Credit: Phil Channing

All 11 of the composers whose work was featured in this dazzling recital are women, and seven of them were born in or after 1980. While there’s no one style that identifies these artists as a coherent group, there’s no doubt that together they push the boundaries of 21st-century music.

Fellows Byron J. Mayes (baritone), Grace Skinner (mezzo-soprano), and Jordan Costa (tenor) each sang music by Paola Prestini, the composer who founded National Sawdust in Brooklyn. Olivia Johnson (mezzo-soprano) gave us “As Long as We Live” by Missy Mazzoli, and baritone Korin Thomas-Smith sang, stomped, and clapped through the memories of Armenia presented by composer Mary Kouyoumdjian under the title “Everlastingness.” Mezzo Sun-Ly Pierce delivered a vision of “East River” by the youngest composer, Molly Joyce, and was accompanied by Ga-Young Park on piano.

The excitement continued as conductor Daniela Candillari took the stage to lead a series of pieces written for chamber groups and voice by Mazzoli, Ellen Reid, Emma O’Halloran, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. The combination of great singers like Shawn Roth, Joshua Berg, Katherine Lerner Lee, Kaileigh Riess, and Lorenzo Zapata with this wealth of fascinating new material made this an afternoon to remember. 

This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on June 7, 2024. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at


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