What happens when teenage composers interact with the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen and the ideals of 20th-century Dadaist art? Kaufman Music Center’s ComposerCraft and Grammy-nominated Metropolis Ensemble join hands to explore the mysteries of the zodiac.
Zodiac Composites: The Twelve Tones of the Zodiac
A Concert by ComposerCraft and Metropolis Ensemble
Mon, Apr 10, 6:30 pm
VENUE: 1 Rivington (Lower East Side)
FREE; donations are welcome.
The article below is by Composer & ComposerCraft member Sara Stebbins.
What happens when teenage composers interact with the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen and the ideals of 20th-century Dadaist art? In a universe where contemporary concert music and music education usually play separate roles, Kaufman Music Center’s ComposerCraft and Grammy-nominated Metropolis Ensemble join hands to try something new: an evening of fresh concert music inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen, performed by NYC’s finest professional musicians… and entirely conceived, composed, and presented by composers aged 11-14.
ComposerCraft, a collective of six young composers, presents twelve intricate and expressive new works -- one for each sign of the zodiac -- using the twelve-tone composition method and inspired by Stockhausen’s zodiac piece Tierkreis and the artistic values of the Dada movement.
Each human being is a composite, our character shaped from many influences, some mystical and remote. Astrology claims that even the stars, vast light-years away, have an active hand in who we become. But how can we begin to understand and portray these influences, these parts that make up the whole that is the human condition? A concept as complex as this requires an expressive medium capable of capturing said complexity. “Zodiac Composites: The Twelve Tones of the Zodiac” combines the expressionist, dodecaphonal quality of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Tierkreis and the multi-faceted, synthetic nature of the Dadaist art game, Exquisite Corpse.
Stockhausen took up the zodiac in Tierkreis, his wildly improvisatory set of twelve duets. Picking up where he left off, the composers of ComposerCraft have created twelve intricate and expressive new works, one for each sign of the zodiac, using the twelve-tone composition method. Going the German composer one better, ComposerCraft also created a jointly-composed new work for Ophiuchus, the “13th zodiac sign” which recently made headlines when NASA recalculated the celestial calendar. Ophiuchus was written using the Exquisite Corpse process: each utilizing the same twelve-tone row (generated using an iPhone app designed for that exact purpose), each composer created the next section of the piece after seeing only the last few notes of the previous composer’s section. This method evokes a composite, mosaic-like quality that is hard to describe and harder still to replicate.
Image above by Special Music School student Graydon Hanson