Solaris Vocal Ensemble – Giselle Wyers, conductor

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Led by conductor Giselle Wyers, the Solaris Vocal Ensemble performs a program of contemporary American music that includes works by Meredith Monk, the 2012 Musical America Composer of the Year; Ingram Marshall, whose music concentrates on combining tape and electronic processing with ensembles and soloists; Anne LaBaron, whose compositions embrace an exotic array of subjects; and Frances White, whose study of the shakuhachi informs and influences her works as a composer. All world premiere recordings, these works reflect a renaissance of innovation in the field of choral music.

1. Hackney Tune – Ingram Marshall
2-4. Floodsongs – Anne LeBaron
5. far, still – Frances White
6. Wedding March – Meredith Monk

 

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Steve Peters – Index Filicum

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Four-channel sound installation presented by Experimental Sound Studio as part of their Florasonic series. Four voices (Jeremiah Cawley, Amy Denio, Katherine Hanson, Maria Mannisto) sing the Latin names of nearly all of the species in the conservatory’s Fern Room, over drones derived from a field recording of the room. The common English names of the ferns are whispered in the background.

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SHOW – Carmina Burana and the Liebeslieder Waltzes – Tucson Chamber Artists

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Carl Orff Carmina Burana for two pianos and percussion
Johannes Brahms Neue Liebeslieder Walzer for chorus and four-hands piano

Featuring Tucson Chamber Artists Chorus and Chamber Players in partnership with Tucson Desert Song Festival
With special guest artists Hugh Russell, baritone, Hye Jung Lee, soprano, and Edwin Vega, tenor

Friday, January 23, 7:00pm
Valley Presbyterian Church
2800 S. Camino del Sol
Green Valley, AZ 85622

Saturday, January 24, 7:30pm
Catalina Foothills High School
4300 E. Sunrise Drive
Catalina Foothills, AZ 85718

Sunday, January 25, 3:00pm
Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
2331 E. Adams Street
Tucson, AZ 85719

Click here to purchase tickets online

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Carmina Burana has been described the most popular classical music, as ‘O Fortuna’ has appeared in many films and performed by both pop and classical musicians worldwide.

Most music lovers are familiar with the orchestral version of Carl Orff’s profane cantata Carmina Burana, but few are familiar with the version prepared by Orff’s disciple Wilhelm Killmayer in 1956 and authorized by Orff himself 20 years after the original composition, to allow smaller ensembles the opportunity to perform the piece. This version features two pianos, percussion and choir.

Orff’s classic deals with mortality and fate, nature, drinking, and tender, explicit, and highly sensual love. It’s no wonder the authors of the original text, the Goliards, were a group of defrocked monks and minstrels known for their rioting, gambling and intemperance! Don’t miss this rarely peformed and equally exhilarating version of Orff’s timeless masterpiece!

This concert is being done in partnership with the Tucson Desert Song Festival, a three-week international music extravaganza pairing Tucson’s leading musical organizations with international musicians.

A preconcert program will accompany all performances 45 minutes prior to the start of the concert.

(Text from Tucson Chamber Artists’ website)

SHOW – Handel’s Messiah – Atlanta Baroque Orchestra and the Cathedral of St. Philip Schola

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Saturday December 14th, 2014 – 7:30 p.m.
Cathedral of St. Philip
2744 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

Sunday December 14, 2012 – 4:00 p.m.
St. David’s Episcopal Church
1015 Old Roswell Road, Roswell, GA 30076

The ABO and the Cathedral Schola of the Cathedral of St. Philip again join together with four stellar soloists to provide a rare opportunity to hear Handel’s Messiah (Dublin version) in all of its unabridged glory, under the direction of Dale Adelmann and ABO Artistic Director Julie Andrijeski. The four soloists, all specialists in Baroque performance, are soprano Clara Rottsolk, countertenor David Daniels, tenor Karim Sulayman, and baritone Mischa Bouvier.

Patron tickets: $100 in advance (includes 2 tickets & unreserved seats in the preferred seating section, held until 10 minutes prior to the concert)
General admission: $25 in advance / $35 day of concert
Seniors: $20 in advance / $25 day of concert
Students: $10 in advance / $15 day of concert

Advance Tickets can be purchased here.

The Tortoise

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I’m very excited to announce that my friend and composer Nat Evans and I will be working together on a long, non-narrative theatrical piece for tenor (that’s me!), percussion, and electronics. Many of you know that Nat spent a few months in mobile residency on the Pacific Crest Trail. In fact, he walked its entire length from the Mexican to the Canadian border. Along the way he made hundreds of field recordings, and he is currently using them as fodder for collaborations with composers all along the West Coast.

