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Thirteen haiku for singers and piano, Op. 27

Date of Composition: 2013

Duration: 10 Minutes

Text: Jack Kerouac

Language: English

Program Notes: The Thirteen Haiku, Op. 27 were commissioned by the Wolf Trapp Opera Company and LA Opera pianist Jeremy Frank and composed in two weeks during the summer of 2013. Using American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac’s rarely acknowledged haiku, of which he wrote thousands; I chose thirteen to set for the four singers of the Filene Young Artist program at the Wolf Trap Opera Company - soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass, respectively. Each voice type has a petite three-song cycle and all voices come together for the thirteenth choral song. Contained within each mini cycle is a range of emotions and musical settings. There are songs of introspection and self-reflection, wit and sardonic humor, loneliness, nostalgia, and absurdity set to jazz-fused ballads, tongue-in-cheek operatic arias, tin pan alley tunes, chromatic mysticism and subtle sentiment. Through these dramatic shifts of tone and atmosphere, I hope to capture the adventurous and explorative spirit of the beat generation in mid-century America.

Performance History:

-July 13th, 2013; ‘Lucky Thirteen’; The Wolf Trap Opera Company & Filene Young Artists; Vienna, Virginia – 7:30PM

-July 20th, 2014; unSUNg – Songs Uncommon and New; St. Mark's Episcopal Church; Glendale, California - 6PM

-August 6th, 2014; Music at MiMoDa – Paper or Plastik Cafe; West Los Angeles, California – 8PM

-March 8th, 2015; Nova Vocal Ensemble - Chamber Series; St. Mark's Episcopal Church; Glendale, California - 7:30PM

-July 15th, 2015; Music at MiMoDa – Paper or Plastik Cafe; West Los Angeles, California – 8PM

-July 24th, 2015; Society of New Music - Cazenovia Counterpoint; First Presbyterian Church; Cazenovia, New York – 8PM

-November 3rd, 2016; Contemporary Music Ensemble; Syracuse University; Setnor Auditorium; Syracuse, New York – 8PM

-November 18th, 2016; One Ounce Opera; Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Art Song; Central Presbyterian Church; Austin, TX – 8PM

-December 4th, 2019; Musica Vitale; Encinitas Library; Encinitas, California – 12PM

-December 7th, 2019; Musica Vitale; Coronado Library; Coronado, California – 7:30PM

-December 8th, 2019; Nos. 4 & 8; Musica Vitale; Private Home; Coronado, California – 5PM

-December 9th, 2019; Musica Vitale; San Diego State University; San Diego, California – 2PM

George N. Gianopoulos


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