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CONTACT! at the Metropolitan Museum

This concert is now past.
Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Directions)
Price Range: $20.00

Concert Duration

1 hour 30 minutes
Fri, Dec, 21, 2012
7:00 PM

To purchase tickets, visit or call (212) 570-3949. Receive all-day access to the Met Museum with purchase of ticket.

The new season of CONTACT! is back with new music from New York–based composers Andy Akiho, Andrew Norman, and Jude Vaclavik, and a rare performance of Jacob Druckman's Counterpoise with the acclaimed soprano Elizabeth Futral.

Akiho’s Oscillate is an homage to inventor Nikola Tesla, and Vaclavik’s SHOCK WAVES evokes a sonic boom “because it is a palpable effect of an invisible force.” Andrew Norman’s Try is about creativity, perfectionism, and trial-and-error.

Composers will be present to introduce their works and will join the audience and performers at the post-concert reception, with beer lovingly provided by the Brooklyn Brewery.

To view details on the December 22 concert, go to CONTACT!

The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)


Oscillate (World Premiere, New York Philharmonic commission)

Oscillate was composed in September–October 2012. It was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, which premieres it in these concerts. It is for orchestra, piano, and three percussionists, who play instruments ranging from traditional percussion to flower pot and wine glasses (which are broken during the performance). As its title suggests, the piece explores oscillations in pitch, rhythm, timbre, and dynamics. Mr. Akiho wrote to New York Philharmonic Program Annotator James M. Keller that the word “Oscillate” is an anagram for “Tesla coil,” named for Nikola Tesla, and added that that the work reflected how the scientist-inventor became a touchstone during composition. Like Tesla and his “sleepless persistence,” Mr. Akiho can stay awake several nights in a row, obsessed with pursuing an idea. The composer wrote: “Oscillate is an autobiographical composition divided into three continuous parts representing three continuous sleep-deprived days of inspiration, perseverance, and blissful confusion!

Try (New York Premiere)

“I am a trial-and-error composer, an incurable reviser,” Andrew Norman told New York Philharmonic Program Annotator James M. Keller. When in 2011 Mr. Norman received a commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for an orchestral work, his compulsion to get every detail “right” killed his creativity, he said. Months later he realized it would never be perfect, and that this was the wrong goal: “The best thing I could do was to try as many new things as I could, to embrace the risk and failure and serendipitous discovery implicit in the word ‘try.’ The piece I ended up writing is a lot like me. It’s messy. It’s fragmented. It does things over and over, trying them out in asmany different ways as it can. It circles back on itself again and again in search of any idea that will stick, that will lead the way forward to something new.” On May 24, 2011, Try was premiered at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, with John Adams conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group. Some of the unusual instrumentation includes kick drum (muffled with blanket), four log drums, four opera gongs, four small tom-toms, spring coil, and guiro.

SHOCK WAVES (World Premiere–New York Philharmonic Comission)

Mr. Vaclavik has said that in SHOCK WAVES, a symphonic brass and percussion work composed between June and October 2012, he wanted to exploit the New York Philharmonic’s heralded ability to play at both extremes of the dynamic spectrum, and to build or fade to these extremes. Its central and recurring theme is the sonic boom, an audible shock wave produced from collapsing air displaced by an object traveling beyond the speed of sound that, mysteriously, we neither see nor hear itself. SHOCK WAVES opens in a state of stasis, then explores multiple shifts in dynamics, texture, and tempo that are generated by “unseen forces.” Although sonic booms from supersonic aircraft are the most famous examples of shock waves, many shock waves in nature are not the result of fast or violent disruptions. The abstract interpretation of shock waves in the work reflects these “discontinuous disturbances,” as the composer described them. The largest shock waves depicted in the work evoke tectonic plates in their use of clashing masses of sound.

Counterpoise (ensemble version)

Jacob Druckman composed Counterpoise in its orchestral form in 1994 on commission from The Philadelphia Orchestra. The following year, he recast it for chamber ensemble, the version to be performed in these CONTACT! concerts. The chamber version was premiered in April 1997, with the composer conducting The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and soprano Susan Narucki. These are the New York Philharmonic’s first performances of the piece. As New York Philharmonic Program Annotator James M. Keller has noted, Mr. Druckman’s works often center on the interplay of conflict and balance, and Counterpoise is no exception. The piece includes two poems each by Emily Dickinson (“Nature” is what we see and I taste a liquor never brewed) and Guillaume Apollinaire (“Salomé” and “La Blanche neige”). “The musical development of Counterpoise,” Druckman wrote, “is strongly focused on, and colored by, the great contrast between the two poets: Emily Dickinson and Guillaume Apollinaire. The American poet’s giddy spiritual ecstasy and the French poet’s visions of sadness and dementia seem to pull in opposite directions at the ends of a single straight line. It is a strange symmetry indeed to have the Apollinaire poems from his early collection Alcools (strong drink) at one pole while, at the other pole, Dickinson sings ‘Inebriate of Air am I.’… I think of Emily Dickinson as being totally ‘airborne,’ and the Apollinaire is totally ‘rooted in the earth,’ almost subterranean.”


