New Orleans Airlift continues to grow and deepen its educational programming with this unique first effort to foster engagement between professional artists and students. Ode to Nola: a Musical Collage is a collaborative community effort that portrays New Orleans through the eyes of young artists and will be performed by the Polymnia Quartet and students from the Homer Plessy Community School. The music is composed by Tucker Fuller, and the performance will incorporate the sounds of the Music Box Village, as well as feature artwork by the students.
This project highlights a special combination of local artists and entities. The magical sounds and inventive atmosphere of the Music Box Village sparked the idea for the Polymnia Quartet to commission a new piece for string quartet and the Music Box “houses”. Amelia Clingman, violist of the quartet, has been working alongside resident artist Rebecca Crenshaw at the Homer Plessy Community School for many years, and was inspired by the creativity and talent of the students there. For the past year, the students have been exploring their views of New Orleans and working with local composer Tucker Fuller to compose melodies that reflect their experiences. These themes have been incorporated into the larger work which will receive its debut, marking the first time that an original composition has been commissioned for string quartet and the instruments of the Music Box Village. Plessy students have also been working on collages to visually accompany the music. The culmination is a multi-disciplinary performance that is informed by local youth voices in which the students have the opportunity to play with a professional string quartet.
The Polymnia Quartet will also perform Philip Glass’ String Quartet No. 5, and “I Want to Go with the Wolves” by New Orleans composer Andrew Waggoner, with Music Box accompaniment and howling children.
About Polymnia Quartet
The Polymnia Quartet is a String Quartet that was founded in 2015 by New Orleans professional musicians. They perform classical standards and contemporary compositions in atypical venues throughout the city, offering audiences fresh ways to experience chamber music.
Benjamin Hart, violin
Kate Withrow, violin
Amelia Clingman, viola
Philip Von Maltzahn, cello
About Tucker Fuller, composer:
Tucker Fuller lives in New Orleans. Recent projects include a trilogy of song cycles in collaboration with poet Megan Levad: Murder (2010), Love (2011), and Labor (2014). For the Marigny Opera House and Marigny Opera Ballet: Salve Regina, for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra (Winner, 2014 Tribute to the Classical Arts Award for Best Performance of New Classical Music); Orfeo, a full-length ballet score (October 2015); Giselle Deslondes (November 2016). The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned and premiered Louie the Buoy (2016). His music has been played by the Albany Symphony, New Resonance Orchestra, Polymnia Quartet, Musaica, Da Capo Chamber Players, and the American Symphony, among others. He studied with composers Joan Tower, Christopher Theofanidis, Evan Chambers, Bright Sheng, and Michael Daugherty, and holds degrees from Bard College (B.A.), Peabody Conservatory (M.M.A.), and the University of Michigan (D.M.A).
About the Music Box Village:
The Music Box Village is a unique experimental art installation of “musical houses” – small structures that are also newly invented musical instruments. Musicians who perform in the Music Box work collaboratively with these structures and their own conventional instruments to create new sounds and reinvent the familiar. Every performance is entirely unique, built on collaborations initiated by New Orleans Airlift, and designed to build bridges across cultural communities.