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Ecstatic Music Festival 2013

Kaufman Music Center Presents

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The 2013 Ecstatic Music Festival®
at Merkin Concert Hall

* Now in its 3rd Season *

January 25 – March 21, 2013

Re-defining music for the post-classical generation.

This year’s pairings include:
Deerhoof & Dal Niente with Marcos Balter
Simone Dinnerstein & Tift Merritt
Carla Kihlstedt & the International Contemporary Ensemble
DJ /rupture & Zs
Laurel Halo, Julia Holter & Daniel Wohl with Transit

Click here to download the Ecstatic Music Festival Press Photo Package (zip file).

Kaufman Music Center's Ecstatic Music Festival® returns this winter with more than 120 composers and performers from diverse musical backgrounds coming together for 11 utterly unique and highly original collaborative performances. The festival's musicians – soloists, bands, chamber ensembles, orchestras and everything in between – hail from diverse musical backgrounds, representing a contemporary culture in which the incorporation of many different influences is the norm, not the exception. In this rich and vibrant post-genre landscape, the Ecstatic Music Festival stands out for its emphasis on collaboration. The festival offers the opportunity for some of today's most compelling musicians to work together in exciting new combinations, allowing them to branch out in fresh, unexpected directions and explore new territory. From these often surprising collaborations, each exploring the fertile terrain between classical and popular music, a door is opened into a musical future in which artists are free to defy expectations and follow the creative roads that offer the greatest possibility of finding something new.

“This is a tremendously exciting and productive time for music in terms of the kinds of collaborations that are taking place, and the amount of wonderful work being invented,” says Lydia Kontos, Executive Director of Kaufman Music Center. “The Ecstatic Music Festival offers an unparalleled opportunity to see artists you love doing something completely new, or get engaged by artists who are new to you for the first time.”

The Ecstatic Music Festival is curated by Judd Greenstein, Co-Director of New Amsterdam Records. “This year's festival is broader than ever, in terms of the kinds of artists, both composers and performers, you'll encounter,” says Greenstein. “But the defining elements of the festival are the unique collaborations that put these artists, who would be unlikely to find each other elsewhere, in a position to explore new ground, providing an impetus for artistic growth that is as exciting as it is nurturing.”

Q2 Music is thrilled to once again be the digital home of the adrenalized Ecstatic Music Festival,” said Alex Ambrose, Producer, Q2 Music. “EMF's exciting showcase of innovative, genre-bending music meshes perfectly with Q2 Music's commitment to making New York's vibrant musical landscape accessible to a broad, national and international audience.”

The 2013 festival kicks off on January 25 with Shara Worden and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WNYC and WQXR and continues with 10 concerts at Kaufman Music Center’s Merkin Concert Hall. Well known for its intimate scale and excellent acoustics, Merkin Concert Hall combines the close connection between audience and performer you would experience in a smaller club with the extraordinary sound of a world-class concert hall.

Presented by Kaufman Center in association with New Amsterdam Presents, the Ecstatic Music Festival will include three New Sounds Live concerts hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer, which will be webcast live on Q2 Music and taped for future broadcast on WNYC. WQXR and Q2 Music are the media partners of the Ecstatic Music Festival. Q2 Music is the festival’s digital venue and will be the center for on-demand artist interviews and concert audio.

Concert Schedule

Fri, Jan 25, 7 pm
Shara Worden & the Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Ecstatic Music Festival Kickoff Concert at The Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR
A Q2 Music Presentation; video webcast live on q2music.org

The acclaimed Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform three songs – including two premieres – written for them by Shara Worden and will perform additional songs with Worden. Best known as the singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist of My Brightest Diamond, a band that mixes elements of opera, cabaret, chamber music and rock, Worden has been called “a creative chameleon with endless wells of technical skill…[with] one of the most astounding voices in all of indie rock” (Pitchfork). The New York Times calls the Brooklyn Youth Chorus “a superb ensemble of bright singers, [that] consistently demonstrates a polish and commitment well beyond its years.” This show will be hosted by Q2 Music’s Helga Davis (Einstein on the Beach).

