EMPAC Spring 2011

empac_concert_hall_ceiling.jpgEMPAC's spring 2011 slate is officially out -- and, as usual, it's full of stuff that looks interesting, challenging, and weird (you know, in the good way.)

Here are a handful of shows/exhibits/performances that caught our eye...

blurbs are from EMPAC's site

Verdensteatret: And All the Questionmarks Started to Sing
February 17, 18
A delicate, room-sized machine of intricate kinetic sculptures is assembled from flotsam, bicycle wheels, and old glass objects held in tiny robot arms. Actors who double as instrumentalists set in motion a chain reaction of dreamlike shifts between macro and micro perspectives. And All the Question Marks Started to Sing crosses between concert, sculptural installation, and performance. In a landscape under constant transformation, light, shadow, sound, puppetry, and object theater merge to form a mesmerizing constellation of associations. Bringing artists of different backgrounds together, the work shows Verdensteatret's fascination with all kinds of animation--the strange and miraculous activity of breathing life into dead objects, stiff figures, and frozen images.

Gérard Grisey: Le Noir de l'Étoile (Black of the Star)
February 26
Radio signals emitted by two pulsars from a distant place in the universe become part of a work played on six percussion stations that surround the audience. This piece was commissioned from Gérard Grisey by the French ensemble Les Percussions de Strasbourg, which will perform at EMPAC. Grisey has been called one of the founders of so-called spectral music (a label he later disowned). In this piece, the evolution of timbres played by instruments, and of sound colors as they expand, explore the great complexities of what our ears can hear, and take the audience on a journey inside the sound of music. Not only is the space "out there" brought into the Concert Hall, the hall itself is made part of the experience by placing the performers, instruments, and loudspeakers around the audience.

Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians + Double Sextet
March 12
The minimalist music style has had a profound influence on all Western music. Not only has classical music been challenged and changed, but electronica, jazz, hip-hop, and pop have fallen under its influence, as well. Starting in the 1960s as an alternative to the "joyless" classical music coming out of academia, its pulsing rhythms, shifting patterns, focused harmonies, and mesmerizing repetitions, which move continuously through metamorphoses, spoke to listeners in a new way. Music for 18 Musicians, by Steve Reich and musicians, premiered in 1974 at The Town Hall in New York City.

In 2009, Reich won a Pulitzer Prize for his piece Double Sextet, where two identical groups of six musicians each play interlocking patterns of music--and the interwoven rhythms and phrases draw listeners into a maelstrom of pulsing music.

Signal, under Brad Lubman, performs these minimalist masterpieces with absolute virtuosity.

Graham Parker: The Confidence Man
March 21 - April 30
Parker has long been interested in spectrality--the concealing of one set of operations behind the appearance of another. His 2009 book Fair Use (Notes from Spam), explored spam emails as the latest manifestation of a longstanding mode of deception that has accompanied nearly all new developments in human transport and communication networks (the book touched on such phenomena as Nigerian spam, 19th century railroad cons and medieval beggar gangs). The Confidence Man features work that has grown out of that research--including hacked ATM machines, rogue WIFI networks, monologues drawn from spam emails and a tribute to the 1973 film The Sting.

Observer Effects: Conversations on Art & Science: Martin Kemp
April 6
Certain kinds of art and science originate in the intuiting of deep structures that lie behind appearance--what Martin Kemp, emeritus research professor in the history of art, Oxford University, has called "structural intuitions." Some of the structures are static, relying upon fundamental forms of geometry; some disclose the process itself, like splashing; and others are the result of complex processes, like folding. In this dinner discussion, Martin Kemp will speak on themes that run across art, architecture, design, and various sciences from the Renaissance to today.

Jaroslaw Kapuscinski: Catch the Tiger!
April 16
Intermedia composer and pianist Jaroslaw Kapuscinski creates lighthearted and fanciful pieces in which musical instruments are used to control multimedia content. In these media compositions, he controls projections of videos and computer-generated graphics as he plays piano. The images, words, and music combine to entertain, but also provide insight into the artistic relationship between words and music. The witty integration of his virtuosic piano playing--he was first trained as a classical pianist and composer at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw--with a precisely timed flow of images informs his latest work, Where is Chopin, in which he plays excerpts from Chopin's 24 Preludes in conjunction with videos of people in various countries listening.

Francisco López: Hyper-Rainforest
April 28,29,30
Hyper-Rainforest is a monumental sound piece, both in duration and in how the sounds are projected to the Concert Hall. All music in this performance stems from field recordings--but it does not simulate the natural reality of the original locations. Instead, the work creates a sonic hyper-reality, a virtual world of sound and music that goes beyond a trip to a rainforest. The original materials are observed, analyzed, and composed to create a piece that surrounds the audience, moving deep into the sounds themselves and toward new sounds still rooted in their origins. This world premiere, commission was developed in residence at EMPAC.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Interesting in 2010: The EMPAC Curators
+ NYS Writers Institute Spring 2011
+ Cooking the Tree of Life 2011

EMPAC does advertise on AOA.

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