The 92nd Street Y Announces "Seven Days" An App-Delivered Music Experience Created by Acclaimed Composer Gregory Spears Available for FREE
The 92nd Street Y announced today the release of composer Gregory Spears' "Seven Days," a cycle of piano pieces that use music to point our attention to the present moment and the passing of the week. The cycle begins each Monday morning and will be distributed in the form of a custom app produced by the 92Y. Using the app on their phones, listeners are invited to listen to a different movement at three intervals throughout the day — one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and another in the evening — for a total of 21 movements over seven days. The music is performed by Pedja Muzijevic and presented alongside paintings by Gloria Maximo. The app is available for FREE at https://www.92y.org/gregory-spears-seven-days.
"'Seven Days' was shaped by a year spent in relative isolation due to the pandemic," said Gregory Spears. "While it is a work composed during a time of quarantine, it will be experienced first by an audience in the process of returning to a more normal world. In that sense, it is an artwork born out of a year of relatively cloistered existence that seeks to preserve aspects of that experience as we move forward."
The work is designed as a listening experience that tunes us into the passing of time, connecting us both to the present moment as well as the cycle of the week. The experience invites music to inhabit and structure our everyday — to find us where we are in the world. The morning-afternoon-evening schedule is meant to focus participants on the dawn-to-dusk cycle as well as to create a communal listening ritual. It is also an experiment in large-scale form, designed to draw attention to musical material developing across a week-long expanse, interspersed with vast silences.
The piece was also inspired by the work of Morton Feldman and Chantal Akerman, whose large-scale works consider time, process, and stillness. Their art struck Spears with a fresh relevance during the silent stretches of the pandemic year 2020. It was also a year in which writings about time, penned by contemplatives like Henry David Thoreau and Thomas Merton, held new weight. All of this in turn resonated with Gloria Maximo's profound paintings, which Spears has long admired.
"Seven Days" is an artwork we are invited to "do" — using music to point our attention to the present moment, the everyday, and the seemingly mundane. It is a piece that listeners are also asked to live within as it unfolds over a week rather than to witness it live. The key players here are time and the listener's own surroundings, starring together alongside music and art in a wordless drama.
"One of the major aspects of music is time and how we perceive time," said pianist Pedja Muzijevic. "Greg Spears goes a step further and explores specific times of each day in his 'Seven Days' and poses a very simple question - do we hear music differently at different times? These 21 pieces encompass a great range of emotions and expressions, as wide ranging as anyone's seven days can be. Meaning of music is a conversation between the composer, performer and a listener, so the fun part is not guessing what these works mean to Greg, but what they evoke in each one of us. I let my imagination roam freely and found myself immersed in images of desolate rocks, storms and even a love duet. So, what's your Wednesday morning like?"
How to Listen "Seven Days" is a week-long listening experience that audiences are invited to live within. Begin the week on Monday by listening to Monday Morning. Return that afternoon to listen to Monday Afternoon and then again at night for Monday Evening. Repeat this schedule Tuesday through Sunday to experience a new Morning, Afternoon, and Evening movement for each day. The aim is to tune in to the passing of the week and, in the words of Thomas Merton, "the 'now' that cuts Time like a blade." If you miss or wish to revisit an installment, you can always scroll back to a movement from earlier in the schedule. The cycle repeats again each Monday morning indefinitely.
