Thomas Buckner presents a program of pieces written especially for him by Robert Ashley (1930-2014) in their 30+ years of working together. Works include the stand-alone pieces ‘World War III, Just the Highlights’ and ‘Tract’, and three completely re-conceived concert versions of arias from the opera “Atalanta, Acts of God”: ‘The Producer Speaks’, ‘Odalisque’, and ‘Mystery of the River’, in its New York premiere. With Tom Hamilton, Joseph Kubera, Pauline Kim Harris, Conrad Harris, JD Parran and members of the SEM Ensemble. Co-sponsored by Roulette and Performing Artservices.
Emerging through collaboration and improvisation under the direction of Josiah Cuneo, the musical group Dissemble will provide a live acoustic performance of aleatoric compositions to accompany the debut of Scenes, a four part video piece exploring the nature of personal transformation through contemporary dance and movement.
Written and directed by Josiah Cuneo in concert with New York based dancers, actors, and musicians, Scenes, evinces a world of daydreams and longing against the quiet backdrop of the quotidian. Here, sequences of narratives unfold on screen, contemplated in tandem with Dissemble’s complex system of extemporized musical scores.
Comprised of a string and percussion quartet, led by Josiah Cuneo on percussion, featuring Jessica Pavone and Leanne Darling on viola, and Dan Arnow on upright bass, Dissemble’s compositions involve melding arrangement and spontaneity, utilizing the video pieces as their inspiration and underlying structure while also taking visual cues from Cuneo; guiding time, cadence, and interaction.
While informed by the conceptual work of avant-garde composers such as John Zorn, Iannis Xenakis, and John Cage, Cuneo’s use of image sequencing through an amalgamation of photography, collage, video, and music composition, evokes the tradition of live orchestration from the silent film era as much as it conveys a romanticism of the everyday; situating his practice in lineage with filmmakers such as William Kentridge and Maya Deren.
Josiah Cuneo is a Brooklyn based video artist and composer. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BFA in 2004 and has exhibited his work at Exit Art, New York, Satori, New York, and Hampden Gallery at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Cuneo’s work has been performed at ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn, New York, and at the Montague Phantom Brain Exchange, Turners Falls, Massachusetts.
The last decade has witnessed an interest in the use of media technology in the classical concert space: from broadcast of operatic events, to large scale video projection accompanying live music performance, to the implementation of multi-channel sound systems – the integration of these new media tools is now a common place, especially in the arena of contemporary music. Despite this bloom in interest, when applied in the concert hall media technology often serve a less-than-central role, and its expressive potentials are often under exploited. Often, media technologies are merely functional instruments for the mediation and amplification of sound; when media operates as one of the elements in a musical synesthesia, the relationship and interaction between the live event and the media technologies that meditates it are sometimes taken for granted.
The Anatomy of a String Quartet is an essay on the potentials of media technology as tools for augmenting, extending and reconfiguring the musician’s body. The Anatomy of a String Quartet, at its core, is performance-installation with/through a “prosthetically amplified” string quartet. Each member of the quartet is monitored by a multitude of sensing apparatus, from eye tracking glasses to brainwave sensors. The bio-sensory data generated by the quartet’s bodily movements, and the live video of the cameras that zooms into the performers body parts will form the basis of a multi-channel audio-visual composition. The idea is to put the quartet under a technological microscope, to make visible the inaudible biological responses to the drastic moments of musical performance. The result is a spatial-installation experience that is likened to a “fractured” quartet.
Hong Kong-based composer and media artist Samson Young’s creative outputs manifest in a variety of media and across disciplinary divide. Honors include an honorary mention at the digital music and sound art category of Prix Ars Electronica, and a Jury Selection award at the 15th Japan Media Art Festival. In 2010, CNN’s global portal identified him as one of the “Top 20 People to Watch in Hong Kong,” and in 2013 he was named “Artist of the Year” by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Young received a Ph.D in composition at Princeton University, and is currently an assistant professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.
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. They have appeared at venues including The Guggenheim Museum, Kennedy Center, Zankel Hall, MoMA, and Roulette, and have appeared in international series including Wien Modern, Darmstadt Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Asphalt Festival, Concerti Aperitivo, Shanghai New Music Week, aand Aldeburgh Music.
