Tomorrow, Friday, February 1, Iktus Percussion kicks off The Firehouse New Music Series with Cadillac Moon Ensemble, New Morse Code, and Localized Corrosion, a Philippe Hurel quartet featuring members of Iktus+. We asked 5 questions to Iktus member Chris Graham.
Do you think that your craft/instrument (percussion) influences your curating?
Yes, I would say at the moment it is very influential in the decision making process as to what ensembles we reach out to. In general, the majority of the groups performing have percussion as an essential element of the ensemble, and in some cases, the percussionist is the director of the ensemble. Therefore, getting in touch and inquiring if they would like to be a part of The Firehouse New Music Series was a natural endeavor.
What does curating as an ensemble entail?
As an ensemble, the members of Iktus and its affiliates have a diverse taste in different types of music. With that in mind, this has helped give attention to various experimental groups such as Panoply Performance Lab, thingNY, and the Ashcan Orchestra, ensembles that I personally wasn’t aware of, but picked up on through the members of Iktus.
Would you have a piece of advice for people interested in curating their own series?
Given that curating is a fairly new and fresh experience for me, my first suggestion would be to start the organizational process early. This is fundamental in developing the foundation or “platform” in which the series can grow and take shape. Performers, ensemble directors, and performance venues generally need to plan well in advance for their upcoming concert seasons. Getting a head start definitely helps with the forward motion of progress and provides plenty of time for everyone to plan and make necessary adjustments throughout the year.
Can you tell us more about the venue?
The Firehouse Space is fairly new performance venue. It’s in the early stages of developing an audience and recognition, but it is steadily gaining momentum among various audiences in the art and music fields. Sandra Sprecher is the artistic director and is extremely supportive of all musical art forms and does a fabulous job in managing the space. It holds about 70 people comfortably, has PA system, two grand pianos, and sounds fantastic! We are really excited to be hosting there.
What is Iktus+ and what was the impetus?
Iktus+ is a collective of outstanding composers, varied instrumentalist, and conductors that collaborate regularly with the “core” members of Iktus (Cory Bracken, Justin Wolf, Steve Sehman, and myself).
The creation of Iktus+ was a gradual evolution. Between the years of 2010 and 2011, the ensemble was asked to develop various projects that happen to required repertoire of mixed instrumentation. We enjoyed collaborating with people outside of the group and decided to structure it in such a way that would make it more feasible to continue these types of projects. For example, we recently toured the Midwest performing for seven different universities, showcasing music for piano and percussion alongside French pianist Julia Den Boer and conductor Nicholas DeMaison. This past summer, we had a critically acclaimed performance of selected works of John Cage, featuring the pianist Taka Kigawa and toy pianist Phyllis Chen. The first installment of The Firehouse New Music Series will include Iktus+ members Andrea Lodge, Scott Litroff, and Piero Guimaraes.
Overall, we are very excited with how we are developing this and look forward to exploring its full potential in the future.