“It is a story of music and genetics in our contemporary age of terror and surveillance. An idiosyncratic retelling of the Orpheus myth, an elderly avant garde composer who feels he has tried and exhausted every possible musical experiment, returns to his first love, biology, and seeks to inscribe a musical score onto the mutating DNA of bacteria. Yup.
“But his efforts are mistaken to be acts of bioterrorism, and so he flees into the ‘underworld’ of contemporary America, returning also to the various Euridices of his past. Amazing book —and you’ll learn a hell of a lot about music, science, politics … and even about Life!”
Video of full performance of Project Orfeo at Duke University, September 25, 2016. Richard Powers joins Duke faculty composer Scott Lindroth, the Horszowski Piano Trio, clarinetist Benjamin Fingland, flutist Laura Gilbert and Duke faculty violist Jonathan Bagg in a mixed-media concert that combines readings from Powers’ 2014 novel Orfeo with performances of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, and the premiere a new Lindroth composition.
“Words and Music: A Conversation about Project Orfeo,” video of a discussion with Richard Powers, violist Jonathan Bagg, and composer Scott Lindroth about collaborations between musicians and writers, and these artists’ experience with their current collaboration for “Project Orfeo.” “Project Orfeo” is a mixed-media concert that combines readings by Powers from his 2014 novel, Orfeo, with music composed by Lindroth and performed by musicians including Bagg, the Horszowski Piano Trio, clarinetist Benjamin Fingland, and flutist Laura Gilbert. The discussion took place on September 23, 2016, followed by the concert on September 25, both at Duke University.
Musician Jonathan Bagg, of Duke’s Ciompi String Quartet, enjoys putting on performances that combine the intellectual power of words with the emotional nuance of music. His latest hybrid is called Project Orfeo. It weaves two compositions together with readings by acclaimed novelist Richard Powers. The text is from Powers’ most recent novel, “Orfeo” (Norton, 2014), about an avant-garde composer turned biologist.
“A Famous Novelist and a Duke Composer Combine Their Powers in Project Orfeo,” by Dan Ruccia, IndyWeek, September 21, 2016. An interview with composer Scott Lindroth about Project Orfeo, based on the Powers novel. “Lindroth’s raving about the book to musicians Jonathan Bagg and Laura Gilbert led Gilbert to reveal that she had grown up with Powers. That conversation from 2014 resulted in an unexpected collaboration….”
“Music as a Muse: Making Project Orfeo,” by Eric Ferreri, Duke Today, September 20, 2016. “Duke composer Scott Lindroth explains how he turned author Richard Powers’ words into music.” Includes a printed interview and video (also available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiiJtpnHUQk).
Project Orfeo will be performed at Duke University on September 25, 2016. Powers joins Duke faculty composer Scott Lindroth, the Horszowski Piano Trio, clarinetist Benjamin Fingland, flutist Laura Gilbert and Duke faculty violist Jonathan Bagg in a mixed-media concert that combines readings from Powers’ 2014 novel Orfeo with performances of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, and the premiere a new Lindroth composition.
“Cadences,” a sextet composed by Scott Lindroth, inspired by the Richard Powers novel Orfeo, was performed in the Electric Earth series at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute in New Hampshire on August 27, 2016. Lindroth gives opening remarks and Powers reads from Orfeo. The performance is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGIqcJi0fRw.