Widely acclaimed for virtuosity and stimulating programs, Da Capo is synonymous with an exciting legacy of musical directions: openness to a wide spectrum of styles of new music plus a special dedication to working with composers. Winner of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1973, Da Capo has long been a leader in building a strong heritage of present-day American chamber music, pointing with pride to more than 90 chamber music works written especially for the group. Composers' styles range widely: Joan
Tower, Philip Glass, Harvey Sollberger, Philippe Bodin, and many others.
In April 2003 Da Capo performed in Russia at the Moscow Forum international festival of contemporary music. The theme of the festival was "New Music on Old Instruments and Old Music on New Instruments." Da Capo played works that fit this theme: John Harbison's November 19, 1828 (written for Da Capo, the Atlanta Chamber Players, and Voices of Change), built on Schubert fragments left incomplete at his death; Bruce Adolphe's Machaut Is My Beginning (also written for Da Capo), based on Machaut's famous 14th century canon Ma fin est mon commencement; and Charles Wuorinen's Bearbeitungen über Das Glogauer Liederbuch, a setting of 15th century instrumental works. George Crumb's Eleven Echoes of Autumn, 1965 and Kirill Umansky's Kammerstück pulled the program into the present, and Joan Tower's Petroushskates (written in 1980 for the 10th anniversary of the Da Capo Chamber Players) was a special hit-an exuberant homage to Stravinsky. In November 2003, the group played in the Belarussian Musical Autumn, in Minsk, Belarus. Works performed were by George Perle, Elliott Carter, Joan Tower, Alla Borzova, Alexander Dmitriev, Joseph Schwantner, George Crumb, Shulamit Ran, and Charles Wuorinen.
Da Capo's international presence continued in November 2004, when the group performed in the celebrated Moscow Autumn and St. Petersburg Sound Ways festivals, and at Smolny College in St. Petersburg. Da Capo's Russian and Belarussian performances have been funded in part by The Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals, of Arts International, and by the Trust for Mutual Understanding.
Da Capo's New York concert series, presented annually since the group's founding in 1970, has included gala concerts honoring major composers and groundbreaking programs that stretch the definition of chamber music. A chamber music opera by Shirish Korde, Rasa, exploring the theme of multi-cultural identities in a changing society, was premiered at Miller Theatre in 1998. Da Capo premiered Louis Karchin's American Visions, settings of poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, for a program that featured Mr. Yevtushenko as a guest reader/commentator. In February 2000 Da Capo gave a newly staged performance of Peter Maxwell Davies' Le Jongleur de Notre Dame, directed by Jennifer Muller, co-sponsored with the Miller Theatre. LEAFY SPEAFING: A Musical Remembrance of Stephen Albert, including works by Albert, MacCombie, Currier, and Leshnoff, was offered in the fall of 2000. A memorable 30th Anniversary gala was given in June 2001, with retrospectives (by Joan Tower, Shulamit Ran, and Bruce Adolphe) and new discoveries (by Giya Kancheli and Alla Borzova). A special tribute to George Perle in his 90th year (2005) was particularly well-attended and well-received.
Recent major commissions have been especially esciting: Chinary Ung's Oracle (commissioned by the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust) and John Harbison's Songs America Loves To Sing (commissioned with an award from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition). Future plans include a program featuring Russian composers, a new work by Richard Teitelbaum, a program of "Pacific rim" composers, and a program specifically focusing on younger American composers. The group's newest CD, of chamber music by Judith Shatin, has just been released on the Innova label. New CDs in the works include chamber works by Alla Borzova and Brian Fennelly.