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Defining Communicating: David Van Tieghem x Ten “Fits & Starts”

rvng-logoRVNG Intl.’s release of X Ten – Fits & Starts is the 10th volume of the FRKWYS series, and is the result of a project that seeks to answer the question “what can a communication be?” In 2012, as part of an on-going series called Bulletin Boards, percussionist and composer David Van Tieghem improvised a solo performance at Venus Over Manhattan, using only an assortment of objects, ranging from bamboo chimes and water cans, to spaghetti strainers and firecrackers, attached to a 6×4 foot bulletin board. Recordings were made of the performance and sent off to ten musicians (who each had contributed an object to the bulletin board) to manipulate, remix, and interpret however they wanted. The results were sent back to Van Tieghem to edit and assemble into a final draft, resulting in a collage that spans two sides of a 12-inch vinyl.


David Van Tieghem

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5 questions to Darcy James Argue (composer)

Darcy James Argue will be at the Jazz Gallery tonight, Nov. 7, for two fantastic sets. What a great excuse to look back on Brooklyn Babylon, one of the best shows (and later a recording) of 2011. George Heathco did the talking…

What drew you to a project like Brooklyn Babylon?

In the fall of 2009 I was summoned for a meeting with the powers-that-be at BAM. I was told this was going to be a very casual, low-key meet-and-greet sort of thing, and I sort of naively took that at face value. Then people started patiently explaining to me that “a very casual, low-key meet-and-greet sort of thing” at BAM means “you’d better come prepared with something to pitch, you moron.” So I had to spend some time thinking about what type of large-scale project I’d be most drawn towards, and I eventually settled on the idea of collaborating with a graphic novel artist.

I had a friend who worked as an editor at [the comics company] Vertigo and she kindly provided a list of NYC-based artists whose style was more or less in my wheelhouse. As soon as I saw Danijel Zezelj’s work, I knew instantly that he had to be the one. His gritty, expressionist-influenced imagery, full of powerful light-and-shadow contrast, hit me right in the gut. I absolutely had to work with this guy!

My contact at Vertigo slipped me an advance copy of his graphic novel with Kevin Baker, Luna Park. And so when the day came, my meeting at BAM actually turned out to be a very casual, low-key meet-and-greet type of thing. It was only at the very end, as I was just about to walk out the door, that they very casually happened to mention that if I ever had an idea for a large-scale project that might be suitable for the Next Wave Festival… and so I very casually reached into my bag for my copy of Luna Park and said, “Well, funny you should mention, it just so happens I have with me… ”

Darcy James Argue - Photo by Lindsay Beyerstein

Darcy James Argue – Photo by Lindsay Beyerstein

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Chris Campbell and Grant Cutler’s Schooldays Over: Folk Reimagined

innova logoSchooldays Over is Chris Campbell and Grant Cutler’s dark and haunting reimagining of Ewan MacColl’s Irish folk-ballad of the same name. In 1961, MacColl wrote the song as part of a larger work called “The Big Hewer,” which was broadcast as a radio documentary about the lives of coal miners. “Schooldays Over” in its original form depicts a wide-eyed, adolescent eagerness to leave the schoolyard behind and join in with the other men down in the pits; however, Campbell and Cutler’s approach is of reluctance and fear, as though what is being heard is a snapshot of a grim present-day, and the naive and youthful hunger merely a distant memory.

Detail from the cover of The Big Hewer

Detail from the cover of The Big Hewer

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Selkie: Transformative creatures, transformative music

Selkie: A sea tale is a chamber opera collaboration between soprano Misha Penton and composer Elliot Cole, and was released on CD and digital download this April. From the liner notes: “Selkie…is a dreamscape of human fragility, longing and loss, written from a sailor’s wife to her selkie love and culminates in her willingness to release him back to the sea.” The CD features performances by Penton, cellist Patrick Moore, and pianist Kyle Evans. The work premiered in Houston, Tx in 2010.

Elliot Cole

Elliot Cole

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Everything is Bigger in Texas: San Antonio’s SOLI Chamber Ensemble Matches High Ambition with Huge Results

There were two wonderful opportunities over the past month for chamber music fans in Texas to experience fantastic performances of master works by leading contemporary American composers. The pair of concerts were on May 8 and 9 in San Antonio, and were presented by veteran new music group SOLI Chamber Ensemble. SOLI is a contemporary music quartet based in San Antonio, Texas, and is comprised of clarinetist Stephanie Key, violinist Ertan Torgul, cellist David Mollenauer, and pianist Carolyn True. They presented a youthful, energetic, and bold program of five works on May 8 at Trinity University’s Ruth Taylor Recital Hall. The program was repeated the following night at the McNay Art Museum, in the Leeper Auditorium. Of the five works performed over the two evenings, two pieces were premiere performances of specific arrangements, and one was a world premiere of a brand new collaborative work by composer Steven Mackey and video artist Mark DeChiazza.

Ensemble SOLI

SOLI Chamber Ensemble

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