New Paltz, N.Y. - The distinguished Poné Ensemble for New Music will be featured in concert at 8 p.m. on March 23, in McKenna Theatre located on the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz. Tickets at the door are $10 general admission: $8 for New Paltz faculty/staff/seniors; and $3 for students. The Poné Ensemble will perform Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat - a story of a soldier who makes a deal with the Devil, trading his magical violin and the love of his sweetheart for the elusive prospect of wealth and knowledge of the future. Based on a Russian folk tale and scored for a chamber ensemble of violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone and percussion, it is one of the defining masterworks of 20th-century chamber music. Conducted by Dr. Edward Lundergan, chair of the Department of Music at New Paltz, the work will be narrated by Joël Evans, with Kent Smith as the soldier and Jim Klosty as the Devil, the role of the princess will be danced by Lindsay Michaels, a student in the Department of Theatre Arts. Musicians performing include, Emily Faxon, violin; Phil Helm, bass; Larry Tietze, clarinet; Jeffrey Marchand, bassoon; John Thomas, trumpet; Paul Bellino, trombone; and David Smith, percussion. This concert also features a soldier's tale of a different sort: the world premiere of the song cycle, Bruised Azaleas by New Paltz composer and faculty member, John B. Hedges. The five songs of the cycle are based on poems from Bruce Weigl's Song of Napalm, a collection of autobiographical reflections of the poet's time serving in the Vietnam War. Baritone, Kent Smith, clarinetist, Larry Tietze and pianist, Ruthanne Schempf perform this powerful and emotionally charged work. In addition, there will be a pre-concert talk beginning at 7 p.m. in McKenna Theatre. Joël Evans will discuss L'Histoire du Soldat and John B. Hedges will discuss his piece Bruised Azaleas. Hedges was born in 1974 in Wilmington, Delaware. The son of a rock musician, he began studying classical music at the University of Pennsylvania and received his B.A. in Music in 1994. He earned his M.A. from Westminster Choir College in 1997. In 2002, he received his Artist's Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Richard Danielpour and Ned Rorem. Hedges attended the Aspen Music Festival, where he worked with John Harbison and George Tsontakis. He attended the Contemporary Composition and Performance course at the Britten-Pears School as both composer and conductor. Hedges was assistant to composer/conductor Oliver Knussen in the U.K. In March, 2005 he became the music assistant to composer Tan Dun. Hedges' music has been performed throughout the United States, Canada, France and England. Most recently, he completed Vogue au Large for the Bergamo Ensemble in the U.K., Sycamore Cottage for flutist Jeffrey Khaner, and A Sea God Speaking, a concerto for Canadian bassoonist, Alexandra Eastley. His Three Pieces for Orchestra were performed by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; Blues for Laurie, a work for bassoon and piano, was featured on a recent CD by bassoonist Nadina Mackie Jackson. Hedges received the Alfred Casselo Award, the Theodore Presser Career Grant, Honorable Mention in the 2000 and 2003 ASCAP Awards, and 2nd prize in the Florilege Vocal de Tours Choral Composition Competition for his piece, Le Diapason d'Humeur, a collaboration with poet Fred Colier. He was a recipient of a residency at Yaddo in the fall of 2004, received a 2006 Independence Foundation Fellowship and earned a 2006 grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In his spare time, Hedges continues to play and record music with his Philadelphia-based funk band, Scrapple. This special concert returns the Poné Ensemble for New Music to its origins where its founder, Professor Gundaris Poné was composer and teacher. The Poné Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of contemporary chamber music. Each concert season brings guest artists to join with the regular musicians of the Poné Ensemble in offering music of the 20th and 21st centuries that you are unlikely to hear elsewhere. The Poné Ensemble has premiered many works by living composers and seeks to increase the accessibility and enjoyment of contemporary music for appreciative audiences in New York's Hudson Valley and beyond. Tickets for the concert can be purchase at McKenna Theatre one half hour prior to the performance. For additional information call (845) 257-2700.
###Contact: Eric Gullickson (845) 257-3245