Archive for the ‘Events’ category

New York City’s ‘Experiments in Opera’ Announces Winter/Spring 2015 Season

December 8th, 2014

eio1NEW YORK, NYExperiments in Opera announces two productions slated for the Winter and Spring of 2015 including a world premiere and eight new works. Building on the success of their 2013-14 residency at Abrons Arts Center, EiO returns to Abron’s Underground Theater for the world premiere of Sisyphus, a reimagining of the complete Sisyphus story told by three composers. Then in April 2015, EiO takes over Roulette for a 2-night Story Binge featuring 8 new works by eight composers. Each night will feature four works that stretch the limits of what opera can be. Experimenting with new collaborative processes and embracing the eclecticism of New York’s contemporary and DIY music scenes, EiO aims to expand their support of today’s composers looking to tell their stories through music.
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There’s more to the myth of Sisyphus than a man pushing a boulder up a hill. In this new, collaboratively-composed evening-length opera, the famous story is twisted, pulled apart, and reassembled in a collage of characters, genres and questions. Sisyphus features texts and music by the three founders of Experiments in Opera: Jason Cady, Aaron Siegel, and Matthew Welch and is being developed in partnership with the director Ethan Heard and the designer Kristen Robinson.

Jason, Aaron and Matt decided that they wanted to write a piece together, each using their own unique musical languages but telling the same story. They chose Sisyphus as a way to continue the tradition of myths as mutable stories, changing with each telling depending on the background of the storyteller. In this new opera, Jason focuses primarily on the story of Sisyphus, whose legendary ego and excesses were the cause of his infamous punishment. Aaron tells the tragic story of Aegina, whose capture by Zeus is discovered and betrayed by Sisyphus. And Matt focuses on the never-ending hell that Sisyphus lives as a result of his transgressions. This version of Sisyphus will at turns be tragic, obsessive and hilarious, all in the course of a 60 minute, fully-staged production.

The opera is scored for 3 singers, soprano Lucy Dhegrae, mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney and tenor Vince B. Vincent. They will each embody a dizzying number of roles throughout the production and will be accompanied by Joe Bergen on vibraphone, Meaghan Burke on cello, Shawn Lovato on bass, Jason Cady on modular synthesizer and conducted by Matthew Welch.   Sisyphus will be directed by Ethan Heard, with stage designs by Kristen Robinson, lighting design by Masha Tsimring, and costume design by Seth Bodie.

Production details:
February 13, 14, 20 & 21, 2015
Abrons Arts Center | Underground Theater
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street), New York, NY 10002
Tickets $20 at abronsartscenter.org



Experiments in Opera presents eight new operas in a two-night operathon at Roulette in Brooklyn on April 1 & 2, 2015. Over the course of this opera binge, you will hear the work of eight composers, whose arrival at opera couldn’t be more roundabout. The resulting pieces, one-act shorts and excerpts in concert and staged performances tell a range of absurd, abstract, historical and hilarious stories.

  • Gelsey Bell spins a fractured story of social relationships based on a Rolodex of characters.
  • Roddy Bottum spreads the myth of Sasquatch with a story about a small town family’s ‘Bigfoot Tours’ and the fallout when their daughter runs away with the real Sasquatch.
  • Judith Berkson explores a classic children’s folk tale a mixed ensemble of keyboards, strings and a children’s choir.
  • Jason Cady tells the story of alien zoologists trying to conserve the human race by pairing a woman with one of the last remaining men.
  • Nick Hallett looks at the nature of inspiration, originality, and illusion through the cautionary tale of a composer’s behavior on social media.
  • Sam Hillmer details the disconnect between spoken words and thoughts in his auto-biographical multi-media experience.
  • Aaron Siegel investigates the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac through the eyes of a performance artist who struggles to find an outlet for his strange visions.
  • Matthew Welch explores his family memoirs of wartime Philippines with his ensemble, Blarvuster.

Production Details:

April 1-2, 2015, 8:00 PM
Roulette | 509 Atlantic Avenue (corner of 3rd Avenue) Brooklyn, NY 11217
$20 for each night
$15 for students
roulette.org for tickets



ABOUT EXPERIMENTS IN OPERA

Co-founded by composers Matthew Welch, Jason Cady, and Aaron Siegel, Experiments in Opera is a composer-driven initiative, featuring recent and new works with innovative answers to the traditional questions about how to connect words, story and music. Our activities respond to the pronounced need to nurture composers who are exploring musical work beyond a strictly concert setting, but furthermore into the hybrid genre of opera. Additionally Experiments in Opera builds supportive and informed audiences that are capable of contributing to its work.