Jayce Ogren by Roger Mastroianni

This season Jayce Ogren conducts a concert of works by Rufus Wainwright with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; a month-long run of Robert Carsen’s new production of Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady at Paris’s Théâtre du Chatelet; a program of music by Gershwin, John Adams, and Sibelius with the RTE Symphony in Ireland; and these two concerts in the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL, conducting the New York Premiere of Steven Mackey’s Dreamhouse. In the 2012–13 season Mr. Ogren led new productions of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto for New York City Opera; conducted the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in programs at Lincoln Center, Columbia University's Miller Theatre, and at the Wien Modern Festival; and led all-Stravinsky programs with the New York City Ballet. He made his New York Philharmonic debut CONTACT!, the Orchestra’s new-music series, and led performances of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at the Verbier Festival Academy. In London he premiered the orchestral film version of Bernstein’s West Side Story at Royal Albert Hall, an event he repeated with the Detroit Symphony and with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Returning to London he conducted the BBC Symphony at the Barbican in premieres of works by Nico Muhly, David Lang, and Paola Prestini. Jayce Ogren graduated from St. Olaf’s College and the New England Conservatory and, with a Fulbright grant, completed a postgraduate diploma in orchestral conducting with Jorma Panula at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He attended the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and, for three years, was Assistant Conductor to Franz Welser-Möst at the Cleveland Orchestra. Mr. Ogren has conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony. With the New York City Opera he led the American premiere of Wainwright’s Prima Donna, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Bernstein’s A Quiet Place, for which he won extensive critical acclaim.  

Learn more about Jayce Ogren



Elizabeth Futral

American soprano Elizabeth Futral is one of today’s leading lyric coloratura sopranos. During the summer of 2012, she sang the title role of Saariaho’s Émilie for Lincoln Center Festival and performed the role of Marian Paroo in The Music Man at Glimmerglass Opera, which traveled to the Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman) this fall. This season she returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème, sings the role of Hester Prynne in the world premiere of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter with Opera Colorado, performs Stephen Paulus’s To Be Certain of the Dawn with the Grand Rapids Symphony, and performs Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen and Non sa che sia dolore with the Washington Bach Consort.

Ms. Futral has appeared with the world’s greatest opera companies, including The Metropolitan Opera, where she made her debut in the title role of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and the Bavarian Staatsoper. Ms. Futral made her New York Philharmonic debut in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, under Zubin Mehta in February 2000. She most recently appeared with the Philharmonic in Handel’s Messiah led by Sir Neville Marriner in December 2002. Ms. Futral has also performed with the Chicago, London, and San Francisco symphony orchestras, Minnesota Orchestra, and Berlin Philharmonic.

A leading interpreter of the music of today’s prominent composers, Ms. Futral has sung the world premieres of operas by André Previn and Philip Glass, vocal/orchestral works by Dominick Argento and Stephen Paulus, and Orpheus and Euridice, the cycle for soprano and clarinet by Ricky Ian Gordon, for Great Performers at Lincoln Center. Ms. Futral’s most recent recording is Colors of Feelings, featuring music of Phillip Lasser (Delos), and she appears as Elvira in Kasper Holten’s film Juan, a modern retelling of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Learn more about Elizabeth Futral



John Schaefer is the host of WNYC’s innovative music/talk show Soundcheck, which features live performances and interviews with a variety of guests. Mr. Schaefer has also hosted and produced WNYC’s radio series New Sounds since 1982 (called “The #1 radio show for the Global Village” by Billboard) and the New Sounds Live concert series since 1986. He has written extensively about music, including the book New Sounds: A Listener’s Guide to New Music (Harper & Row, NY, 1987; Virgin Books, London, 1990); the Cambridge Companion to Singing: World Music (Cambridge University Press, U.K., 2000); and the television program Bravo Profile: Bobby McFerrin (Bravo Television, 2003). His liner notes appear on more than 100 recordings, ranging from the 1996 NAIRD winner The Music of Armenia to releases by Yo-Yo Ma, Terry Riley, and many others.

Mr. Schaefer has curated the new-music and film series at the World Financial Center and the BAM World Music Festival. He has also chaired the Pulitzer Prize jury for Music and hosted many lectures and panels for Lincoln Center, BAM, and Tanglewood’s Contemporary Music Festival, among others.

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Special Thanks

CONTACT! is made possible with major support from The Francis Goelet Fund and The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. Additional support is provided by The Amphion Foundation, Inc., and The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University.

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