Vicki Ray and Richard Valitutto present New Song

New Song teases out the edges of exploratory art song in the 21st century.  The evening will feature new adventures in lieder composition with singers Timur, Justine Aronson, Elissa Johnston, Stephanie Aston, and pianists Richard Valitutto and Vicki Ray.


Vicki Ray: Four Elemental Songs (2014)
Nicholas Deyoe: kennen schon nicht mehr (2017) *West Coast premiere
Evan Ziporyn: FAQs (2014)
Ted Hearne: "I Am Sick of Feeling" & "Everyone Keeps Me" (2017)
Helmut Lachenmann: Got Lost (2007-08)


kennen schon nicht mehr – poems by Rainer Maria Rilke

1. Wir wissen nich, was wir verbringen: siehe,
Benanntes ist vorbei und jedes Sein
Erfindet sic him letzten Augenblick
Und will nichts hören / Wink von Zeichen, kaum
Ein Blatt verkehrts: wir aber sind schon anders,
Verleugnen, lächeln, kennen schon nicht mehr,
Was gestern Glück war. Und die Gowttin selbst
Schwankt über uns.

We don’t know what we spend:
All that’s named is past and each being
Invents itself at the last second
And will hear nothing / Hint of signals,
One leaf barely turned; but by now we’ve changed,
We disavow, smile, already lack all sense
Of yesterday’s good fortune. And the goddess herself
Sways over us.

2. Nun wachen wir mit den Erinnerungen
Und halten das Gesicht an das, was war;
Flüsternde Suwse, die uns einst durchdrungen,
Sitzt schweigend neben mit gelöstem Haar

Now we wake up with our memory
And fix our gazes on that which was;
Whispering sweetness, which once coursed through us,
Sits silently beside us with loosened hair


How does it work?
When am I charged?
How will I get my perks?
Is this secure?
Where does my money go?
What if the project fails?

Jakob – Dorothea Lasky

I am sick of feeling
I never eat or sleep
I just sit here and let the words burn into me
I know you love her
And don’t love me
No, I don’t think you love her
I know there are clouds that are very pretty
I know there are clouds that trundle round the globe
I take anything I can to get to love
Live things are what the world is made of
Live things are black
Black in that they forgot where they came from
I have not forgotten, however I choose not to feel
Those places that have burned into me
There is too much burning here, I’m afraid
Readers, you read flat words
Inside here are many moments
In which I have screamed in pain
As the flames ate me

Everyone keeps me – Dorothea Lasky

Everyone keeps me from my destiny
Keeps me from it
And keeps me locked away from beauty
And they can’t feel my beauty
In me reaching out
Like glass into itself
And then into glass
And everyone keeps me from myself
Cause the self they had imagined
Was flesh and bone
And this flesh I am is glass
And everyone keeps me from my genius
Because genius is not human
And everyone wants me to be human
And I am not human
And everyone expects me to be something they are, which is human
And I can’t be anything they are which is human
Because I am not human
And they are
and I am not human

These poems are from Black Life and Thunderbird, Copyright 2010 & 2012 by
Dorothea Lasky. Used with permission of the author and Wave Books.


Text 1

Kein Pfad mehr! Abgrund rings und Todtenstille!
So wolltest dus! Vom Pfade wich dein Wille!
Nun, Wandrer, gilts! Nun blicke kalt und klar!
Verloren bist du, glaubst du an Gefahr.

“No longer path! Abyss and silence chilling!”
Thy fault! To leave the path thou wast too willing!
Now comes the test! Keep cool – eyes bright and clear!
Thou’rt lost for sure, if thou permittest – fear.

(by Friedrich Nietzsche: The Wanderer, Translation: Thomas Common)

Text 2

Todas as cartas de amor são                                                All letters of love are
Ridículas.                                                                                Ridiculous.
Não seriam cartas de amor se não fossem                         They wouldn’t be love letters if they were not
Ridículas.                                                                                Ridiculous.

Também escrevi em meu tempo cartas de amor,              In my days I too wrote letters of love,
Como as outras,                                                                     Like others,
Ridículas.                                                                                Ridiculous.

As cartas de amor, se há amor,                                            Love letters, if there’s love,
Têm de ser                                                                             Have to be
Ridículas.                                                                                Ridiculous.

Mas, afinal,                                                                             But at the end
Só as criaturas que nunca escreveram                               Only those who never wrote
Cartas de amor                                                                      letters of love
É que são                                                                               are really
Ridículas.                                                                                Ridiculous.

Quem me dera no tempo em que escrevia                                    I wish I were in the times
Sem dar por iso                                                                     When I wrote love letters
Cartas de amor                                                                      Not thinking how
Ridículas.                                                                                Ridiculous.

A verdade é que hoje                                                           But today the truth is
As minhas memórias                                                            My memories of those love letters
Dessas cartas de amor                                                          Are the ones that are
É que são
Ridículas.                                                                                Ridiculous.