Since 2011, Experiments in Opera has produced thirty new operas, collaborating with over one hundred performers, designers and directors from the New York City artist community. Experiments in Opera has presented the work of more than 20 composers including Jason Cady, Aaron Siegel, Matthew Welch, Georges Aperghis, John Zorn, Robert Ashley, Joe Diebes, Ruby Fulton, Gabrielle Herbst, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Justin Tierney, Leaha Maria Villarreal, the Cough Button collective, Jessica Pavone, Paul Pinto, Jonathan Mitchell, John King, Dave Ruder and Daniel Kushner. Venues have included Abrons Arts Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, and Issue Project Room.

All of the work developed with Experiments in Opera is documented extensively in videos, images and writings that are available in an online catalogue at experimentsinopera.com. These insightful looks into the origins of artists’ ideas and their working habits help to support EIO’s mission of building a more robust conversation about how and why opera works the way it does.

The Abrons Arts Center, located at 466 Grand Street, New York, NY, is the performing and visual arts program of Henry Street Settlement. The Abrons supports the presentation of innovative, multi-disciplinary work; cultivates artists in all stages of their creative development through educational programs, commissions, and residencies; and serves as an intersection of cultural engagement for local, national, and international audiences and arts-workers. For more information, call (212) 598-0400 or visit AbronsArtsCenter.org.

Brooklyn’s Roulette, located at 509 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, is a noted community venue hosting a broad array of experimental music, performance & mixed media shows. Roulette has become an epicenter for their neighborhood, and for the arts organizations of New York City, occupying a unique position in the city’s cultural landscape as one of the most creative and prolific centers for experimental art in the United States. For more information, call (917) 267-0363 or visit roulette.org.

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Chicago Singer-songwriter Jeff Harms releases new album: Pretty Girls Don’t Just Talk to Me

November 1st, 2014
November 12, 2014
8:30 pmto11:00 pm

jeffharmsChicago-based singer-songwriter Jeff Harms (www.JeffHarms.net) is set to independently release a new album of music via digital release.

Jeff Harms’ fifth release, Pretty Girls Don’t Just Talk to Me is an album of duets produced by Sam Wagster (Fruit Bats, Father Costume, Dahlgren). Various local singers lend their voices to ten simple tunes. Nora O’Connor, Rachel Ries, Dan Mohr, Gillian Lisee, Adam Vida and Ben Boye fill out the sound. In particular, O’Connor is known for her work with Andrew Bird and Chicago favorites The Flat Five.

An album release event – a low-fi presentation of tight harmonies and guest musicians – will take place on Wednesday, November 12, at 8:30 pm at The Hideout Chicago, 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago, IL, www.hideoutchicago.com. Tickets are $5.

Recorded in the autumn of 2013 on a small screened-in porch in Michigan, the project was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Grant. Supplemental funds were raised through a successful and humorous Kickstarter campaign with a video starring Harms, LeRoy Bach (formerly of Wilco) and Marty Lennartz that went viral (30,000 views). As part of this campaign, Harms wrote songs for hire that were compiled into an album of their own called: Jeff Harms 15 Songs.

Harms describes the record Pretty Girls Don’t Just Talk to Me as a series of simple love tunes, and a ‘Part Two’ to his last album, He Said She Said That’s What She Said. Each of the tracks was written with the idea to duet with local singers. Funny and terrifying topics range from a song about Harms’ mom and dad meeting on an airforce base in Wyoming, to struggling to write a proper love letter, to a song about the end of the world originally called “Underarmagedon”. All songs are written by Jeff Harms except for “Whatever” and “The Menace”, written by Jeff Harms and the late Brian Torrey Scott.

Harms is a multi-disciplined art maker and alum of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, known for his strong work in sculpture, film, music and performance. Harms is a former member of the performance group Every house has a door, formerly Goat Island.

Mix Tape Riot says of Harms, “The last few times I’ve seen him, I’ve been riveted by his songs… an ability to understate everything—lyrics, melody and instrumentation …(P)eople revere his songs. Some of the baddest musicians in Chicago, including Leroy Bach, formerly of Wilco, are all too happy to play with him in any situation.

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Composer Gerald Cohen’s new album SEA OF REEDS (Navona Records) and CD Release

October 29th, 2014
November 11, 2014
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

New York-based composer Gerald Cohen (www.GeraldCohenMusic.com) is set to release a new CD of music – SEA OF REEDS – on the Navona Label on November 11th, 2014. The four pieces on this recording reflect Cohen’s affinity for the clarinet, featuring the instrument in various trio settings. The album will be released in both physical and digital formats and will be available for purchase at ClassicsOnline, iTunes, Amazon, and other online music distributors.

