Zeitgeist: George Crumb at 90

September 24, 2019

Bowerbird, the University of Pennsylvania Department of Music, and the Annenberg Center present Zeitgeist: George Crumb at 90, October 10-12 

(Philadelphia – September 24, 2019) — Bowerbird, the University of Pennsylvania Department of Music, and the Annenberg Center present Zeitgeist: George Crumb at 90, a three-concert festival celebrating more than seventy years of music by Grammy® and Pulitzer Prize®-winning composer George Crumb, October 10-12. All concerts will take place at the Annenberg Center on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Visit for tickets.

George Crumb is one of the most frequently performed composers today. His music often juxtaposes contrasting musical styles, ranging from the western art-music tradition, to hymns and folk, to non-Western music. Many of his works include programmatic, symbolic, mystical and theatrical elements, which are often reflected in his beautiful and meticulously notated scores. Crumb received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, Koussevitzky Foundation, National Institute of Arts and Letters and the Guggenheim Foundation. He retired from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997 as the Walter H. Annenberg Professor Emeritus in the Humanities after more than 30 years of teaching. He was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree from Penn in May 2009.

Out of Darkness (Thursday, October 10, 8 PM) will feature the Arcana New Music Ensemble performing a collection of Crumb’s most evocative music. The program features the haunting setting Apparition, with texts drawn from Walt Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” and all four books of Madrigals with text by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca.

Kosmos (Friday, October 11, 8 PM) will feature pianists Margaret Leng Tan and Adam Tendler performing two major works for solo amplified piano, the zodiac-inspired Makrokosmos I and the more recent Metamorphoses. These works celebrate George Crumb’s unfettered imagination as he requires the pianist to be a virtuoso at the keyboard while playing inside the piano and vocalizing as well. This performance includes a conversation between George Crumb and James Primosch, composer and Penn Music Department faculty member.

Black Angels (Saturday, October 12, 8 PM) features the Daedalus Quartet and friends performing Crumb’s Vietnam War-haunted Black Angels for amplified string quartet, “a work of frightening intensity, where Jimi Hendrix and Pierrot Lunaire shake hands with the devil.” A selection of Crumb’s early music rounds out the picture of this essential American artist’s lengthy career.

Support for Zeitgeist: George Crumb at 90 has been provided by the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

About Bowerbird
Bowerbird’s mission is to expand public understanding of experimental music, moving away from simplistic tropes such as “cutting edge” or “contemporary,” and instead striving to engage with experimentalism as a timeless and recurrent artistic practice. Bowerbird was founded in 2006 and has presented over 600 events at venues across Philadelphia including several large multi event festivals dedicated to single composers. These have included Morton Feldman (2010), John Cage (2012), and most recently Julius Eastman – 2017 in Philadelphia and 2018 in New York City.

About the University of Pennsylvania Department of Music
The Music Department at the University of Pennsylvania offers undergraduates the opportunity to major or minor in music, affording students across the university access to first-rate faculty and providing performance opportunities in a wide range of ensembles. Graduate programs in composition, musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory have produced leading scholars and award-winning artists, including two Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. A defining feature of the department is the high degree of interaction between faculty, graduates, undergraduates, and performance directors. The department also fosters fruitful relationships with the wider community, and is defined, too, by a strong sense of civic engagement at the local and global level.

About the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts serves as a major cultural destination and crossroads connecting Penn and the greater Philadelphia region through innovative human expression in theatre, music, dance, and film, serving an annual audience of over 60,000. The Annenberg Center also serves as a key resource for the arts at Penn, connecting master artists with Penn students in support of and as an enhancement to the arts curriculum. Student performing arts groups are also key users of the Annenberg Center’s multiple performance and rehearsal spaces, while also staffing many operational roles throughout the academic year. In reflection of Penn’s core values as a world-respected academic institution, the Annenberg Center emphasizes artistic and intellectual excellence, diversity, and rigor in its presentations; prioritizes broad inclusiveness in the artists, audiences, and groups it serves; manages outstanding performance, conference, and meeting facilities; and stresses comprehensive event planning, production support, and customer service. The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is a major provider of performing arts access for school children and actively engages a broad range of primary, secondary, and post-secondary student audiences and inclusive constituencies from the campus, community, and greater Philadelphia region. Visit

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