(Todas as palavras esdrúxulas,                                           (All the strange words,
Como os sentimentos esdrúxulos,                                       Like the strange feelings,
São naturalmente                                                                 Are naturally
Ridículas)                                                                               Ridiculous.)

Fernando Pessoa [using the alias Álvaro de Campos]

Text 3

Today my laundry basket got lost.
It was last seen standing in front of the dryer.
Since it is pretty difficult to carry the laundry without it I'd be most happy to get it back.

(Notice in the elevator of the Villa Walther in Berlin-Grunewald, 2001/02?)


Justine Aronson, soprano, resides at the intersection of Los Angeles, New York, the Midwest, and her own tender heart. She performs works written by living composers and by dead composers, and endeavors to find the nugget of divine humanity within all of it.

Stephanie Aston is a committed performer of contemporary music.  Called “fearless” in her pursuit of repertoire by Steve Schick, she has participated in numerous American and world premiers, including Luigi Nono’s Guai ai Gelidi Mostri, Michael Gordon’s What to Wear, and George Aperghis’ Sextuor: L’Origine des espèces.  She has appeared on L.A. Philharmonic Green Umbrella and Chamber Music Series, wasteLAnd, (Re)Sounds at Stanford University, and at REDCAT.  Ms. Aston is an original member of Kallisti, and a founding member of  ROMP Ensemble and Accordant Commons.  She has performed with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Long Beach Opera, The Industry, Red Fish Blue Fish, Gnarwhallaby, Chamber Cartel, 18-squared, and ad-hoc ensembles at Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Norfolk Contemporary Music Festival, UC San Diego, Stanford University, and Los Angeles.  Stephanie is an affiliated artist with San Diego New Music.  Noteworthy performances include Brian Ferneyhough’s Etudes Transcendantales, John Zorn’s Rituals, Jason Eckardt’s Tongues, John Adams’ A Flowering Tree (Kumudha), Edgard Varese’ Offrandes, Igor Stravinsky’s Les Noces, and Alberto Ginastera’s Cantata Para America Magica. Ms. Aston holds a D.M.A. from University of California San Diego, an M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts, and a B.M. from University of North Texas and currently teaches at Moorpark College.

Nicholas Deyoe is a Los Angeles based composer, conductor, and guitarist, and is the Co–Founder and Artistic Director of the wasteLAnd concert series. His music has been called “intriguingly complex and excitedly lush” by the LA Times. Drawn to sounds that are inherently physical, Nicholas strives to create music that engages listeners intellectually and emotionally by appealing to their inner physicality. His compositions combine uses of noise, delicacy, drama, fantasy, brutality, and lyricism to create a diverse sonic experience. As a guitarist, Nicholas strives to further the already vast sound world of the electric guitar by experimenting with microtonal tunings, preparation, bows, and beer cans. He has received commissions from The Los Angles Philharmonic Association, Carnegie Hall, USINESONORE Festival, The La Jolla Symphony, Palimpsest, and several soloists. His music has been performed in throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. As a conductor, Nicholas has performed with ICE, wasteLAnd, The Ensemble at CalArts, The La Jolla Symphony Orchestra, Red Fish Blue Fish, Ensemble Ascolta, The Darmstadt Preisträgerensemble, Noise, The University of Northern Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and many ad-hoc ensembles in the United States and Germany. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from UC San Diego where he studied with Roger Reynolds. Deyoe’s compositions and improvisations can be heard on Sono Luminus, Populist, Spektral, Khajila, and Eh? Records.  Nicholas is currently on faculty at California Institute of the Arts where he conducts The Ensemble and teaches composition.

Composer, singer and bandleader Ted Hearne (b.1982, Chicago) draws on a wide breadth of influences ranging across music's full terrain, to create intense, personal and multi-dimensional works.

The New York Times included Hearne’s oratorio The Source on its list of the best classical vocal performances of 2014, and (along with The New Yorker and The Nation) the best albums of 2015. Law of Mosaics, Hearne’s 30-minute piece for string orchestra, was recently performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony, and was named one of The New Yorker’s most notable albums of 2014 by Alex Ross.

Hearne performs with Philip White as the vocal-electronics duo R WE WHO R WE, belongs to the composer collective Sleeping Giant, and recent collaborations have paired him with great artists of many disciplines, including filmmaker Bill Morrison, director Daniel Fish, poet Saul Williams and legendary musician Erykah Badu. An active recording artist, his albums Katrina Ballads, The Source and Outlanders are available on New Amsterdam Records.

Ted Hearne is the recipient of the Gaudeamus Prize and the New Voices Residency from Boosey and Hawkes. He recently joined the composition faculty at the University of Southern California. Recent and upcoming works include commissions from the LA Philharmonic, eighth blackbird, A Far Cry, MIVOS Quartet, Ensemble dal niente and Roomful of Teeth.

