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Providence Premieres Brings Hot New Composers + Musicians To RI

Friday, April 12, 2013

 

Julien Touafek has returned to his roots in RI and created a new and vibrant music festival, which launches this month.

Providence Premieres, a new initiative launched to premiere new music in Rhode Island, will hold its Inaugural Concert of World Premieres featuring eight composers from across the nation next weekend at the historic Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum in conjunction with the Preserve Rhode Island 2013 Hunter Music Series. And a 22-year old is behind the whole thing. 

The evening will showcase eight newly commissioned works written by eight hot, new artists from across the country, performed by three world-class musicians from Providence, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Flying in from across the country, the composers will be present to talk about their new pieces and engage with audience members at the concert and during the cocktail reception following the premieres.

An Inside Look

Julien Touafek, Founder and Artistic Director of Providence Premieres, only 22 years old, is already an accomplished artist in many fields himself. After spending his high school years commuting from Boston to Providence to play in the RI Philharmonic Youth Symphony and study violin with Alexey Shabilin, adjunct professor at Providence College and Artistic Director of the Music School, Providence has had a lasting impact on Touafek. After moving away for college, Touafek has returned to Providence to give back to a community that gave him so much.

“I’ve done a lot of music making in Providence and around RI”, Touafek says. “I came back and said, ‘How can I contribute to a city that’s given me so much music and inspiration?’ I felt the best way for me to do that was to organize this new music initiative and music series.”

Finding Providential Inspiration

Touafek found inspiration for creating the event from his own experience with Providence and music. “Providence is home to some amazing, world-class restaurants, theatres, retailers, academic institutions and architecture, and I am so thrilled to be contributing to the vitality of the city in the advancing of excellence in music through Providence Premieres,” Touafek explains. “One of the initiatives is to increase Providence’s profile as a place for musicians to come and premiere new works of music; [...] to put Providence on the map in this regard.”

“I had this vision and I was dedicated to seeing it happen. I knew there was an audience for it. It was just a matter of tapping into that.”

History in the Making

For Providence Premieres and Touafek this is about filling a need in the Providence community, a need for showcasing and celebrating new creative capital. “The project isn’t just about fostering new music, but about fostering new art.”

Touafek believes in filling this need, Providence Premieres is offering something very fresh to Providence. “This is something very new. I can’t even recall Providence having eight works premiere in one night,” Touafek says. “It’s a really unique initiative.”

Building Providence Premieres

Working hundreds of hours since September to organize the upcoming event, Touafek has been amazed by the amount of success Providence has offered. “It started on a pad of paper and it’s been a long process from September to April, meeting with every person I could from every organization that I could,” he says. “Providence I like because I can make things happen, faster than if I was in New York or Boston. There's sense of ‘Let’s build a community. [...] I’ve found that this the most rewarding part of this process.”

Something for Everyone

From jazz to commissioning a new musical, Providence Premieres is “really dedicated to premiering any types of new music,” Touafek says. “It’s very open to any music that fills a need in the community.”

Touafek encourages everyone to come and check out the hot new artists. “I think the music is really exciting and there’s something for everyone,” he says. “It’s sort of like going to a gallery opening--you don’t know what you’re going to see. There may be something you like!”

More to Come

Keep an eye out for Providence Premieres and Touafek in the future. “Just with the outpouring of support that I’ve received, I just know that next season is going to be an enormous success,” Touafek says.
Touafek already has new ideas in the works for the Providence music scene. Currently in the works is a peer mentoring partnership with Providence After School Alliance and Providence Public Schools, providing access to musical support and education to interested students in Rhode Island.

“Students would be selected and participate in a workshop setting to write new works, study the repertoire [...] and create a porfilio to apply to music school with,” Touafek explains.

Musicians and composers

The lineup includes Rhode Island Philharmonic players Alexey Shabalin (Violin) and Hyunjung Choi (Harp) and former Metropolitan Opera Soprano Blythe Walker.

The composers are: 
Eliane Aberdam (Westerly, RI)
Luke Gullickson (Chicago, IL)
Phil Salathe (Stony Brook, NY)
Drew Schnurr (Los Angeles, CA)
Haralabos Stafylakis (New York, NY)
Dennis Tobenski (New York, NY)
Julien Touafek (Providence, RI)
Kirsten Volness (Providence, RI)

Providence Premieres: April 19th, 2013. 8pm. $10-50. Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum. 199 Hope St. Providence. Click here for more information.

 

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