Jörg Widmann

Nasher Sculpture Center Announces the 2016-2017 Season of Soundings: New Music at the Nasher

Seventh season of highly-acclaimed concert series brings dynamic line-up of performances, as well as the first-ever Soundings Composer-in-Residence

Dallas, Texas (July 29, 2016) – Beginning in December, the Nasher Sculpture Center’s Soundings: New Music at the Nasher will begin its seventh season with the same bold and dynamic programming that has made it one of the most acclaimed music series in Dallas and beyond.

This year, the Soundings founder and Yellow Barn artistic director, Seth Knopp, presents a dramatic line-up of five concerts, including works by Erwin Schulhoff, Steve Reich, Richard Wagner and John Cage. An entire weekend will also be dedicated to contemporary composer Jörg Widmann who will briefly serve as the Nasher’s composer-in-residence in April, culminating his stay in a trio of concerts that will showcase the broad range of the artist’s talents.

December 15, 2016: Music from Yellow Barn: Schulhoff, Reich, and Wagner
7:30 pm
The weight of loss, joy, and a violent understanding of human history mark this diverse trio of composers. The music of Richard Wagner is the center-piece between two extremely different artists: Czechoslovakian artist Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942) and American-born Steve Reich (b. 1936). Schulhoff’s life and rich career had an abrupt end in a Bavarian concentration camp during World War II. His vast catalog is difficult to summarize since it takes so many twists and turns, and the featured piece, Sonata Erotica, is no exception. Far ahead of its time in 1919, the composition may be immediately recognizable as the musical interpretation of a woman’s orgasm. Transcending the idea of human pleasure, the piece takes on newfound poignancy in the context of both the “blood poetry” of the gifted yet fascist-approved Wagner elsewhere in the program, as well as Schulhoff’s own tragedy. Ultimately the idea of beauty emerges from the inherent darkness of the pairing. Providing deeper insight into Schulhoff’s abilities, the composition Sextet will also be performed, a less experimental but no less affecting work.

Steve Reich is perhaps more fortunate than Sculhoff, but addressed the plight of his Jewish heritage through the piece Different Trains. The sound of the work references the darker implications of the industrial trudge across war-torn Europe, however the idea came to Reich in the relative comfort of traveling by train across the United States.

The lineup of performers in Dallas will differ slightly from the first iteration of this performance which took place at Yellow Barn in Vermont, and will this time include Knopp himself.

February 18, 2017: John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes
7:30 pm
A case could be made that 4’33” is still the most discussed work by 20th Century giant, John Cage. The work of silence is still the subject of furious debate over six decades later. However it was several years before, in Sonatas and Interludes, where Cage’s ideas really came into focus. The controversial and willful tampering of his instrument, or “prepared piano,” saw Cage as both a fearless innovator and a target of traditionalist critics. The work was inspired by the rasa concept found in Indian aesthetics, which refers to the “black emotions” and “white emotions” inspired by a particular performance. The various feelings ideally culminate in that most evasive state: Tranquility. Cage’s work attempts to lure the audience towards such divinity over the course of 16 sonatas and four interludes, in what as widely seen as his masterpiece. The highly detailed preparation of the piano takes nearly as long as the 70-minute work itself, and pianist Boris Berman will perform the work in its entirety, a rare privilege.

April 7- 9, 2017: Jörg Widmann
April 7, 7:30 pm; April 8, 7:30 pm; April 9, 2 pm
There is perhaps no other living composer who represents the breadth of both Soundings and Yellow Barn better than the Munich-born Jörg Widmann, and the composer has been something of a muse for the latter in particular. Widmann completed a residency there in the summer of 2015 and was especially productive. He will do the same at the Nasher Sculpture Center this spring, with a trio of concerts that will showcase the range of the artist, whose work has included everything from opera (2011’s Babylon) to a mastery of the string quartet, to doing away with the score altogether. At times humorous and mischievous, and grave and mournful at others, Widmann will showcase the depth of his abilities over the course of a solo performance, a series of string quartets, and a song cycle (Das Heisse Werz) in its North American premiere.

Season tickets are now available for purchase.
Member: $100; Non-Member: $120; Student/Educator: $40
Individual tickets to each concert will be made available at a later date.

For more information, please visit:


Enhance your Soundings experience by becoming a Friend of Soundings. Friends of Soundings is a special group of Soundings' most dedicated patrons. As a member, you will receive season tickets with reserved seating for the entire season. In addition, you will have the opportunity to align with a select number of passionate patrons to provide invaluable support for this program while engaging with Soundings on a deeper level through exclusive opportunities before and after concerts. Friends of Soundings also supports the Soundings: New Music at the Nasher scholarship fund, which enables the Nasher to provide several area students from various musical disciplines the opportunity to experience Soundings concerts free of charge, as well as fund outreach opportunities with visiting musicians.

For more information and to join Friends of Soundings, please contact Rebecca Watkins at [email protected] or 214.242.5169.

Soundings is supported by Charles and Jessie Price and Kay and Elliot Cattarulla, Aston Martin of Dallas, the Friends of Soundings, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and TACA. Additional support provided by Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger. Media Partner WRR 101.1 FM.

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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