Stories of Tsunami Survivors Told in Music: Performance to retell Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barry Bearak’s New York Times Magazine cover story
Hawaiʻi premiere of TWINGE includes January performances at UH West O‘ahu and Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barry Bearak, composer and University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu assistant professor of music, Jon Magnussen, and Dallas-based HAVEN Trio are collaborating on a unique performance – melding words and music in innovatively enhanced storytelling in the Hawaiʻi premiere of TWINGE. The musical composition by Dr. Magnussen is inspired by Bearak’s dramatic 2005 New York Times Magazine cover story, "The Day The Sea Came", detailing how six people survived the December 26, 2004 Indonesian tsunami.
TWINGE is being performed for the first time in Hawaiʻi on Jan. 19 at the UH West Oʻahu Library, followed by a concert in Hawaiʻi Public Radioʻs intimate Atherton Studio on Jan. 21. The Atherton concert will feature live narration by Bearak. The 15-song composition will be performed by the HAVEN Trio, which consists of soprano Lindsay Kesselman, clarinetist Kimberly Cole Luevano, and pianist Midori Koga. After both performances, Magnussen, Bearak, and the members of the HAVEN Trio will hold a talkback session with the audience.
Bearak worked as a reporter and correspondent for The Miami Herald, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. He won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and was also a Pulitzer finalist in feature writing in 1987. Dr. Magnussen was inspired to compose TWINGE after reading Bearak’s message of humanity in the dramatic cover story about the survivors of the 2004 tsunami, beginning 24 hours before the tsunami through most of 2005. Says Magnussen, “Bearak’s words can help our community as we expand our ideas about cultural diversity, religious tolerance, and survival in a sometimes unstable world.”
TWINGE is dedicated to the memories of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the December 26, 2004 Indonesian tsunami, and was commissioned through the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund. The O’ahu events are made possible by the UH West O’ahu Distinguished Visiting Scholars Fund, UH West O’ahu Music Fund, and the SEED IDEAS fund of the UH System.
About the artists
Jon Magnussen’s music has been described as "hauntingly beautiful" (Salt Lake Tribune), “beautifully textured" (New York Times), and "thoughtful... deeply imaginative" (L.A. Times). Composed for the concert hall, drama, dance and film, his music has been commissioned and performed nationally and internationally by organizations including American Ballet Theatre, American Composers Orchestra, Chamber Music Hawaiʻi, Ebb and Flow Arts, ETHEL (string quartet), HAVEN Trio, Hawaiʻi Youth Opera Chorus, Hawaii Youth Symphony, The Juilliard School, Limón Dance Company (NYC), Lula Washington Dance Theatre, New York New Music Ensemble, New Juilliard Ensemble, New York Percussion Quartet, New York Virtuoso Singers, The Shakespeare Theatre (Washington, D.C.), and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. His compositions have been funded by organizations including the Argosy Foundation, Chamber Music America with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Honolulu Mayorʻs Office on Culture and the Arts, Kosasa Foundation, Library of Congress, Meet the Composer, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. Recent collaborative projects include Pākaʻa Lanakila! for Chamber Music Hawaiiʻs Spring Wind Quintet and narrator in English and Hawaiian-language versions; and TWINGE, a song cycle for HAVEN Trio based on Barry Bearak’s New York Times article “The Day the Sea Came”. Magnussen holds degrees from The Juilliard School, Conservatoire Nationale Supérieure de Musique de Paris and Cornell University. He was Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton from 2000 to 2007, and is currently Assistant Professor of Music at University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu.
The HAVEN trio was formed by well-established solo performers soprano Lindsay Kesselman, clarinetist Kimberly Cole Luevano, and pianist Midori Koga in 2011 around performances of Abbie Betinis‘ hauntingly beautiful song cycle Nattsanger. The group soon released its first album, Bright Angel, on the Fleur de Son label in 2013 to much critical acclaim: “…amazingly performed works…performances are exquisite as is their ensemble chemistry.” HAVEN subsequently released their second commended album, Atonement, in 2015.
HAVEN has ongoing and deep relationships with such composers as Kieren MacMillan, Evan Chambers, Abbie Betinis, and Roshanne Etezady and seeks to create such partnerships with other composers. The group regularly tours across North America, records, and believes in the exploration of non-traditional and multi-dimensional performances in which traditional performance barriers are broken down, and the audience is fully embraced and invited into the heart of the performance experience.
HAVEN was the recipient of a 2015 Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning grant and, consequently, during their 2016-17 season, HAVEN is premiering Jon Magnussen’s TWINGE based on Pulitzer Prize winner Barry Bearakʻs “The Day the Sea Came”, the Nov. 27, 2005 New York Times Magazine cover story which tells the story of six survivors from the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. HAVEN also received a 2015 Ontario Arts Council grant to partner with Kieren MacMillan for a 2017 premiere. This season includes performances in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Hawaiʻi that feature HAVEN in a wide variety of concert settings, from high schools and university series to benefit concerts and private homes.
Whether it is within a living room, an art gallery, or a concert hall, HAVEN seeks to invite audiences to engage with the intimate and powerful world of contemporary music-making so that all might emerge open to new possibilities, connected to each other, and transformed for the wider world.
The University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu
TWINGE by Jon Magnussen, performed by the HAVEN Trio
Thursday, January 19, 2017, 7 p.m.
The University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu Library
91-1001 Farrington Highway, Kapolei, HI 96707
Tickets: Free admission for students and UH West Oʻahu faculty and staff. A donation of $25 is suggested as a benefit to the UH West Oʻahu Music Fund.
The musical artists and journalist will also visit UH West O’ahu classes in Journalism, Disaster Preparedness, and Music, to increase awareness of cultural understanding, disaster preparedness, and the power of music in storytelling. The events are made possible by Chamber Music America, UH West O’ahu Distinguished Visiting Scholars Fund, UH West O’ahu Music Fund, and the SEED IDEAS fund of the UH System.
Hawai‘i Public Radio presents
TWINGE by Jon Magnussen, performed by the HAVEN Trio
Saturday, January 21, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Atherton Performing Arts Studio
738 Kāheka Street, Honolulu, HI 96814
Tickets: $30 general, $25 HPR member, $15 student (with ID); online service fees apply
Purchase: (808) 955-8821 during business hours; www.hprtickets.org
Reservations may be made online at www.hprtickets.org or by calling the station (955-8821) during regular business hours. Tickets are $30 general, $25 for HPR members, and $15 for students with ID; service fees are applied to online orders. The Atherton Studio is located at Hawaiʻi Public Radio, 738 Kāheka Street. Doors open a half hour before the performance. Advance ticket purchase strongly encouraged as the house is frequently sold out before the performance date.