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Posts tagged 'Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group'

Vijay Iyer Premieres "Crisis Modes" at LA Phil

Vijay Iyer has long questioned the stylistic, disciplinary, and political boundaries between the worlds of classical music and jazz—boundaries that have been in flux for nearly a century. It's no surprise, then, that Iyer was asked by none other than Herbie Hancock to contribute a new composition for a concert program entitled "The Edge of Jazz," to be performed on January 15th by the LA Phil New Music Group as a part of the LA Phil's Green Umbrella Series. Iyer's contribution to this concert, entitled Crisis Modes, compliments other new works by other luminaries such as Hermeto Pascoal, Tyshawn Sorey, Kamasi Washington, Billy Childs, and Hitomi Oba. 

To compose Crisis Modes, Iyer began with a piano improvisation, which he then orchestrated for strings and percussion. This is unusual for Iyer, although he has spent his career both improvising, composing and orchestrating; in this work, he writes that he hopes to make music both for "now" (improvisation) and "tomorrow" (composition). Iyer writes:

Crisis Modes offers a version of the present in which we call each other to action, push through a haze of denial, and organize ourselves as a coherent, constructive oppositional force. I don’t exactly know what that sounds like, but I can at least imagine how it feels, so this piece is my attempt to trace that affective landscape. 

For an intimate look at Iyer's writing for strings and piano, check out his Mutations I–X, which he originally composed for the ETHEL string quartet, here performed by Iyer and the Brentano Quartet in 2014:

New Works by Kate Soper and Mario Diaz de Leon at the LA Phil

(photo: Kate Soper: © The New Yorker; Mario Diaz de Leon: © Katrin Albert)

The Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella series has become a vital part of America's New Music landscape, commissioning and featuring composers and performers from around the country. On Saturday, October 1, Green Umbrella presents a "composers-as-performers" concert, featuring World Premieres of new works by PSNY Composers Kate Soper and Mario Diaz de Leon, along with PSNY composer Timo Andres performing a new work written for him by Ingram Marshall.

Soper will perform her new work, The Ultimate Poem is Abstractwritten for soprano and ensemble—alongside the LA Phil's New Music Group, conducted by John Adams. This work questions the relationship between voice, text, music, and abstraction, setting texts by Soper, Wallace Stevens, and many other contemporary writers in a work that points toward vocal experience over vocal description. To get in the spirit, check out a performance of Soper's Cipher with the composer joining recent PSNY Greenroom artist violinist Josh Modney:

Diaz de Leon's new work, Lightmass, for brass ensemble and electronics, is a three-movement work that turns these two concepts—light and mass—into a descriptive and narrative musical dialectic. The three movements are inspired by urban spaces and architecture; in Diaz de Leon's words, "outward manifestations of inner experience, a living building as a divine body." Listen to a performance of de Leon's Trembling Time II by the Talea Ensemble:

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