I feel really privileged to be able to work with Nat on The Tortoise, and even more so that we’ll be creating such a substantial work. Nat has this to say about our project:

In 2015 I’ll be writing a new theatrical work for solo tenor, percussion, electronics, and field recording myself and Tenor Jeremiah Cawley. The ideas for the piece will draw my time walking the 2600-mile Pacific Crest Trail over the course of five months in 2014. Specifically for this work, concepts will focus on my experience of time in the desert. My field recordings of natural surroundings made on the trail will drift together with tones, percussion, and Jeremiah’s singing to convey the experiences and ideas I had during the remarkable five months I spent living and walking in the wilderness.

You can hear some of Nat’s collaborations and field recordings on his Soundcloud. Below you can listen to Nat’s Still Life with Transmigration, on which I play trombone, conch shells, and a variety of natural objects; and also Hear No Noise, which The Box Is Empty commissioned from Nat in 2012.

Still Life with Transmigration

Hear No Noise

I can’t wait to get started on the music, which will no doubt turn into a very powerful piece to experience, but, we do need help with funding to get things off the ground.  If you are able to give in any amount, please do so.  The larger project of The Tortoise (of which this piece is a part), is sponsored by Fractured Atlas, so you gifts are fully tax-deductible.

You can check out Nat’s Fractured Atlas page here, and watch a brief video about The Tortoise.  Please Give!  If you are unable to give at this time, please share the project’s campaign on your social media.

BLOG – A Review of Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble’s Realign the Time

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  • Realign the Time – Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble
  • October 2014
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  • Three Madrigals – Max Grafe
    1. Bantams in Pinewood
    2. Tea
    3. Fabliau of Florida
  • 4. Squarepushers – Amanda Feery
  • 5. Le Salève – Jonathan Sokol
  • 6. Decantations for voices – Ravi Kittappa
  • 7. Hommage – David Grant
  • so evenings die – Morgan Krauss
    1. I
    2. II
    3. III
  • 11. Communiqué – Anthony T. Marasco

 

Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble approach singing with fervor and abandon, and they continually work to influence composition for the voice as fearless advocates for its composers. On the group’s debut recording, Realign the Time, text dissolves, reforms, disintegrates. Vocal timbres interweave with non-sung sounds. Bits of improvisation flow seamlessly in and out of strict composition. The album is brilliantly programmed to allow individual works to contextualize and support one another. The result is a fascinating combination of inviting vocalism, abstract sound, and beautiful narrative shining with musicality and interpretive acumen.

Max Grafe’s Three Madrigals vigorously opens the album with a display of Quince’s paradoxical ease of unanimity and individuality. The piece reformulates the madrigal’s traditional exploration of text, exploiting the already-musical, onomatopoetic qualities of Wallace Steven’s poetry. In setting the work’s final word, “surf,” is particularly effective. The word and the musical-poetic meaning of its sounds grow in inverse proportion. As the word itself dissolves into sound, its true meaning takes shape.

Three Madrigals, Fabliau of Florida

“Realign the time,” the short, repeated text of Amanda Feery’s Squarepushers, is both the album’s title and mantra. The phrase emerges out of a placid, water-like chorus of humming and becomes an instruction as we listen. If we follow, the work acts as a portal from the relatively syllabic setting of Grafe’s madrigals to the many sounds, colors, and textures that follow.

As if to emphasize the point, Jonathan Sokol’s Le Salève practically presses reset. The piece’s opening sibilants recall the stuttering “ch-ch-ch-ch-Chieftain Iffucan” from the record’s first ten seconds. Rather than exploding into poetic declamation (as do the Three Madrigals), the sounds of Le Salève reveal a seemingly random magnetic poetry of S words. The alliteration is essential to Sokol’s structuring of multiple musical directions with the close, even quarter-tone, harmonies and sliding chromaticism of a recombinant barbershop quartet.

Le Salève benefits from the album’s production. The pop-like presence of the voices brings the non-sung sounds into relief, even if, on the record as a whole, there are moments where a more classical production might allow harmonies to better swim within themselves. Still, the sheer variety of sounds contained in the first three pieces of Realign the Time are made all the more impressive because they result from combining only voice and text.

