PRESS RELEASE: Black Mountain Songs: Brooklyn Youth Chorus

New Amsterdam Records to release
Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ debut album, 

Black Mountain Songs, March 31

Featuring works by Bryce Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, 
Jherek Bischoff, Tim Hecker, John King, Nico Muhly, Caroline Shaw
and Aleksandra Vrebalov

Release is a highlight of the Grammy Award-winning
Chorus’ 25th Anniversary Season

The project was created by Bryce Dessner,
whose piece "Black Mountain Song" is streaming now on  

 Bandcamp here and Soundcloud here

Exhilarating…The choral songs at the heart of this work are performed with confidence, energy and tenderness...the sheer beauty of their singing was captivating.
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, on Black Mountain Songs live

New Amsterdam Records is proud to announce the release of Black Mountain Songs, the debut album from the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, out March 31.

This expansive choral work celebrates and rekindles the utopian spirit of Black Mountain College, where iconic artists including Willem de Kooning, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Josef and Anni Albers, Franz Kline, and Robert Rauschenberg converged and collaborated in the mid 20thCentury. Black Mountain Songs features works by Bryce Dessner (who also created the project), Richard Reed Parry, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline ShawJherek Bischoff, John King, Nico Muhly, Aleksandra Vrebalov, and a collaboration between Dessner and Tim HeckerBlack Mountain Songs is the studio recording of an evening-length stage work of the same name, which premiered to acclaim in BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival. The project was co-commissioned by the Chorus and BAM, co-curated by Dessner and Parry (of the rock bands The National and Arcade Fire), and produced by the Chorus. Dessner, Parry, and Shaw, along with the Chorus, perform on the album.
Black Mountain Songs, a highlight of Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ 25th anniversary season, will be celebrated with a special performance, on the evening of the album’s release, at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR.The event is part of the Chorus’ 2016-17 Season artist residency. (The event is now sold out.)

Stream/embed track “Black Mountain Song“ by Bryce Dessner on Bandcamp here and Soundcloud here.

Black Mountain Songs  album art, featuring the work “Turin” by Franz Kline. © 2016 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Black Mountain Songs album art, featuring the work “Turin” by Franz Kline.
© 2016 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Brooklyn Youth Chorus re-envisions choral music performance through artistic innovation and collaboration, in addition to a distinctively beautiful sound. Black Mountain Songs expresses the spirit of the Chorus as well as Black Mountain College—a richly collaborative, multi-dimensional approach to music making and artistic creativity. Black Mountain College operated from 1933 until 1957, and was fundamentally different from other colleges and universities of the time. It was owned and operated by the faculty, and was committed to democratic governance and to the idea that the arts are central to the experience of learning. Dessner went to a summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina as a child, not far from where Black Mountain College had been, and created Black Mountain Songs to serve as a collaborative work that pays tribute to the college and its ideals. Brooklyn Youth Chorus is perfect for his narrative song cycle in both principle and skill.
Most of the words featured in Black Mountain Songs come from poems and texts from Black Mountain faculty or students, including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Josef and Anni Albers, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Buckminster Fuller, Robert Duncan, Fielding Dawson, Ruth Asawa, Basil King, and MC Richards.
The album was produced and edited by two-time Grammy Award-winner Grace Row, recorded and mixed by two-time Grammy Award-winner Charles Harbutt, It was recorded January and March 2015 at Watermusic Recording Studios, Hoboken, NJ; and October 2016 at Systems Two Recording Studios, Brooklyn, NY. The line producer was Jennifer Cambras, and packaging design was by DM Stith.
The world premiere production at Brooklyn Academy of Music was conducted by Dianne Berkun Menaker, directed by Maureen Towey, filmmaker Matt Wolf, choreographed by Jenny Shore Butler, set design by Mimi Lien, costume design by Sarah Maiorino, lighting design by Ben Stanton, video and projection design by Grant McDonald, sound design by Jamie McElhinney, narrated by Black Mountain College alumnus Basil King. The production was line produced by Laura Roumanos.
This recording is made possible in part through the generosity of an anonymous donor, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, J. Barclay Collins, II, Marie DeRosa and Richard McNeil, Educational Foundation of America, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, Charles J. and Irene Hamm, Annie Keating and Kim Hawkins, Gwen R. Libstag, Hillary Richard and Peter McCabe, Jennifer Sage and Nicolas Grabar, New Music USA, The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, Tiger Baron Foundation and Mary Anne and Dick Yancey. Black Mountain Songs is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Brooklyn Youth Chorus’s past chair, fervent supporter and beloved friend, Mary Anne Yancey.

