Interpretations: Joan La Barbara | Tom Chiu’s Ensemble Metrix

Thursday, March 14, 2019. 8:00 pm

The perennially influential and innovative vocalist/composer Joan La Barbara presents new material from her ongoing opera-in-progress, Dreams of Water Beyond One’s Depth. La Barbara’s opera is inspired by the lives and work of the iconic Virginia Woolf, a writer whose pacifist views are at odds with those of 1939 WWII England, and enigmatic Joseph Cornell, a reclusive visual artist recoiling from the social unrest of 1964 America. Scored to a libretto the brilliant, award-winning Vietnamese-American novelist Monique Truong, the opera features an ensemble of voices, instruments, synthesizer and sonic atmosphere. Joining La Barbara are vocalists Lauren Flanigan, Mario Diaz-Moresco, and Julia Meadows, as well as Miguel Frasconi (performing on flute, laptop, sampler, and glass instruments) and cellist Bryan Hayslett.

Tom Chiu’s Ensemble Metrix is a mixed-instrumentation group exploring the recontextualization of music in a variety of styles and genres. Using material from the broad canon of popular and underground music, Chiu deconstructs and distorts melodic hooks and motivic riffs, and weaves the material into an extended, minimalistic jam. The resulting structured score represents an analogue to a dee-jay’s pre-determined playlist. Replacing turntables and records, the musicians produce the music live, each injecting personal flair in the final mix. Joining Ensemble Metrix will be some of Chiu’s favorite collaborators, including Meaghan Burke, Sara Schoenbeck, Charles Waters, Peter Zummo and other special guests.