CD release concert will be at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleeker Street, New York, NY, Tuesday, November 11 at 7 pm (doors open at 6 pm). Advance tickets are $15; day-of $20. The performance will feature the Grneta Ensemble (Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski, clarinets, and Alexandra Joan, piano) as well as violinist Jennifer Choi and violist Maria Lambros.

Cohen, whose music is noted for its dramatic and lyrical qualities, aims with SEA OF REEDS to explore the multifaceted clarinet through the lens of his classical, Jewish, and jazz influences. The composer writes: “I love the clarinet for its wide variety of character and dynamics, and its ability to either blend beautifully with other instruments or to stand out in a crowd.”

Variously Blue is a vibrant group of variations on a twelve-bar blues pattern, highlighting an interplay between jazz and concert music; the title collection Sea of Reeds arranges five of Cohen’s Jewish vocal works, turning them into virtuosic clarinet showpieces. Yedid Nefesh, based on a delicate Sephardic song, explores both meditative and exuberant aspects of that melody, while the wide-ranging variations of Grneta Variations take advantage of the wonderful virtuosity and unique musical personalities of the three musicians of the Grneta Ensemble.

As with the CD release concert, the recording features the Grneta Ensemble (Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski, clarinets, and Alexandra Joan, piano) with violinist Jennifer Choi and violist Maria Lambros.


 

Works on this recording (all composed by Gerald Cohen) are:

Variously Blue, for clarinet, violin, and piano
Sea of Reeds, for two clarinets and piano
Yedid Nefesh, for two clarinet, viola, and piano
Grneta Variations, for two clarinets and piano

Total Running Time: 70 minutes


About Gerald Cohen

Composer Gerald Cohen (Yonkers, NY), has been praised for his “linguistic fluidity and melodic gift,” creating compositions with “a strong sense of tradition — one that embraces Brahms, Bartok and Britten on one hand and his own Jewish heritage on the other” (Gramophone Magazine). His deeply affecting compositions have been recognized with numerous awards and critical accolades. According to Gramophone, an earlier CD of his compositions, Generations, “reveals a very personal modernism that…offers great emotional rewards.”

His opera, Steal a Pencil for Me, based on a true concentration camp love story, had its semi- staged premiere in 2013. Lucid Culture’s review noted the effectiveness of Cohen’s “…mesmerizingly hypnotic, intricately contrapuntal” music, with moments of “…Bernard Herrmann-esque, shivery terror…”. Cohen’s operas Sarah and Hagar, based on the story from the book of Genesis, and Seed, a one-act opera about love and choices for a post-apocalyptic couple, have been performed in concert form.

Cohen’s best-known work, his “shimmering setting” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) of Adonai Ro’i (Psalm 23), has received thousands of performances from synagogues and churches to Carnegie Hall and the Vatican. A cantor at Shaarei Tikvah in Scarsdale, NY, Cohen’s experience as a singer informs his dramatic, lyrical compositions. He also serves on the faculties of both the Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College.

Recognition of Cohen’s body of work includes the Copland House Borromeo String Quartet Award, Aaron Copland Award, Westchester Prize for New Work, American Composers Forum Faith Partners residency, and Cantors Assembly’s Max Wohlberg Award for distinguished achievement in the field of Jewish composition. Cohen received the Yale University’s Sudler Prize for outstanding achievement in the creative arts, and has been awarded commissioning grants from Meet the Composer, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and Westchester Arts Council. Throughout his career, he has been selected for residencies including those at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and American Lyric Theater.

Cohen’s music has been commissioned by chamber ensembles including the Cassatt String Quartet, Verdehr Trio, Franciscan String Quartet, Chesapeake Chamber Music, Grneta Ensemble, Wave Hill Trio, Bronx Arts Ensemble, and Brooklyn Philharmonic Brass Quintet; by choruses including the New York Virtuoso Singers, Canticum Novum Singers, Syracuse Children’s Chorus, St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, Zamir Chorale of Boston, and Usdan Center Chorus; and by the Cantors Assembly of America and Westchester Youth Symphony. Cohen’s music has been performed by the Borromeo String Quartet, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Westchester Philharmonic, Riverside Symphony, Plymouth Music Series Orchestra, New York Concert Singers, Princeton Pro Musica, and many other ensembles and soloists.

