Susie Ibarra: Talking Gong with Claire Chase and Alex Peh

Wednesday, June 9, 2021. 8:00 pm

Roulette’s Spring 2021 Season will be live streamed from our stage and archived on our website. Watch the video of this performance below.


Susie Ibarra: Talking Gong with Claire Chase and Alex Peh

Wednesday, June 9, 2021. 8:00 pm

Composer and percussionist Susie Ibarra returns to Roulette with Talking Gong featuring flutist Claire Chase and pianist Alex Peh. This dynamic trio emerged out of the premiere of the title piece commissioned for SUNY New Paltz in 2018 when Ibarra was Davenport Composer in Residence, and the release of their album Talking Gong on New Focus Recordings this January 2021.

Talking Gong will perform an evening program of music featuring compositions by Ibarra from their album, as well as Ibarra’s series of solos as bird songs of the sunbird, hummingbird and kingfisher for piano, flute and drums. The trio will also perform an excerpt of Pauline Oliveros, The Witness, a trans-species opera, a biocentric experiment for humans and non-humans, combining deep listening, conscious movement and “blue hour” (dawn) light. Peh and Chase will perform a duet inspired by the black bird, The Merle Noir, by Olivier Messiaen. Amidst the program are conduction pieces by Ibarra , a mixture of motivic scores and improvisation that highlight the trio’s unique sound world and musical chemistry.

Claire Chase – piccolo, flute, alto and bass flutes
Alex Peh – piano
Susie Ibarra – drumset, kulintang, gandingan, agong, and percussion

“An album of joy and insight, sophisticated technique and improvisational delight, Talking Gong is a nuanced universe of sound grounded in traditional musical roots and natural splendor” Franz Matzner, Drop the Needle, April 2021 NYC Jazz Record

“This riveting set from Susie Ibarra has a talkative disposition, even when its overall mood is contemplative. Whether she’s playing solos, duets, or trios with pianist Alex Peh and flutist Claire Chase, the percussionist speaks with a language all her own. The music here has a sense of tension and release that is positively addictive” The Best of Jazz on Bandcamp: Jan 2021

“Susie Ibarra approaches the gongs and drumset with extreme care towards affect and mood. her ability to communicate between Kulintang, jazz, and contemporary classical genres creates a compositional and performative voice that few others can mimic.
Claire Chase is brilliant in reading the composer’s intentions and transforming the flute into a tool of expressivity. Predominantly exploring extended techniques such as overblowing and tongue pizzicati, Ibarra’s compositions reserve the traditional flute sound for the most intimate moments of this album, making those sections even more beautiful. Pianist Alex Peh’s playhing in Talking Gong mediates between the gongs as the messenger and the flute as the receiver, while his performance explores the piano as a struck object, a source of harmony, and a melodic force. What makes Talking Gong so fascinating is that Ibarra is earnestly knowledgeable and skilled in the Kulintang, jazz, and contemporary genres engaged within this album and its social heritages. The result is a sincere recording that communicates an entire world of land, history, movement, and community from which we in the U.S. can learn to better appreciate.” by Nebal Maysaud, Susie Ibarra Evokes Land and Community in Talking Gong, I Care If you Listen

Talking Gong is a new trio featuring Claire Chase, Alex Peh and Susie Ibarra. This dynamic trio emerged effortlessly in the music out of its title composition which was originally commissioned for SUNY New Paltz when Ibarra was Davenport Composer in Residence in 2018. The trio went on to record this composition and a selection of solo, duet and trio compositions and Ibarra’s conduction pieces utilizing both composition and improvisation for their new release Talking Gong on New Focus Recordings Jan 2021. Amidst the music are conduction pieces by Ibarra which feature the playfullness and unique soundworld that Chase, Peh and Ibarra create.

Susie Ibarra is a Filipinx composer, percussionist, and sound artist. She creates immersive experiences through sound to invite people to connect to their natural and built environments. Susie is a 2020 National Geographic Explorer Storyteller, a 2019 Doris Duke United States Artist Fellow in Music, Senior TED Fellow and 2019 Asian Cultural Council Research Fellow in working to preservation and support Indigenous music and culture, Musika Katatubo, in the Philippines, and sound recording on glaciers and water rhythms in the Himalayas. Recent commissions include Water Rhythms: Listening to Climate Change installations with glaciologist and geographer Michele Koppes for Fine Acts Foundation and TED Countdown on Climate Change Oct 2020, Rhythm Cycles solo drumset commissioned by Bagri Foundation and released on OTOROKU Digital UK Nov 2020; Digital Sanctuaries Harvard an urban soundwalk for iOS and iPAD commissioned and created with Claire Chase’s Freshman Seminar: Community Building and Social Justice Through Music Dec 2020; Pulsation for Kronos String Quartet’s 50 for the Future Feb 2020, and a participatory performance game piece Fragility Etudes for her band DreamTime Ensemble for Asia Society Triennial 2021.

Claire Chase, described by The New York Times as “the most important flutist of our time,” is a soloist, collaborative artist, curator, educator and advocate for new and experimental music. Chase founded the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2001, was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012, and in 2017 was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She teaches at Harvard University and is a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School.

Alex Peh is a contemporary pianist and teacher whose work explores the intersection of classical,
contemporary and world piano traditions. He collaborated with Burmese master percussionist Kyaw Kyaw Naing to create the first Burmese Hsaing Waing ensemble in America that features the piano in traditional Burmese Sandaya style. This project received major funding from New Music USA, Asian Cultural Council and Arts Mid-Hudson. As a 2019 Asian Cultural Council fellow, he travelled to Yangon Myanmar to study Burmese piano style with Dr. U Yee Nwe and taught at the Gitameit Music Institute. Alex has performed widely nationally and internationally, sharing special partnerships with artists Susie Ibarra, Claire Chase, Kyaw Kyaw Naing, and Phyllis Chen. Alex has attended the Banff, Aspen and Tanglewood music festivals where he worked with Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Paul Lewis Emanuel Ax, and Peter Serkin. He has studied with major artists such as Arnaldo Cohen, Menahem Pressler, Sylvia Wang, Evelyne Brancart, and Kyaw Kyaw Naing. He is an associate professor of piano at SUNY New Paltz.

Susie Ibarra Talking Gong album release on New Focus Recordings Jan 2021 was supported in part by New Music USA.