The American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) celebrates the centennial of the iconic Polish composer Andrezj Panufnik, performing his String Quartet no. 2 “Messages” and Song to the Virgin Mary, a work originally for a cappella voices which the composer arranged for string sextet. Panufnik’s Messages recalls the composer’s childhood experience of pressing his ear to telephone poles and listening to the sounds of the suspended wires in the wind, which he considered one of his earliest artistic pursuits. Again drawing on memories, in Song to the Virgin Mary, Panufnik recalls Polish peasants’ devotion to the Madonna in a work that invokes both folk music and plainchant. ACME pairs these works with two pieces by composer Alesksander Lasón, his String Quartet no. 4 and Deciso e affetuoso for solo cello. The program covers four decades of strikingly beautiful Polish chamber music. ACME, celebrating its tenth season in 2014-2015, is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily the work of American composers. The ensemble presents fresh work by living composers alongside the classics of the contemporary. Led by Artistic Director Clarice Jensen, ACME’s dedication to new music extends across genres and has earned them a reputation among both classical and rock crowds. NPR calls them “contemporary new music dynamos,” and The New York Times describes ACME’s performances as “vital,” “brilliant,” and “electrifying.” ACME has performed at leading venues across the country and can be heard on the New World Records and New Amsterdam Records labels. The group’s instrumentation is flexible, and includes some of New York’s most sought-after, engaging musicians. Core ACME members include violinists Caleb Burhans, Ben Russell, Caroline Shaw (winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music), and Laura Lutzke; violists Nadia Sirota and Caitlin Lynch; cellist and artistic director Clarice Jensen; flutists Alex Sopp and Andrew Rehrig; pianist Timo Andres; and percussionist Chris Thompson.
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