Alice in Wonderland on the horizon
Maricopa composer Judith Lang Zaimont is getting her share of honors this fall. The founder of Maricopa Music Circle (MMC) has a newly released album and new videos posted while her works are being played around the world.
Just released at the end of October, her CD Pure, Cool (Water) is a five-movement symphony performed by the Janacek Philharmonic led by Niels Muus. Her composition premiered in a Vienna concert in 2014.
It was written entirely in Maricopa. Zaimont said it is in part inspired by Arizona’s efforts to conserve water.
“Concerns about access to potable water and water conservation around the world were front and center in my family growing up, and this piece is very, very personal for me,” she said.
It was commissioned by the Sorel Organization in presenting Zaimont with its 2014 Commissioned Composer award. Sorel was founded “to create opportunities for women in composition, conducting, piano, voice and film scoring.”
In celebration of Zaimont’s 70th birthday, an evening of Zaimont’s music will be heard at New York’s Symphony Space in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater on Nov. 7. Five of her most-played chamber works will be performed in a concert entitled “Celebrating the Music of Judith Lang Zaimont.”
Performers include flutist Immanuel Davis, pianist Joanne Polk and other musicians from Juilliard.
In Hong Kong on Nov. 8, a complete concert of her piano works is scheduled for Hong Kong City Hall by Dr. Him Wong, director of the Dufy Atelier des Artistes et Musiciens. Music to be performed includes selections from Jupiter’s Moons, In My Lunchbox and A Calendar Set (12 Virtuosic Preludes).
Wong has commissioned Zaimont to create a solo piano piece based on a chapter from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” for its 150 anniversary. It will be joined with 10 other short works from around the world and 11 paintings by Chinese artists for a traveling exhibit in 2016.
“The piece is meant to introduce the magical, non-rational whimsy of Wonderland and will be interpreted visually by an artist from China or Croatia,” Zaimont said. The exhibit is “meant to introduce young people to the special atmosphere and characters of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland.’
“I’ve already begun by re-reading both ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass.’ Once I’m back from travels, this new work is front-and-center until MMC’s Holiday Concert events are upon us.”
Zaimont’s Sonata-Rhapsody for Violin and Piano (another work composed in Maricopa) will be world-premiered on Nov. 14 by Boston New Music Initiative. The event takes place at the Clarendon Hill Church in Somerville, Massachusetts.
“Reading through one of its movements with talented violinist Genevieve Ehrbright directly stimulated the formation of Maricopa Music Circle in 2010,” Zaimont said.
A new series of online videos featuring her work has begun to be posted this fall. New York videographer Michael Bregman has interpreted Zaimont’s compositions, beginning with Elegy for Symphonic Strings, which can be found on YouTube.com.
It’s not the first time he has used her compositions, earlier bringing her husband, artist Gary Zaimont, into the act. “About six years ago he began to interpret my music visually, frequently pairing it with paintings by Gary, thus freshly interpreting two arts originally created for quite separate reasons,” Judith Zaimont said. “The new series will add in some of my more playful music. I’ve been writing concert versions of ragtime since the late ’70s.”
Zaimont has lived in Maricopa 10 years. She is a finalist in the American Prize in Chamber Music Competition for the string quartet The Figure. It was commissioned by the Andrew Mellon Foundation grant for premiere by the Harlem Quartet in 2008.
This story was published in the November issue of InMaricopa News.