Orthodox Composer Featured in New York City Concert
[New York, NY] -- On May 8, 2010 at 7:30 p.m., composer Nicholas Reeves presents Deliverance Through Devotion: The Triumph of Orthodox Music Over Oppression, an evening of music and lectures at St. Vartan Cathedral, 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY. The Canticum Novum under the direction of Harold Rosenbaum will perform works by Andriasov, Pärt, Murov, Popovici, and Schnittke. The evening honors the work of artists from five different ethnic backgrounds, Armenian, Estonian, Russian, Romanian, and Jewish, whose works were banned or controversial due to their connection with or influence from the Orthodox Church.
In the shadow of oppressive atheistic ideology such sources as Matthew the Evangelist or the Armenian saint Gregory of Narek were employed by Murov and Schnittke at the price of official ridicule or censure. Other composers' careers were stifled for their overtly Christian themes (Pärt) or were forced to remove the sacred text altogether (Popovici). In one case, Andriasov's, the fame for his ethical writings among dissident circles and accolades from the Catholicos of Armenia, coupled with his audacity to refuse the Lenin prize for music composition, incensed the Soviet authorities to wreak academic sabotage on his wife and impel exile. Yet, these artists responded to the inhumanity of an impersonal regime not with anger or violence, but with beauty and truth.
A new work by Reeves honors one of the most misrepresented composers of the Soviet era, Dmitri Shostakovich. In Memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich is a sacred a cappella choral piece on a composer who did not write Church music, but one in whose music Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk has said to find "his longing for the Absolute and God and his lust for the truth." In between the musical selections, noted lecturers Natalie Zelensky and Katya Ermolaev Ossorgin will reflect on the past and future of Post-Communist cultures and the challenges they provide for the Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike.
Composer Nicholas Reeves brings together sacred, classical and popular influences in well-crafted music that is gaining attention in New York City and beyond. His work has been performed by The Canticum Novum Singers under the direction of Harold Rosenbaum, the Winds of Læsø Art Festival in Denmark, at Merkin Hall and the famous Riverside Church.
In February 2009, Reeves's work was featured in a four-day concert engagement, The Four Stop Tour. This versatile series of performances in Manhattan encompassed four aspects of American musical culture: film, theater, sacred hymns and concert works. Of special interest was an historic performance of selections from Rachmaninoff's All Night Vigil, in which the Vespers portion was sung as an actual Orthodox Service with Propers composed by Reeves. The first stop of the tour encompassed Reeves's multifaceted artistry in which the Oscar winning film No Country for Old Men, famous for having a minimal musical score, was viewed with a live orchestra performing his composition to accompany the film.
The son of an Orthodox priest, Reeves is the Director of Music at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in East Meadow, New York, in addition to maintaining a private composition, conducting and voice studio. He has studied at the Brevard Music Center and holds degrees in composition from Westminster Choir College and Manhattan School of Music, where he is currently pursuing a DMA in classical composition as a student of Richard Danielpour. Presently, Reeves is composing his much anticipated first opera Vicious.