21-Year-Old Cellist Gabriel Cabezas to Perform at Grant Park Music Festival

June 8th, 2014 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
July 2, 2014
6:30 pm

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.30.52 AMOn Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 21-year old cellist Gabriel Cabezas will perform Camille Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Under the baton of Giancarlo Guerrero the evening’s program will also feature works by Danielpour and Poulenc. Soprano Tracy Cantin will also perform in the Danielpour work. This will be Cabezas’ debut with the Grant Park Music Festival. Cabezas, a Chicago native, shares a common heritage with Maestro Guerrero, who is a native Costa Rican.

This FREE concert begins at 6:30 PM at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion, Chicago’s most beloved outdoor performance space.


Performers: Grant Park Orchestra; Giancarlo Guerrero, guest conductor; Gabriel Cabezas, cello; Tracy Cantin, soprano

Danielpour Darkness in the Ancient Valley
Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A Minor
Poulenc Suite from Les Biches

Cellist Gabriel Cabezas has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, the National Symphony of Costa Rica, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Nashville Symphony, among others. Cabezas has been portrayed as “…an intense player who connects to the music naturally, without artifice, and brings a singing line to the cello” (David Stabler, The Oregonian) and his debut performance with the Cleveland Orchestra described as a “…remarkably poised and elegant account, with superb attention to phrasing, nuance and tonal coloration” (Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer).

A passion for chamber music and collaboration has taken him to Marlboro Music, Music@Menlo, Music from Angel Fire, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, Bargemusic, and Chicago’s Symphony Center Presents series. His television appearances include performances with Yo-
Yo Ma at “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Good Morning America”, and with Béla Fleck in “From The Top Carnegie Hall.”

2013-14 season highlights include a subscription debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as a return to Chicago’s International Beethoven Festival and the annual Sphinx Virtuosi national tour. Cabezas’ 2012-13 engagements included concerts with the Detroit Symphony, the Nashville Symphony and the National Symphony of Costa Rica, as well as appearances with Musicians from Marlboro, at the International Beethoven Festival, and ChamberFest Cleveland.

Formerly a recipient of an Education Grant by the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation, Cabezas has supported music outreach and education programs including Midori’s Partners in Performance, the Sphinx Organization, Costa Rica’s national SINEM music education program, and Chicago’s Citizen Musician movement. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Carter Brey. As a writer, Cabezas has been featured in Teen Strings Magazine and has been a contributing writer for Strings Magazine.

Acclaimed by critics and beloved by audiences, the Grant Park Music Festival is the nation’s only free, summer-long outdoor classical music series of its kind. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, located between Michigan and Columbus Avenues at Washington Street, is the official home of the Grant Park Music Festival. The Grant Park Music Festival is proudly presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association with key support from the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

The Grant Park Music Festival is led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar, along with Grant Park Chorus Director Christopher Bell, Grant Park Orchestral Association President and CEO Paul Winberg, and Board Chair Chuck Kierscht.

The Grant Park Music Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support from its 2014 sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, Season Sponsor; American Airlines, Official Airline; Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, Official Hotel; Mariano’s, Official Picnic Sponsor; and Millennium Park Garages, Parking Sponsor. The Grant Park Music Festival is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

THE UNEXPECTED 2014: a collaborative performance featuring Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions

April 21st, 2014 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
May 21, 2014
7:00 pm

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 5.32.15 PM

For the second consecutive year, Creative Partners will present THE UNEXPECTED, an evening of performances featuring its partner companies: Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions. On Wednesday, May 21st, these three companies will share the Dance Center of Columbia College stage to showcase their current projects through an interwoven evening of music, dance and puppetry.


