This show presents two thematically-related large scale pieces representing composer/guitarist Brendon Randall-Myers’s work with instrumental rock band Marateck, and with pianist Miki Sawada and director Daniel Pettrow. The new set of Marateck music arises from the tension between mechanistic vs. humanistic. It was inspired by machines, written using machines, and with the knowledge that machines would execute it better than they can. The group takes on the task of performing it as four very fallible humans not as a show of musical prowess so much as an act of willful stubbornness in the face of an impossible task. Randall-Myers’s music for pianist Miki Sawada inverts this antagonistic relationship between mechanical and human, drawing on Sawada’s superhuman playing and endurance to create piano music that feels electronic, and blending in electronic sounds and processing to support and expand the sound of the piano. Theatrical prompts accompany each section of the piece as a way to connect performer, composer, and audience.
Machines and Mirrors features the world premiere of a completely new set of music by Marateck, and two world premieres for Sawada alongside reworked versions of two older pieces developed as part of Sawada’s Fall 2018 Gather Hear Tour. Both projects are the results of close collaborations over several years of work together.
Brendon Randall-Myers: composer, guitar
Jesse Kranzler: guitar, composer (Marateck)
Tristan Kasten-Krause: bass, composer (Marateck)
Mark Utley: drums, composer (Marateck)
Miki Sawada: piano
Daniel Pettrow: writer/director
Brendon Randall-Myers is a Brooklyn-based composer and guitarist whose music reflects a fascination with how sound is physically produced and perceived as well as a deep love of music’s function as source of community and human connection. His work has been described as “endlessly compelling” (San Francisco Chronicle), “intricate and dynamic” (I Care If You Listen), and “massive in its impact” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune), has been performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Omaha Symphony, Dither, and Friction Quartet, and received support from the Jerome Foundation, New Music USA, New York State Council for the Arts, the Guitar Foundation of America, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and ASCAP. Brendon is the co-founder of composer-performer ensemble Invisible Anatomy and avant-rock band Marateck, as well as a member of the Glenn Branca Ensemble and the Dither Big Band. He has performed in clubs, concert halls, and basements around the world, including the Barbican Theatre (London), the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), and the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing). Brendon grew up home-schooled in rural West Virginia, and holds degrees from Pomona College and the Yale School of Music. He and his wife Fay split their time between Brooklyn and Beijing.
Marateck is an instrumental rock band that deals in opposites and extremes: minimalist vs. maximalist, consonance vs. dissonance, mechanistic vs. humanistic. Jesse Kranzler (guitar), Brendon Randall-Myers (guitar), Tristan Kasten-Krause (bass), and Mark Utley (drums) bring together eclectic compositional voices and extensive performing backgrounds to create intense, emotional music played with obsessive, focused precision.
Pianist Miki Sawada is best known for her Gather Hear Tour, in which she travels with a piano in a van to perform in rural community gathering spaces. The project explores the power of classical music to transform a space and enhance relationships; past tours in Alaska (2017) and West Virginia (2018) totaling 38 performances have received recognition from Alaska Humanities Forum and New Music USA. When not hauling her own piano, Miki performs in venues and occasions and such as: Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, Helsinki Music Centre, Dame Myra Hess Series (Chicago), MATA Festival (NYC), Oneppo Chamber Music Series at Yale, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Music on Main (Vancouver), the Banff Centre, and radio stations WQXR (NYC), WFMT (Chicago), All Classical (Portland), and KUAC (Fairbanks). In the summers, she serves as a faculty member of Heifetz Institute and Point CounterPoint. Miki holds degrees from Yale School of Music, Eastman School of Music, and Northwestern University. [www.mikisawada.com]
Daniel Pettrow is a director, actor, and teacher based in New York. He is the Director of Performance and Communication Training, Drama Teacher, and Speaking in Public Teacher for Heifetz International Music Institute. Daniel frequently focuses on new and experimental creations while fostering collaborations with artists from different disciples. Currently, Daniel is creating an original dance-theater production with Mikhail Baryshnikov, which will premiere at Baryshnikov Arts Center in January 2019. He is a close collaborator with renowned French director Arthur Nauzyciel, having performed in over 40 National theaters throughout Europe and South America.
A Kind of Mirror was supported by a 2018 New Music USA project grant.