Composer & vocalist Lisa Bielawa launches her "Lend Me Your Ears" guest blog from Rome for WQXR's Q2

Bielawa will contribute from Rome for “Lend Me Your Ears,” her new series on’s “Do You Q2” blog

New York, NY, November 17, 2009 —Composer and vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a 2009 Rome Prize Winner in Musical Composition. She is currently spending a year composing at the American Academy in Rome , situated on the Janiculum, Rome 's highest hill.

Bielawa will chronicle her residency in Rome for WQXR as a guest blogger for “Do You Q2,” the music blog of Q2, WQXR’s music stream dedicated to contemporary composers. “Do You Q2” shares insights and exclusive multimedia features from musicians, composers, critics, producers and artists working in the field of contemporary classical music. Bielawa’s posts, under the header “Lend Me Your Ears,” will describe her musical and daily life with 27 other fellows in the Academy’s multi-disciplinary, collegial environment. Her personal commentary will give the inside scoop about performances she’s preparing, new works she’s composing, and the inspiration she’s imbibing from her sojourn in The Eternal City.

Bielawa’s first post is now online. She writes:

“In the last two months, I’ve taken intensive Italian lessons, visited ancient Roman sites off-limits to the public, spent a long weekend in Venice (the dying city) and enjoyed the 11 amazing meals a week prepared for us by the Rome Sustainable Food Project--our resident chefs from Chez Panisse in Berkeley , CA . I also hit the ground running with my work, composing the first section of my Rome Prize project piece, a flexible-length, modular piece for the Brooklyn Rider string quartet and myself as vocalist, inspired by French theorist Roland Barthes’s encyclopedic meditation on romantic love, A Lover’s Discourse . . .”

Check in on Bielawa’s adventures every two weeks at

About Lisa Bielawa:
Born in San Francisco into a musical family, Lisa Bielawa played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature in 1990 from Yale University , and became an active participant in New York musical life. She began touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1992, and in 1997 co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers. In addition to her work with the Philip Glass Ensemble, she tours and records with John Zorn and has premiered and recorded works by many other composer colleagues.

Ms. Bielawa frequently takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. The New York Times describes her music as, “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart,” and Time Out New York praised her "prodigious gift for mingling persuasive melodicism with organic experimentation."

Recent performances of Ms. Bielawa’s work include the premiere of Double Violin Concerto, written for violinists Colin Jacob sen and Carla Kihlstedt and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP); the premiere of In medias res, a concerto for orchestra also written for BMOP; the premiere of Portrait-Elegy by pianist Bruce Levingston; and the premiere of The Project of Collecting Clouds at Town Hall in Seattle by cellist Joshua Roman and chamber ensemble. Other recent highlights include performances of Chance Encounter at the Whitney Museum of American Art; unfinish’d, sent by the Yerevan Ensemble of Soloists in Armenia; of Topos Nostalgia from Chance Encounter with Ms. Bielawa as the soprano in Salzburg; of Hurry at Carnegie Hall during Dawn Upshaw’s Perspectives series; the premiere of The Right Weather by the American Composers Orchestra during Zankel Hall’s inaugural season; and the premiere of The Lay of the Love and Death at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

Ms. Bielawa’s music is available on the Tzadik (A Handful of World), Albany Records (First Takes), and Innova (Hildegurls: Electric Ordo Virtutuum) labels. Upcoming releases in 2010 include The Lay of the Love on Premiere Commission Recordings, Chance Encounter, and an orchestral disc on BMOP/Sound.

In addition to the 2009 Rome Prize, Ms. Bielawa has received fellowships and awards from the Alpert-Ucross Foundation, Creative Capital, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, the Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation, ASCAP, and the Fondation Royaumont in France. In 2007-2008, Lisa Bielawa was a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, and from 2006-2009 she was Composer in Residence at BMOP, as part of Music Alive, a joint program of Meet The Composer and the League of American Orchestras.

An enthusiastic advocate for the field, Ms. Bielawa now serves on the board of the MATA Festival. In addition to being a vocalist with the Philip Glass Ensemble, she tours and records with John Zorn and has premiered and recorded works by numerous composer colleagues.


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