City Theatre Company

Through August 2
8 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Two world premieres, music by prominent living composers and collaborations with local artists are helping to make Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble‘s (PNME) 2014 summer season a must-hear happening. Celebrating its 39th year, PNME runs July 11th through August 2nd at South Side-based City Theatre Company. If you’re looking for unexpected musical performances, and boundary bending soundscapes, look no further than PNME this summer.

Since being founded by composer David Stock in 1976, PNME has focused on presenting world-class performances of contemporary music, commissioning and premiering new works by living artists, disseminating and promoting new works via recording and touring and playing a leading role in creating a progressive music arts community. Blending elements of music, performance and theatre, PNME is known for presenting fully immersive concert experiences.

PNME kicks off on July 11th and 12th with The Lost Traveler, featuring solo work by Martin Bresnick, as well as Kevin Puts’ Living Frescoes and Iannis Xenakis’ Rebonds A & B, in performances that explore themes such as birth and rebirth, childhood and adulthood, identity, and memory. Experimenting with the human body as an instrument, The Lost Traveler also features a performance of Vinko Globokar’s pioneering work, Corporel, by percussionist Ian Rosenbaum.

The season continues on July 18th and 19th with composer Ted Hearne’s newly commissioned work, The Cage Variations in Concert 2. Constructed entirely from shards of music by contemporary American composers, Hearne borrows and morphs music from existing works to create 12 variations on Charles Ives’ philosophical and hypnotic song, The Cage. Featuring bass-baritone Timothy Jones, the colorful and prismatic program features sampled works, along with Hearne’s original music, juxtaposed with selections by Anna Clyne, Morton Feldman and Amy Beth Kiersten.

Additional highlights include a Wednesday Showcase Series on July 23rd, featuring PNME violinist Nathalie Shaw, whose promising career has taken her around the world on recital and concerto tours through the US, Europe, South America and the UK. Shaw’s performance will include works by leading Pittsburgh composers David Stock and Roger Zahab (in a world premiere), as well as US premieres of music by Alain Celo and Sébastian Béranger.

Concert 3, on July 25th and 26th, will feature a world premiere by Ryan Anthony Francis, written for PNME and guitar virtuoso Mattias Jacobsson.

PNME closes its season with a fresh new take on one of the most popular programs in the organization’s history, Drunken Moon. Commissioned by PNME during its 30th anniversary, Drunken Moon is a companion or prologue piece for Arnold Schoenberg’s (1874 – 1951) seminal 1912 masterwork, Pierrot Lunaire.

The haunting story depicts a love-sick woman in an after-hours club, who believes that she has met the man of her dreams—only to discover that “the river of love can be a dangerous place to swim.” A fully staged production, Drunken Moon is directed by PNME’s artistic director Kevin Noe, and features soprano Lindsay Kesselman starring as She, and bass-baritone Timothy Jones as He. The haunting program will also unveil a commissioned piece by local visual artist Chris Craychee, which will be auctioned off after the season closes.

Since launching in 1976, PNME, which consists of seven musicians, has commissioned and premiered 200-plus works by established and emerging composers such as John Cage, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Michael Daugherty, David Lang, Derek Bermel, Pierre Jalbert and Kevin Puts.

Also new for PNME in 2014 is the company’s 4 Ticket Flex Pack option, as well as a deeper discount for students and seniors. View a complete 2014 PNME schedule. Purchase tickets.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...