DATE: Wednesday, 5/21/14
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL
TICKETS: Reserve tickets online at www.creativepartnersarts.org, prices range from $30 (standard ticket) to $80 (includes post-performance VIP reception)

This event celebrates Creative Partners, a collective that provides professional fundraising to three Chicago-based, nationally-recognized arts organizations, which allows the companies to focus on what they do best: creating world-class theater, music, and dance. Tiered pricing for audience members gives fans the option to see the performance, or to snap up VIP tickets for the post-show reception: drinks and snacks with the artists and a facilitated conversation by Columbia College Dance Professor, audience dramaturge and dance historian Bonnie Brooks about the work.

The evening will feature the following pieces, alternating between playfulness and virtuosic movement and musicality:

  • Blair Thomas & Co.: Stephen Montague’s Mirabella y Tarantella for toy piano and Frederic Chopin’s Scherzo in b flat minor
  • eighth blackbird: Tom Johnson’s Counting Duets and György Ligeti’s Études, arranged by the ensemble.
  • Lucky Plush: an excerpt from The Queue

Equal parts dance and theater, Lucky Plush’s The Queue unfolds in a fictional airport, where travelers stumble humorously, tragically and awkwardly into the high stakes of each other’s private lives; co-created by Julia Rhoads & Leslie Danzig, and featuring live music by drum & piano duo The Claudettes. Blair Thomas & Co.’s puppet appetizers, Mirabella y Tarantella and Scherzo in b flat minor, combine a piano recital and a puppet show. And if eighth blackbird’s take on Tom Johnson’s Counting Duets is Sesame Street on Acid, the ensemble’s new arrangements of Ligeti’s Études are Chopin Gone Wild!

Original piano-based interstitial performances written by Lisa Kaplan (pianist for eighth blackbird) will facilitate interplay between the companies’ performances. The event demonstrates that Creative Partners companies share not only a dedicated development team, but also broad artistic sensibilities – all are doing work that is genre-bending, playful, and technically rigorous.

Launched in 2013, Creative Partners was strategically developed following three years of research and collaboration Creative Partners addresses a contemporary problem in a meaningful way. At a time when artists must exhibit administrative savvy, social influence, and responsible financial practice while also generating ever-more-ambitious creative work, Creative Partners promises to help artists of all kinds do more with less.between Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions, with additional assistance from the Arts Work Fund and The Center for Entrepreneurial Law at Northwestern University and major funding from the John G. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Prince Charitable Trusts.

The Chicago Cultural Plan recognizes that investing in organizational stability and longevity in the nonprofit sector yields promising returns. In Creative Partners, we advance a model that shares resources “focused on function instead of discipline”, promising broader exposure for our partners and a richer experience for our shared audiences. Creative Partners has already received recognition for taking up these sound principles:

  • Creative Partners was recognized the 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award.
  • Creative Partners members have participated in discussions at the Chicago Creative Expo, the National Performance Network Convention in New Orleans, a convening led by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and at the Chicago Suburban Arts Conference.

Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions Premieres The Queue at Links Hall, May 2014

March 17th, 2014 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
May 2, 2014 7:00 pmtoMay 18, 2014 7:00 pm

The Queue 2_Benjamin WardellFrom May 2 – 18, 2014, Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions will perform the world premiere of The Queue at the new Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave, Chicago. Lucky Plush Productions (LPP) is a Chicago-based dance theater company committed to provoking and supporting an immediacy of presence – a palpable liveness – shared by performers in real-time with its audiences. Tickets are $15-$30 (purchase early for discounts). For more information and tickets, please visit www.linkshall.org or call 773.281.0824.

Schedule of Run:

  • Preview performances of The Queue: Fri–Sun, May 2–4, 7pm (tickets $15-20)
  • Performances of The Queue: Thurs–Sun, May 8–18; Mon, May 12, 7pm (tickets $15-30)
  • Run time approx. 75 min.

The Queue, equal parts dance and theater, is co-created by choreographer/director Julia Rhoads (founding Artistic Director of Lucky Plush and recipient of a 2013 Alpert Award in the Arts) and theater director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig (co-founder of 500 Clown). The Claudettes, a neo-vaudevillian piano-drums duo (Michael Caskey and Johnny Iguana), compose original music and perform live.

