BMOP/sound, the nation's premier label launched by an orchestra and dedicated exclusively to new music recordings, announced its much anticipated CD release, Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse. The recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two awards from the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's Stoeger Prize, Steven Mackey (b. 1956) has established himself as an American iconoclast pioneering the new music scene. Born in 1956 in Frankfurt, Germany to American parents, he was raised in the United States, where he received his early training in classical and electric guitar, and pursued his passion of playing in rock bands throughout northern California.
Commissioned by the Dutch public broadcaster NPS in 2001 for the 2003 Holland Festival, Dreamhouse came with the stipulation that it was to integrate a section of electric guitars with full orchestra. For someone whose compositional oeuvre has long delved into both classical and rock, this was not difficult. In formulating his vision for the piece, Mackey explains, "The first sound in my head when I heard 'a section' of guitars was the '60s psychedelic rock band The Byrds and the texture of their tight vocal harmonies enveloped by a bright, twanging, arpeggiated guitar accompaniment." The end result: singer/actor/frontman, amplified vocal group, guitar quartet, conductor, and full orchestra uniting onstage in an adrenaline-infused 50-minute oratorio.
Composed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Dreamhouse is not political commentary, but in Mackey's words, "a journal of self-reflection about our place in a personal relationship with a political environment." The text, which was co-written by Mackey and soloist Rinde Eckert (the Architect), follows the construction of an ideal suburban home, but with no substantial narrative to speak of, the work remains open to the listener's interpretation. In short, Mackey's objective was for the text "to be more like music in that it opened more doors than it closed." Supporting the Architect's role is the versatile and lively Synergy Vocals and a dynamic performance by the Catch Electric Guitar Quartet.
BMOP/sound's release of Dreamhouse marks the world premiere recording of this work, following its world premiere performance conducted by Gil Rose and featuring Rinde Eckert, Synergy Vocals, Catch Electric Guitar Quartet, and the Netherlands Radio Symphony, at the 2003 Holland Festival in Amsterdam.
BMOP/sound, the Grammy-nominated label of the acclaimed Boston Modern Orchestra Project, explores the evolution of the music formerly known as classical. Its eclectic catalog offers both rediscovered classics of the 20th century and the music of today's most influential and innovative composers. 2010 releases include Ken Ueno: Talus; Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale; William Thomas McKinley: R.A.P.; Lisa Bielawa: In medias res; and Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures. BMOP/sound recordings have received numerous accolades including 2008 and 2009 year-end CD nods by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Time Out New York, American Record Guide, and Downbeat Magazine, as well as Grammy Award nominations for both Derek Bermel: Voices and Charles Fussell: Wilde. For more information, visit www.bmop.org.