“Partite Américaine”, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 13, 2004, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, 4420 Warwick, Kansas City, MO. Admission is FREE and open to the public.
Susan Kander, in a commission by the Bach Aria Soloists made possible by gifts from The Rheta Sosland Foundation and The Scott Lerner Memorial Fund, has composed the “Partite Américaine” in six French dance movements: Prelude; Courante; Aire and Passacaille; Gavotte; Bourree; and Gigue written for violin, cello, harpsichord, soprano, and mezzo soprano, the instrumentation of the Bach Aria Soloists. The texts are derived from famous wonderful African-American Spirituals. In using these American landmarks, Kander’s aim is two-fold:
“To honor them as poetry and imagery, and to build a new work on sensibilities the baroque listener would have found completely familiar.”
After many years as a playwright, in 1992 Susan Kander returned to her original training in music and began writing her first opera to meet a need at her sons’ public school. The February Spell led to subsequent commissions from Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Theater of St. Louis and Opera Columbus. Publisher Boosey and Hawkes, together with the Copland Fund, commissioned a new libretto for Aaron Copland’s The Second Hurricane which premiered in New York in 2000. Other commissions include Two Tricky Tales, a set of stories for narrator and chamber ensemble; A City Suite for Cello and Piano; A Cycle of Songs for Female Voice, Clarinet or Trumpet and Piano and several choral works. Solo Sonata for violinviola-violin premiered in New York in May 2003 and was presented in St. Petersburg, Russia in September 2003 as part of that city’s 300th anniversary. Her works have been performed at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall and Symphony Space in New York, and in cities across the country. Kander’s fifth short opera, One False Move, premiered in January 2003 in Kansas City. Her Quintet for Bassoon and String Quartet will be premiered in New York next year by the Kinor Quartet. She is currently working on a commission for the Kansas City Chorale which will premiere in April 2004. Her publisher is Boosey and Hawkes. She lives in New York City with her husband, Warren, and sons Sam and Jacob.