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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.
Read EMF curator Judd Greenstein's intro to the 2013 festival and this concert,
The title of At Night We Walk in Circles and Are Consumed by Fire is a translation of a Latin palindrome: In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni. It is a song cycle based on images, impressions and textures taken from dreams from various sources, including the players themselves. Kihlstedt brings her experience as both a songwriter and an improviser to the piece, which intersperses eight through-composed songs with graphic score improvisations. As Kihlstedt explains: "I've always been struck by the dissonance between our waking and sleeping lives. Regardless of the fact that we spend such significant time in both worlds, we have to leave one to enter the other, bringing with us only the faintest residue, image or inscrutable sensation. My goal with this piece was to bridge these two worlds as much is possible -- to access the unpredictable logic of the dream world, using the particular characters and talents of each musician."
Merkin Concert Hall
Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Kaufman Music Center
Ecstatic Music Festival®
Carla Kihlstedt, International Contemporary Ensemble, Causing a Tiger & Face the Music
A New Sounds Live Presentation
WNYC’s John Schaefer, host
Carla Kihlstedt, composer, voice and violin
International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
Claire Chase, flute
Joshua Rubin, clarinet
Rebekah Heller, bassoon
Dan Lippel, guitar
Jennifer Curtis, violin
Erik Carlson, violin
Nathan Davis, percussion
Phyllis Chen, piano
Bridget Kibbey, harp
Causing a Tiger
Carla Kihlstedt, violin and voice
Shahzad Ismaily, baritone guitar, electronics
Matthias Bossi, drums, percussion, piano and voice
Face the Music
Jenny Undercofler, director
Vasudevan Panicker, managing director
Jonah Murphy, flute
Liz Kingsley, flute
Juan Lara, clarinet
Sam Mellins, clarinet
Kenichi Kaneda, soprano saxophone
Daphne Maeglin, horn
Joe Kress, trumpet
Matt Olive, trombone
Owen Carter, trombone
Harun Bonnett, percussion
Nils Krarup, percussion
Juliana Maitinez, percussion
Yonatan Muskal, percussion
TJ Adorno, electric guitar
Jack Gulielmetti, electric guitar
Kyle Blessing, electric guitar
Ethan Cohn, electric bass
Dean Deng, piano
Paris Lavidis, violin
Will Maxwell-Lunney, violin
Sophia Steger, violin
GEORGE LEWIS Artificial Life 2007 (2007)
ICE, CAUSING A TIGER and
FACE THE MUSIC
CAUSING A TIGER Collective Improvisations
CARLA KIHLSTEDT At Night We Walk in Circles and
Are Consumed by Fire (2012) World Premiere
for flute, clarinet, bassoon, guitar, 2 violins, percussion, piano and harp
I. Factual Boy
Nathan has a recurring dream about a room that
appears from nowhere in his house.
II. One Story Motel
This is from a dream submitted to us by Lawrence
Merkert about a man selling lives out of a motel room.
III. Rocks and Concrete
I have an occasionally recurring dream that my teeth fall out.
IV. The Surrender
Rebekah had this dream involving several members of ICE.
V. Against Dreaming
Some nights I wish that things would simply be what they
appear to be and stay where I put them.
VI. Adonified Sky
Claire, who at first said she had no dreams worth sharing, finally admitted to having one of the simplest and most beautiful dreams I’ve heard.. a sort of waking dream in which she slowly watches a backdrop fill with light, one point at a time. This is inspired both by
that and by a dream shared with me by a friend in which, more fascinated than afraid,
he felt himself die.
VII. Grand and Tiny World
Many people have submitted dreams about flying. This one
is inspired by Claire’s flying dream.
VIII. Addressing a Dream
Jennifer had a dream in which she met herself
as a young girl.
The words ghost and guest share an etymological root.
The people whom we conjure in our dreams are a bit of both. This is inspired by a
book of photographs and poems by Wendy Given and Rafael Oses called Gæst.
“At Night We Walk in Circles and Are Consumed by Fire” was
commissioned by ICE through the ICElab program.
