School of Music

Da Capo Chamber Players "Pierrot Lunaire" Rescheduled for This Evening at 8 p.m.

Da Capo Chamber PlayersDue to yesterday's storm closure, this concert has been rescheduled for this evening, Wednesday, March 20 at 8 p.m., Corthell Concert Hall, USM Gorham campus.

The acclaimed Da Capo Chamber Players will be joined by two-time Naumburg Award-winning soprano Lucy Shelton, in a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s seminal masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire, in the season of the work’s 100thanniversary. Also on the program will be a new work by USM Resident Composer Daniel Sonenberg, commissioned for this residency, and Valerie Coleman's Portraits of Langston, based on poems of Langston Hughes, read by USM Theatre major Nathan Lapointe. (207) 780-5555.

The Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players is one of New York City’s most longstanding and preeminent new music ensembles. The ensemble is currently in residence at USM School of Music for three days to present a public concert featuring soprano Lucy Shelton, readings and recordings of student works, a master class and a public lecture.

Lucy Shelton

While in residence, the Da Capo Chamber Players have already worked closely with USM student composers on compositions they wrote specifically for this residency. Reading the works of student composers has long been a part of Da Capo's mission, with each composer afforded time to hear and adjust his or her work.

The residency is sponsored by the USM Gorham Cultural Affairs Committee, and made possible in part with public funds from the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

PHOTOS: Da Capo Chamber Players (clockwise from top left): Blair McMillen, piano; Meighan Stoops, clarinet; Curtis Macomber, violin; Patricia Spencer, flute; James Wilson, cello. (to the right) Lucy Shelton, soprano.

The residency's public events include:

Master Class
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2 p.m.
$6 at the door

Da Capo Chamber Players Residency Concert
featuring Lucy Shelton, soprano
Wednesday, March 20

8 p.m.
$15 general public, $10 seniors, USM employees and alumni, $5 students Make reservations by calling (207) 780-5555, or online at

Da Capo Chamber Players Public Lecture
"Paul Klee and Music" with Patricia Spencer

Thursday, March 21, 2013

11 a.m.
Free and open to the public

Location: Corthell Concert Hall on the USM Gorham campus.


About the music

Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (“Moonstruck Pierrot”) was premiered in Berlin in October, 1912, just over 100 years ago, and is one of the most important chamber music works of the 20th century. The work is a “melodrama” scored for mixed chamber ensemble and singer of unspecified type (though usually a soprano), who delivers settings of 21 poems by the French poet Albert Giraud (in German translations by Otto Erich Hartleben) with the unforgettable Sprechstimme technique – literally “speaking voice.” The composition presents unending variations of the ensemble’s basic construction of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, incorporating doublings (such as bass clarinet and viola), and having a different instrumental combination for each of the twenty-one songs. The work is mesmerizing and otherworldly, certainly Schoenberg’s most famous and most performed work. The make-up of the ensemble has since become a standard in contemporary music, known simply as “Pierrot ensemble,” of which Da Capo is perhaps the single foremost example.

Daniel Sonenberg’s piece, Delve (2013), was commissioned by the group for the occasion of this residency. Sonenberg has enjoyed a long relationship with the Da Capo Chamber Players, having first worked with them as a student at Bard College, where Da Capo has been in residence since the early 80's. The single-movement, 12-minute work, explores some of Sonenberg’s most closely held musical allegiances, including both driving rock music, and the late Beethoven string quartets. Sonenberg first studied the latter under the tutelage of Da Capo founder, composer Joan Tower, many years ago.

 Also on the concert will be a piece by Valerie Coleman, Portraits of Langston, based on poems of Langston Hughes.

About the Da Capo Chamber Players

Since its founding in 1970, the Da Capo Chamber Players has established itself as one of the foremost new music groups in the United States.  The group’s mission is to give new works the dedicated attention and exciting performances consistent with the highest musical standards in traditional repertoire.  Da Capo is a leader in building a strong heritage of present-day American chamber music: the group is known not only for exceptional artistry but also for the wealth of new compositions written for them. 

Over the years, more than 80 chamber music works have been written especially for them by composers ranging from Philip Glass to Milton Babbit, Joan Tower, Jeffrey Mumford, and Su Lian Tan. The residency by this Naumburg Award-winning ensemble will coincide with many activities and events that will be very beneficial to students, faculty, and staff, and interesting to the public.

Founded by composer Joan Tower, and regularly in residence at Bard College for three decades, the ensemble has a long tradition and copious experience working with student composers. During their time at USM, they will read and record student compositions in sessions open to the public that are guaranteed to be enlightening.

Visit Da Capo online at

For more information about programs and events at the USM School of Music, visit, write to, or call (207) 780-5265.

Members of the Press and those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646