Brooklyn Youth Chorus performing at Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Brooklyn Youth Chorus performing at Brooklyn Academy of Music.

About Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Now in its 25th anniversary season, the GRAMMY Award®-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, under the direction of Dianne Berkun Menaker, is one of the country’s leading youth choruses and the vocal ensemble of choice for internationally renowned orchestras and artists. The New York Times has said that “the sheer beauty of their singing [is] captivating.” The Chorus studies and performs a vast repertoire of music—classical and contemporary—and has an active commissioning program to develop works for young voices across a variety of genres. Composers commissioned to date include Nico Muhly, David Lang, Bryce Dessner, Missy Mazzoli, Paul Moravec, Julia Wolfe, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Shara Nova, John King, and others.
It has also garnered a strong reputation as an arts producer with such major collaborative projects as Brooklyn Village (2012), an evening-length collaboration with the Brooklyn Philharmonic featuring music by David T. Little and Sarah Kirkland Snider; and Tell the Way (2011), co-produced with St. Ann’s Warehouse and featuring compositions by Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon, Bryce Dessner and Bishi. The Chorus’ latest project, Silent Voices, a multimedia, multi-composer work that aims to give voice to those who are silenced or marginalized, makes its world premiere at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House in May 2017.
The Chorus has appeared with a wide array of celebrated orchestras and conductors, including Valery Gergiev, the late Lorin Maazel, Marin Alsop, James Levine, Robert Spano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Reinbert de Leeuw as well as recording artists such as Thom Yorke, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Lou Reed, Grizzly Bear, and John Legend. Brooklyn Youth Chorus won a Grammy® Award for the world premiere live recording of John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls with the New York Philharmonic in 2005. Known for its polished performances, the Chorus frequently appears at such important music festivals as BAM’s Next Wave and Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festivals, the Ecstatic Music Festival, and Park Avenue Armory’s Tune-In Festival, the PROTOTYPE festival, and the MusicNOW festival. 
The Chorus serves more than 650 singers annually at its headquarters in Cobble Hill and locations in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Red Hook, East Flatbush, and Sunset Park. Choristers, who range in age from 7 to 18, hail from 70 different zip codes, including Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey, reflecting the broad diversity of the Metropolitan area.
Berkun Menaker has developed a groundbreaking, comprehensive method for teaching vocal technique and musicianship to the Chorus’ young singers, Cross-Choral Training®, which she has been invited to teach to chorus directors and music educators across the country.

About Bryce Dessner

Bryce Dessner is one of the most sought-after composers of his generation, with a rapidly expanding catalog of works commissioned by leading ensembles. His orchestral, chamber, and vocal compositions have been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Metropolitan Museum of Art (for the New York Philharmonic), Kronos Quartet, BAM Next Wave Festival, Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, eighth blackbird, So Percussion, New York City Ballet, and many others. Recently Dessner was tapped to compose music for Alejandro Iñárritu’s film, The Revenant, which received a 2016 Golden Globes nomination for Best Original Score. Recordings include Aheym, a Kronos Quartet disc devoted to his music (Anti- ); St. Carolyn by the Sea on Deutsche Grammophon, with the Copenhagen Phil under Andre de Ridder; and Music for Wood and Strings, an album-length work performed by Sō Percussion (Brassland).Dessner’s music – called “gorgeous, full-hearted” by NPR and “vibrant” by The New York Times – is marked by a keen sensitivity to instrumental color and texture. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University. 

Black Mountain Songs Tracklisting: 
1. Black Mountain Song (Bryce Dessner) CLICK HERE TO STREAM/EMBED
2. there is a sound (Richard Reed Parry)
3. Its Motion Keeps (Caroline Shaw)
4. ars imitatur naturam (John King)
5. My World (Bryce Dessner)
6. Bubbles (Aleksandra Vrebalov)
7. Childhood’s Retreat (Jherek Bischoff)
8. Fielding Dawson in Franz Kline’s Studio (Nico Muhly)
9. Maximus to Gloucester (Bryce Dessner)
10. Spaceship Earth (Richard Reed Parry)
11. M.C. Richards (Tim Hecker and Bryce Dessner)
12. Anni’s Constant (Caroline Shaw)
13. Their Passing in Time (Richard Reed Parry)

Related links: 
Brooklyn Youth Chorus website:
New Amsterdam Records Black Mountain Songs album page:

Stream of Bryce Dessner's "Black Mountain Song" on Bandcamp:

Stream of Bryce Dessner's "Black Mountain Song" on Soundcloud:

Bandcamp pre-order:

iTunes pre-order:


For more information, contact Jill Strominger at New Amsterdam Records: / (617) 270-8853