Eric Wubbels & Mivos Quartet: “being time”

Mivos Quartet:
Olivia De Prato, violin
Josh Modney, violin
Victor Lowrie, viola
Mariel Roberts, cello

Bryan Jacobs, electronics
Eric Wubbels, composer

Mivos Quartet is thrilled to present the New York premiere of being time by Eric Wubbels, a new large-scale composition for string quartet and quadraphonic electronic sound by one of the NYC Avant-garde’s leading lights, commissioned by the Mivos Quartet with funds from Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning Program. Eric Wubbels is quickly gaining recognition for his deeply innovative compositional voice, marked by extreme ensemble virtuosity and wild sonic experimentation that strives toward an ecstatic experience shared by the performers and audience members. being time builds on this body of work, pushing the string quartet across a new frontier of timbral-fusion, extended Just Intonation, psychoacoustic phenomena, and emotional resonance.

being time represents an attempt to make some aspects of the structure and presence of Time audible, palpable, and experientially immediate.

The piece unfolds over the course of 1 hour, partitioning itself into five large “Panels,” each of which emphasizes a single aspect of musical time. The quartet is retuned in an elaborate scordatura, allowing direct access to harmonic fields of extreme resonance, as well as stable and precise beating patterns. Tempi and durations in the piece are determined at various times by the audible beating speed of closely tuned intervals, by the rate of the players’ speech, by the players’ individual heart rates and breath cycles, and by the physical, mechanical limits of loudspeakers, instruments, and bodies. The use of electronic sound is blunt and visceral: frequencies on the border of infra- and ultra- sound drive the body as a resonator. The piece builds on Maryanne Amacher’s pioneering work with otoacoustic sound, deploying high sine waves to create vivid psychoacoustic illusions as well as sounds that seem to originate in the listener’s ear itself, presented both in isolation and knotted with the acoustic sound of the string quartet. Ambitious and searching, direct and arcane, being time is both a large-scale artistic statement and a “ritual of collective attention” that the players and audience perform together.

The Mivos Quartet, “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles” (The Chicago Reader), is devoted to performing the works of contemporary composers, presenting new music to diverse audiences. Since the quartet’s beginnings in 2008 they have performed the works of emerging and established international composers who represent varied aesthetics of contemporary classical composition. Mivos is invested in commissioning and premiering new music for string quartet, and cultivating a performance practice for new works over the course of many repeat performances. Recent collaborations have included projects with Sam Pluta (Lucerne Festival Commission), Dan Blake (Jerome Commission), Mark Barden (Wien Modern Festival Commission), Scott Wollschleger, Patrick Higgins (ZS), Richard Carrick (Fromm Commission), Eric Wubbels (CMA commission), Clemens Gadenstätter (Darmstadt Festival Commission), Kate Soper, and poet/musician Saul Williams. Mivos is also committed to working with guest artists, exploring multi-media projects involving live video and electronics, creating original compositions and arrangements for the quartet, and performing improvised music. Mivos has appeared on concert series including Wien Modern (Vienna, Austria), Asphalt Festival (Düsseldorf, Germany), Concerti Aperitivo (Udine, Italy), HellHOT! New Music Festival (Hong Kong), Edgefest (Ann Arbor, MI), and Aldeburgh Music (UK), where Mivos was invited to work with the Arditti Quartet and Helmut Lachenmann. Mivos was one of five groups selected for the Young Ensembles Fellowship at the 2012 Darmstadt Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, where they were awarded a Fellowship Prize for Interpretation. Their critically acclaimed debut album Reappearances, “a sonic dynamo of unrelenting musical power” (Sequenza 21), is available on Carrier Records. www.mivosquartet.com

Eric Wubbles is a composer, pianist, and co-director of the Wet Ink Ensemble. Wubbels’s music has been presented at concerts and festivals in Europe, Asia and the U.S., including the MATA Festival (NYC), Contempuls Festival (Prague), Tage fur Neue Musik (Zurich), and the June in Buffalo Performance Institute. Ensembles that have performed and commissioned his work include Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, I.C.E., Yarn/Wire, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (San Francisco), mmm… (Japan), Talea Ensemble, and JACK Quartet, and he has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Civitella Ranieri Center (Italy). As a performer, he has given U.S. and world premieres of works by major figures such as Peter Ablinger, Richard Barrett, George Lewis, Michael Finnissy, Beat Furrer, Bernhard Lang, and Mathias Spahlinger. www.wubbelsmusic.com

 

Eric Wubbels & Mivos Quartet: “being time” has been made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.

In addition, substantial work on the piece was completed during a residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Final composer/performer workshops took place during a week-long residency at EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center) in Troy, NY.