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Harbison's 'Milosz Songs' to premiere in New York

Institute Professor John Harbison has adapted texts by Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) for the New York Philharmonic, which will perform the song cycle, "Milosz Songs for Soprano and Orchestra," Feb. 23-25.

The piece is Harbison's fourth work for soprano Dawn Upshaw and his first commission for the New York Philharmonic.

Robert Spano will conduct the concerts, which also include Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story," on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. and Friday through Saturday, Feb. 24-25 at 8 p.m. in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

"Milosz's poems are epilogues for the 20th century," Harbison wrote in his commentary for the score. "He draws us, unready, as he was, into the great sweep of that history. "

Harbison also noted that as a composer, he was "drawn to [Milosz's] fragmentary short lyrics, grateful for their elusive melody, their barely reconciled dissonant elements, their embrace of the everyday."

One of America's most distinguished artistic figures, Harbison has received numerous awards and distinctions, including a MacArthur "genius" grant and a Pulitzer Prize.

For tickets to the New York Philharmonic's premieres of "Milosz Songs," call 212-875-5656 or visit

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