Better Gods, an opera by composer Luna Pearl Woolf and librettist Caitlin Vincent, commissioned by the Washington National Opera, Francesca Zambello, Artistic Director, Continue reading

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BroadwayWorld Review: BETTER GODS Soars at the Kennedy Center

January 11, 2016

“Ms. Woolf’s gorgeous score is underlined by the use of traditional Hawaiian chants and her score utilized authentic instruments like the nose flute, Kala’au (percussive sticks), and Ili’ili (castanets), that are native to the island.” Continue reading

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DC Metro Theater Arts: Review: ‘Better Gods’ at The Washington National Opera

January 9, 2016

“Woolf’s new and original composition uses Hawaiian instruments to add an audible authenticity to the story. Throughout the opera the nose flute, Kalaʻau (warrior sticks made from strawberry guava trees), and ʻIliʻili (stone castanets) amplify the sadness and desperation of the Queen to maintain Hawaii’s culture.” Continue reading

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ConcertoNet: December Celebration – New Carols by Seven American Composers

07 December 2015

“…in Luna Pearl Woolf’s How Bright the Darkness, an impressively vivid piece for women’s choir, baritone solo, strings, percussion, and harp. Woolf’s orchestration and harmonies paint the sparseness of nature. It is a piece where the listener can actually hear the sounds of nature on the darkest day, the solstice.”
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Strings Magazine: Matt Haimovitz Returns to the Solo Suites and Intimate Venues

December 2015

The cutting-edge cellist finds himself returning back to Bach.

It’s 7:30 on a balmy spring weeknight at Crown Station Pub in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the intimate club is filling with people finding seats and ordering beer. All attention focuses on the low riser at the end of the bar, where instead of the pub’s usual bill of folk or rock musicians, solo cellist Matt Haimovitz is seated. Seeming to merge with his instrument, Haimovitz skates his bow across the 1710 Goffriller’s strings as the warm, mellifluous tones of J. S.  Bach’s Suite No. 2 in D minor radiates from the stage and envelops the rapt audience.

Using Bach’s Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello as his vehicle, Haimovitz, 44, pioneered bringing classical music out of the concert halls and into clubs back in 2000. Now, Haimovitz is going back to the barrooms, and the Bach, that earned him notoriety 15 years ago.

“There’s such a rich, complete story spread over Bach’s six suites,” Haimovitz says. “The complexity of some of these movements is unbelievable. If you are able to keep track of them, it’s dizzying. I don’t think any drug can match that.”

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Examiner: PENTATONE tries to get the jump on Christmas music marketing

29 October 2015

“Woolf has mustered just the right combination of sonorities and thematic material that makes the perfect glove to fit Wilner’s poetic hand.” Continue reading

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New York Times: What Happens When Bach Visits the Cafeteria

October 27, 2015

Students eating at Columbia University’s John Jay Dining Hall, an airy den reverberating with undergraduate chatter, were in for a surprise last Wednesday. When they walked in for dinner, they found Matt Haimovitz — the cellist who helped to start a trend by performing in places like an East Village punk club and a pizzeria in Jackson, Miss. — playing Bach.


Image Credit: Michael George for the New York Times.

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Primephonic: To Inspire, To Create, To Engage and To Empower

18 August 2015

On this day in 1920, Continue reading

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How Bright the Darkness

By Luna Pearl Woolf | For Treble Choir, Harp, Percussion, and String Orchestra | 6′ Continue reading

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We Are God’s Children / MotherSongs

By Luna Pearl Woolf | For Mezzo-Soprano and String Quartet  | 9′ Continue reading

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By Luna Pearl Woolf | For Violin and Cello | 16′

Title: Duo
Luna Pearl Woolf
Year Composed:
Violin and Cello
Format: Score and Parts
Catalogue Number:
Printed Edition Price: 40.00 USD
PDF Price: 35.00 USD

Premiered in 2015 by Matt Haimovitz and Andy Simionescu.