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Pianist Eunbi Kim, Murakami Music: Stories of Loss and Nostalgia, November 1, 2014

October 8th, 2014
November 1, 2014
8:00 pmto10:00 pm

NYC– On Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 8 pm, New York City based pianist Eunbi Kim (www.EunbiKimMusic.com) will perform at at the Baruch Performing Arts Center’s Engelman Recital Hall (www.baruch.cuny.edu/bpac/). The venue is located at 55 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10010. General admission is $25.

Murakami Music is a performance piece inspired by the works of contemporary Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, an author whose books have been translated into fifty languages, which have sold millions of copies.

Created by pianist Eunbi Kim, in collaboration with actress Laura Yumi Snell, and director Kira Simring, Murakami Music was conceived and premiered at The Cell Theatre in Chelsea, presented at NYC’s Symphony Space, and performed at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. This particular performance will feature guest jazz musicians Jeff Koch on upright bass, and David Kjar on saxophone.

A dramatic work, this program includes performances of piano works with theatrical readings that explore the complexities of the lives behind the pianists in Murakami’s books including Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore, and Norwegian Wood.

This program is one that explored Eunbi’s limits and growth as a performer: “The kind of artist I want to be is somebody that pushes herself to do new things. I never composed anything before. I never had to say dialogue before.”

A number of Murakami’s characters play piano or are passionate about music, which lends for an obvious source of inspiration and tribute. His works reference classical music, as well as popular music, jazz and blues.

He is also noted for his fully dimensional realizations of Asian characters, particularly women, which was a driving point of inspiration for Eunbi: “In American media, Asian women will be featured, but their background will be completely ignored. That’s what really drove me [to use Murakami for inspiration], all the ways he writes about women. It’s what made me passionate about him.”

A highly adaptable, black-box theatre work, Murakami Music has been lauded and featured on Japanese television network, FujiTV, and most recently profiled in the documentary, “The World Reads Murakami,” on NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization.


Concert Program (works to be performed include):

Solo Piano

Schumann, Forest Scenes, Op. 82
Lennon/McCartney, Norwegian Wood
Chopin, Etude, Op. 25, No. 1
Mozart, Sonata in B flat Major
Prokofiev, Sonata No. 2 in d minor, Op. 14

Piano/Voice

Kennedy/Carr, South of the Border
Douglas/Parman/Levere, Pretend
Eunbi Kim, Kafka on the Shore

4-Hands Piano

Grieg, Norwegian Dance, Op. 35

About Eunbi Kim, pianist
Pianist Eunbi Kim thrives in collaborating with other artists to present classical and contemporary music in unique settings. Kim made her European orchestral debut with I Solisti di Perugia in Italy and has performed solo and chamber programs in venues such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. She graduated with her Master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, where she also held a fellowship at The Center for Music Entrepreneurship. www.EunbiKimMusic.com

About Laura Yumi Snell, actress
Laura Yumi Snell is an accomplished pianist, singer, and actress. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she began her career as a classical pianist, performing and competing in venues across California, Japan, and Austria. She attended the University of California, Davis on a full scholarship and received degrees in music and dramatic art. As a singer and actress, she won many young artist awards as a soloist with her vocal jazz ensemble and has performed in numerous productions. She recently returned from a worldwide tour of Avenue Q.

Bassist Jeff Koch was born and raised in New York City, where he has been playing and teaching for the past 10 years. He has performed all around the world at notable venues such as The Blue Note NYC, The Kennedy Center, and the Bimhuis (Amsterdam). Jeff has shared the stage with many notable musicians including Jimmy Cobb, David Liebman, and John Faddis. Jeff attended the Manhattan School of Music where he completed degrees in both the Bachelor’s and Master’s of Jazz Arts. Currently, he is pursuing a Master’s degree in Music Education at Teacher’s College of Columbia University.

David Kjar is a New York freelance performer, educator, and composer specializing in saxophone, clarinet, flute and oboe. David has been featured at Alice Tully Hall, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Somethin’ Jazz Club, as well as internationally at the Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Kongsberg, and Villard De Lans Jazz festivals. David is a graduate of the Master’s Program at Manhattan School of Music, and has taught at the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, Brigham Young University, and currently at New Heights Academy Charter School.

Resobox is an art gallery located in Long Island City, Queens, that not only strives to showcase Japanese-inspired art, but also acts as a Japanese cultural center, promoting various cultural events and holding classes that capture both the traditional and contemporary aspects of Japanese culture. “Resobox” is a name created from the words resonate and box. This “resonating box” envisions a space where artists can meet and collaborate to create new and innovative artwork. The space within this box resonates as well, shaking up everything inside. Japanese and non-Japanese artists alike are welcome at Resobox, adding and mixing in their ideas and sensibilities, and playing a great role in preserving and (even further developing) Japanese arts.

