Gabriela Lena Frank's 'My Angel, His Name is Freedom' Premieres

Gabriela Lena Frank's 'My Angel, His Name is Freedom' Premieres
Handel & Haydn Society
James Doyle
The world premiere of Gabriela Lena Frank's My Angel, His Name is Freedom caps the bicentennial season of the Handel and Haydn Society. Her work sets Ralph Waldo Emerson's Boston Hymn for 26 voices and a period-instrument ensemble.

The Library of Congress's Carolyn Royall Just Fund and the Handel and Haydn Society co-commissioned the piece.

"It is my great pleasure to introduce Frank's unique voice to our H+H audience and a wider segment of the Boston community," says the group's Artistic Director Harry Christophers. "Gabriela's new work is true to our times, in style and substance, and to American values and ideals that have endured for centuries."

Frank is an award-winning American composer known for finding inspiration in traditions.

"In looking at Emerson's Boston Hymn, an example of Transcendentalist poetry at its best," she says, "my composer's eye found attractive its lofty calls for freedom and self-determination. My challenge has been how to capture in sound something that I find so essentially American — the idea that an ordinary existence can be tied to extraordinary aspirations."

My Angel is the latest in a distinguished lineage of Handel and Haydn premieres reaching back two centuries. In the 1800s the organization gave the American premieres of Handel's Messiah, Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and Haydn's Creation, and more recently commissioned new pieces by Daniel Pinkham, Randall Thompson, and John Tavener.

The premiere is part of the Handel and Haydn Society's hosting of the Chorus America 2015 conference. The concert is at 7:30pm on Thursday, June 18 at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA.

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