Set in a fictional international airport, The Queue’s influences are early 20th century forms of slapstick, vaudeville acts, Busby Berkeley style choreography, and creaky 1-act plays. The central narrative is adapted from a 1746 farcical play A Will and No Will, in which the imminent death of an old man propels an assortment of seemingly unrelated characters into a chaotic negotiation of their stakes in his life (and death) and their potential inheritances. These sources and performance vocabularies collide with contemporary dance and the distinctly nontheatrical context of waiting to create a comedic and moving dance-theater production.

The Queue playfully addresses how private dramas in public spaces can slip into a kind of performed spectacle, particularly in the pressure-cooker environment of an airport, a place that captures people en route to big life events (weddings, funerals, honeymoons, big business). Full of heightened emotional states and expectation, airports often provoke larger-than-life questions: How much should someone pay to change a flight when a family member dies? Is using Skype at an airport an appropriate means by which to show up at a deathbed? Who is entitled to an inheritance and at what cost? Lucky Plush brings its signature blend of immediacy and humor to explore these questions, without shying away from the awkwardness and discomfort around fractured privacy, deceit, and dying.

The Queue marks Rhoads’ and Danzig’s second collaboration following The Better Half. Both productions are recipients of a prestigious National Dance Project Award, which provides touring subsidies for national presenters. The Queue features The Claudettes along with performers Francisco Avina, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Marc Macaranas, Melinda Jean Myers, Cassandra Porter, Benjamin Wardell and Meghann Wilkinson, and lighting design by Cat Wilson.

Lucky Plush Productions (LPP) is dedicated to creating dance-theater work that is richly and uncompromisingly complex while also being accessible to broad audiences. Critics and audiences alike recognize LPP for its evocative choreography, moving content, surprising humor, and incisive commentary on contemporary culture.

Since its founding in 1999, Lucky Plush has premiered over 30 original works including site-specific works, dance films, and 10 evening-length productions. Recent presentations include Spoleto Festival/USA (SC), Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (MA), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Skirball Center (NYC), Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (IL), North Carolina State University (NC), Purdue Convocations (IN), Kohler Performing Arts Center (WI), Dance Cleveland (OH), College of St. Benedict/St. John (MN), Hancher Auditorium (IA), Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Steppenwolf Garage (IL), Joyce SoHo (NY), and Spring to Dance (MO), among others, as well as an international exchange with the Dance & Physical Theatre Trust of New Zealand and New Zealand Dance Company.

LPP has received two National Dance Project Production Grants, an NDP Production Residency for Dance, two NPN Creation Fund grants, an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Illinois Arts Council Artstour Award. Co-commissioning presenters include Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT) and Links Hall Chicago (IL). The company has been recognized by The Boston Globe’s “10 Best Dance Performances of 2013,” Chicago Public Radio’s “Best of 2011”; The Chicago Reader’s “Best of Chicago 2010”; Time Out Chicago’s “The Decade’s 10 Best Original Dance Works”; The Chicago Tribune’s “Best of Dance 2008”; Chicago Sun Times’ “Lasting memories in Dance” for 2005 and 2007, and a Time Out Chicago cover story “5 reasons to love dance in Chicago.”

Additionally, LPP recently spearheaded Creative Partners, a new model in nonprofit fundraising with Grammy-award winning eighth blackbird (music) and Blair Thomas & Company (theater). Creative Partners provides high level development support to three nationally recognized organizations, so that the artists can focus on what they do best: making world-class dance, theatre and music. Lucky Plush is represented by Elsie Management, Laura Colby Director, in Brooklyn, New York.

