Judith Berkson and Ordinary Affects

Tuesday, December 10, 2019. 8:00 pm

Haunting soprano, pianist, and composer Judith Berkson premieres new work in collaboration with the adaptive new music chamber ensemble, Ordinary Affects, and avant-metal guitarist Mick Barr presents a solo set. The program will feature new works by Berkson along with compositions rarely heard in the US by Swiss composer Jürg Frey (1953–).

Jürg Frey’s unique compositional approach places him at the cutting edge of contemporary classical music while simultaneously maintaining a touch of impressionistic/romantic aesthetics in its roots. Since the late 90’s, Frey started to work with ‘lists’ as a basis of his compositions, sometimes words, sometimes chords, from which he developed and organized the musical materials. In recent years, Frey’s focus on ‘lists’ has extended more toward the connections of items with each other, forming melodies.

Judith Berkson – voice, accordion, piano
Mick Barr – guitar

JPA Falzone – percussion, keyboards
Laura Cetilia – cello
Morgan Evans-Weiler – violin
Jordan Dykstra – viola
Luke Damrosch – percussion TBA

Judith Berkson is a soprano, pianist and composer living in Brooklyn, New York. She has collaborated with Kronos Quartet, Wet Ink, Yarn/Wire, City Opera and Bang on a Can and has presented work at Picasso Museum Malaga, Roulette, Le Poisson Rouge, Joe’s Pub, The Stone, Barbès and the 92 Street Y. She has received a Six Points Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation grant, Meet The Composer grant and support from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her solo album “Oylam” (ECM Records) was called “Standards and Schubert and liturgical music, swing and chilly silences, a beautiful Satie-like piece to open and close the record” by Ben Ratliff of the New York Times. She has performed at Ostrava Days, Krakow Jewish Music Festival, and at the Banff Centre.

Active since the mid-1990s, Mick Barr is known primarily for his angular, fleet guitar playing and intricate avant-garde compositions. He straddles the worlds of heavy metal and experimental music and his distinctive voice is always present no matter what the context. Barr was active in the math-punk outfit duo Crom-Tech and his technical duo Orthrelm, and has also since written chamber music for Wet Ink Ensemble and ACME: American Contemporary Music Ensemble. He has worked with Jonathan Bepler Music and Matthew Barney and is featured in their 2014 film River of Fundament.

Ordinary Affects is a group of musicians gathered to workshop, explore, commission, and perform contemporary experimental music. While the group often focuses on the performance of written compositions, it also serves as a laboratory for improvisation and the compositions of its members. The collaborative nature of the mission ensures a group that is always in flux; instrumentation is open, always changing and dependent on the project, concert and current membership. The group has commissioned works by Michael Pisaro and Antoine Beuger and performed works by Joseph Kudirka, Jurg Frey, Morgan Evans-Weiler, Magnus Granberg and others. Upcoming collaborations include new works by Eva-Maria Houben, Laura Cetilia, J.P.A. Falzone, Ryoko Akama, and Sarah Hughes.

Photo: Luca d’Agostino