The internationally acclaimed flutist Carol Wincenc marks her 40th anniversary on the concert stage in the 2009-2010 season. On Monday, November 9, 2009, at 7:30 PM at Merkin Concert Hall, she begins a series of three concerts at three New York City venues each of which features premieres of new works written for Wincenc, and a stellar roster of fellow musicians.

The November 9 program, titled Carol Wincenc Ruby Anniversary Series: “Deepest Desires,” features the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Fury of Light for flute and piano, which the composer will perform with Wincenc. Heggie’s The Deepest Desire for voice, flute, and piano (texts by Sister Helen Prejean); Lukas Foss’s Three American Pieces arranged for flute and piano; Paul Schoenfield’s Six Chassidic Songs for flute and piano (written for Ms. Wincenc); and George Crumb’s landmark 1971 work Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale) for electric flute, electric cello, and electric piano, in commemoration of Crumb’s 80th birthday year.

In addition to composer Jake Heggie at the piano, Ms. Wincenc will be joined by Rafael Figueroa, principal cellist of Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; pianist Stephen Gosling, particularly acclaimed in recent months for performances of new music, and a long-time collaborator with Wincenc; and the dynamic young American mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata.

About the flutist and his new work Jake Heggie says, “Her gorgeous tone, innate musicality, sparkle, sense of humor, heart and curiosity are there when she plays; all anchored by her tremendous humanity. The piece I have written for her is based on one of my favorite poems: ‘Sunrise,’ by Mary Oliver [see below]. It is a meditation of that timeless quest for happiness and truth that, in the past, led some people to be bound and burned at the stake, creating ‘an unforgettable fury of light.’ It also asks a question that seems particularly appropriate for a wind player: ‘What is the name of the deep breath I would take over and over for all of us?’

“Fury of Light is a response to this poem: an exploration of its fire and essence. It is dedicated lovingly to the great Carol Wincenc.” The work was commissioned by Backshore Artists Projects, Inc. and funded by a generous grant from Linda and Stuart Nelson.

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