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Like As the Waves

By Diana Rosenblum| For Three Female Voices and Violoncello | 5′ Continue reading

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Sonnet 60 of William Shakespeare

By Božo Banović | For Three Female Voices and Violoncello | 7′ Continue reading

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How Bright the Darkness

By Luna Pearl Woolf | For Solo Baritone, Women’s Chorus, Harp, Percussion, and String Orchestra | 6′ Continue reading

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By Lewis Spratlan | For Male Chorus, TTBB, and Piano, four-hands | 9′

Title: Travels
Lewis Spratlan
Text by:
Mary Jo Salter and Brad Leithauser
Year Composed: 2011
For Male Chorus, TTBB, and Piano, four-hands
Duration: 9′
Format: Full Score
Catalogue Number:
Printed Edition Price: 40.00 USD

Choral materials are also available for rent or at a discount for multiple copies.  Please contact us for more information.

Commissioned by the Rutgers University Glee Club, Patrick Gardner, Conductor, and premiered by Daniel Spratlan on the podium.

The itinerary begins bouncing in 6/8 time for Australia: Kangaroo; then a delightful play on musical and textual palindromes arrives in the evocative second movement, “II. New Jersey: Halted Train in the Rain.” The journey ends in Paris, where a musical rainbow swells in choir and piano. Then– “the dazzle of this monumental prism, cut by drizzle, is that it vanishes.”


Like flustered actors
who don’t know what to do
with their hands, they’re hanging
around in awkward clusters,
paws dangling, ears pricked for a cue.


It’s too perfect: can the small boy on the train
really be an OTTO (as finger-painted
on the steamed-up window), a name


Noiseless at first, a spray
of mist in the face, a nosegay
of moisture never
destined to be a downpour.

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By Luna Pearl Woolf | For Eight Cellos and Four Percussion | 11′ Continue reading

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L’Opéra: On Se Souviens De Toi, Sappho (We Remember You, Sappho)

April 12, 2015


Présenté pour la première fois avec mis en scène, [à la compagnie Ballet-Opéra-Pantomime, directeur Hubert Tanguay-Labrosse] l’opéra Orpheus on Sappho’s Shore de Luna Pearl Woolf s’est révélé une fascinante et onirique proposition artistique: la rencontre de ces deux figures de la Grèce antique, Orphee et Sappho, deux allegories anciennes de l’art et de la passion. L’oeuvre s’enracine dans l’idéal des grans madrigalistes italiens qui désiraient marier poésie et musique, danse et theater. D’ailleurs, la partition de Woolf comporte de nombreuse mélopées ayant un je-ne-sais-quoi de baroque dans la souplesse et la délicatesse de la ligne vocale. La compositrice fait prevue d’une belle sensibilité et d’un grand attachement pour ses personnages, ce qui reflète dans une musique simple et brillante, efficace et théàtrale. Et comment ne pas être touché à la fin de l’opéra par ce vers authentique de Sappho: “Je crois qu’un jour, on se souviendra de nous,” chanté avec toute la douceur du monde sur un éclairage entre chien et loup.

Jana Miller et Hubert Tanguay-LabrossePresented for the first time with staging [by Québec company Ballet-Opéra-Pantomime, director Hubert Tanguay-Labrosse], the opera Orpheus on Sappho’s Shore by Luna Pearl Woolf proved itself a fascinating and dreamy artistic proposal: the meeting of two figures of ancient Greece, Orpheus and Sappho – two ancient allegories for art and passion. The work is rooted in the ideals of the Italian madrigalists who sought to combine poetry with music, dance and theater. Moreover, Woolf’s score includes numerous melodies with a Baroque je-ne-sais-quoi in the suppleness and delicacy of their vocal lines. The composer proves herself to have a lovely sensitivity and great affection for her characters, reflected in a music both natural and brilliant, effective and theatrical. And how not to be touched at the end of the opera by the words of the real Sappho: “I think someone will remember us,” sung with all the sweetness in the world on a twilit stage.

