Musical Reflections on Home

Tapestry is a new biennial festival that explores a culturally resonant theme within our community through the musical perspectives of a diverse set of composers and artists. In the inaugural 2019 festival, Tapestry19, the SPCO delves into the concept of home — where, when and how we feel at home in a dynamic and ever-changing world. Tapestry19 deals with a central question: “How do I recognize my home?” SPCO Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Lembit Beecher and musicians of the SPCO have curated Tapestry19 to include many musical responses to that question and engage with a wide range of collaborators to explore home from their unique perspectives.

Voices from the SPCO’s home, the Twin Cities community, are central to this festival. Tapestry19 features the world premiere of Twin Cities interdisciplinary artist, vocalist and composer PaviElle French’s A Requiem for Zula, a tribute to her mother and her upbringing in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood. In addition, a new work by Beecher features poetry by Twin Cities writer and University of Saint Thomas professor Chris Santiago, along with stories of home recorded by old and new community members over the past year. The festival also features the world premiere of a new work by Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh about the collective memories of growing up in Syria in the 1980s, and a newly commissioned work by 17-year-old American composer Maya Miro Johnson.

Tapestry19 spans several SPCO concert series, including the Liquid Music Series, which presents a work-in-progress conversation between Twin Cities Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy and New York DJ and composer Jace Clayton.

Minneapolis-based Bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy discusses her multidisciplinary original work Let the Crows Come featuring collaborator and composer/DJ/author Jace Clayton and Twin Cities dancer Alanna Morris-Van. Presented at the newly-renovated Parkway Theater in South Minneapolis, the work-in-progress conversation is part of the SPCO’s Tapestry19 Festival and includes video footage of Ramaswamy’s Space Residency at The Baryshnikov Arts Center.
Please note: The SPCO does not perform on this program.

The opening weekend of the Tapestry19 festival examines the legacy of family, community and country. Two premieres by outstanding contemporary composer-performers anchor this program which also includes works imbued with a sense of place by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák and Americans Charles Ives and Michael Abels. Interdisciplinary artist PaviElle French, a native of Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, presents a new work dedicated to the memory of her mother, while Syrian clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh reaches into his childhood to write a piece inspired by the rhythms of the Syrian pledge of allegiance that he was required to repeat every morning in school.

The second weekend of the Tapestry19 festival is an exploration of the idea of home, featuring a world premiere by SPCO Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Lembit Beecher, which uses samples of over 50 interview recordings of Twin Cities community members sharing their reflections about home, along with newly commissioned poetry by University of Saint Thomas professor Chris Santiago. 14 year-old Felix Mendelssohn was coming into his own as a composer when he wrote twelve sinfonias to be performed at private salons organized by his parents in their Berlin residence. A similarly young and talented 17-year-old, Utah-native Maya Miro Johnson reflects more directly on the idea of home through her adventurous sound palate in another SPCO commissioned work. The concert concludes with the Miracle Symphony, one of a series of symphonies written by Joseph Haydn during an extended stay in his adopted home of London late in his life.