The Sanctuary Project

What does the idea of Sanctuary mean to you? Merriam-Webster defines it in several different ways. It could be a consecrated place, such as a religious building or a place of worship. Or it could be a place of refuge and protection. But where an individual finds that consecrated place or that place of refuge is as unique as the person themselves.

So, when Evi Jundt and the Lunatics at Large chamber ensemble commissioned original pieces meditating on the idea of sanctuary from young composers, pairing them with a range of different poets who have also written on the subject, it’s not surprising that each piece varied drastically from the others.

The Sanctuary Project, as the collaboration is named, paired the composers with the poets of their choice. Each composer wrote a composition based on a poem or group of poems and then the poets wrote a response to the composition based on their poetry. The project was performed four times, opening in March with its first performance at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall. The poems that inspired the chamber works and the poems inspired by the the chamber works were recited between the compositions, creating a dialogue for the audience. To add to the theme, The Sanctuary Project was also performed at several places of worship, including Christ and Saint Stephen’s Church and the Synagogue for the Arts. The final performance was at WMP Concert Hall.

We talked to several members of the project, including several composers, musicians, and poets to see how the project affected their perception of sanctuary. Here’s what they had to say:

Members of the Lunatics at Large ensemble

Composers:

  • Raphael Fusco, “Unsolicited Advice: Four Rules of Your Pal, Ward” (2010)
  • Andre Bregegere, “Sanctuary” (2010)
  • Laura Koplewitz, “The Wondering Wayside” (2010)
  • Alex Shapiro, “Unabashedly More” (2010)
  • Mohammed Fairouz, “Unwritten” (2010)

Poets:

  • Ryan Vine
  • Yerra Sugarman
  • Joanna Fuhrman
  • David Shapiro
  • Robert Buchert

Lunatics at Large:

  • Evi Jundt, Piano, Creative Director
  • Katharine Dain, Soprano
  • Jonathan Engle, Flute
  • Ben Ringer, Clarinet
  • Arthur Moeller, Violin
  • Jen Herman, Viola*
  • Andrea Lee, Cello

To find out more about Lunatics at Large, The Sanctuary Project, and other upcoming performances, check out the Lunatics at Large website here.

*Rose Hashimoto played viola for some of the performances

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