Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Rituals” Premiere

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For Immediate Release :


Bob Becker, Bill Cahn, Robin Engelman, Russell Hartenberger, Garry Kvistad

Premieres New Work by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
with the IRIS Chamber Orchestra

under the direction of Principal Conductor, Michael Stern

On Saturday March 6, 2004, NEXUS, the internationally acclaimed percussion group based in Toronto, gave the premiere performance of ‘Rituals’ for percussion and chamber orchestra by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Co-commissioned by the IRIS Orchestra, NEXUS, Kathleen Holt & Stephen Lurie, the Pearl Corporation and Adams Musical Instruments, the premiere was presented at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre in Memphis, Tennessee, the home of the IRIS Orchestra. The 25-minute work in four movements utilizes many world percussion instruments from the extensive NEXUS collection.

‘Array of percussion brings magic of the world’
‘. . . one of the more eye-catching stage arrays in recent memory’

‘Zwilich invokes the spirits of the instruments and indeed,
the first movement has an almost religious flavor.’


Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
Widely considered to be one of America’s leading composers, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich was born in Miami, Florida in 1939. She is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, including the 1983 Pulitzer Prize in Music (the first woman ever to receive this coveted award), the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Chamber Music Prize, the Arturo Toscanini Music Critics Award, the Ernst von Dohnanyi Citation, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and 4 Grammy nominations.

NEXUS & Michael Stern
The artistic association between NEXUS and Michael Stern, which began in the 1970s, notably includes multiple performances in 1998 of Toru Takemitsu’s ‘From me flows what you call Time’ in Germany and France with the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The IRIS Orchestra
The IRIS Orchestra presented its inaugural concert under Michael Stern on September 19, 2000, and right from the start, it was dedicated to supporting music by American composers, with visionary plans to commission at least one new American work each year.

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