A prolific singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer with a penchant for storytelling, Sufjan Stevens reveals the epic in the everyday in songs infusing the vernacular of Midwestern folk with a distinctly orchestral grandeur. Stevens pairs orchestrated selections of both new and old material with the 25th Next Wave Festival commission/world premiere of The BQE—a symphonic and cinematic exploration of one of New York's least celebrated monuments: the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Robert Moses' controversial 11.7-mile roadway tears through neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens with the brute force of modern urban planning, and in Stevens' hands becomes an evocation of the intersection of intimate experience and the American Dream. Merging a virtual road trip shot on film with a live band and orchestral ensemble, The BQE discovers abstract patterns and stories in the snaking traffic, potholed pavement, billboards, badly marked exits, and beautiful city views, revealing what happens when Manifest Destiny converges with urban blight.
Commissioned by BAM
Official Website: http://www.bam.org/events/08SUFJ/08SUFJ.aspx
Added by kathrynyu on June 17, 2007