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Alvin Lucier: Orpheus Variations & Glacier Performed by Charles Curtis, Abigail Levine, Dancers & Wind Ensemble
ISSUE Project Room
Brooklyn, NY
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Alvin Lucier: Orpheus Variations & Glacier Performed by Charles Curtis, Abigail Levine, Dancers & Wind Ensemble
February 21st & 22nd, ISSUE is pleased to premiere Orpheus Variations, a new composition by revolutionary American composer Alvin Lucier for solo cello, seven wind instruments, and seven dancers. Written for and performed by cellist Charles Curtis and wind ensemble, the piece is staged featuring new choreography from Abigail Levine. The piece is based on a particular sonority, that has haunted Lucier for decades, from the first movement of Igor Stravinskys ballet score, Orpheus. The evening also features Luciers Glacier for solo cello, also performed by Curtis.

Orpheus Variations is one of eight large-scale compositions made expressly for Charles Curtis by Alvin Lucier in the last 15 years. Curtis notes, Lucier speaks first of a sonority, and only then of a chord. He discusses the chord, its notes and their disposition, but what haunts him is a 'particular sonority.' A sonority is the product of physical action on physical materials: the instruments, the registers in which they are activated, the breath of the musicians, the waveforms thus produced, their merging and interfering, and finally the moment and place of these actions. An energy field, certain to vanish completely once the musicians put down their instruments. However concrete and real the actions and materials, the sonority they produce is a phantom.

In Orpheus Variations, Alvin Lucier arranges the pitches from a single chord of Stravinskys Orpheus, itself created as the score for a ballet. The chord is distributed across eight instrumental voices -- seven winds and cello -- who cycle through the pitches, meeting each other in moments of unison and counterpoint. Abigail Levines choreography for Orpheus Variations transposes Luciers score from sound to gesture. Performed by seven dancers, the choreography is composed with a closed set of seven gestures, which reflect the position, doubling, and progression of the pitches of Stravinskys chord. The dancers of the work become, fleetingly, an incarnation of this spectral sound.

Abigail Levine has organized an intergenerational group of dancers including Rob Besserer, Elena Demyanenko, Kentoria Earle, Ayano Elson, Maho Ogawa, and Kristopher K.Q. Pourzal.

The wind ensemble features students from the University of San Diego under the direction of Charles Curtis: Rachel Allen, Teresa Diaz de Cossio, Nicolee Kuester, Mike Lormand, Michael Matsuno, Alexandria Smith, and Berk Schneider.

Written in 2009, Glacier features a cellist slowly sweeping downward, tracking a graph of the mean mass balance of 30 glaciers over a 24-year period, from 1980 to 2004. Glacier was commissioned by Feet to the Fire, Exploring Global Climate Changes from Science to Art and has recently been performed by Curtis with the The Society For The Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound in Los Angeles, and Lampo in Chicago. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed describes Glacier as A quiet piece and a sad one [but also] extremely delicate and endearingly lovely one.

The program observes Luciers delicate and lyrical compositional legacy and his enduring engagement with the elusive characteristics of how sound materializes -- with how acoustic mechanics are rediscovered, considered, and performed. Lucier has pioneered many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers' physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes. His sensitivity to sound as a physical phenomenon and his attention to rich aural experience is often practiced through tactical, research-oriented strategies dedicated to contextual listening. A vital figure within experimental music, the compositions of Lucier highlight a general theory of sound, one suggestive of our entangled perceptual position in the sonic world, as well as our attempts to hear the yet-to-be heard.

Since the mid-1960s, Alvin Lucier has produced a range of important compositions that have influenced the culture of experimental music and the sonic arts. Early works such as Music for Solo Performer (1965), Vespers (1968), I am sitting in a room (1970), and Bird and Person Dyning (1975) establish a clear thread throughout his long career. Lucier was born in 1931 in Nashua, New Hampshire. He was educated in Nashua public and parochial schools, the Portsmouth Abbey School, Yale, and Brandeis and spent two years in Rome on a Fulbright Scholarship. From 1962 to 1970 he taught at Brandeis, where he conducted the Brandeis University Chamber Chorus, which devoted much of its time to the performance of new music. In 1966, along with Robert Ashley, David Behrman and Gordon Mumma, he co-founded the Sonic Arts Union. From 1968 to 2011 he taught at Wesleyan University where he was John Spencer Camp Professor of Music. Lucier lectures and performs extensively in Asia, Europe and The United States. Recently, Alvin Lucier was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States and received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Plymouth, England. Lucier's compositions have been recently featured at ISSUE Project Room including in a two-night retrospective in 2017 and as part of the Sonic Arts Union celebration in 2018*. Lucier was honored at ISSUE's 2018 Gala for his exceptional leadership in the experimental arts communit

