Simplicity Itself features new and recent works written for New Morse Code by Caroline Shaw, Robert Honstein, Paul Kerekes, and Tonia Ko, and guest performances by violinist Katie Hyun and composer/pianist Timo Andres.
Our premiere today is a Four/Ten Media video of New Morse Code performing Boris Kerner by Caroline Shaw, who provided the following notes on the piece:
Boris S. Kerner lives in Stuttgart and is the author of “Introduction to Modern Traffic Flow Theory” and “Control: The Long Road to Three-Phase Traffic Theory.” Many thanks to Hannah and Mike of the brilliant duo New Morse Code for working with me along the way with this piece, which is another in a series of expositions on the curious phrase “the detail of the pattern is movement.”
Listen to Boris Kerner and more on Simplicity Itself, available for preorder via New Focus Recordings.
About New Morse Code
New Morse Code (Hannah Collins, cello; Michael Compitello, percussion) is the confluence of two magnetic personalities who have taken up the admirable task of creating a hub for the performance, commissioning, and promotion of new music. NMC is theoretically the alluring and uncommon combination of cello and percussion, but in practice is best described as two musicians of extraordinary depth and skill untethered by their instrumental constraints. This unrestricted approach has allowed them to create a body of work in which Hannah can be found crushing plastic bottles and Michael plucking the strings of the cello––all with the intention of expanding and facilitating the imaginations of their composer-collaborators––while ultimately creating a meaningful and lasting repertoire. The performances that arise from this playful and innovative methodology reveal Hannah and Michael’s passion for sharing the work of their friends and peers, and aside from their effortless ability to perform the most finger-twisting of contemporary repertoire, NMC’s ability to communicate the esoteric details and depth of these complex works is what makes them truly remarkable chamber musicians. As tireless advocates for new music, they constantly seek out diverse venues (wineries, outdoor parks, art museums, elementary school classrooms), and their ability to connect with disparate audiences by way of their disarming charm, accessible intellect, and dynamic musicality is exceptional.
Hannah and Michael formed New Morse Code while they were students at Yale after returning to the United States from extended and informative study in Europe. Inspired by their similar yet different experiences abroad, they began performing together and planting the seeds that would blossom into their dedicated community of collaborators and followers. They currently teach at the University of Kansas and co-direct the Avaloch Farm New Music Initiative.
About Caroline Shaw
Caroline Adelaide Shaw is a New York-based musician. She is the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her enigmatic composition Partita for 8 Voices. Her career defies categorization—she performs as a violin soloist, chamber musician, and as a vocalist in the Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Recent commissions include works for Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Jonathan Biss, and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. She also frequently collaborates with Kanye West. Currently a doctoral candidate at Princeton, Caroline also studied at Rice and Yale. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.