The concept of Resobox was originally created in August 2009 as a personal art project by Fumio Tashiro – New York composer, bassist, and videographer. However, in the wake of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami on March 10, 2011, Fumio Tashiro and his old friend, Takashi Ikezawa, worked together to reshape the concept of RESOBOX as a Japanese art gallery outside of Japan, but with a greater mission: “The place where people who are conversant with, dedicated to, and influenced by Japanese arts can gather, create innovative arts through the collaborative process, and disseminate them to the world.”

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Peter McDowell (Peter McDowell Arts Consulting)
P: 773.484.8811          E: peter@petermcdowell.com

Rose Rougeau (Asia Society Texas Center)
P: 713.208.1045          E: RRougeau@AsiaSociety.org/Texas

 

 

Pianist Eunbi Kim, Murakami Music: Stories of Loss and Nostalgia, October 25, 2014

September 30th, 2014
October 25, 2014
7:30 pmto9:30 pm

murakamimusic-webHOUSTON, TEXAS – On Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm, New York City based pianist Eunbi Kim (www.EunbiKimMusic.com) will perform at Asia Society Texas Center
(www.asiasociety.org), located at 1370 Southmore Blvd (Houston, TX). An opportunity to meet the artists beforehand is at 6:30 pm. Tickets are on sale now. Admission is $15 for members, $25 for non-members.

Murakami Music is a performance piece inspired by the works of contemporary Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, an author whose books have been translated into fifty languages, which have sold millions of copies.

Created by pianist Eunbi Kim, in collaboration with actress Laura Yumi Snell, and director Kira Simring, Murakami Music was conceived and premiered at The Cell Theatre in Chelsea, presented at NYC’s Symphony Space, and performed at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

A dramatic work, this program includes performances of piano works with theatrical readings that explore the complexities of the lives behind the pianists in Murakami’s books including Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore, and Norwegian Wood.

This program is one that explored Eunbi’s limits and growth as a performer: “The kind of artist I want to be is somebody that pushes herself to do new things. I never composed anything before. I never had to say dialogue before.”

A number of Murakami’s characters play piano or are passionate about music, which lends for an obvious source of inspiration and tribute. His works reference classical music, as well as popular music, jazz and blues.

He is also noted for his fully dimensional realizations of Asian characters, particularly women, which was a driving point of inspiration for Eunbi: “In American media, Asian women will be featured, but their background will be completely ignored. That’s what really drove me [to use Murakami for inspiration], all the ways he writes about women. It’s what made me passionate about him.”

A highly adaptable, black-box theatre work, Murakami Music has been lauded and featured on Japanese television network, FujiTV, and most recently profiled in the documentary, “The World Reads Murakami,” on NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization.


Concert Program (works to be performed include):

Solo Piano

Schumann, Forest Scenes, Op. 82
Lennon/McCartney, Norwegian Wood
Chopin, Etude, Op. 25, No. 1
Mozart, Sonata in B flat Major
Prokofiev, Sonata No. 2 in d minor, Op. 14

Piano/Voice

Kennedy/Carr, South of the Border
Douglas/Parman/Levere, Pretend
Eunbi Kim, Kafka on the Shore

4-Hands Piano

Grieg, Norwegian Dance, Op. 35

About Eunbi Kim, pianist
Pianist Eunbi Kim thrives in collaborating with other artists to present classical and contemporary music in unique settings. Kim made her European orchestral debut with I Solisti di Perugia in Italy and has performed solo and chamber programs in venues such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. She graduated with her Master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, where she also held a fellowship at The Center for Music Entrepreneurship. www.EunbiKimMusic.com

About Laura Yumi Snell, actress
Laura Yumi Snell is an accomplished pianist, singer, and actress. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she began her career as a classical pianist, performing and competing in venues across California, Japan, and Austria. She attended the University of California, Davis on a full scholarship and received degrees in music and dramatic art. As a singer and actress, she won many young artist awards as a soloist with her vocal jazz ensemble and has performed in numerous productions. She recently returned from a worldwide tour of Avenue Q.

About Asia Society Texas Center
With 11 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach. www.AsiaSociety.org/Texas

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Peter McDowell (Peter McDowell Arts Consulting)
P: 773.484.8811          E: peter@petermcdowell.com

Rose Rougeau (Asia Society Texas Center)
P: 713.208.1045          E: RRougeau@AsiaSociety.org/Texas