Called by ArtForum "one of the great cellists" as well as "spellbinding and minimal," Charles Curtis has woven a unique career through the worlds of classical performance and musical experimentation. A student of Harvey Shapiro and Leonard Rose at Juilliard and the recipient of the Piatigorsky Prize, upon graduation Curtis was appointed to the faculty of Princeton University. Subsequently he was Principal Cellist of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg, where he appeared as soloist with conductors such as Herbert Blomstedt, André Previn, Günter Wand, John Eliot Gardiner and Christoph Eschenbach. Curtis has been guest soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, National Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Janacek Philharmonic, Orquestra de la Maggio Musicale Florence, and orchestras in Brazil and Chile, among many others. For more than twenty years Curtis has been closely associated with the legendary avant garde composer La Monte Young. As soloist and as director of Young's Theatre of Eternal Music String Ensemble, Curtis has participated in more performances and premieres of Young's music than any other musician. In the last few years Curtis has developed a unique repertoire of major works created expressly for the distinctive qualities of his cello-playing. The great American experimental composer Alvin Lucier has composed numerous works for Curtis, including pieces for cello and sine waves, cello and piano, and cello with large orchestra. French composer Eliane Radigue created her very first work for a purely acoustic instrument for Curtis, the hour-long solo "Naldjorlak I," which Curtis has performed scores of times throughout the world; more recently "Naldjorlak III" and "Occam 5" have been developed collaboratively with Curtis. Artist and performer Alison Knowles created a unique graphic score for Curtis which has been realized in galleries and alternative settings. These, along with the monumental works of La Monte Young and rarely-heard pieces by Terry Jennings, Richard Maxfield and Morton Feldman, have been championed by Curtis through regular performances and recordings.

Abigail Levine is an artist working between New York and Los Angeles. Rooted in dance but moving across mediaperformance, text, drawing, soundLevine focuses on the poetics of our bodys work, how we record and value it. Her works have been presented throughout the US, in Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Greece and Taiwan. Her recent work, the Restagings series, has been presented at Fridman Gallery, Vox Populi and The Knockdown Center, supported by The MacDowell Colony, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New Music USA, Bogliasco Foundation, and the Center for Performance Research. Levine is also at work on Redactions, which is being developed in collaboration with the Chocolate Factory Theater and Los Angeles Performance Practice (LAPP). Levine performed with both Marina Abramovic (2010) and Yvonne Rainer (2018) in their retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art and is on faculty at Florida State Universitys Arts in NYC program.

Rob Besserer spent many years dancing with Mark Morris, Lar Lubovitch and The White Oak Dance Project among others. He has performed in productions directed by Robert Wison, Martha Clarke, James Lapine, Lee Breuer, and Bartlett Scher and the films of Woody Allen and Mathew Barney.

Russian-born Elena Demyanenko is a former member of both Stephen Petronio Company (2003-2008) and Trisha Brown Dance Company (2009-2012) and has been performing, teaching and choreographing in NYC since 2001. Her latest multimedia project, echo/archive, was premiered at EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy, NY) in the spring of 2018. She is developing her new work welter to be premiered in Roulette (June 22-25th). www.elenademyanenko.com

Kentoria Earle was raised in Winter Haven, Florida and is the proud daughter of Kent and Victoria Earle. She earned her Master of Arts in Dance/ Studio Related Studies at Florida State University, working with choreographers including Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Gwen Welliver, Anjali Austin, and Gerri Houlihan. Kentoria has toured recently with André Zachary/ Renegade Performance Group.

Ayano Elson is an Okinawan-American artist working in the field of performance as a dancer and choreographer. Her work has been presented by The Chocolate Factory, Gibney Dance, Knockdown Center, Movement Research, and Roulette. She has recently performed in works by Kim Brandt, Jessica Cook, Simone Forti, Kyli Kleven, and Haegue Yang at Danspace, MCA Chicago, MoMA, MoMA PS1, Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church, Pioneer Works, Roulette, and the Shed. ayanoelson.com

Maho Ogawa is a New York based movement artist originally from Japan with a background in ballet, traditional Japanese dance, and Butoh. Her interdisciplinary works have been shown at Korea & Japan Dance Festival (Seoul), Za Koenji (Tokyo), Whenever Wherever Dance Festival (Tokyo), Tokyo Culture Creation Project (Tokyo), and since 2011 at NY venues including Cave, The CURRENT SESSIONS, Center for Performance Research, Movement Research at the Judson Church, and Domestic Performance Agency. www.suisoco.com

Kristopher K.Q. Pourzal is a mixed artist and teacher living around NYC since 2014. His solo performance work has been presented and/or commissioned by numerous NYC venues such as The Kitchen, GIBNEY, Danspace Project, Roulette, Dixon Place, AUNTS, Center for Performance Research, and Brooklyn Arts Exchange. He is a 2018 danceWEB recipient, a 2016 Movement Research Artist-in-Residence, and holds an MFA in Dance from Arizona State University.