Sat, Jan 26, 7:30 pm
Carla Kihlstedt, ICE, Causing a Tiger & Face the Music
A New Sounds Live Presentation hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer
Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer Carla Kihlstedt joins the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), “an invaluable gem within the local new-music ecosphere [that has achieved] national and global renown" (New York Times), to premiere Kihlstedt's new ICElab commission, At Night We Walk in Circles and Are Consumed by Fire. Written for nine members of ICE plus Kihlstedt, the song cycle is based on images, impressions and textures taken from dreams from various sources, including the players themselves. Also on the bill are Kihlstedt's band, Causing a Tiger, and teen alt-classical sensations Face the Music (called “stunning” and “a force in the New York new-music world” by the New York Times), who will join ICE in performing the legendary composer George Lewis's Artificial Life 2007.

Wed, Feb 6, 7:30 pm
Clogs, Sarah Kirkland Snider & Orchestra for the Next Century
with special guests DM Stith & Shara Worden
A New Sounds Live Presentation hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer
Sarah Kirkland Snider presents her new work for seven vocalists and chamber orchestra, Unremembered, a 13-song cycle set to poetry (and with accompanying projected artwork) by New-York-based poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows, featuring vocal performances by DM Stith, Shara Worden and Padma Newsome. A cycle about memory, innocence and the ways we cope with an unpredictable world, the poems recall strange and beautiful happenings experienced during a childhood in rural Massachusetts. Newsome will also appear with Clogs, the legendary hybrid band/chamber ensemble whose latest album was called “one of the most evocative and appealing records of the year, in any genre” (NPR). Clogs return to the Ecstatic Music Festival in a trio incarnation with Newsome (vocals, viola), Rachael Elliott (bassoon) and Thomas Kozumplik (percussion). Orchestra for the Next Century, directed by Gary Schneider, will present Snider's work along with new works and arrangements by Newsome, Worden and Stith.

Sat, Feb 9, 7:30 pm
DJ /rupture & Zs
The border-crossing bass visionary and turntable artist DJ /rupture will join Zs, one of “the strongest avant-garde bands in New York” (New York Times), to perform an evening of music by each artist that blends, overlaps and extends toward the other. Zs and DJ /rupture will present alternating mini-sets, with transitional collaborative works and improvisations that connect these sets to one another, varying in form and containing elements of the surrounding “solo” material. This collaboration, which is an extension of Zs's years-in-the-making SCORE project, brings together what VIBE Magazine calls DJ /rupture’s “stunning, globe-trotting, three-turntable mix” that “captures the spirit of the best bootleg mixes – bumping, brash, and without borders” with Zs “pornographically strict hash of avant-garde classical music, free jazz, and punk” (Pitchfork).

Wed, February 20, 7:30 pm
Deerhoof & Dal Niente with Marcos Balter
Deerhoof – labeled “the best band in the world” by Pitchfork and called “one of the most original rock bands to have come along in the last decade” by the New York Times – and the contemporary ensemble Dal Niente will collaborate on a new work for the first time after sharing a bill in Chicago's Millennium Park last summer as part of the Wordless Music Series. The program includes a new work by Brazilian-born composer Marcos Balter for Deerhoof and Dal Niente, arrangements by Greg Saunier of Deerhoof songs for Dal Niente and a performance of works by Balter for Dal Niente. Balter's music has been called “minutely crafted” and “utterly lovely” (Chicago Tribune) and “whimsical” and “surreal” (New York Times). The Chicago Tribune praises Balter's “wickedly original sense of humor and a fiercely imaginative palette of instrumental and vocal sounds" and calls Dal Niente “a model of what contemporary music needs,” praising the group’s “frisky eclecticism.”