When in Decantations by Ravi Kittappa instrumental and electronic sounds do appear, it is as if they emerge from the voices’ vast and already-established sonic palette. At the outset of Decantations, the shruti box drone, which accompanies Tamil-texted unison singing, betrays the influence of Indian classical music. But, Kittapa questions its typical layered melodies and repeating, ornamented rhythmic patterns by building Decantions on virtually rhythm-less, increasingly lush vertical sonorities. Electronics gradually transform the acoustic sound, and wide vibrato calls periodic attention to individual voices. Quince’s ability to seamlessly transition in and out of textures of four-in-one vocal quadrinity, trio-supported soloist, or equal and individual four-part polyphony is one of the highlights of this record.

This skill is nowhere more apparent than in David Grant’s Hommage, where brief, playfully accidental encounters with solo voices give way to an exultant chorus of pulsed Ahs punctuated by moments of silent breath. This oft-hidden yet essential part of singing rises to the surface in the following piece, Morgan Krauss’s so evenings die, lending an almost bodily rhythmic atmosphere to the music. The entry of the text is the work’s—and perhaps the whole album’s—defining moment, as if the music were gathering the last of life’s energy, its final breath before the ecstatic dying utterance: “Beauty is momentary in the mind — / The fitful tracing of a portal; / […] / The body dies; the body’s beauty lives.” In Krauss’s setting, Wallace Steven’s words are a potent swan song.

so evenings die, III

Communiqué by Anthony T. Marasco seems to summarize the record. Straightforwardly presenting text, as do Grafe’s madrigals, Communiqué shares the improvisatory nature of Squarepushers, the consonant-derived sound effects of Le Salève, and the non-vocal and electro-musical textures of DecantationsCommuniqué’s electronically shaded sung texture, which supports the spoken narration, aptly illustrates the geographical and emotional distance between the anonymous narrator and Karen, who flees her life in America for Europe.

Likewise, Quince traverse unafraid the vast, imaginary expanse between abstract sound and a beautifully told story. They test the voice’s under-tapped potential in contemporary composition, and they leave no question that its musical possibilities are innumerable. Realign the Time is a strong debut from a group sure to play a big role in reconceiving vocal composition in twenty-first-century music.

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Realign the time is available from Quince’s website, from iTunes, and from cdbaby. Digital liner notes are available here.  Quince’s debut album, Realign the Time, was made possible by the generous support from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

SHOW – The Riot Ensemble – Les Citations

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20th May 2014
The Forge
3-7 Delancey St
London NW1 7NL

21st May 2014
St John’s College
St Johns St
Cambridge CB2 1TP

Near the one-year anniversary of his death, The Riot Ensemble brings  Henri Dutilleux’s Les Citations to The Forge in Camden and to the Divinity School Recital Hall at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Presented along Dutilleux’s masterwork are an array of newly-commissioned works by composers from across the globe for the same lineup of instruments (with an additional soprano in two of the works).

These new pieces will come from Jose Manuel Serrano (Argentina), Jenna Lyle (USA), Arne Gieshoff (UK), Chris Roe (UK) and Drew Schnurr (USA).  The concert will also feature Ken Hesketh’s transcription of Dutilleux’s piano piece Blackbird (1950) for Les Citations forces, Arlene Sierra’s Petite Grue, and a short piece for Doublebass and Soprano by The Riot Ensemble’s 2014 Composer in Residence Amy Beth Kirsten.

Tickets: £10/£5 are available online, and on the door.

Performers Include: Goska IsphordingRebecca CassSarah MasonCeleste Cronje and conductor Aaron Holloway-Nahum.  I’ll be conducting new works by Chris Roe and Arlene Sierra as well as Ken Hesketh’s transcription of Blackbird.

SHOW – The Riot Ensemble – The Flatulence of the Gods

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5th February 2014
The Forge
3-7 Delancey St
London NW1 7NL

The Riot Ensemble kicks off a new series of contemporary music at The Forge in Camden.  The first half of this concert, starting at 7.30pm on 5th February, features CHROMA – while the Riot Ensemble brings you a second half of extremely low notes from Scott LygateAmy Beth KirstenMartijn PaddingChris Mayo and Aaron Holloway-Nahum.  All five pieces are World or UK premieres and the ensembles include 5 Bass Clarinets, 5 Bassoons, 4 Trombones and tenor.

Tickets: £12/£10 available online from The Forge.

Performers Include: Mark van de Wiel, Lorenzo Iosco, Rosie Burton and members of the Reed Rage Bassoon Quartet, Douglas Coleman, Conductor Jeremiah Cawley and tenor Oliver Brignall.