August 2010
by on August 10, 2010 in featured

We haven’t updated the website in some time but Sheila has composed a lot of music — mostly opera– in the past three years. We’re in the process also of adding a listening room to the website, so stay tuned.

The most recent news is the premiere of THE WHITE ROOSTER, A Tale of Compassion, Cantata for women’s voices, 6 Tibetan singing bowls, and hand percussion. Commissioned by the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian for the exhibit, In the Realm of the Buddha,the 35 minute work is designed to be performed in any “found” space. It was given three performances over the weekend of July 10 and 11, 2011 in the Exhibition Space of the Sackler Gallery in Washington DC. In addition, a preview performance took place at the Music and Beyond festival on July 7 in Ottawa, Canada. Performances are scheduled for Memphis, Portland (Dec. 2, 2011), and Los Angeles (Dec. 4) for later this year.

The White Rooster is a dramatic cantata, along the lines of a short opera, created by composer Sheila Silver and librettist Stephen Kitsakos for Tapestry, the critically acclaimed women’s vocal quartet.  Five Tibetan Buddhist nuns are fleeing to India when one of them is shot by a soldier. They take refuge in an abandoned hut. While nursing their wounded sister, they enact a Tibetan tale about suppression, liberation and forgiveness. In the end, help comes from a most unexpected source.  Emanating a spirit of reconciliation and healing, the piece celebrates the power of individual acts of compassion.

The WOODEN SWORD, winner of the 2007 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Music Composition will see two productions this year. The University of Connecticut Opera Theater will premiere the work on Nov. 5 and 7, 2011 at the Naffe Katte Theater in Storrs Conn, and Nov. 13, 2011 on the UConn campus in Stamford, Conn. This production will be directed by Gary English and conducted by Jeffrey Renshaw. In addition, a production will be mounted by the Stony Brook Opera, with David Lawton, conducting, and Joachim Schamberger, directing. Performances will be held at the Staller Center on March 25 and 27, 2011, followed by a New York City performance at Symphony Space on March 31, 2011.

The Wooden Sword, based on a timeless tale, is set in an ancient Near Eastern kingdom.  It tells the story of a powerful but anxious king who tries to discover the secret of happiness from a poor cobbler whose simple philosophy — to trust in joy and not in fear — is severely put to the test.  The score incorporates the exotic and lively rhythms of the Near East, chant, and a contemporary lyricism which make it engaging to audiences of all ages. The one hour one act opera is scored for 5 soloists, chamber chorus, and an ensemble of 11 players.

SIX BEADS ON A STRING, for solo violin, was commissioned for a private memorial concert in honor of Charles Feldman, the composer’s father-in-law. Six Beads on a String is a theme and variations in which the theme, based on an original nigun (Jewish prayer melody), serves as the basis for forays into five subsequent worlds of sound, cutting across boundaries of style, character, and tonality.  Written for violinist, Yvgeny Kutik, the piece will have its “public” premiere at his recital on the Smith College Artists Series, Sept. 24, 2010.

HAZIM’S DANCE, for violin, viola, cello, harp and oboe, was co-commissioned and premiered in Spring 2008 by the Stony Brook Chamber Players (including Eugene Drucker, violin, Stephen Taylor, oboe, Bridget Kibbey, harp, Adiel Schmit, cello, ) as well as the Walden Players, who gave performances in Great Barrington and at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. The piece was developed as instrumental music for the opera Sheila was working on, THE WOODEN SWORD.

TWILIGHT’S LAST G LEAMING was premiered by Gilbert Kalish, Christina Dahl, Eduardo Leandro, and Kevin Dufford in December, 2007 at Pierpont MOrgan Library in NYC as well as at Stony Brook. Subsequently, this team recorded the piece as part of Stony Brook Soundings, released on Bridge Records, so now their spectacular performance is available commercially.

The third commercial recording of her SIX PRELUDES FOR PIANO, On Poems of Baudelaire, was released on the Albany Records label by with pianist, Tania Bannister. (Gilbert Kalish and Alexander Paley have also recorded the work.) This stunning performanceSheila Silver takes French impressionism as a starting point for her preludes, especially the first one, which is evocative of the sea. Her horizons expand from there, as the inspiration of nature takes her into the realm of dream-like meditation and more adventuresome harmonies. The clarity of her writing, though, never shuts out the listener, allowing for a relatively easy access to her ample imagination.

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