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Ekmeles: Verfluchung
DiMenna Center Cary Hall
New York, NY
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Ekmeles: Verfluchung
May 23 2023 at 7:30PM, at DiMenna Centers Cary Hall, Ekmeles sings Verfluchung, a program featuring a world premiere by Corie Rose Soumah, the live premieres two works only previously recorded by Joshua Alvarez Mastel and Katherine Balch, a recent Ekmeles commission by Erin Gee, and the title work: a monumental trio by Mathias Spahlinger.

Mathias Spahlinger's Verfluchung is a searing 30 minute tour de force for three vocalists playing small wooden percussion. The title translates to a cursing, and Li Tai-Peis text cursed be war, cursed be the work of weapons is intoned, broken apart, and repeated endlessly, in a powerful cry for peace. The titanic structure of the piece is built on prime numbers, especially twin primes, separated by two. E.g. 107 and 109.

Joshua Alvarez Mastels animal takes a fragile and intimate soundworld of subtle vocalization, and makes it mechanically intense via the means of close amplification. The composer's performance note for the piece implores the singers to focus their performance inwardly, as if singing to each other in a darkened cellar. Gossamer threads of voice at the edge of control are gently passed back and forth across the ensemble in space, with each voice placed in a single speaker surrounding the audience.

Corie Rose Soumahs New Work will explore aspects of her biracial identity, and will feature immersive, uninterrupted electronics throughout, making use of a complex 6-speaker setup surrounding the audience.

Katherine Balchs forgetting takes as its text an excerpt from Katie Fords Estrangement, dealing with forgetting as a labor and a practice, a kind of inverse of learning. Stuttering and whispered vocal figures are complemented by the clicking of toy ratchets played by each member of the ensemble. The work grows toward a gentle chorale, only to be overwhelmed by the crescendo of the ratchets.

Finally Erin Gees Mouthpiece XXXVI, written for Ekmeles after working with the composer to record her Three Scenes from Sleep, and with the support of a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant, skitters and pops along with Gees idiosyncratic and idiomatic vocal gestures. Despite the unfamiliar materials, the subtle play of repetition and variation draws the listener forward through the intricate web of voices.

Corie Rose Soumah  New Work (2023) World Premiere
Katherine Balch  forgetting (2021) Live Premiere
Joshua Alvarez Mastel  animal (2021) Live Premiere
Erin Gee  Mouthpiece XXXVI (2021)
Mathias Spahlinger  verfluchung (1983/85) US Premiere
Total duration of the program is approximately 90 minutes with 10 minute intermission.

Personnel for concert
Charlotte Mundy, soprano
Elisa Sutherland, mezzo soprano
Timothy Parsons, countertenor
Gregório Taniguchi, tenor
Jeffrey Gavett, baritone and director
Steven Hrycelak, bass

Ekmeless 2022-2023 season is made possible with funds from the Amphion Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Alice M. Ditson Fund, The Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Ekmeles is a recipient of the 2023 Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation Ensemble Prize.


DiMenna Center Cary Hall (View)
450 W 37th Street
New York, NY 10018
United States


Music > Choral
Music > Experimental

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



Fully ADA accessible

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