Electric Sax Vol. 1: Workings and Re-Workings - New Thread Quartet
Becky Brown - "some favored gem" (2018)
Ben Luca Robertson - "Opheodrys" (2017)
Aron Dahl - "Fluid Interference" - (2022, revised 2023) *world premiere
Ebun Oguntola - "Interim" (2022) *in-person world premiere
Dennis K. Sullivan, II - "As Above, So Below" (2018, revised 2023) *world premiere, commissioned
Electric Sax Vol. 1: Workings and Re-Workings is the first offering of our new annual multimedia performance series. This program draws from one of our earliest large-scale electro-acoustic projects: a residency at the University of Virginia in 2018. NTQ is excited to revisit collaborations with composers Becky Brown and Ben Luca Robertson from UVA. In addition, New Thread presents recastings of works by Aron Dahl, Ebun Oguntola, and Dennis Sullivan, and . The program features novel sounds and inspirations: from emotions researcher, Brené Brown, to garden snakes, the deeply personal to the abstract.
Becky Browns some favored gem for saxophone quartet and fixed media (2018) explores the distinction between shame and guilt proposed by Brené Brown, equating phrases from Bréne Browns TED Talks to melodic fragments to express challenging emotional states. Ben Luca Robertsons Opheodrys (2017) uses an interactive score to direct the performers through nested microtonal layers. The result is a thickly vibrating web of sound that evokes the chaotic and glacially-shifting environment the green snake inhabits. Aron Dahl wrote Fluid Interference for soprano saxophone, Buchla Music Easel, and video in 2022. A project that has been described as meditative, queer, and beautiful, Dahls new adaptation for quartet promises an immersive sonic and visual experience that extends and deepens this expressive work. Ebun Oguntolas Interim, was composed for a trio of saxophones + electronics featuring the players of New Thread. Oguntola received the Composers Now: First Commission Award in January 2022 to compose this work, and to encourage artistic potential and creative development. This will be the first in-person performance.
Dennis K. Sullivan, IIs As Above, So Below (2018/2023) is three movement work for amplified saxophone quartet with fixed media, transducer/object installation, lighting and custom built light reactive circuits. The piece draws on practices from Sullivans own output as a percussionist, electronics performer and instrument builder. As well as for their contemporary playing techniques, Sullivan uses the saxophones as a conical amplifier for all sorts of harsh and abrasive noise provided by the electronics. In turn, the electronics function as an extension of the saxophones and sometimes, an ensemble all to themselves. Sullivan wrote the first movement in 2018, and added two additional movements to premiere in this performance.
New Thread Quartet is delighted to be joined by saxophonist Eric Troiano on alto saxophone. A guest artist at the Asia Pacific Saxophone Academy, Singapore Saxophone Symposium, Great Plains Saxophone Workshop, among others, Troiano is also a founding member of the Viridian Saxophone Quartet. The VSQ won top prizes in the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition, Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and the MTNA National Chamber Music Competition. Troiano is Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Ithaca College.
ABOUT NEW THREAD QUARTET
New Thread Quartet was formed with the mission to develop and perform impactful new music for the saxophone, and to provide high-level ensemble playing to highlight todays innovative compositional voices. Now in its 11th season, the quartet has commissioned and premiered over 50 new works by composers such Amy Beth Kirsten, Richard Carrick, Ben Hjertmann, Ebun Oguntola, Scott Wollschleger, Kathryn Salfelder, Taylor Brook and Emily Koh. Based in New York City, New Thread has performed at Carnegie Hall, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Roulette, The Stone, Bang-on-a-Can Summer Festival Benefit, and Monadnock Music, while bringing new works to audiences in Arizona, Virginia, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Scotland, and working with students in residencies across the country including Peabody Conservatory, NYU, Montclair State University, and the University of Virginia. New Thread recorded Elliott Sharps seminal work Approaching the Arches of Corti, available on New World Records and released its debut album, Plastic Facts, on New Focus Recordings.
Ensemble members are Jonathan Hulting-Cohen (soprano saxophone), Erin Rogers (tenor saxophone) and Zach Herchen (baritone saxophone). NTQ will be joined by guest artist Eric Troiano (alto saxophone).
ABOUT THE COMPOSERS
Aron Dahl is a songwriter, composer, filmmaker, sound synthesist and singer based somewhere in between Los Angeles, Oslo and Copenhagen. His work is a genre defying mix of auto fiction and documentary, ambient, chamber music, field recordings, techno and nativistic pop, encompassing themes of identity, alienation, BDSM and transcendence. His debut solo album Loosening Orions Belt was awarded by the Danish Arts Council as one of the 10 best releases of 2018. As a composer he has collaborated with ensembles like Athleas, Pinquins and Aksiom and his music has been performed at festivals like Nordic Music Days (ISL), New Now Festival (US), Borealis (NO) and Nordic Saxophone Festival (DK).
Becky Brown is a composer, harpist, artist, and web designer, interested in producing intensely personal works across the multimedia spectrum. She focuses on narrative, emotional exposure, and catharsis, with a vested interest in using technology and the voice to deeply connect with an audience, wherever they are. She is currently pursuing graduate studies in Composition and Computer Technologies at the University of Virginia.
Ben Luca Robertson is a composer, sound artist, experimental luthier, educator, and co-founder of the independent record label, Aphonia Recordings. As a practicing artist, he employs a variety of instrumental and electronic forces, including chamber ensembles, generative algorithms, analog circuits, and handmade instrumentation. The bulk of his projects address an interest in autonomous processes, landscape, and biological systemsoften supplanting narrative structure with an emphasis on the physicality of sound and place, just intonation, spectral tuning structures, and microtonality.
Ebun Oguntola (Èbùn) is an avid, award-winning 17-year-old composer, conductor, producer, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who thrives off the adrenaline-inducing surge of artistic exploration, and will be attending Harvard University in the fall of 2023. In 2021, she was commissioned to write a solo violin piece, Reflections, for GRAMMY-award winning violinist, Johnny Gandelsman. Her piece was performed at Carnegie Music Hall and The Wallis.
Born in Akron, Ohio, Dennis K. Sullivan II is a percussionist, composer, electronicist and educator based in Queens NY. Dennis is a founding member of the performance duo, Radical 2 with percussionist/electronics engineer, Levy Lorenzo and Popebama, a high octane experimental percussion/saxophone duo with composer/saxophonist Erin Rogers. Percussionist and co-director of Wavefield Ensemble, Dennis 6was also awarded the grand prize at the Van Rooy Competition for Musical Excellence, and has received the Stipiendienpreise at the Darmstadt International Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik (Darmstadt, Germany).
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council On The Arts (NYSCA).
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