By: Éric Champagne

Read at: L’Opéra

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Congratulations to composer David Sanford: Winner of a 2015 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters

David Sanford has been awarded a 2015 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Fellowship of $15,000 is awarded to mid-career composers of exceptional gifts. David’s extraordinary musicianship and unbridled creativity are an inspiration!

For more information please see:

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San Francisco Classical Voice: Lisa Delan Recital A Pure Delight

Lisa Delan

February 15, 2015 

Lisa Delan’s performance Wednesday evening at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music was billed as part of the Alumni Recital Series. But inside the SFCM’s comfy Sol Joseph Recital Hall, it felt more like a visit to the homes of the five composers — four of who were smilingly seated in the small audience — with soprano Delan serving as the friendly, fascinating, attractive and — did I forget ‘talented’? — hostess.

Luna Pearl Woolf, the first up of those composers, was flanked in the fourth row by the children she parents with cellist Matt Haimovitz, there on stage with pianist Christopher O’Riley to accompany the world premiere of his wife’s Rumi: Quatrains of Love, which opened a program that in several ways also served as an early run-up to Valentine’s Day. Delan, in fact, was dressed in a bright red ruffled dress, as she vocalized English translations of ten short poems by the title 13th-century Persian Sufi.

Her vocalizing the first of the poems toward the inside of the opened Steinway grand, with O’Riley’s foot on the sustain pedal, was the first of the evening’s several nontraditional devices, and it worked to create an intimate chill. Woolf’s composition alluringly displayed diverse facets of love refracted through a variety of genres, with Haimovitz channeling a jazz bass pizzicato here, sliding into Middle Eastern modes there,something fluttering with O’Riley like attendant lovebirds. And Delan drew fans close to her warm, heart-friendly tone and her compelling conveyance of lyrics, rendering the sentiments of the venerable Rumi — with the help of a good translation — timeless and borderless.

It felt like a new experience to hear Gordon Getty’s Four Dickinson Songs up close and personal, though their performance by Delan a year ago, with Robin Sutherland, had seemed unaffected and accessible, even in awesome Davies Hall. The granitic aspect of Getty’s composition, at times Mahlerian in its panoramic scope, was perhaps more striking in the smaller SFCM venue, and the contrasting delicate veins and occasional pastoral touches were more aurally accessible, with pianist Robert Schwartz forthcoming with colorful support. The most familiar of the evening’s many pieces of verse — Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” — proved the composer capable of setting and changing a scene convincingly, and providing the singer with a comfortable but affecting vehicle for her lyric. Delan’s clear diction, and the ensuing approval of the audience inspired Getty to rise from his seat, beside his wife Ann, with his arm raised in gratitude.

Jake Heggie manned the piano behind Matt Haimovitz to accompany a portion of the song cycle Heggie wrote for Delan,From the Book of Nightmares. (This and others of the program’s selections are heard on Delan’s 2013 PentaTone Music recording, The Hours Begin to Sing.) Here Delan, an unquestionably fine actress, embodied poet Galway Kinnell’s experiences with his young child, looking and sounding both comforting and concerned in “Again”, and lullabying charmingly on “Back You Go”, the cello again evoking its Middle Eastern ancestry.

We’ve known Heggie to be a master at creating melodic lines matching a text, and Delan made convincing use of the composer’s gift. “My Father’s Eyes” was wonderfully loving and lustrous, and just a touch triste.

The second half of the program continued to showcase Delan’s skill, power, and versatility. A  pair of pieces  by John Corigliano  and an arrangement by Christopher O’Riley, inspired by a Joni Mitchell song (“The Wolf Who Lives in Lindsey”) began with a howl from Delan that elicited titters from the elder members of the audiences and big grins from the youngsters. The howl was effectively taken up by Haimovitz’s cello, and at one point cleverly arpeggiated on O’Riley’s piano.

