At MacDowell: Jonathan Gourlay –Rivera to share evolving musical perspective

Kyle Rivera

Kyle Rivera —COURTESY PHOTO

By JONATHAN GOURLAY

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 06-05-2024 12:51 PM

This Friday, June 7, composer Kyle Rivera will share his ever-evolving musical perspective in the June edition of MacDowell Downtown at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture.

Rivera will expound on his musical explorations and process and perhaps share a recording or two of his works for orchestras and ensembles of all sizes, revealing his distinctive approaches to instrumentation. The free event will begin at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Rivera has said he is fascinated by visual imagery evoked by sound and the way it can create windows into his mind. He often draws upon the diverse sonic and cultural environments he grew up in to craft the soundscapes of his music, sculpting vivid sonic landscapes that have been influenced by his interests in linguistics, spirituality and the media.

At MacDowell for his first residency, Rivera is working on a piece for ensemble and generative video and beginning a chamber opera. The opera will explore the ancestry of descendants of enslaved people in the Americas via a collection of short stories that together narrate how African-Americans became disconnected from their ancestry.

Beginning with his own ancestors who were enslaved by British colonists of the Caribbean and South America, the work will include stories of his librettist ancestors who were enslaved people in the United States and United Kingdom, as well as “other substantial stories that we have found through research in public records, historical ledgers and documents and by collecting oral histories.”

The Yale School of Music graduate, whose works have been performed at numerous classical music festivals and across the United States in addition to Russia, Thailand, Hong Kong and China, has collaborated with the Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Yale Philharmonia, Albany Symphony, Musiqa Houston and other orchestras. 

Rivera will reveal how his music often reflects his feelings about social justice, equality and race, while also delving into matters of the conceptual limits of psychology, spirituality and consciousness in sound. Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, with refreshments served.

If you go

Who: Composer Kyle Rivera

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What: MacDowell Downtown, June 7, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Monadnock Center for History and Culture, 19 Grove St., Peterborough

Jonathan Gourlay is senior manager for external communications at MacDowell.