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Composer Draws Inspiration From Sculptures

SANTA FE, N.M. — Cornell University professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky has been enamored with Andy Goldsworthy’s sculptures since he first saw them exhibited on campus in 2000.

“I’ve admired him at a distance for many years,” said Stucky. “He had a number of outdoor and indoor projects displayed at Cornell during the time he taught here.”

When Music From Angel Fire’s artistic director Ida Kavafian asked Stucky to be the festival’s 2012 composer-in-residence, Goldsworthy’s sculptures became Stucky’s muse.

If you go
WHAT: Music From Angel Fire
WHEN: Aug. 17-Sept. 2
WHERE: Venues in Angel Fire, Taos, Raton and Las Vegas
COST: $20-$35
CONTACT: or 575-377-3233

“One of Andy’s ephemeral projects was lying down on the ground during a rainstorm so you could see a picture of his body in the wet pavement when he got up,” said Stucky. “The first short piece in my new work for Music From Angel Fire is called ‘Rain Shadow’ after this project. The second piece, ‘Stone Gathering,’ is inspired by a group of stones that he gathered together in a very artistic way. The third piece, a scherzo titled ‘Icicle Star,’ is named after the icicles that Andy would fuse together with his saliva. The last piece, ‘Red and Yellow,’ was based on red and yellow leaves that he arranged in a circle.”

“Rain Shadow, A Quartet for Piano and Strings,” will receive its world premiere performance on Aug. 22 in Angel Fire Community Center as part of Music From Angel Fire’s 29th summer season. The festival, which brings chamber music to the communities of Angel Fire, Taos, Raton and Las Vegas, opens tonight and runs through Sept. 2.

OPUS ONE: Kavafian, violist Steven Tenenbom, cellist Peter Wiley and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott will premiere Stucky’s new piece.

Stucky’s “Quintet for Piano and Strings” and “Serenade for Wind Quintet” will be performed during the festival.

“I’ll be in northern New Mexico for the premiere and for an extra week to hear some of the other concerts, but then it’s back to Cornell in time for the new school year,” he said.

Professional chamber music players from around the country gather every summer at Music From Angel Fire to play a wide variety of repertoire by composers from Poulenc and Debussy to Beethoven and Beach. This summer Music From Angel Fire welcomes pianist Melvin Chen, violinist Guillermo Figueroa flutist Tara Helen O’Connor and two dozen more instrumentalists to participate in the festival’s series of concerts.

Among the most popular events are the “Closer Encounters” concerts. Two of these free, behind-the-scenes performances have been scheduled at Angel Fire Community Center. Audience members listen to a rehearsal of repertoire that will be played on future programs and get a chance to ask questions about the music.

The festival also hosts two free family and youth concerts, combining performance with a lecture and demonstration. A complimentary community concert that takes place at the Shuler Theater in Raton will feature works by Telemann, Ravel and Tchaikovsky.

For a complete schedule and ticket information, see