Delan’s skill as a thespian helped thicken the impact of Corigliano’s rather flat melodic lines, but the text, from Mitchell, occasionally challenged her with unsustainable words (for example, “goes”). Ending the first section, “The Heavy, Heavy Snow”, Delan made the entire audience her pack for a spirited mass howl.  Minimal electronic effects were brought in to enhance the atmosphere, but the feral mood was far more impressive than any melodic movement.

Changed into black ruffled pants and top, Delan started David Garner’s Phenomenal Woman seated in the dark on a chair, with her legs up on the Steinway. There ensued a sort of cabaret variety set, with some jazz, some boogie, and some Randy Newman-like whimsy on the piano, well-handled by Kevin Korth. Alas, most of the melodies and arrangements weren’t particularly memorable, and the lyrics, from poems by Maya Angelou, were for some reason less distinctly audible than they’d been earlier in the evening, particularly with the house lights off and the program notes unreadable. Still, Delan proved the trouper, at one point intoning in an amusingly childish squeak. It was unclear whether she was trying to affect an African-American accent to match the material’s source.

Delan encored with a lovely and evocative arrangement by Garner of “Auld Lang Syne,” offered in memory of Delan’s long-time accompanist Kristin Pankonin, who died last summer after a long battle with breast cancer.

It had everyone appreciating good music and the people, living and gone, who make and share it.


Read at: the San Francisco Classical Voice.

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The New York Times: Her Art, Her Passion, Her Torment: Joyce DiDonato Celebrates Camille Claudel at Zankel Hall

February 6, 2015

Joyce DiDonato at Zankel Hall with the Brentano String Quartet: from left, Serena Canin, Mark Steinberg, Nina Lee and Misha Amory. Credit: Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times

The life of the French sculptor Camille Claudel is a tangle of art, passion, madness and betrayal. A student and lover of Rodin’s, Claudel was a critically acclaimed artist when she began to show signs of mental distress, which led her family to commit her to an institution, where she spent the remaining 30 years of her life.

On Thursday at Zankel Hall, the incandescent mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato presented the New York premiere of Jake Heggie’s “Camille Claudel: Into the Fire.” Set for voice and string quartet, the work compresses a tragic life of operatic dimensions into a song cycle of great beauty and emotional resonance.

Ms. DiDonato is one of this season’s artists in the Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall, tasked with assembling a group of concerts that reflect her own interests. At first glance, these seem eclectic: Thursday’s program, which featured the fiercely eloquent Brentano String Quartet, also included instrumental music by Charpentier and Debussy, as well as the world premiere of “Mother Songs,” a set of lullabies composed by amateurs, resulting from an outreach program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.

But at a closer glance, there was a narrative cohesion to the concert that revealed Ms. DiDonato’s intelligence as a storyteller. Debussy’s seething String Quartet provided a backdrop for Claudel’s personal drama, a Parisian arts scene humming with innovation yet anchored in the kind of classicism of which Charpentier’s “Concert Pour Quatre Parties de Violes” is an elegant example. The Brentano Quartet performed both with stylistic finesse; in the Debussy, the juxtaposition of blurry textures and bright explosions of sound vividly evoked Impressionist painting.

The titles of Mr. Heggie’s songs, with texts by Gene Scheer, are those of some of Claudel’s sculptures, allowing her work to remain in the foreground, even as the songs explore her personal turmoil. Ms. DiDonato gave a riveting performance that ranged from the unkempt eroticism of “Shakuntala” to the hollow despair with which she sang the final line, “Thank you for remembering me.”

The touching simplicity of “Mother Songs,” written in a gospel-tinged American vernacular, with spun-sugar arrangements by the composer Luna Pearl Woolf, may seem far removed from Claudel’s wild genius. But the authors, women who had teamed up with teaching artists from the Weill Music Institute during their pregnancies, drafted these lullabies facing their own struggles. Of the four women represented in Ms. DiDonato’s performance, one had been homeless during her pregnancy, two were teenagers, and one was incarcerated on Rikers Island.

Ms. DiDonato’s tender performance of their songs alongside her tribute to Claudel thus became a gesture of defiant compassion.


Read at: The New York Times 

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