Julia Rhoads is the founding Artistic Director of Lucky Plush Productions, and she has created over 25 original works with the company since 1999. Her independent choreography has been commissioned by River North Chicago Dance Company, Lookingglass Theatre, Redmoon, Alaska Dance Theater, Mordine and Company Dance Theater, Walkabout Theater, Hyperdelic, and M5, among others, and she is a former company member of the San Francisco Ballet and collaborating ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group. Rhoads is the recipient of the 2013 Alpert Award in Dance, a fellowship from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award, a Cliff Dwellers Foundation Award for Choreography, two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships for Choreography, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and she was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2010. She was most recently honored with a 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award for her work with Creative Partners. Rhoads earned a BA in History from Northwestern University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute Chicago, and is currently part-time faculty and dance advisor at University of Chicago’s Theater and Performance Studies.

Leslie Buxbaum Danzig is co-founder of the Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown, where she co-created and directed 500 Clown Macbeth, Frankenstein, Elephant Deal, and Christmas. 500 Clown has played in Chicago at venues including Steppenwolf and Lookingglass and tours regularly throughout the US. Other credits include directing Redmoon’s Hunchback at The New Victory Theater (NYC), The Elephant and the Whale (Redmoon/Chicago Childrens’ Theater) and Float with About Face Theatre; co-directing The Better Half with Lucky Plush Productions; touring nationally and internationally as an actor with NYC’s Elevator Repair Service; and appearing as Masha in The Seagull in Lake Lucille, NY (director Brian Mertes). Danzig received her Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, and she trained in physical theatre and clown with Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier. For the past five years, she has taught at The University of Chicago and is currently at the University as program curator for the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry. With just piano and drums, The Claudettes (Johnny Iguana and Michael Caskey) create their own fanatical fusion of blues, jazz and soul — like Ray Charles on a punk kick. Imagine an amped-up hybrid of Otis Spann, Ray Charles and Mose Allison, joined by a jolly madman drummer and conducted in gonzo fashion by Raymond Scott. File under: post-burlesque? Neo-vaudeville? Cosmic cartoon music? You’ve never seen an instrumental duo like this. theclaudettes.bandcamp.com/.    

New York City’s Experiments in Opera Premieres Brother Brother on May 2-3

March 17th, 2014 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
May 2, 2014
8:00 pm
May 3, 2014
8:00 pm

brotherbrotherNew York, NY — Experiments in Opera announces the premiere of Brother Brother, the final production of their 2013-14 Season at Abrons Arts Center, with music and libretto by Aaron Siegel. This 90-minute opera, which has been in development with Experiments in Opera for the last two seasons, explores the relationship between Orville and Wilbur Wright following their first flights in 1903. Scored for 2 vibraphones, glockenspiel, strings, flute, vocal soloists, actors and chorus, Brother Brother will be premiered on Friday May 2 and Saturday May 3, 8pm in the Playhouse at Abrons Art Center, 466 Grand Street, New York. For tickets ($20 general, $15 student), patrons should call Theatermania at 212-352-3101 or visit www.AbronsArtsCenter.org.

This production of Brother Brother will be directed by Mallory Catlett, with scenic design by Obie Award-winning designer Mimi Lien, and musical direction by David Bloom. The involved musicians have been collaborators in the development of Brother Brother over the last four years and include Mantra Percussion, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, soprano Michelle Kennedy, countertenor Patrick Fennig, tenor Marc Day, and actor Julian A Rozzell, Jr.

Prior to each Brother Brother performance, Experiments in Opera will share two “Opera Trailers,” 90-second videos that offer a sneak peek at new opera ideas and characters. Featured artists include Jason Cady, Dave Ruder, Matthew Welch and the partnership of Daniel Kushner, Noelle Evans and Jascha Narveson. Additionally, in partnership with CultureBot.org, composers and collaborators featured on Brother Brother will take part in a free public discussion — Opera in Dialogue #3 on Saturday May 3, 2014, 5:00 PM, at the Playhouse, Abrons Arts Center — exploring the ideas and motivations behind this premiere production.

