Gabriela Lena Frank's New Work and a Prize

Gabriela Lena Frank's New Work and a Prize
Images: Frank by Sabina Frank; Beethoven from Wikimedia

Note: The Philadelphia Orchestra announced that its April 2020 premiere of Pachamama Meets an Ode will not take place.

As part of her multi-season residency with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Gabriela Lena Frank has written a companion piece to Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, under the auspices of the Orchestra's BeethovenNOW initiative. This survey of Beethoven's Symphonies also features commissions by three composers from the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.

Frank and her students discuss their BeethovenNOW commissions
Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin discusses Frank and her music

Pachamama Meets an Ode (2020), commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Uppsala Kammerorkester, is set to original text by the composer that imagines a meeting between Beethoven and his Peruvian contemporaries from the Cusco School of Painters, with implications for the current environmental crisis. The world premiere performances take place April 2, 4, and 5 with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Verizon Hall; an additional performance takes place on August 15, during the Orchestra's residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. These performances are led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and will feature the Westminster Symphonic Choir and Community Voices. Pachamama Meets an Ode receives its European premiere September 3 with the Uppsala Kammerorkester under Chief Conductor Rebecca Miller, and its UK premiere September 17 with Southbank Sinfonia, also led by Miller.

Peruse the score
Pachamama Meets an Ode

Frank's Conquest Requiem, a major 2017 work for chorus and orchestra, is performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Chorus March 19-21. Led by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero and featuring vocal soloists Jessica Rivera and Andrew Garland, these performances will be recorded for future release on Naxos. The libretto is inspired by the true, controversial story of Malinche, an Aztec slave whose ever-evolving prowess as an indigenous interpreter to the Spanish conquistadores led to her conversion to Christianity. She then became mistress to Hernán Cortés during his war against the Aztecs, and would later give birth to their son Martín, one of the first mestizos of the New World. Frank's dramaturgy juxtaposes liturgical verses from the Latin Mass with Nahua poetry, and features original Spanish text by Pulitzer Prize winning-playwright Nilo Cruz.

Peruse the score
Conquest Requiem

This week, Gabriela Lena Frank was announced as the recipient of the University of Texas at Austin's 2020-2021 Eddie Medora King Award, which includes a $50,000 prize and a residency at the Butler School of Music November 16-22. Read the announcement.

Frank is currently composing a large-scale orchestral work commissioned the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony, whose March 2021 premiere will be the culmination of her residency with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Other upcoming premieres include a string serenade for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (November 5-8) and her first opera, El último sueño de Frida y Diego, which features a libretto by Nilo Cruz and premieres at San Diego Opera in the Fall of 2021.

Three Latin American Dances and Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout, two 21st-century repertoire staples by Frank, are performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, and other orchestras around the country between now and the end of the current season.

For more information, please contact Rachel Sokolow:

Images: Frank by Sabina Frank; Beethoven from Wikimedia

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