Composer Gregory Spears; Pianist Pedja Muzijevic; Artist Gloria Maximo; Presented by the 92Y; Producer Nicholas Russotto; Publisher Schott Music
App Design Echoes.xyz; Sound Engineer Edwin Huet; Mixing Rick Jacobsohn; Editing Gregory Spears; Studio Oktaven Audio; Piano Hamburg Steinway D; Music © 2021 Schott Helicon Music (BMI), New York; Recording ℗ 2021 Gregory Spears
Gregory Spears is a New York-based composer whose music has been called "astonishingly beautiful" (The New York Times), "coolly entrancing" (The New Yorker), and "some of the most beautifully unsettling music to appear in recent memory" (The Boston Globe). He has been commissioned by The New York Philharmonic, Bang on a Can, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seraphic Fire, The Crossing, BMI/Concert Artists Guild, Vocal Arts DC, New York Polyphony, The New York International Piano Competition, the JACK Quartet, and the New York Youth Symphony among others. His music is published by Schott Music and Schott PSNY. His latest opera "Castor and Patience" was written in collaboration with former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Commissioned by Cincinnati Opera, it will premiere in summer 2022. Spears' opera Fellow Travelers, written in collaboration with Greg Pierce, premiered at Cincinnati Opera in 2016 and has been produced by the Prototype Festival (NYC), The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Madison Opera, and Arizona Opera with productions this season at Florida Grand Opera and Opera Columbus. It was hailed as "one of the most accomplished new operas I have seen in recent years" (Chicago Tribune) and an opera that "seems assured of lasting appeal" (The New York Times). The premiere was featured in The New York Times' Best in Classical Music for 2016, and Cincinnati Opera released a commercial recording in 2017. Other operas include Jason and the Argonauts written with Kathryn Walat and Paul's Case, (also written with Walat), which was described as a "masterpiece" and a "gem" (New York Observer) with "ravishing music" (The New York Times). A recording of Paul's Case was released in 2019. His Requiem was released on New Amsterdam records in 2011.
Pianist Pedja Muzijevic has performed with the Atlanta Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica in Montevideo, Residentie Orkest in The Hague, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Santa Fe Pro Musica and Shinsei Nihon Orchestra in Tokyo. He has played solo recitals at Alice Tully Hall, 92Y and The Frick Collection in New York, Terrace Theater at Kennedy Center, Dumbarton Oaks, Phillips Collection and National Gallery in Washington, DC, Casals Hall and Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo. His Carnegie Hall concerto debut playing Mozart Concerto K. 503 with Oberlin Symphony and Robert Spano was recorded live and has been released on the Oberlin Music label. Pedja's interdisciplinary projects include touring with Mikhail Baryshnikov and the White Oak Dance Project throughout the United States, South America, Europe and Asia and with Simon Keenlyside in Trisha Brown's staged version of Schubert's Winterreise at Lincoln Center in New York, Barbican in London, La Monnaie in Brussels, Opera National de Paris, as well as Holland, Lucerne and Melbourne festivals. Highlights of the pandemic 2020/21 season are virtual solo recitals for 92Y, Spoleto Festival USA, Maverick Concerts and Orchestra of St. Luke's Bach Festival, chamber music for Schubert Club in St. Paul and Chopin and Mozart piano concertos with Atlanta and Billings Symphonies. In the summer of 2021, Pedja returned to Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, Verbier Festival Academy and Bay Chamber Concerts in Maine. Highlights of 2021/22 season are performances of Framing Time, staging of Morton Feldman's Triadic Memories with lighting design by Burke Brown and choreography by Cesc Gelabert in Barcelona and Madrid, concerts for Castleton Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts, Orchestra of St. Luke's and Chamber Music Chicago, as well as Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto with Battle Creek Symphony and Anne Harrigan for the Gilmore Piano Festival. As the artistic administrator at Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York and artistic advisor at Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana, Pedja curated and produced film shoots for dozens of musicians at various locations in New York City and Boston.
Gloria Maximo lives and works in Queens, NY. Her work has been presented at the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Chicago, IL; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; Simone Subal Gallery, New York; Metro Pictures, New York; The FLAG Art Foundation, New York; The Queens Museum, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; among others. Her work has been written about in publications including Portable Gray, The Offing, The New Yorker Magazine, and CURA Magazine. She has participated in artist residencies including the Queens Museum Studio Program and the Shandaken Paint School Fellowship. Maximo currently teaches at SUNY Purchase. About 92nd Street Y: The 92nd Street Y (92Y) is a world-class center for the arts and innovation, a convener of ideas, and an incubator for creativity. 92Y offers extensive classes, courses and events online including live concerts, talks and master classes; fitness classes for all ages; 250+ art classes, and parenting workshops for new moms and dads. The 92nd Street Y is transforming the way people share ideas and translate them into action all over the world. All of 92Y's programming is built on a foundation of Jewish values, including the capacity of civil dialogue to change minds; the potential of education and the arts to change lives; and a commitment to welcoming and serving people of all ages, races, religions, and ethnicities. For more information, visit www.92Y.org.
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