Sat, Feb 23, 7:30 pm
Laurel Halo, Julia Holter & Daniel Wohl with Transit
Composer/performers Laurel Halo, Julia Holter and Daniel Wohl join forces for a new collaborative commission, performed by all three artists along with Wohl's TRANSIT ensemble. Halo, Holter and Wohl will also present songs and compositions with new arrangements and configurations for live instrumentalists. Paris-born composer/performer Wohl draws on his background in electronic music to create works that intimately merge electronic and acoustic elements. His distinctive hybrid format has earned him praise as one of his generation’s “imaginative and skillful creators” (New York Times) “shaping our contemporary music scene” (NPR). Holter’s take on ambient pop earned her a place on NPR’s list of Best Outer Sound Albums of 2011. Her compositions, says AlteredZones, “sound kind of like what might happen if Arthur Russel, Brian Eno, and Joni Mitchell were sent back to the 18th century to make chamber music.” “The textures and tones in [Laurel Halo’s] music seem to reflect the ever-shifting nature of phenomena and the phenomena of nature, says The Guardian. “Prepare to bliss out, and for after-shocks.”

Wed, Feb 27, 7:30 pm
Arnold Dreyblatt & Megafaun
Often characterized as one of the more rock-oriented of American minimalists, the Berlin-based composer and media artist Arnold Dreyblatt has cultivated a strong underground base of fans for his transcendental and euphoric music. The psych-folk band Megafaun will join Dreyblatt for a rare performance of works created as part of an ongoing, years-in-the-making collaboration, here taking its fullest incarnation yet. Megafaun, who will also perform a solo set, “has consistently pushed the boundaries of folk music by incorporating jazz, psychedelia and both experimental and acoustic rock” says NPR. “They tease out old ideas and combine them with new ones,” says Pitchfork, “affixing Appalachian folk to classic rock, ambient, avant garde, and a kind of musical entropy that pushes many of their songs into sputtering, oddly compelling noise.” Dreyblatt first worked with Megafaun in 2007, which resulted in an American tour performing new works that he composed expressly for the group. Recently reunited for the Hopscotch Festival in North Carolina, they recorded an album together in 2012 that will be released in the near future.

Thu, Mar 14, 7:30 pm
Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund Concert
A New Sounds Live Presentation hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer
The Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund is a radical partnership between artists and audiences to commission works from adventurous composers. Since the Fund began in 1997, fans of new music have joined together to commission dozens of new pieces of music for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, making PCF one of the most anticipated and reliable launching pads for emerging composers in NYC and beyond. On March 14, the Bang on a Can All-Stars will perform world premieres of new commissions by cutting-edge multimedia composer Anna Clyne, hypnotic electronic guru Dan Deacon, Icelandic electronica minimalist Jóhann Jóhannsson and electro-acoustic experimentalist and installation artist Paula Matthusen, as well as the world premieres of avant-indie rocker Tyondai Braxton’s Trems and cross-genre composer/performer Fay Kueen Wang's Weltinseln featuring Wang performing alongside the All-Stars.

Sat, Mar 16, 7:30 pm
Joseph C. Phillips, Jr. & Imani Uzuri with Numinous
The stunning vocalist and globally-inspired composer Imani Uzuri teams up with composer and Numinous ensemble founder Joseph C. Phillips, Jr. to perform new works commissioned for this year’s festival. Uzuri will premiere an original multi-voice and multi-instrument musical suite performed by Numinous and special guests, exploring the expansive themes of home and “place” inspired by the Psalms, the writings of Sufi mystic and poet Rumi and the folk hymnody African-American Spirituals. Numinous will premiere a multi-movement composition by Phillips that is a conscious reflection of a modern “post-black” aesthetic, with a liberating pursuit of individuality where contemporary classical music melds with Prince, Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo and Curtis Mayfield to create a uniquely personal musical memoir. Numinous will also perform a selection from Phillips’s 2012 BAM Next Wave Festival-commissioned score to Ernst Lubitsch’s silent film The Loves of Pharaoh as well as a new joint composition by Uzuri and Phillips. Phillips’s genre-defying “mixed music” draws inspiration from contemporary classical, jazz, world and popular music, and has been called “stylish and provocative (All Music Guide), “luminous…shimmering” (One Final Note) and praised for inspiring a “sense of wonder” (Audiophile Audition). “With a voice that would sound equally at home on an opera stage or a disco 12-inch," says the Village Voice, “Imani Uzuri is a constant surprise...seamlessly combining jazz, classical, country and blues motifs into highly personalized compositions.”

