Roulette presents the continuation of Spellbeamed, by composer, multi-instrumentalist and electric harp pioneer Zeena Parkins that premiered at The Kitchen in December, 2011. Commissioned by composer collective Ne(x)tworks, the piece will also be performed by the group joined by JACK Quartet and will be conducted by Ted Hearn. Percussionist Shayna Dunkelman and the composer will both be joining the ensemble. Spellbeamed features collaboration from visual artist Cynthia Madansky and electronic whiz kid, Preshish Moments.
For Spellbeamed,Fixexploded, Fixabolished Zeena Parkins draws inspiration from literary critic and author Walter Benjamin’s writings and Archive. Walter Benjamin’s Archive is a recently published collection of his images, texts and ephemera. Parkins’ piece features quotidian materials collected by each performer from beloved mementos to daily lists on envelopes or note pads; meticulously cataloged, this unlikely treasure serves as a cultural constellation of fragments representing the past, present and possible insight to the future. These objects and Cynthia’s riffing on Benjamin’s own doodling, scratches and notes, serve as material used in an animated score that works in conjunction with a traditional notated score to guide the players throughout the piece. The animated scores which consist of a 16 mm hand drawn film as well as Jitter patches activating the objects, are projected periodically during the performance. The resultant sound, enhanced by live processing patches created by Preshish Moments, creates a network of inter-relationships between improvisers and readers, sound and score, objects and instruments. The object collection is displayed on fake museum-like tables for viewing before and after the show.
There will be a brief Q & A after the performances on both nights.
About The Artists
Zeena Parkins is a Detroit born/NYC, based multi-instrumentalist/ composer/improviser. The three-time Bessie Award-winner is known as a pioneer of contemporary harp performance, reimagining the instrument as a “sound machine of limitless capacity.” Parkins has built three versions of a one-of-a-kind electric harp, extending the language of the acoustic harp and exploring sound and the translation of sonic ideas, in all manifestations. Parkins has provided scores for film, ensembles, dance, theater and more, selected commissioners include: Donaueshigen Festival, The Tate Modern, The Whitney Museum, Sudwestrundfunk, Bang on a Can, Roulette, Montalvo Arts Center, and The Eclipse Quartet. Parkins has a long history and commitment to composing for dance, and has worked with choreographers Neil Greenberg, John Jasperse, Jennifer Monson, Jennifer Lacey, DD Dorvillier, Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh and more. She was commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, performing in the Music Monday series and the Events at DIA Beacon and has worked with Miro Dance Theater and premieres Super Nature with the Body Cartography Project at the Walker Arts Center in Fall 2012.
Her collaborators include Fred Frith, Ikue Mori, Maja Ratkje, John Zorn, Björk, Butch Morris, Nels Cline, Alex Cline, William Winant, Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, Matmos, So Percussion, Eclipse Quartet, Bobby Previte, Elliott Sharp, Carla Kilhstedt, Chris Cutler, James Fei, Kim Gordon and Lee Renaldo. Parkins recently released Double Dupe Down on Tzadik, and has another Tzadik release Trouble in Paradise with Phantom Orchard Orchestra, set for November. In 2010, Parkins was a featured lead artist at The Christian Marclay Festival at the Whitney Museum, organizing and performing numerous Marclay scores during the Festival. Parkins is currently a distinguished visiting professor at Mills College Graduate Music Department.
Cynthia Madansky is a visual artist and filmmaker whose work addresses social, cultural and political issues of identity and nationalism. Her award-winning films have been shown internationally at MoMA, the Berlin Film Festival, the Rotterdam Film Festival, Cinema du Reel, the Toronto Film Festival and more. She has received numerous awards and grants for her films including NYSCA, NYFA, Art Matters, and the Jerome Foundation. She and Zeena Parkins are longtime collaborators, working on Madansky’s 16mm films. The film scores and music for Past Perfect, Devotion, Still Life, The PSA Project and Minot, North Dakota received high acclaim. Most recently, in 2009, Madansky worked with Angelika Brudniak and Parkins on her performance film project entitled Bubble.
Preshish Moments (Michael Carter) makes music, builds electronics and creates custom max/msp patches. His varied projects include playing live electronics with Tyondai Braxton, Zeena and the Adorables, the duo Peptalk, programs for Yuka Honda, Dan Deacon and his own solo work on Mochipet’s label Daly City Records. The chamber ensemble Alarm Will Sound has performed his music. The music he builds are focused on the live performance of electronic music because despite the prevalence of electronics in composition there is still great deal of progress to be made when it comes to live performance. Find out more about him at: www.preshishmoments.com
Ne(x)tworks is a New York-based collaborative ensemble of musicians creating and interpreting work that features a dynamic relationship between composition and improvisation. In live performance and recordings, the group locates pathways into various types of notation systems and interfaces, striving for a meaningful dialogue with the past, present and future of creative music. The members are Joan La Barbara (voice), Shelley Burgon (harp, electronics), Miguel Frasconi (glass, electronics), Stephen Gosling (piano) and Chris McIntyre (trombone).
Formed in 2002, Ne(x)tworks advances the tradition of the ‘performing composer’ ensemble by presenting programs of its members’ compositions. The group’s repertoire extends beyond its ranks to encompass the works of New York School composers, their European counterparts, further experiments from the AACM and the Downtown composers of the 70s and 80s, and more. Ne(x)tworks’ debut recording, Earle Brown: Tracer, is available on Mode Records. The group is self-releasing live recordings from its archives under the imprint of NxW Live. Their first album and download, Ne(x)tworks Live Vol. 1: At The Stone (June 2007) is available on CD Baby. For more about Ne(x)tworks, go to www.nextworksmusic.net.
JACK Quartet is violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards and cellist Kevin McFarland. The critically acclaimed group focuses on the commissioning and performance of new works by composers like Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, Matthias Pintscher, Georg Friedrich Haas, James Dillon, Toshio Hosokawa, Wolfgang Rihm, Elliott Sharp, Beat Furrer, Caleb Burhans and Aaron Cassidy. Premieres include works by Jason Eckardt, Zeena Parkins, Simon Steen-Anderson, Walter Zimmermann, Matthias Pintscher, Bent Sørensen and Toby Twining.
Through 2012-2014, JACK will join legendary pianist Maurizio Pollini as a part of his Perspectives series. Other recent and upcoming performances include the SONiC Festival, Vancouver New Music, Strathmore Hall, cresc…Biennale für Moderne Musik (Germany) and more. JACK has led workshops with young composers at several universities, including Princeton, Yale, Darmstadt Internationale (Germany), NYU, Columbia and many more. For more about JACK Quartet, go to www.jackquartet.com.
Spellbeamed is produced with generous support from The MAP Fund.
Spellbeamed is commissioned through Meet The Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund and the CBD Music, Inc.