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Posts tagged 'The Kitchen'

Vijay Iyer's "Flute Goals (Five Empty Chambers)" Debuts at Claire Chase's "Density 2036" Series

Claire Chase's density 2036 series is perhaps one of the most ambitious commissioning projects of the 21st century: beginning in 2014, Chase has commissioned 60 minutes worth of compositions for solo flute, and will contintue to do so until 2036—the 100th anniversary of Edgard Varèse's Density 21.5. That means 22 years of commissions, which totals to 1320 minutes of music, and at least 100 new works. 

Chase's density 2036 commissions have already resulted in new works from Marcos Balter (Pessoa for six bass flutes), Mario Diaz de León (Luciform, for flute and electronics), and Matthias Pintscher (Beyond for solo flute). And for the fourth installment in 2016, Chase commissioned Vijay Iyer to compose Flute Goals (Five Empty Chambers), a piece for fixed media / pre-recorded flute sounds. To make this piece, Iyer asked Chase to send him recordings of her improvising, and Iyer used these recordings to compose his piece. The resulting work consists entirely of non-pitched sounds recorded by Chase on five different flutes (contrabass flute, alto flute, flute, piccolo, and ocarina). Iyer explains:

[Chase] displayed a different personality on each instrument; it was like listening to a cypher of whisper-quiet battle emcees, or perhaps a series of encounters with various insect-robots, whirring and buzzing in the air in front of you. I decided I would treat each of her improvisations as an episode. I built a specific environment around each one, and ran them through effects so that her extemporaneous rhythms were triggering other sounds.

Writing in the Village Voice, critic Alison Kinney notes that "Claire Chase wants to show us what solo flute music sounds like when you take away the flute and the soloist. Or when the score is danced, the sound engineer performs, and the flute is played as a drum set."

Iyer's Flute Goals (Five Empty Chambers) reconfigures the roles of composer, performer, and engineer — a true collaboration between musical minds.

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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