SOUND//SPACE: The Vocal Constructivists
Medium Rare | Scores by Mark Applebaum, Anthony Braxton, Ronald Kuivila and Paula Matthusen.
Performed by The Vocal Constructivists
SUNDAY 01 July 2012 | 2pm (doors) | F2 Hall
£5/£3adv (£6/£4 door) | or pay what you can (door only)
Medium Rare features the world premiere of In Words of One Syllable by Paula Matthusen, the world premiere of Ronald Kuivila’s A City of No Allusions, the UK premiere of Applebaum's Medium, and the first vocal-only performance of Braxton's Falling River. All of these pieces were composed using idiosyncratic symbols, glyphs, and visual design, rather than traditional musical notation. Additionally, Matthusen's piece involves theatrical elements, metronomes, and coffee tins.
Jane Alden, director of the Vocal Constructivists, said: “We are honoured to be able to perform adventurous, experimental scores in a building like the V22 Workspace. The industrial history of the old biscuit factory provides the perfect backdrop for these whimsical, provocative, and abstract works by three generations of American composers”.
About the Composers:
Mark Applebaum is Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego where he studied principally with Brian Ferneyhough. His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia with notable premieres at the Darmstadt summer sessions. He has received commissions from Betty Freeman, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Fromm Foundation, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the Vienna Modern Festival, Antwerp’s Champ D’Action, Festival ADEvantgarde in Munich, Zeitgeist, MANUFACTURE (Tokyo), the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Jerome Foundation, and the American Composers Forum, among others. His music can be heard on recordings on the Innova, Tzadik, Capstone, and SEAMUS labels. Composer's website: markapplebaum.com
Anthony Braxton, Professor of Music at Wesleyan University and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant, has boldly redefined the boundaries of American music for more than 40 years. Drawing on such lifelong influences as jazz saxophonists Warne Marsh and Albert Ayler, innovative American composers John Cage and Charles Ives and pioneering European Avant-Garde figures Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis, he created a unique musical system, with its own classifications and graphics-based language, that embraces a variety of traditions and genres while defying categorisation of its own. He describes Falling River musics as "the name of a new structural prototype class of compositions that seek to explore image logic construct ‘paintings’ as the score’s extract music notation.” For further information: tricentricfoundation.org
Ronald Kuivila, University Professor at Wesleyan University, composes music and designs sound installations that revolve around the unusual homemade and home-modified electronic instruments he designs. He pioneered the use of ultrasound (In Appreciation) and sound sampling (Alphabet) in live performance. Other pieces have explored compositional algorithms (Loose Canons), speech synthesis (The Linear Predictive Zoo), and high voltage phenomena (Pythagorean Puppet Theatre). Kuivila has performed and exhibited installations throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. Recent projects have included commissions from MASS MoCA, the ZKM, Singuhr Galerie, Berlin, and V2, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He has collaborated with other composers, artists, and choreographers including Anthony Braxton, Rudy Burckhardt, Nicolas Collins, Merce Cunningham, Hugh Davies, Douglas Dunn, Susan Foster, and Larry Johnson.
Paula Matthusen is Assistant Professor Music at Wesleyan University. She received her Ph.D. in music from New York University and was a Fulbright Fellow at the Universität der Künste-Berlin, studying variously with Elizabeth Hoffman, Art Krieger, David Lang, Douglas Repetto, and Pauline Oliveros. She writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realises sound installations, is the recipient of the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Van Lier Fellowship at Roulette Intermedium, and held a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. In addition to writing for a variety of different ensembles, Matthusen also collaborates with choreographers and theater companies. She has written for diverse instrumentations, such as "run-on sentence of the pavement" for piano, ping-pong balls, and electronics, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker noted as being "entrancing". Her work often considers discrepancies in musical space—real, imagined, and remembered. Composer's website: paulamatthusen.com
About the Performers:
The Vocal Constructivists specialise in the sung performance of graphic scores. They were formed in 2011 to give the first ever performance of Cornelius Cardew's Treatise reliant only on the human body, with no instruments or amplification. Believing the score’s length to be a crucial part of its identity, the group performed the work in its entirety. The Vocal Constructivists explore idiosyncratic notation as a form of social practice, the scores supplying open-ended vocabulary for collective discourse. All musical decisions are made by the group, worked out in collaboration. Performances of Treatise took place at the South London Gallery and at Morley College (The Engine Room, Cardew festival, December 2011). An Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life grant will enable the Vocal Constructivists to perform in the USA in spring 2013, for an event directed by Jane Alden entitled Sound, Image, and the Space In-Between. For more information: londontreatise.blogs.wesleyan.edu, facebook.com/Vocal.Constructivists, or follow the Vocal Constructivists on twitter @constructivists
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