Friday, January 31, 2020. 8:00 pm

Renowned American composer, performer, improviser, sound artist, and writer Alvin Curran premieres SHOFAR RAGS XXL, a solo performance fusing the archaic sound of shofar with contemporary digital technologies, creating something unique and highly original in the process.

Curran has always believed that this work begged for a definitive version, an absolute arrangement. This piece was never thought to be a stand-alone reproducible composition, but a lifelong project of continuing invention. Electronically it has become a MAX/LIVE/KONTAKT creation of Curran and Angelo Maria Farro, who, for several years, has been Curran’s most imaginative technical collaborator. The infinite electronic transformations of the pure shofar sound are gradually alternated and intermingled with moments of pure sampled sound collected around the world and played on a midi-keyboard, together with forays and explorations on a grand piano.

Alvin Curran: shofar, conch shell, corrugated tubes, piano, midi-keyboard, computer
Angelo-Maria Farro: sound design

Alvin Curran has been making music since 1965. He is the co-founder of the group MEV (Musica Elettronica Viva), creator of the Maritime Rites project (music on and around water), radio-art work Crystal Psalms (live from 6 nations), composer of the six hour piano piece Inner Cities, installation artist for Floor Plan/Notes from Underground (Ars Electronica 1990) and Gardening with John, A Banda Larga (2017, in the streets of the city of Bologna), Omnia Flumina Romam Ducunt (installation at the Baths of Caracalla 2018-19) and numerous collaborations with the prominent composers, improvisers and dancers such as Cornelius Cardew, AMM, Giuseppe Chiari, Braxton, Maryanne Amacher, John Cage, Steve Lacy, Pauline Oliveros, Joan Jonas, Trisha Brown, Margaret Jenkins, Molissa Fenley, Achim Freyer, Theo Eshetu, Yoshiko Chuma, Arnold Dreyblatt, George Lewis, Rzewski, Teitelbaum, Wadada Leo Smith, Evan Parker, Anton Lukoszevieze, Philip Corner, Takehisa Kosugi, Jon Rose, Clark Coolidge, the Merce Cunningham Company, The London Symphony Brass Ensemble, the SWR Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Ensemble Modern, Jon Rose, Frankie HiNRG, Daan Vandewalle, Gabriella Smart, Kronos Quartet, Joan LaBarbara, Ilan Volkov, Scanner, DJ Olive, Shelley Hirsch, William Winant, Elliott Sharp, Rova Sax Quartet, Bang on a Can, Ursula Oppens, Eve Egoyan, Huddersfield Choral Society, Paul Dresher Ensemble, Domenico Sciajno, Cenk Ergün, Joan Jeanrenaud, Fred Frith, eRikm, IATO, Ars Ludi, Alter Ego and with numerous brass bands and free-improvisers and radio-producers from around the world.

Photo: courtesy of the Whitney Museum