Tonight! Come one and all to Mor York Gallery at 8 for the next installment of Dog Star 12, Autoduplicity, a project of flutist Rachel Beetz and cellist Jennifer Bewerse. Amid their preparations (and moving New Classic LA headquarters to a new house – hence the down to the wire interview), Jennifer and Rachel had time to talk about their project.
How did this band get started? Was it a mutual interest in the works you explore, or did one of you invite the other?
Jennifer: Rachel and I had had the chance to play Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Crumb’s Vox Balaenae together, and I felt like we had great performance chemistry and similar working habits.
Rachel: Jen was interested in exploring performance without the cello and she invited me to join her.
Jennifer: We were both really interested in what would happen in that context. As an instrumentalist, you often identify yourself so strongly with your instrument. What would happen when we didn’t have that?
Rachel: Together, we negotiated a program for this exploration that was neither fully myself (long, dark, tiring) or Jen (bright, light, short). Working on the program together was so rewarding for both of us that the project stuck.
Jennifer: Right, we actually started very much as NOT a band – the title of the duo was the title of our first concert. But the collaboration makes a lot of sense for both of our artistic interests and has grown to include other concert projects.
The first time I saw you you put on a phenomenal performance with almost no playing of your instruments in the traditional sense. As “musicians,” how does your performance training translate into these works for your bodies/you as humans. Seems like acting and stagecraft would be big for you.
Rachel: A lot of people brought up terminology relating to theater when we were presenting our first concert. It was interesting, because we weren’t thinking about the program in those terms at all. A lot of people thought that because we no longer had instruments in our hands, it meant that we were using other types of tools of the stage, mostly involving theater, acting, and such. However, this was not the case AT ALL.
Jennifer: Our mode of working so far has been to look at very targeted questions or materials then explore them in our concerts. So, this concert was very specifically about our interest in a negative space – music without our instruments. The rest really emerged from that spot – issues of feminism, identity, physical relationships…
Rachel: All of the musical decisions for that first performance were made as if our bodies replaced the external instrument. In a way, we translated the practice of performing on an instrument to our bodies, employing the same modes of questioning and thought as an instrumentalist would.
Jennifer: Honestly, these terms were really tricky for us. When does a score (music) become a script (theater)? In some ways the differences between our performing Samuel Beckett’s Footfalls and Vinko Globokar’s ?Corporel are a matter of the composer/author’s preferred notation. But we’re also not interested in “tearing down the boundaries between the arts” or anything like that. This concert was very much in a grey area and that’s an interesting space to inhabit.
Does this week’s concert follow that exploration (body/music), or is it a new direction for you?
Rachel: This concert was one I was really interested in – combining Peter Ablinger’s Instrumente und Rauschen with music by Machaut. In a way, it’s a very simple juxtaposition, but as we dug into the music – moving from single tones, the “everything always” of white noise – we found beautiful paradoxes between the ideas of “simple” or “complex.” At its core, the concert is really about audibility.
Jennifer: So in relation to body/music, the answer is no and yes. No, because this is a very sonic concert – we play our instruments and all of the pieces explore sound. But also yes, because we’ve constructed the concert in a way that ended up shaping sound into a very tangible, physical, object. The sonic extremes – soft/loud, high/low, simple/complex – create a field of listening that situates the body in space.
What excites you about this material?
Rachel: The sound as object in connection to the body’s reaction to it as such is what excites me in this program.
Jennifer: I’m also really excited about the focus of the concert. We’ve worked really hard to construct a continuous listening experience where the pieces can come together and make a larger narrative. It feels like the performer’s version of composing, and it’s very satisfying.
What are your favorite ensembles/series/composers/whatever else in town to go see and hear?
Jennifer: Dog Star Orchestra! This concert is part of the Dog Star Orchestra Volume 12 Festival that’s happening between June 4th – 18th.
Rachel: The concerts are excellent and it’s a great way to see what’s happening in the experimental community around Los Angeles. You can see all of the concerts at www.dogstarorchestra.com.
We did a rather large post about the difficulties of performing music by Brian Ferneyhough just before this WasteLAnd concert back in February. While that post covered soprano Stephanie Aston’s part in Ferneyhough’s Etudes Transcendantales, the difficulty and intensity is much the same for anyone attempting this music. And let me tell you, violinist Mark Menzies SHREDDED on Terrain, Ferneyhough’s violin concerto.
The other reason for posting this today? Menzies joins wild Up for another performance of Terrain this Sunday at UCLA. The show, titled FILIGREE, also has music by Gerard Pesson, George Lewis, William Byrd, Nico Muhly, Arnolt Schlick and Whitney Houston, with two World Premieres by Chris Kallmyer and Andrew McIntosh.
The FREE concert is an early one, starting at 4pm at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall. Full details are on the facebook event page at facebook.com/events/664460340325127.
If you’re in LA and haven’t yet heard about WasteLAnd’s program of Ferneyhough, Lutyens, and Griffeath-Loeb at ArtShare this evening, what are you doing?! Starts at 8, is $10, GO.