About the Ecstatic Music Festival®
The Ecstatic Music Festival was inaugurated in 2011 by Kaufman Music Center Deeply committed to music education and performance that incorporate the ideas and trends of the 21st century, the Center seeks to put truly modern music on its stage—redefining music for the post-classical generation, and serving it up to new audiences. Under the inspired direction of curator Judd Greenstein, co-director of New Amsterdam Records, the Festival brings together innovative artists for adventurous collaborations between musicians from the indie/pop/and classical realms. At the nexus of New York City’s vibrant “indie classical” scene, the festival shines a bright light on one of the most intriguing areas of contemporary music, in which lines between genres are blurred and the concert environment combines the elegance of a traditional concert hall setting with the energy of a nightclub. The Ecstatic Music Festival’s programs give true meaning to the notion of “Ecstatic Music” as a joyful and adventurous collaboration between composers and performers from the indie/pop and classical realms.
This year’s Ecstatic Music includes three New Sounds Live concerts hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer, which are webcast live on Q2 Music and taped for future broadcast on WNYC. Q2 Music is the festival’s digital venue and the center for on-demand artist interviews and concert audio. The festival is presented in association with New Amsterdam Presents.
About the Program
Artificial Life 2007
“The Game of Life” is an early computer program that tries to simulate some of the unpredictable ways that living things grow and replicate. Given a set of rules, single cells on an a grid grow and spawn shapes which move, conflict, synchronize, interact and sometimes interfere with each other. Computers are good at following rules precisely, yet amplified by time and thousands of iterations of simple math, things become surprisingly chaotic and even lifelike.
George Lewis’ complex and layered improvisation Artificial Life 2007, played tonight by ICE, Carla Kihlstedt, Shahzad Ismaily, Matthias Bossi, and Face the Music, gives individual players a detailed set of instructions for making music, and many conditions for when to play that music. Some of instructions tell the player to listen and follow, some indicate to start something new. Players sometimes work alone, sometimes in groups. Players/groups might be aware of other interactions; they might care, they might ignore.
Computers don’t have a stake in the outcome of their decisions. The synchronicity, conflicts and coincidences generated by a band of musicians thinking, listening, deciding and playing creates both chaos and harmony that is appropriately richer than what is possible in “The Game of Life.” —Joshua Rubin
Causing a Tiger
This evening, Causing a Tiger will play songs that belong only to this performance and to this evening. Songs will elide and sounds will enter through windows and slip under doors. Even as words hint at sadness, the elation of spontaneous creation is a positivist experience, marking time well spent, unfolding the inner to lay on the outer. It’s time to take a walk, even with pollution in the air . . .
At Night We Walk in Circles and
Are Consumed by Fire
I’ve always been struck by the dissonance between our waking and sleeping lives. We spend such significant time in each reality, but we have to leave one to enter the other, bringing with us only the faintest residue, image, or inarticulable sensation.
The title of the piece is a translation of a Latin palindrome: In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni. Each of these songs is inspired by a dream told to me either by one of the performers or by the public via a public dream blog page that we set up on facebook. Talking about a dream is kind of like sending a poem through translation software to every known language and then back again into its original tongue. And then, of course, the music and lyrics create a logic of their own that reorders it all and spins it into song.
We began conceiving this piece more than 18 months ago, and it’s been a wonderful experience to let it unfold and evolve over such a long time. Thanks so much to ICE and their openness and generosity, both musically and personally. And thanks to all of the people who fed the fires by submitting dreams to the blog. Although most of them do not appear in the piece, reading each and every one of them was a constant source of creative inspiration along the way. — Carla Kihlstedt
About the Artists
Composer, violinist and vocalist Carla Kihlstedt is a veteran of folk/pop, contemporary classical, improvised and experimental music. She is a founding member of several pioneering and iconic bands including Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Rabbit Rabbit and Tin Hat, with whom she just released songs based on the poetry of e.e. cummings called the rain is a handsome animal (New Amsterdam Records).
In addition to the piece you will hear tonight, commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Carla has been commissioned by the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Bang On a Can All-Stars, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Brecht Forum. She has also written a song cycle for eight performers with poet Rafael Osés called Necessary Monsters, based on Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings.
