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Ann Cleare at the MATA Festival

Now in its seventeenth year, New York's MATA festival, founded by Philip Glass, Lisa Bielawa, and Eleonor Sandresky, has reached a new milestone as one of the worlds leading festivals of new music, with nearly a thousand submissions for composers around the globe. In addition to the dozens of works that were chosen from these submissions, MATA has also decided to commission new works by some of the most interesting composers under 40. 

The highlight of this year's round of commissions is Ann Cleare's eöl, a collaborative work between Cleare, sculptor Brian Byrne, and percussionist Alex Lipowski. Lipowski, who along with Anthony Cheung is a co-director of the Talea Ensemble, will be the featured soloist at the premiere of eöl on April 18th at The Kitchen, playing a unique metal sculpture-instrument by Byrne, and accompanied by clarinet, saxophone, accordion, cello and double bass.

What is the eöl, you might ask? Byrne's new instrument consists of a set of several objects created from various metals, worn and played by the percussionist. eöl refers both to the concept of the "Aeolian," music produced by nature without human intervention, and to Eöl the elf, a character in J.R.R. Tolkien's writings, who weaves metals into magical armor. As Cleare writes, "The ensemble enacts a similar type of sonic weaving, leading to the sonic and visual formation of the percussionist's metallic hands." Here's an image of the eöl; be sure to check out the World Premiere of Cleare's new composition to see this sculpture in action.

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