…” To view Silverman’s complete Oral History Project interview, visit Marshall Opera’s Oral History Project here.
More October news: On October 21, guitarist Sergio Puccini gives the Latin American premiere of Silverman’s solo work Processional, at the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Juan B. Castagnino in Rosario, Argentina.
Upcoming: next month, November 11 brings another New York City-based world premiere when Kollective366 presents the first performance of Silverman’s Lighting the Night (for String Orchestra), conducted by Bar Haimov.