Counting to Seven is a new large scale work written by Tom Johnson for the Dedalus Ensemble.
Seven voices count to seven in about 30 different languages from all over the world. Each piece explores a way of counting as well as a language sonority giving birth to a new musical form. From Okinawa (dialect from Japan) whispering words to Malinke (Africa) rhythmic patterns with additional small percussions, each continent is represented.
Created in 1996, DEDALUS Ensemble is a contemporary experimental music ensemble based in Montpellier, France. Their repertoire gives a large place to flexible scores from across the United States and European New Music from the 1960′s to today. DEDALUS is a collective where every musician collaborate to orchestration and interpretation. DEDALUS is a leading ensemble in France and performs extensively in festivals and concert series across France and Europe. A noted champion of contemporary American experimental music, the Ensemble has premiered works by Tom Johnson, Christian Wolff, Alvin Lucier, Phill Niblock, Frederic Rzewski, James Tenney before French audiences.
The Double Duo will perform “Double Ikat Part 2″ – Dresher’s Asian-influenced and lyrical trio for violin, piano and percussion, Dresher’s tour-de-force invented instrument duo “Glimpsed From Afar”, John Cage’s “Six Melodies for Violin & Keyboard Instrument” and Martin Bresnick’s “Fantasia on A Theme By Willie Dixon”, a mash-up of Brahms and Cream’s extended improvisations on the blues classic “Spoonful”, for the full quartet with Dresher in electric guitar.
Highlighting the program will be TwoSense performing the world premiere of Dresher’s three movement duo for cello & piano “Family Matters.”
Called “one of the most interesting among the current scene of active composers,” Paul Dresher continues to innovate and surprise. Classically based and inventively performed, Double Duo combines traditional chamber instruments, performed by Bang on a Can All Stars founding member Lisa Moore on piano, and long-time collaborator Karen Bentley Pollick on violin, together with a pair of newly invented instruments: the Marimba Lumina – an electronic mallet controller played by percussionist Joel Davel and the Quadrachord, a 15-foot long four-stringed instrument invented by Dresher that is plucked, bowed, hammered and strummed. Dresher also plays electric guitar on the program. This contemporary music concert, performed on both “old” and new instruments, results in a wholly unique live performance experience that is both visual and aural.
Contemporaneous, the 21 piece new music ensemble, performs a show of frantic magic through a series of pieces that provide a surround-sound explosion of energy. This is music that moves like data across the internet or electrons around the nucleus. The show opens with Thomas Ades’ Living Toys, an adventurous projection of a child’s magnificent and superhuman vision of his future life. Ades translates these heroic dreams and toys into music, motion and life. Yotam Haber’s We were all follows, a delicate work of extreme vigor. Haber himself describes the piece as “a short burst of physical, muscular energy, sometimes menacing, sometimes exuberant.” Tracing through music this line of fascination, that child-like sense of magic and possibility, the show winds its way to John Adams’ remarkable Son of Chamber Symphony, an apotheosis of the manic joy of discovery. A sky-high detonation of exuberance, this finale reaches escape velocity, launching us all into orbit, and restoring to us the magic of our craziest dreams.
One of the most often performed compositions in new music, the Cobra phenomenon lives on into the 21st Century with continuous monthly performances in Japan, Europe, Australia and the United States. Under the direction of the composer himself this newest recording gives Zorn’s infamous game piece a startling new reading by some of downtown New York’s leading improvisers. Cobra is never really Cobra without Zorn himself at the helm—and here the music takes some surprising turns that even he never expected. A 21st Century update of a 20th Century classic.
George Lewis trombone
Mark Feldman violin
Erik Friedlander cello
Eyal Maoz guitar
Marc Ribot guitar
Sylvie Courvoisier piano
John Medeski organ
Ikue Mori electronics
Trevor Dunn bass
Kenny Wolleson drums
William Winant percussion
Drawing on his experience in a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular and improvised music, John Zorn has created an influential body of work that defies academic categories. A native of New York City, he has been a central figure in the downtown scene since 1975, incorporating a wide range of musicians in various compositional formats. He learned alchemical synthesis from Harry Smith, structural ontology with Richard Foreman, how to make art out of garbage with Jack Smith, cathartic expression at Sluggs and hermetic intuition from Joseph Cornell. Early inspirations include American innovators Ives, Varese, Cage, Carter and Partch, the European tradition of Berg, Stravinsky, Boulez and Kagel, soundtrack composers Herrmann, Morricone and Stalling as well as avant-garde theater, film, art and literature.