Michael Matsuno is a flutist specializing in avant-garde and experimental music, with multidisciplinary interests in sociomusicology and music cognition. With a focus on the flutes timbral and tuning potentials, he has collaborated on new works with composers
such as Wolfgang von Schweinitz, Jürg Frey, Anthony Vine, Lydia Winsor Brindamour, and Matthew Chamberlain. He is a member of DAD trio (Madison Greenstone, clarinets, and TJ Borden, cello) and has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician on the June in Buffalo
Festival, Monday Evening Concerts, WasteLAnd and Jacaranda New Music, among others.

Rachel Allen is a trumpet performer and educator from San Diego, California. Her current performance activities focus on solo and ensemble repertoire from the last century, but she is equally at home playing the standard repertoire. She collaborates frequently with local composers and improvisors and has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Orquesta de Baja California, San Diego Winds, Renga Music Ensemble, Westwind Brass, and Pacific Sound Brass Quintet. She can be heard with the San Diego New Music Ensemble on Decca Records Hysteresis. Rachel is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of California San Diego and is on faculty at San Diego State University.

Teresa Diaz de Cossio is a Mexican flutist. Her mentors include Dr. Tara Helen OConnor, Pamela Martchev, Leopoldo Gonzalez and Catherine Ransom. A former fellow at The Banff Centre, and Vértice at UNAM. In 2017, co-funded the Festival de Música Nueva, Ensenada. Currently pursuing a DMA at the University of California San Diego under the tutelage of Wilfrido Terrazas, and a teacher at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.

NYC-based horn player Nicolee Kuester divides her time between experimental music and the Older Stuff, recently performing with the International Contemporary Ensemble, The Knights, and Wet Ink Ensemble in NYC; Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris; Alarm Will Sound in St Louis; and Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra in LA. She is co-founder of MEANINGLESS WORK, a performance series that meanders between sounds, performance art, text, and movement theater.

Praised by The New York Times for her appealingly melancholic sound and entertaining array of distortion effects, Alexandria Smith is a trumpeter, composer/multimedia artist, curator, and recording engineer studying at the University of California San Diego. Her current projects focus on the use of biofeedback as an interfacing tool for musicians, interactive media (audio and visual), and performance based research. Previous engagements include her week (curation) at the Stone, performances at the La Semana Internacional de Improvisación, trumpet and electronics Luminous Tubes Concert at the FONT Festival 2019, performing as a soloist in the Martha Graham Dance Company 90th Anniversary Concert, John Zorn's Improv Night at the Stone, and as an ensemble member of Lorin Maazel's Castleton Festival.

Berk Schneider's musical experiences have taken him across the globe, from Saint Peters Basilica, Vatican City with the Orchestra of the Americas performing a Mozart Mass under the direction of Helmuth Rilling to Carnegie Hall with Maestro Valery Gergiev and Ravel's Bolero. Berk has toured around the world, teaching and performing in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Peru, Uruguay and the U.S.A. From the eerie perplexity of the Orange Show Monument nestled in Houstons East End to the sold out Toyota Center, Frankfurt's Bockenheimer Depot, and the Berlin Philharmonie, performances occur in venues ranging from abandoned bunkers, parks, and traditional concert halls. His collaborations are equally varied, having worked alongside musicians, Joshua Bell, Josh Groban, conductors Robert Spano, Enno Poppe, composers Helmut Lachenmann, Philip Glass, actor Alexander Fehling, theatrical genius Heiner Goebbels, the Houston and Firelands Symphonies, and Ensemble Modern.

New York City-based trombonist, Mike Lormand is a performer of eclectic contemporary and classical music. He is a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Deviant Septet, IRIS Orchestra, Riverside Symphony, and Weather Vest. He also plays frequently with groups such as Talea Ensemble, Argento Chamber Ensemble, NOVUS NY, and Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. Mikes love for the orchestral repertoire has led to performances with the Metropolitan Opera, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, The Knights, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, American Ballet Theater, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. As a soloist, Mike has commissioned numerous new works, with notable premiere performances at Ojai Music Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, International Trombone Festival, and Alice Tully Hall.


ISSUE Project Room (View)
22 Boerum Place
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States


Music > Experimental

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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