WAKING IN NEW YORK
a musical portrait of Allen
Mark Duer, baritone
Mary Hurlbut, soprano
Laura Wolfe, mezzo soprano
Mustafa Ahmed, percussion
Matthew Fieldes, double bass
Elodie Lauten, synthesizer
Steven Hall, electric guitar
The Sirius String Quartet with:
Juliann Klopotic, violin
Maxim Moston, violin
Ron Lawrence, viola
Tomas Ulrich, cello
The late Allen Ginsberg chose this set of poems on the theme of New York suggested by Elodie Lauten for a musical setting, during the summer of 96 from Cosmopolitan Greetings 1986-1992, Collected Poems 1947-1980, and White Shroud Poems 1980-1989. These three books are currently available, published by Harper Collins. The poems are highly autobiographical. They reveal some of Allens most intimate thoughts - there is a secret in this selection, there is a legacy, a special message he left to be disseminated - because New York was to him like a second skin.
Allen Ginsberg was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1926, the son of the well-known lyric poet and teacher Louis Ginsberg. As a student at Columbia College in the 1940s, he began a close friendship with William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac, and became associated with the Beat movement and the San Francisco Renaissance in the 1950s. After jobs as a laborer, sailor, and market researcher, Ginsberg published his first book of poetry, Howl and Other Poems, in 1956. Howl overcame censorship trials to become one of the most widely read poems of the century, translated into more than twenty-two languages, a model for younger generations of poets from West to East. Crowned Prague May King in 1965, then expelled by Czech police and simultaneously placed in the FBIs Dangerous Security list, Ginsberg has, in recent years, traveled to and taught in the Peoples Republic of China, the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe, receiving Yugoslavias Struga Poetry Festival "Golden Wreath" in 1986. A member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters and co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute, the first accredited Buddhist college in the Western world, Ginsberg lived on New Yorks Lower East Side. He died in April 1997 at age 70.
Mark Duer, baritone will perform the role of Allen Ginsberg. Mr. Duer has been heard in operatic and musical theater roles with the New York Chamber Ensemble, Berkshire Choral Festival, Piccolo Teatro dell Opera, Ash Lawn-Highland Opera, New Yorks Ensemble for Early Music, and as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, Musica Sacra, Pro Arte Connecticut, Masterworks Chorale, West Virginia Symphony, Larry Parons Chorale and the Virgin Consort. In 1997 he sang his debut at Weill Recital Hall, with Downtown Music Productions, performing contemporary song literature by Frederick Koch. He made his debut performance at Carnegie Hall last year in Mozarts Coronation Mass. He has sung with Christopher Hogwoods Handel & Haydn Society and is a member of the acclaimed virtuoso a capella ensemble Pomerium.
He has recorded on Gothic, Delos and Deutsche Gramophone /Archiv, and has been heard in television and radio broadcasts including CBS Sunday Morning, NBCs Today Show and Pipedreams on NPR.The New York Concert Review praised his "marvelous diction and musicality".
Laura Wolfe, mezzo soprano, will perform the role of Compassion. Laura Wolfe began performing and studying violin, piano and guitar at a young age. Accomplished as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, Laura has performed widely both in the United States and abroad. She regularly appears in New York clubs including the Knitting Factory, CBGBs Gallery, Dark Star and Fast Folk Café. She has sung at Carnegie Hall and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center as a featured soloist with the Lavender Light Gospel Choir. She toured Europe with the Broadway production of Hair.
Mary Hurlbut, soprano, will perform the role of Freedom. Ms. Hurlbut has performed with the American Festival of Microtonal Music, the New Music Consort, the Cygnus Ensemble, the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Opera Off Broadway,the Empire State Opera, the American Landmark Festival Series, the Soho Baroque Opera Company, the New Jersey Chorale and with well-know master flutist Andrew Bolotowsky. Mary Hurlbut has acquired a solid reputation as a performer of challenging contemporary repertoire. She has worked with Elodie Lauten since 1987 and starred in the first production of Lautens multimedia opera The Death of Don Juan. Recently she premiered Lautens The Deus Ex Machina Cycle at Merkin Hall and is featured in a Lauten/Carnahan collaboration on the CD recording The Time is Now (Frog Peak Music).