The Wright Brothers’ fascinating story of family drama, business struggles and legal fights is layered over a secondary story about the fictional characters, Red and Blue, which details the challenges of contemporary brotherhood and the complexities of growing up with an unusual idea of brotherly intimacy. Aaron Siegel drew on his own experiences as a twin while writing the libretto that provides both sets of brothers a range of coded language to express their wonder in the world and in each other. The music for Brother Brother draws on Siegel’s wide range of experiences with percussive minimalism, early music, American shape-note singing, ambient electronic music and improvised jazz. Brother Brother is a timely look at the personal side of innovation and entrepreneurial optimism in America.


From the Composer:

Aaron_Siegel1_SMALL_(photo_by_Kevin_McGrath)“I’ve always been more drawn to consonance than to dissonance. This musical impulse has dramatic implications as well, and you could say that Brother Brother is really an argument for hopefulness — the kind I have always felt when I am around my brother. I know this sounds sentimental, and that it bucks against the notion that great drama is by its nature more of a downer. The historical period that the Wright Brothers emerged from was defined by a sense of promise and possibility and I think it is a message we need to hear more about nowadays, despite our reservations.

“Rather than try to speak in an authoritative voice about history or ideas, it was very important to me that Brother Brother be a personal story in my own words. For better or for worse, I am eager to share a holistic vision of the sounds I hear and the words I use to create meaning in my life. This ‘auteur’ approach is more common these days in film and indie culture, where a do-it-yourself aesthetic is the norm, but it once was also an important part of opera culture. Why shouldn’t it still be?”


Aaron Siegel’s inquisitive and playful work represents a personal vision of how we live with and respond to the sounds in our world. Brother Brother, his second opera, has been showcased in events produced by Experiments in Opera and at The Industry’s First Take Production in Los Angeles in June 2013. His CD Science is Only a Sometimes Friend for eight glockenspiels and organ was released in May 2011 on LockStep Records and hailed as “one continuous ecstatic sonic event,” and as one of the best records of 2011 by Time Out New York. In the past year, Science is Only a Sometimes Friend has been performed around the country by Mantra Percussion, Tigue, and the UNC-Pembroke and Eastern Kentucky University percussion ensembles. Siegel is currently working on a commission for the Young People’s Chorus of New York City’s Radio Radiance Series. A recording of his solo storytelling project Call Us Your People will be available in Spring 2014 on LockStep Records.

In addition to his work as a composer and organizer, Siegel has performed with Memorize the Sky, Anthony Braxton and Robert Ashley. His work can be found on numerous recordings including Cabinet for solo percussion and Every Morning, a History for chamber ensemble and solo piano. Siegel is manager of secondary school programs at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. For more information visit: aaronsiegel.net.

Mantra Percussion has been featured at festivals, venues, and universities throughout North America including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Carlsbad New Music Festival, the Bowling Green New Music Festival, MIT with Bang on a Can All-Stars, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, X Avant Festival, New Music New College, Moving Sounds Festival, Ear Heart Music, Hi Fi Music Festival, and Make Music New York. Mantra co-commissioned Michael Gordon’s recent evening-length percussion sextet Timber, and gave the work’s United States premiere in October 2011 at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and its New York premiere of at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in December 2012.

The “commission-crazed” Cadillac Moon Ensemble is one of New York’s most visible new music groups, performing not just in traditional venues such as Roulette and the DiMenna Center, but in non-traditional spaces such as the High Line as well as in collaborations with dance, theater, and cabaret artists. The group strives to present a cross-section of contemporary music styles, tying together both uptown and downtown aesthetics with the creative use of thematic programming. Recent commissions have included works by Timothy Andres, Caleb Burhans, Shawn Allison, Nicholas Deyoe, Rick Burkhardt, Osnat Netzer, and Alex Weiser.




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.

In its first two programming seasons, Experiments in Opera has presented the work of more than 12 composers in three large-scale presentations aimed at expanding the collective understanding of experimental opera. Venues have included Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, and Issue Project Room, and have featured works by composers 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 and the Cough Button collective. Also featured were performances by pianist Emily Manzo, singer Erin Flannery, drummer Brian Chase, Hotel Elefant, and the performance collective Why Lie?

