Photo Credit: Pascal Perich
Longleash (violin, cello, piano) is a group with a traditional instrumentation and a progressive identity. Inspired by music with unusual sonic beauty, an inventive streak, and a truthful cultural voice, Longleash extends a love of classical chamber musicianship to the interpretation of contemporary music, crafting performances that are both dynamic and thoughtfully refined. An “expert young trio” praised for its “subtle and meticulous musicianship” (Strad Magazine UK) and for navigating “an incredible breadth of musical styles with technical expertise and expressive innovation” (Feast of Music), Longleash has quickly earned a reputation in the US and abroad for innovative programming, artistic excellence, and new music advocacy. Longleash believes in an inclusive concert culture, and strives to engage uninitiated listeners, challenge more experienced audiences, and curate well-balanced programs featuring the music of women and men from diverse cultural backgrounds.
In 2016-17, Longleash balances a full performing schedule with ongoing commissioning projects, recording projects, and the trio’s own summer festival and composition workshop, The Loretto Project. World premieres and commissions in progress include new works by Suzanne Farrin (USA), Shawn Jaeger (USA), Adam McCartney (Ireland), Yukiko Watanabe (Japan), and Brooks Frederickson (USA). The current season has Longleash performing at venues such as Brooklyn B(Sō)und, Scandinavia House (NY), and Equilibrium Concerts (Boston), among others. Longleash cares deeply about supporting young and emerging composers, and will give lectures and composition readings at University of Nebraska-Kearney, Hunter College, and New York University this season. Their debut album, Passage, recorded through a generous residency at EMPAC, will be released during the summer of 2017. Passage features the first commercial recordings of piano trios written in the last ten years by Christopher Trapani, Clara Iannotta, Francesco Filidei, Yukiko Watanabe, and Juan de Dios Magdaleno. Longleash returns to Nerinx, Kentucky in August for the third installment of The Loretto Project. Projects planned for next season include a portrait concert featuring the music of Francesco Filidei (a collaboration with TAK ensemble), concerts in Sweden featuring selections from their 2017 Recent Works program as well as works by Lisa Streich and John Zorn, and a performance of Morton Feldman’s Trio in NYC.
A celebration of adventurous new music, The Loretto Project features an intensive week-long composition workshop and new music concert series. Longleash created the Loretto Project in order to support the work of promising young composers of varied backgrounds, and to foster a meaningful cultural exchange between disparate American cultural communities. In 2015, the first annual Loretto Project brought together graduate composition fellows with master teachers for private lessons, workshop rehearsals, and a masterclass at the beautiful Loretto Motherhouse in idyllic Nerinx, KY. As artistic directors and the ensemble-in-residence, Longleash performed free public concerts of music by leading and emerging American composers, as well as premieres by the Project’s composition fellows. Unique in its focus on nurturing young composers, the Project affords them a tuition-free opportunity to work intensively with professional musicians specializing in this repertoire. The second installment included concerts at the Loretto Motherhouse, the University of Louisville, and Dreamland – Louisville’s exciting new venue for experimental music. The Loretto Project is generously supported by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and Columbia University’s Alice M. Ditson Fund for American Music.
Longleash has worked closely with many internationally renowned composers, including Beat Furrer, Klaus Lang, Reiko Füting, and Nils Vigeland, and has given world and US premieres of works by Younghi Pagh-Paan, Ken Ueno, Lisa Streich, Chris Swithinbank, and Yukiko Watanabe, Francesco Filidei, Juan de Dios Magdaleno, Brooks Frederickson, among others. Recent commissions include Brontal Symmetry by Scott Wollschleger, with a recording release projected for 2017.
In 2015-2016, Longleash performed at venues as widely varied as EMPAC, the Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany, The Kaufman Center (Ecstatic Music Festival), and ShapeShifter Lab, Queen of the Hudson, among others. Longleash was invited for their second residency at Avaloch Farm Music Institute in New Hampshire, as well as educational residencies and composition workshops at New York University, Manhattan School of Music, and The Juilliard School’s music advancement program.
The trio’s inaugural 2014-15 season began with concerts at San Francisco’s Center for New Music and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, as well as a live performance on WUOL Louisville Public Radio. The trio was one of four international groups selected for fully-funded participation at the Trondheim International Chamber Music Festival in Norway, where they performed works by American and Scandinavian composers and received guidance from members of the Alban Berg Quartet, Ysaÿe Quartet, and ATOS Trio. Longleash gave composition readings and workshops on contemporary chamber music at Rutgers University, Ohio University, and Manhattan School of Music. The trio continued its season with a series of concerts at the Green Music Center in Northern California, as part of an artist residency with pianoSonoma. Longleash’s first annual Loretto Project in Nerinx, KY concluded the their inaugural season.
The trio’s first public performances took place at the Kunstuniversität Graz (Austria) in 2013. The trio takes its name from Operation Long Leash, a recently declassified CIA operation designed to promote the work of American avant-garde artists in Europe during the Cold War.
Longleash is Pala Garcia (violin), John Popham (cello), and Renate Rohlfing (piano). Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, Kentucky, and Hawaii respectively, their converging paths led them to New York City, where they received their training at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music. Their individual eclectic interests and musical versatility have guided them to collaborations and guest work with a diverse group of artists and ensembles, including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Either/Or Ensemble, Falu, Gabriel Kahane, Frederica von Stade, Los Angeles Opera, Klangforum Wien, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Slavic Soul Party!, and many others.