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Joan La Barbara Performs "Music for Merce" in Minneapolis & Chicago

Joan La Barbara began working with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in the early 1970s, and has had a celebrated career of collaborations with dozens of other musicians, composers, and choreographers in the millieu of Cunningham, Cage, and other mid-century experimentalists. Now La Barbara is participating in a concert series that pays tribute to Cunningham by bringing together a stunning program of composers and performers who are connected through their collaborative links to the Cunningham Dance Company. From February 23rd through the 26th, La Barbara will be participating in "Music for Merce," which also includes performances by Christian Wolff, Philip Selway, Ikue Mori, David Behrman, George Lewis, Zeena Parkins, and more. Premiering at Minneapolis' Walker Arts Center, and moving to Chicago's Musuem of Contemporary Art, this program features La Barbara performing her own Solitary Journeys of the Mind, a 2011 work for solo voice, as well as her performance of John Cage's "Fontana Mix", Earle Brown's "November" and "December", George Lewis' Shadowgraph, 5", and an untitiled "event" that will bring together all performers. 

The Walker Art Center has published an extended interview with La Barbara, who notes:

"What was astonishing, which is something that happens very often in the Cage/Cunningham simultaneities, is that you get things happening that seem so absolutely right, seem absolutely to have to have been planned, but they weren’t. It’s a kind of magic, and I don’t know if it’s something that’s because of our perception that we deal with it that way, or if it’s this kind of magic [that happens] when two artistic collaborators are true to their own art form, their work flowing together in a remarkable way. "

Praise for Kate Soper's "Ipsa Dixit"



The New Yorker has just published an in-depth review of Kate Soper's Ipsa Dixit", which critic Alex Ross calls her "philosophy-opera". Ross writes: 

"There is a good argument to be made for retiring the words “genius” and “masterpiece” from critical discourse. [...] Nonetheless, in the face of a work as comprehensively astounding as Kate Soper’s “Ipsa Dixit,” which the Wet Ink ensemble recently presented at Dixon Place, on the Lower East Side, the old buzzwords come to mind."

Ipsa Dixit was also reviewed by Steve Smith, who has written about Soper's work in the past; Smith writes, 

"Ever since I saw Here Be Sirens, the brainy, whimsical, extraordinary music-theater piece that Kate Soper mounted with director Rick Burkhardt and other artists at Dixon Place in 2014, I’ve been waiting in eager anticipation for another opportunity to catch one of her singular creations."

For those eager to hear Soper's work soon, the Fresh Squeezed Opera Company will perform the Here Be Sirens Suite at New York's LGBT Community Center on March 3rd, in a program of "nano opera" by women composers. More info can be found here

Check out an excerpt from Cipher, a movement in Ipsa Dixit, below.

Æolus Quartet Performs Keeril Makan's "Washed by Fire"

Keeril Makan's Washed by Fire (for string quartet) explores the performance of identity—personal, sonic, and compositional. Makan began this piece by collaborating with choreographer Benjamin Levy, and strove to "[create] a piece that resonated with me on a fundamental level, one in which my emotions are not filtered by abstraction, where the focus is on a visceral connection with time." As such, Washed by Fire stands out in Makan's repertoire; Makan writes, "by embracing musical references that my mind often avoids, I was able to reconnect with rhythm, melody, and mode in a way that is markedly different from my other recent music."

The Æolus Quartet will bring Washed by Fire to Corpus Christi, TX, in a series of two concerts: one on February 24th at the House of Rock, and another on February 25th at Wolfe Recital Hall. Check out Washed by Fire performed by members of the Either/Or Ensemble below. 

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