December 7th will be an Annie Gosfield portrait concert featuring the highly acclaimed JACK Quartet. The centerpiece of the concert will be the world premiere of “Signal Jamming and Random Interference” for string quartet and electronics, inspired by the sounds, processes, and perceptions of jammed radio signals.
The JACK Quartet’s mastery of extended techniques will evoke the elusive, transformative nature of the jamming process, which occurs when two radio signals battle over one frequency, a wartime technique used to block an opponent’s radio transmissions. Annie will be performing the electronics live along with JACK, using fragments of rare recordings of jammed signals from WWII, including “ghost voices” which emphasize the otherworldly qualities of these strange broadcasts. Each musician’s role will shift in a musical field where music, noise, and pure signal meld and collide, evoking the jamming process both electronically and acoustically.
Gosfield began her research on the subject in 2012 at The American Academy in Berlin, and composed this work during residencies at the Agosto Foundation (Prague) and Robert Wilson’s “Watermill Center” (Long Island).
The program will also include solo and quartet pieces performed by Gosfield and the members of the JACK Quartet that further explore the theme of found sounds, clandestine broadcasts, and the collision of acoustic instruments and radio noise,
Annie Gosfield, composer and electronics
JACK Quartet: Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld (violin), John Pickford Richards (viola), Kevin McFarland (cello)
Annie Gosfield, whom the BBC called “A one woman Hadron collider” works on the boundaries between notated and improvised music, electronic and acoustic sounds, refined timbres and noise. She composes for others and performs with her own ensemble, taking her music on a path through festivals, factories, clubs, art spaces, and concert halls. She was a 2012 fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and a recent recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts prestigious “Grants to Artists” award. Gosfield’s most recent Tzadik CD “Almost Truths and Open Deceptions” features a piece for piano and broken shortwave radio, a cello concerto, and music inspired by baseball, warped 78‘s, and the industrial revolution. Her music has been performed worldwide at Warsaw Autumn, the Bang on a Can Marathon, MATA, MaerzMusik, the Venice Biennale, OtherMinds, Lincoln Center, The Stone, The Miller Theatre, and The Kitchen. Recent work includes compositions inspired by factory environments, jammed radio signals from WWII, and her grandparents’ immigrant experiences in New York City. Annie’s discography includes four solo releases on the Tzadik label, and she often writes on the compositional process for the New York Times’ series “The Score.” She held the Darius Milhaud chair of composition at Mills College, and has taught at Princeton University and California Institute of the Arts.
The JACK Quartet electrifies audiences worldwide with “explosive virtuosity” (Boston Globe)and “viscerally exciting performances” (New York Times). The recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA’s Trailblazer Award, and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, JACK is focused on the commissioning and performance of new works. Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland, the quartet has performed to critical acclaim and worked with composers around the world. The members of the quartet met while attending the Eastman School of Music and studied closely with the Arditti Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Muir String Quartet, and members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.
Tyshawn Sorey is a composer-performer, educator, and scholar working across an extensive range of musical idioms. Sorey performs (percussion, trombone, and piano) nationally and internationally with his own ensembles, as well as with such artists as Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Coleman, John Zorn, Misha Mengelberg, Vijay Iyer, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Steve Lehman, Tim Berne, and Myra Melford.
As a composer, Sorey has received commissions from Roulette and the International Contemporary Ensemble, with whom he also performs. In 2012, he was selected as an Other Minds Composer. Sorey regularly teaches composition and improvisation at the New School for Social Research and the School for Improvised Music. He has taught at the Banff Centre, International Realtime Music Symposium (Norway), Hochschule für Musik Köln, Musikhochschule Nürnberg, Rhythmic Conservatory (Denmark), Birmingham Conservatory of Music, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Cité de la Musique (Paris), and Vallekilde Højskole (Denmark).
Sorey has had works premiered at the Issue Project Room, Walt Disney Hall, the Bimhuis, Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, the Jazz Gallery, and Roulette.