Wed, Mar 20, 7:30 pm
Steven Mackey & Rinde Eckert with Big Farm & JACK Quartet
Longtime collaborators and recent Grammy winners Steven Mackey (composer/electric guitar) and Rinde Eckert (voice/accordion) present, for the first time, the complete set of songs from the forthcoming debut album by their band Big Farm, featuring So Percussion's Jason Treuting on drums and Lek Darger on electric bass. Eckert, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama, Obie Award winner and recently-named Doris Duke Artist, will also debut a new work commissioned by the Festival for himself plus JACK Quartet, who will also present a rare performance of String Theory, an acclaimed work by Steven Mackey. JACK, which has electrified audiences worldwide with its “explosive virtuosity” (Boston Globe) and “viscerally exciting performances” (New York Times), will also join Big Farm in songs during their expansive, theatrical set.

Thu, Mar 21, 7:30 pm
Simone Dinnerstein & Tift Merritt
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein and singer-songwriter Tift Merritt join forces in Night, a unique collaboration uniting folk, rock and classical worlds, exploring common terrain and uncovering new musical landscapes. Though Simone (a Juilliard-trained classical pianist from Brooklyn) and Tift (a singer-songwriter from North Carolina whose father taught her to play by ear) could not come from more different musical backgrounds, when the two met they immediately realized that their passion for music was kindred, if not the same. Night features new songs by Brad Mehldau and Patty Griffin, Tift's own songs, selections by Bach and Schubert, and The Cohen Variations by Daniel Felsenfeld, based on Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne.” Tift's and Simone's studio recording of Night will be released on Sony on March 19, 2013.

Merkin Concert Hall
at Kaufman Music Center

129 West 67th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam)

Festival information & tickets: EcstaticMusicFestival.com or 212 501 3330
Download hi-res press photos.

Ticket Information
Single tickets: $25
Buy tickets to 3+ concerts: $20 per ticket
Festival pass: $150
Students: $15 (in person only)
Tickets at 212 501 3330 or kaufman-center.org/mch

Tickets to the Jan 25 Q2 Music Event at The Greene Space concert are $15.
Info at thegreenespace.org

Q2 Music is WQXR’s online music station and website dedicated to contemporary classical composers, innovative ensembles, and vibrant, live performances from New York City's leading new-music venues. Q2 Music programming include immersive festivals, insightful commentary from a diverse roster of hosts including composer Phil Kline and violist Nadia Sirota, full-length album streams, and in-depth interviews with trend-setting artists. Q2 Music lives online at www.wqxr.org/q2music, where you can find essential playlist info, on-demand audio and an upcoming schedule of events, and is accessible via the free WQXR App.

Special thanks to Charly Dimston. Kaufman Center presentations in Merkin Concert Hall are made possible, in part, with institutional support from: Bloomberg Philanthropies, BMI Foundation Inc., The Edward T. Cone Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Friars Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, The Janis and Alan Menken Foundation, The Johnny Mercer Foundation, New Music USA, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Ted Snowdon Foundation, TD Charitable Foundation, and Warburg Pincus Foundation.

Presentations in Merkin Concert Hall are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and from the New York City Council through the good offices of Councilmember Gale Brewer. Kaufman Center presentations in Merkin Concert Hall are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Press Images

Kaufman Music Center

Goodman House
129 W. 67th Street
New York, NY 10023

Press Contact

Joan Jastrebski
212 501 3386

For non-Kaufman Music Center presentations,
please see event page for press contact.

New York's Creative Home for Listeners, Learners and Performers

KAUFMAN MUSIC CENTER • 129 West 67th Street • New York, NY 10023 • (212) 501-3330