Native son returns on ‘Journey Home’
Story by Frank Rizzo
BETHEL October 18, 2013 Forestburgh native, composer and pianist Evan Mack will finally play Bethel Woods.
On Sunday, October 20 at 2 p.m. the Bethel Woods Event Gallery will host “My Other Journey Home,” a concert of music composed by Mack, with works for solo piano, opera, violin, and choir.
He will be joined by guest artists mezzo-soprano Kara Cornell, violinist Joshua Rodriguez, and the Port Jervis High School Choir led by Ruth Ann Gordon. The choir will sing Mack’s “Langston Hughes’s Dream of Freedom.”
It will be Mack’s first concert in Sullivan County since 2007, when he gave a piano recital in Glen Spey at the Lumberland Cultural Series.
The concert is free, but a ticket is required. Visit www.bethelwoods center.org for more info. Starting at 12:30 p.m., there will also be a family-friendly hands-on art activity, based on the afternoon’s performance.
The Democrat caught up with the composer via email.
Will you be bringing your entire family on this visit?
My wife, Kristin, will be at the concert as well as my parents Ed and Danielle. My sons Carter (4) and Henry (almost 2) will be home in Albany. I am traveling with the guest artists so we all need to fit in one car. We were all down last weekend for my induction into the Port Jervis Alumni Hall of Fame and stayed at my parents’.
Does your old room still look the same?
My parents remodeled their house when all three boys left home. So my room no longer exists. My parents said that they could never have the house they wanted because three boys usually demolished anything nice in about five minutes!
Will you be introducing any new compositions at this concert?
The newest work on the concert is my Sonata for Violin and Piano. It premiered last spring. It is rare to give a concert entirely of my compositions. Usually I give a concert half classical piano, half of my own.
Since the concert was near my home, I reached out to the Port Jervis HS choir to join me. This, along with having a great working relationship with Kara Cornell and Josh Rodriguez, has made it possible to showcase a concert I have long wanted to give.
When and where will you be rehearsing?
I have been rehearsing with Kara and Josh in Albany. Last week, I was able to work with the PJHS choir for a two-hour rehearsal. Ruth Ann Gordon, their conductor has really whipped them into shape. The kids were really excited to work with a living composer and even more excited to sing at Bethel Woods
Any place here in Sullivan you look forward to seeing... what about a restaurant you've missed?
The Monticello Bagel Bakery is our first stop in town!
Have you been to any concerts at Bethel Woods?
I have not attended any concerts yet. I have been fortunate enough to come in as a guest for their Youth Opera Experience where 7-12-year-old children learn about opera and perform in one at the end of the two weeks. I come in for a day and work with the children on writing a song together in which they incorporate in their production.
The son of Ed and Danielle Mack of Forestburgh is the composer and librettist of the opera “Angel of the Amazon,” which was premiered May 2011 by Encompass New Opera Theatre at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City and has been released worldwide by Albany Records.
His opera “Beach and Moan” is the 2013 winner of Atlanta Opera's 24-hour Opera Project. His new opera, “The Secret of Luca,” premiered in Cincinnati in 2012 and is being workshopped across the country.
Mack’s latest opera is an adaptation of the best-selling novel “Roscoe,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy.
As an acclaimed pianist, he has toured all over the United States, Barcelona, and South Africa as a champion of American piano music.
Mack holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and is an assistant professor of piano at Skidmore College.