Tomorrow evening wild Up joins the Pacific Symphony for the next show in the Santa Ana Sites series. Looks like it’s gonna rock, with what is, as far as I know, the first performance of Johnny Greenwood’s Popcorn Superhet Receiver in the LA area, along with music by Andrew Norman and others. The LA Times has a big thing on it here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-critics-pick-a-new-music-cornucopia-20150226-column.html
I just heard about a show at LACMA on Sunday that sounds really cool, and is free. Pianist Nadia Shpachenko emailed me in excitement about the beginning of her collaboration with composer Harold Meltzer, who has written a piece for actor and piano trio to be premiered at LACMA’s Sundays Live this weekend. There’s a second performance two days later out at Cal Poly Pomona. In addition, Piano Spheres has commissioned a piece from Meltzer for Schpachenko’s Satellite Series concert at REDCAT next season. This is looking to be a fruitful collaboration indeed.
Full details for all of these shows are available, as always, on our calendar page.
This is very short notice, but New Classic LA is back, and we’ll kick it off with news that AYS is playing a free show at Royce Hall tonight at 7. All of the info is here:
In rather important news for the site, I finally figured out a good way to do concert listings. It might look the same to you, but will be a zillion times easier for me to keep up to date. So let’s do this thing, round two.
Leah Paul just sent me this:
Concert This Saturday!
I’m excited to perform a new woodwind quintet I’ve written, played by myself, Myka Miller, Chris Speed, Danielle Ondarza, and Christin Phelps Webb, afterwards John Kibler and Brett Hool will perform as We Are The West.
The show is at 8pm in Santa Monica, directions below. This show is in a PARKING GARAGE made super cool and fun, with romantic lighting, drinks, and a general joie de vivre party-like atmosphere. Hope to see you there!
**The show is at The Parking Garage beneath the Office building on the corner of 7th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard, the entrance is down a stairway on 7th street.
Sounds pretty awesome.
Yep, you read that right. New ClassicLA is having a house party. This Friday at 8, Aron Kallay and Rafael Liebich will be premiering piano pieces by Ben Phelps, Jason Barabba, and yours truly (along with a few other locals) at my
house apartment in Santa Monica. I’ll also be opening the first bottle of my homemade amber ale (fingers crossed that carbonation is going as it should), and I believe a friend is bringing up a keg of something awesome that he made too. And Jason has agreed to make some kind of cakes, which I can tell you from personal experience will be utterly delicious. But yeah, the music! It’s going to be killer, and nice and loud, and you should come. I’m not so hot on posting my address on here, so email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it to you.
Then, Saturday, at 3:00 pm (more than enough time to get the shrimp omelette at Literati on the way over from my couch), Abagail Fischer presents ABSYNTH at the Hammer as a part of wild Up‘s residency there. Here’s the info from the facebook event page:
ABSYNTH is a constantly evolving multi-media program for electronics and voice, conceived by mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer and directed by wild Up founder Christopher Rountree. Hailed as “riveting” (New York Times) and “sumptuous” (Boston Globe), Ms. Fischer makes her premiere performance in Los Angeles here. This program will include commissioned works by Nico Muhly, Caleb Burhans, Kevin McFarland, Florent Ghys, and interspersed by other works by Missy Mazzoli, Wes Matthews, Kurt Weill, Milton Babbitt, and more. Richard Valitutto will assist on keyboards.
ABSYNTH has been performed in varying lengths since 2007, in locales from John Zorn’s Lower East Side venue- the Stone, to Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space, presented by American Opera Projects.
Hey! I’m hereby setting a record late notice announcements, but Leah Paul is playing a show at the Silverlake Lounge today at 5. It’s hosted by Classical Revolution LA, and I’m pretty sure it’s free.
The info is at facebook.com/events/382417651815035/
Just ignore the “Brooklyn style indie-classical” part of the tag line. This is LA, and while we love Brooklyn, and commend them on their achievements, guess what? We’ve got a scene too, and constantly comparing ourselves to our comrades-in-arms-in-Park-Slope makes for some kind of inferiority complex. Let’s be proud of what we’ve got, because it’s goddamn awesome, and couldn’t be happening anywhere else.
Man, we’ve had a ton of these this week! That’s a good thing though, especially for those of us who don’t want to drop $100 to hang out in a cemetery in Hollywood (can you tell I didn’t get Sigur Ros tickets?).
Tonight’s show comes courtesy of the wulf, which actually has a ton of events coming up, all of which are, and will always be, free. From their website:
04.20.2012 8:00 pm
Music of Anastassis Philippakopoulos
A selection of instrumental Songs and Five Piano Pieces by Anastassis Philippakopoulos. Performed by Mark So, William Powell, Kathy Pisaro and Christine Tavolacci. Also Michael Pisaro will play "24 petits préludes pour la guitare" by Antoine Beuger.
Details are at thewulf.org/events.html.
A bunch of calendar updates, and two interviews, and BIG news are all on the way, so keep an eye out.
Tonight at 8 at the Pasadena Conservatory, New Lens presents the Finisterra Piano Trio on the series’ inaugural run.
It’s a pretty sweet concept: as I understand it, they’re pairing old works that sound modern with new works that sound old, and keeping the program a secret until after the performance is finished.