Musica Elettronica - S.E.M. Ensemble at Paula Cooper Gallery
Following a tradition started more than 30 years ago, the S.E.M. Ensemble, under the artistic direction of Petr Kotik, returns to Paula Cooper Gallery to present its annual holiday concert. This years program features five electronic music works that explore sound in space amidst the striking metal structures of Mark di Suvero.
Spanning the last 60 years, the works range from Karlheinz Stockhausens pioneering masterpiece, Gesang der Jünglinge (1956), to the American premiere of Phill Niblocks Praised Fan (2016), performed by the French bassoonist Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, for whom it was written. It also includes Petr Kotiks Kontrabandt (1967), created at West German Radios Studio for Electronic Music, then directed by Stockhausen and serving as a world-class incubator for electronic music. Contrasting with the early analog explorations of Stockhausen and Kotik, the program also features Michael J. Schumachers Filters and Filtered (2011-present), an serial/aleatoric exploration of the manipulation of sound, and Laurie Spiegels A Harmonic Algorithm 2011, a generative algorithmic computer piece.
Phill Niblock: Praised Fan (2016) American premiere
This 17-minute work is based on microtonal variations around three pitches (G#, A, Bb), played in different octaves. These variations not only affect the pitch, but also the timbre and partial balance, and their layering creates complex melodies of overtones, as well as rhythmical patterns produced by tonal beatings. The work, commissioned by the Adelaide Festival in Australia, will be performed by French bassoonist Dafne Vicente-Sandoval.
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Gesang der Jünglinge ("Song of the Youths") (1956)
Hailed by many as the first masterpiece of electronic sounds, this 13-minute composition for magnetic tape and five loudspeakers integrates electronic sounds with the voice of a boy soprano singing fragments from the Book of Daniel. With it, Stockhausen tested and employed for the first time the idea of music in space that would finds its radical expression in Gruppen (1955-57). The work received its world premiere at West German Radio (WDR) in Cologne in 1956.
Petr Kotik: Kontrabandt (1967)
Petr Kotik met Stockhausen for the first time in the spring of 1965 when he visited the Studio for Electronic Music at WDR. In 1966 he received a commission from WDR to compose and realize a piece of electronic music. Scored for musicians and magnetic tape, Kontrabandt is a live electronic music work, in which performers manipulate sound sources, including 80 pre-recorded segments realized at the Studio for Electronic Music and ranging from a split second to one and a half minutes in duration. The work premiered in Cologne in 1967 as part of the WDR concert series Musik der Zeit.
Michael J. Schumacher: Filters and Filtered (2011-present)
Filters and Filtered is a 20-minute spatial sound installation originally composed for 8 channels and adapted to 4 for this performance. A "filter" is anything that comes between the transmission and reception of the signal, including equalization, bit reduction, wave-shaping, phase shifting, acoustic treatment, room resonance, masking, as well as other psycho-acoustic effects. The structure is derived from algorithms that combine elements of serial and aleatoric techniques. Filters and Filtered was presented in 14 channel versions at AVA Gallery in New York, iMAL in Brussels and at Ultraschall in Berlin.
Laurie Spiegel: A Harmonic Algorithm 2011
The work is the third incarnation of a computer algorithm that composes music first coded on Spiegels Apple II computer around 1980. Instead of creating a finite number of works, Spiegel had the idea to encode in computer software her personal compositional methods, and musical and aesthetic decisions so that new music could be composed and generated long after the biological human had ceased to exist. This particular software, based on the harmonic progressions of Bachs chorales, merges Bach and Spiegels musical selves. The work was commissioned by the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.
Hailed by The New York Times as the best of what is left of the experimental tradition, S.E.M. Ensemble was founded in 1970 when Petr Kotik gathered a group of musicians from the fellows at the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts, SUNY/Buffalo. Since then, S.E.M. Ensemble has established itself as one of the most distinguished ensembles for new music in the U.S., maintaining a continuous schedule of concerts in New York, touring annually in Europe, and also performing in South America and Japan. SEM has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and Merkin Hall. Recent recordings, all on the Dog w/a Bone label (New York), include Morton Feldmans For Philip Guston (4-CD set), Petr Kotiks Many Many Women (3-CD set), Music by Marcel Duchamp (1 CD), and Spoken Music a live performance recording with John Cage, Dick Higgins, Jackson Mac Low and others. Recent recordings of The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble are also available on Asphodel Ltd. (San Francisco) and Wergo (Mainz).
Paula Cooper Gallery (View)
534 W. 21st St.
New York, NY 10011
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