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Composing for Cerddorion: An Interview with Elliot Z. Levine
by Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco for Vocal Area Network
Posted January 28, 2006

Elliot Z. LevineOn February 7 and February 11, the 28 voices of Cerddorion will reprise Elliot Z. Levine's Aguas Puras del Nilo, commissioned last year for the group's tenth anniversary. Part of a four-movement work entitled Un Prodigio Les Canto, Mr. Levine's composition is set to 17th-century villancico texts by Sor Juana InÚs de la Cruz, one of the most brilliant writers in Mexico's history. Un Prodigio Les Canto is Mr. Levine's homage to Spanish and Latin American music of the period.

Mr. Levine, who has received six Meet-the-Composer grants, is also well-known as a singer. He has been the baritone for the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble since its inception in 1969, as well as a featured soloist with the RAI Orchestra, the Rome Opera, Teatro La Fenice, Musica Sacra, The Folger Consort, Mannes Camerata and the Ensemble for Early Music.

VAN talks with Mr. Levine about how he approached his most recent large-scale commission.

VAN: How did you become familiar with the writings of Sor Juana InÚs de la Cruz? Tell us more about her.

EZL: The life of Sor