The morning after the 2016 election, Gabriel Kahane boarded a train at New York’s Penn Station and traveled just under 9,000 miles around the continental United States, talking to dozens of strangers, eating plate after plate of three cheese tortellini, and drinking in the rich landscape of the country. The resulting album, Book of Travelers (Nonesuch), is an intimate musical travelogue, hailed by Rolling Stone as “a stunning portrait of a singular moment in America”.
A singer-songwriter, pianist, and composer, Kahane has over the last decade established himself as a distinct and penetrating voice in an array of cultural spaces. He is also a passionate Italophile, and will cheerily fight you over the proper emulsification technique involved in saucing pasta.
This season, Kahane begins a three-year term as the inaugural Creative Chair of the Oregon Symphony, which commissioned his 2018 oratorio, emergency shelter intake form. That work, which explores inequality through the lens of housing and homelessness, was performed last summer at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, and will be heard this season in performances by the Orlando Philharmonic, as well as by the Detroit and Milwaukee Symphonies. A commercial recording, featuring the Oregon Symphony, will be released in early 2020, because as everyone knows, orchestral albums are wildly profitable these days.
Other highlights of the season include the premiere of Pattern of the Rail: Six Orchestral Songs from Book of Travelers with the Oregon Symphony and Louisville Orchestra, as well as solo concerts at the Luxembourg Philharmonie and Konservatoriets Koncertsal in Copenhagen, the latter under the auspices of a festival curated by the Danish String Quartet. In March, he welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winner (and master of egg cookery) Caroline Shaw as the guest of his new concert series, Open Music, presented by the Oregon Symphony. He reunites with Shaw in May for a collaborative concert with the Attacca Quartet at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC. A new choral work, co-commissioned by the LA Master Chorale and The Crossing, receives its world premiere at Disney Hall the same month.