Most recently, Rabbit Rabbit (her song-writing duo with her partner Matthias Bossi) launched a subscription site called Rabbit Rabbit Radio (www.rabbitrabbitradio.com). On the first day of each month they release a new song to subscribers along with films, photographs, writings and other evidences of their creative process.
Carla has performed at many festivals in North America and Europe including the Armenian Gallery Festival, San Francisco and Saalfelden Jazz Festivals, and the Ojai, Caramoor and Other Minds Music Festivals. In addition to her own albums, she has contributed to the recordings of Fred Frith, Tom Waits, Mr. Bungle, Tracy Chapman, Pretty Lights and Madeleine Peyroux. Carla also teaches curious and broad-minded young musicians in the Contemporary Improvisation Department of New England Conservatory.
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), described by the New York Times as “one of the most accomplished and adventurous groups in new music,” is dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced. With a modular makeup of 33 leading instrumentalists performing in forces ranging from solos to large ensembles, ICE functions as performer, presenter and educator, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and new strategies for audience engagement. ICE redefines concert music as it brings together new work and new listeners in the 21st century.
“Praised for “stunning performances” by The New York Times, Kaufman Music Center’s Face the Music is an alt-classical ensemble of more than 115 unusually talented teenagers from in and around New York City.” Advancing Kaufman Music Center’s commitment to modern music, Face the Music provides an unparalleled performance and education experience for the next generation of musical leaders.
Under the direction of founder and conductor Dr. Jenny Undercofler, Face the Music has played across New York City at venues such as Le Poisson Rouge, Merkin Concert Hall, Roulette, BAM Café and the Bang On A Can Marathon. The group has been featured on WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase, NPR’s All Things Considered, and on a live broadcast marking the opening of NY Public Radio’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. In 2011, Face the Music and Dr. Undercofler were honored with the ASCAP Aaron Copland Award. Most recently, Face the Music opened for the Philip Glass Ensemble at the River to River Festival.
Face the Music features over 115 students, from 5th through 12th grade, from the entire tri-state area. Students attend over 40 schools including all NYC arts-high schools and all NYC pre-colleges. Many of the performers are students or alumni of Kaufman’s own Special Music School, the only K-12 public school in New York City that integrates pre-conservatory musical training with academic education.
John Schaefer is the host of WNYC’s innovative music/talk show Soundcheck, which features live performances and interviews with a variety of guests. Schaefer has also hosted and produced WNYC’s radio series New Sounds since 1982 (“The #1 radio show for the Global Village” – Billboard) and the New Sounds Live concert series since 1986. Schaefer has written extensively about music, including the book New Sounds: A Listener’s Guide to New Music (Harper & Row, NY, 1987; Virgin Books, London, 1990); the Cambridge Companion to Singing: World Music (Cambridge University Press, U.K., 2000); and the TV program Bravo Profile: Bobby McFerrin (Bravo Television, 2003). He has also written about horse racing (Bloodlines: A Horse Racing Anthology, Vintage, NY 2006) and has been a regular panelist on the BBC’s soccer-based program Sports World.
New Sounds Live is an annual series of concert broadcasts, both live and time-delayed, established in 1986, and devoted to many types of new, unusual, uncategorizable and overlooked forms of music (and sometimes, film, dance and literature). Produced and hosted by John Schaefer, who also hosts WNYC’s innovative music talk show Soundcheck, these on-location recordings bring to the long-running New Sounds radio show the energy of live performance and the chance to hear composers and musicians in on-stage interviews.
Kaufman Music 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 Music 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.
Special thanks to Charly Dimston.
At Night We Walk in Circles and Are Consumed by Fire was commissioned by ICE through the ICElab program. ICElab is the International Contemporary Ensemble’s new model for commissioning, developing, and performing new music, designed to nurture the essential composer-performer collaboration through which groundbreaking musical ideas emerge.
ICElab 2012 is made possible through lead support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, alongside generous funding from the Greenwall Foundation, the Creative Capital Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the French American Cultural Exchange, the New Essential Works Program of the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, the Francis Goelet Charitable Trust, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Carla Kihlstedt’s participation in ICElab is supported by the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.