Experiments in Opera’s 2013-14 season residency at Abrons Arts Center began with Chorus of All Souls in November 2013 featuring choral works by Jessica Pavone, Matthew Welch, Jason Cady and John Zorn. The residency continued with Radio Operas on February 28 and March 1, 2014 featuring works by Jason Cady, Paul Pinto, Aaron Siegel, John King, Jonathan Mitchell and Matthew Welch.

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 www.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 www.AbronsArtsCenter.org.


Experiments in Opera’s Radio Operas on Q2 Music

March 11th, 2014 by Sam Zelitch No comments »
March 17, 2014
8:00 pm
March 18, 2014
8:00 pm
March 19, 2014
8:00 pm
March 20, 2014
8:00 pm
March 21, 2014
8:00 pm
March 22, 2014
8:00 pm

Craig Warga for The Wall Street Journal

Just when you thought it was safe to turn your radio on, here come the spirit of Thomas Paine, a delusional stamp collector, a mallet-wielding Samuel Beckett, a quietly insane inventor, a skateboarding aesthete and a girlfriend-stealing android. Opera on the Radio, that is.

Experiments in Opera is partnering with Q2 Music,WQXR‘s online music station devoted to 20th and 21st century classical music, to present six new operatic works made especially with an ‘ears only’ audience in mind.

Each evening from March 17-22 at 8 pm, a new Experiment in Opera will make its radio premiere and thereafter made available on demand at Q2Music.org. Tune in for stories, singing, sound effects, talking and music.

Also, check out this Wall Street Journal preview of the event.



Scored for soprano, percussion, viola and electronics, ‘Ping’ by John King is an adaptation of a Samuel Beckett short story written in a stream of abstract imagery and thoughts. This performance uses musical substitutions to punctuate the flow of the spoken text and will feature soprano Joan La Barbara and electronics by John King.

‘The Mutt’ by Matthew Welch, takes as its subject freestyle skateboarder Rodney Mullen, who invented the vocabulary of modern skateboarding, endured family abuse in his youth, led a double life as a burgeoning biomedical engineer, and now is an established inventor. The music will feature James Moore and Taylor Levine, from the Dither electric guitar quartetMatthew Welch on spoken word, and will involve electro-acoustically sequenced “Foley” skateboarding sounds by Steve Brush.

‘Thomas Paine in Violence’ by Paul Pinto is a mad psychedelic depiction of the final days of the American founding father’s life. Paine—portrayed by a soprano spurting speech, operatic vignettes and a number of extended vocal techniques—transports “herself” through space and time, including on “her” deathbed in 1809, the Stock Market of 2008, and the future. Scored for singer and electronics and featuring Joan La Barbara and Miguel Frasconi.

In ‘The Collector’ by Aaron Siegel, a character delivers a wild and delusional monologue detailing his dangerous obsession with stamp collecting.  The natural rhythms of the spoken text are mimicked in increasing accuracy by the instruments in the ensemble.  The Collector is scored for piano, soprano, vibraphone and actor and will feature pianist Karl Larson, percussionist Matt Evans, soprano Jamie Jordan and Aaron Siegel as the collector.

“I Need Space” by Jason Cady and Ann Heppermann tells the story of a couple moving to a Martian colony but breaking up on the way there. It is set in an alternate present: 2014 as it had been imagined by science fiction writers in the 1950s. I Need Space is scored for two voices, guitar, piano, synthesizer and Foley artist and features tenor Vince B. Vincent, sopranoErin Flannery, guitarist Mary Halvorson, pianist Karl LarsonJason Cady on modular synthesizer and Foley artist Steve Brush.

“These Walls Can Talk (Working Title)” by Jonathan Mitchell tells the story of a guy who has figured out a way to extract sounds from objects. By inserting a needle into a wall (for example), he can measure the microscopic effects of variations of air pressure over time, and hear conversations that took place in that room. He can do the same thing with stones from Egypt, or the Great Wall of China.