Hello! If you are reading this you have found the program notes for The Ballad of Ishtar! This is Heather Bentley writing all of this. I'll start with a brief background of me, violist/composer...
I've been a professional classical violist since my teenage years: by the time I was twenty I'd played in Carnegie Hall three times. I studied at Indiana University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and moved to New York City a week after graduating SFCM. About six or seven years into my free-lance violist life I felt something was missing and went to study jazz viola with Turtle Island String Quartet composer/violinist David Balakrishnan.
Thus began my sojourn into improvised music and composing. The heart of it is collaboration. The folks on stage tonight are some of my favorite musicians in the world and I learn so much from their playing. I want to give a shout-out especially to Beth Fleenor, who has been my partner in creating this work every step of the way. I also want to thank Wayne Horvitz profusely for helping to realize my vision of this piece with his keen sense of phrasing, structure and texture.
Historically, influences for this opera are Vincenzo Galilei (father of Galileo and member of the Florentine Camerata, who invented opera by committee...), Henry Purcell, Giacomo Puccini, WA Mozart, Arnold Schoenberg and Steve Reich.
You are on my website, so if you're curious about any other projects, they're all listed in these pages.
Enjoy the show!