His website is

 Recently cited by the Chicago Tribune for the “exquisite beauty, sensitivity and precision” of her singing, soprano Elissa Johnston enjoys performing repertoire ranging from Bach, Handel and Mozart to Unsuk Chin and Lachenmann. This season’s performances include Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 with Quator Diotima at Jacaranda Music, Mozart’s Requiem with the Long Beach Symphony, and Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. She recently appeared with the Pacific Chorale in Brahms’ Requiem, with the Long Beach Symphony in Mahler’s 4th Symphony and Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915, and with the San Luis Obispo Symphony in Mahler’s 2nd Symphony. In April 2018, Elissa will appear with Pacific Symphony in Philip Glass’ The Passion of Ramakrishna at Carnegie Hall, as part of Carnegie’s yearlong celebration of Philip Glass’ 80th birthday.

Elissa has appeared with Southwest Chamber Music in the west coast premiere of Elliott Carter’s What Are Years, and world premieres of both Ann LeBaron’s Some Things Do Not Move, and Chinary Ung’s Aura.  Elissa’s many subsequent performances of Aura include concerts in Cambodia and Vietnam, and at Le Poisson Rouge.  Elissa has sung Messiaen’s epic song cycle Harawi with pianist Vicki Ray at both Jacaranda Music and Pianospheres.

TIMUR, “extravagantly transgressive tenor…dangerously seductive” (LA Times), has made solo appearances with LA Philharmonic, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Sarasota Opera, Opera Boston, Utah Opera, PROTOTYPE Festival, Santa Cecilia Academy, Budapest Palace of the Arts and the Industry LA, among others. He has collaborated with many composers, including Thomas Adès, Evan Ziporyn, David Lang, Silvano Bussotti, David T. Little, Mohammed Fairouz, Anne LeBaron, the late Gian-Carlo Menotti, Peter Eötvös, Veronika Krausas, Charles Bernstein, Tobias Picker and Nick Urata. His band Timur and the Dime Museum has appeared on America’s Got Talent, opened for Tiger Lilies, DeVotchKa, and collaborated with the Klaus Nomi songwriter, Kristian Hoffman. The band premiered and toured an environmental rock-opera COLLAPSE by Daniel Corral and produced by Beth Morrison Projects at Redcat Theater, Miami Light Project, Operadagen Rotterdam and BAM 2015 Next Wave Festival. His voice is featured on the Hollywood soundtrack of “Ruby Sparks” and on recordings by Naxos USA, Milan Records, Deutsche Grammophon and ANTI-. He is currently developing “Love, Honor, Obey’’ with text written by Margaret Cho, and Nueva Cancion: Songs of Protest, commissioned by NPN grant. He is a faculty member of the California Institute of the Arts. and

With a focus on contemporary keyboard performance, including organ and harpsichord, Grammy® nominated pianist Richard Valitutto is a soloist, chamber musician, vocal accompanist, and composing/improvising creative. He has cultivated a stylistically omnivorous taste and a technical dexterity that have enabled him to work with numerous composers including John Adams, Brian Ferneyhough, Sofia Gubaidulina, John Harbison, David Lang, George Lewis, Meredith Monk, and Steve Reich. He has premiered works by Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Nicholas Deyoe, Daví∂ Brynjar Franzson, Ted Hearne, Missy Mazzoli, Andrew Nathaniel McIntosh, and Wolfgang von Schweinitz, among many others.

Richard has performed with the LA Philharmonic, Opera Omaha, Monday Evening Concerts, Piano Spheres, Omaha Under the Radar, wasteLAnd, Brooklyn Art Song Society, MicroFest, People Inside Electronics, and Jacaranda. Additional projects include productions by Beth Morrison Projects and LA Opera, The Industry, The Hammer Museum, LACMA, and the Green Umbrella series. He is featured on critically acclaimed recordings for Bridge, New World, hat[now]ART, Populist, pfMENTUM, and Bôłt Records labels. His compositions have been performed by What’s Next? Ensemble, Panic Duo, and wild Up Modern Music Collective. Richard is a founding member of gnarwhallaby, called “startlingly versatile” by the NY Times in their Carnegie Hall debut.

Described as “phenomenal and fearless” Vicki Ray is a pianist, improviser and composer. She has commissioned and premiered countless new works by today’s leading composers. Ray is a founding member of Piano Spheres and head of keyboard studies at the California Institute of the Arts where she was named the first recipient of the Hal Blaine Chair in Musical Performance. She has appeared on numerous international festivals and is a regular member of the faculty at the Bang On a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA. Ray performs regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has been featured on the Green Umbrella Series as soloist and collaborative artist. Her widely varied performing and recording career covers the gamut of new and old music: from Boulez to Reich, Wadada Leo Smith to Beethoven. Notable recordings include the first Canadian disc of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Blue Rider Ensemble, the premiere recordings of Steve Reich’s You Are (Variations) and the Daniel Variations with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the first recording of Cages Europeras 3 and 4.  Recent releases include Cage’s The Ten Thousand Things on Microfest Records which received a 2013 Grammy nomination. New recordings just out this spring include the premiere recording of Andrew Norman’s Sonnets for cello and piano with Eighth Blackbird’s Nick Photinos on the New Amsterdam label and Vicki’s duo: Yar, with slide guitarist Scot Ray on Orenda Records.