As The New York Times aptly stated in their May 2011 review, “Unlike most chamber music enterprises, the Mirror Visions Ensemble is run by singers rather than instrumentalists, and its programs are shaped with an ear to the poetry of song texts rather than to overarching notions of musical style.” The initial interest of the ensemble – which is comprised of soprano Vira Slywotzky, tenor Scott Murphree and baritone Jesse Blumberg – was the back-to-back performance of multiple settings of a single text. This led to programs built around favorite poets: Shakespeare, Verlaine, Dickinson and Heine, in particular. Commissioning is an integral part of the ensemble’s mission, and, under director Tobé Malawista’s guidance, the Mirror Visions Ensemble has commissioned more than 75 vocal chamber music works from 14 composers including Christopher Berg, Tom Cipullo, Russell Platt, Richard Pearson Thomas, Scott Wheeler and Yehudi Wyner.
The 2012-2013 season brought the Mirror Visions Ensemble to Paris at La Salle des Boiseries, aux Arts Décoratifs with a program entitled Concert à la carte, which explores the delights of dining and concluded with the European premiere of Richard Pearson Thomas's Clean Plates Don't Lie, a cantata based on the menus and philosophy of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The ensemble returned to New York in October to present the same program at New York University’s Frederick Loewe Theatre. In addition, along with composer and pianist Richard Pearson Thomas, members of the ensemble gave a masterclass, coaching NYU undergraduate singers and pianists on their own renditions of songs from the program. In March of 2013, the ensemble presented Breaking the Hive of Winter, featuring musical settings of the poetry of Linda Pastan, with songs by Richard Lalli and Tom Cipullo’s cycle Secrets. In May, Concert à la carte will delight audiences at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Rounding out the 2012-13 season, MVE will perform at the Copland House in Mount Kisco on June 2, presenting a new program, I Hear America Singing: The World of Walt Whitman.
Mirror Visions Ensemble will return to NYU’s Frederick Loewe Theater in the 2013-14 season to present Impressionism in Painting, Music and Life, in a portrait in music of Emmanuel Chabrier featuring his music and that of his composer friends Henri Duparc, Vincent d'Indy and Ernest Chausson. A special highlight of this concert is Mirror Visions commissioned settings of Chabrier’s letters by Christopher Berg. Season highlights also include a release of a much-anticipated double CD.
In past seasons, the ensemble has presented its unique programs both in the U.S. and abroad, including a three-concert tour in Montana, at Northwestern University, the Longy School of Music, New York City’s Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall and Le Poisson Rouge, Brooklyn’s Bargemusic, Bellport, NY and Paris’ La Salle des Boiseries, aux Arts Décoratifs. In honor of its 20th anniversary, Mirror Visions presented a musical retrospective at Merkin Concert Hall in May 2012, featuring highlights from its unique and varied artistic journeys. The program paid tribute to Mirror Vision’s rich legacy of commissions and premieres.
The Mirror Visions Ensemble was founded in 1992 by Tobé Malawista, Richard Lalli and Scott Murphree. Over time, museums in France have become a home for Mirror Visions, including eight performances at the Musée Carnavalet featuring a program based on the letters of Madame de Sévigné with subsequent portraits in music organized at the Musée Nissim de Camondo and at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, as well as a program in collaboration with an exhibit on the artistry of jeweler René Lalique. The generous support of the Florence Gould Foundation has been vital to Mirror Visions’s success in France. In 2008, in recognition of her work with the Mirror Visions Ensemble, Artistic Director Tobé Malawista was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for her contributions to the culture of France.
The Mirror Visions Ensemble is a 501(c)(3).
“Warm tone, witty interpretive style…vital theatrical performances with histrionic touches that suited the score perfectly.” The New York Times
“The audience came out in droves for this terrific concert by The Mirror Visions Ensemble, and everyone seemed to leave the hall happy… and hungry.” New York Concert Review