March 18 Concert Announced

2 Mar

Program 2 – From Light into Darkness

photo: Michael Shane

The second concert of the Hartford New Music Festival includes works concerned with light and darkness, as well as the exploration of sound through electronics and extended instrumental and vocal techniques.

This program takes place on March 18 at 7:30pm at The Studio@Billing’s Forge, 563 Broad St, Hartford, CT 06106. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door:


Paramecium III (2010) for solo tuba and electronics by Benjamin J. Mansavage Klein

performed by composer

torsion (2003/5) for solo bassoon and tape by Olga Neuwirth

Jon Stehney, bassoon

59 ½” for a string player (1953) by John Cage

Robert Black, double bass

Paint It Black (1988) for solo double bass by Michael Gordon

Robert Black, double bass

Improvisation for Teacups and Light (2009) for solo live electronics by Levy Lorenzo

performed by the composer

Where/When (2010) for FM Koala and bassoon by Levy Lorenzo and Jon Stehney

performed by composers

For Andie Springer Showing the Form of a Melody, “Standing in the Shadows” by Robert Ashley (2010) for violin and guitar by Robert Ashley

Andie Springer, violin and James Moore, guitar

Scenes from Nek Chand (2001/2) for just intonation national steel string guitar by Lou Harrison

James Moore, guitar

Jabberwocky (1990) for voice and percussion by Susan Botti, poem by Lewis Carroll

Lauretta Pope, vocal/actor and Bill Solomon, percussion

Artist & Composer Biographies

Robert Ashley, a distinguished figure in American contemporary music, holds an international reputation for his work in new forms of opera and multi-disciplinary projects. His recorded works are acknowledged classics of language in a musical setting. He pioneered opera-for-television.The operatic works of Robert Ashley are distinctly original in style, and distinctly American in their subject matter and in their use of American language. Fanfare Magazine calls Ashley’s Perfect Lives “nothing less than the first American opera…”, and The Village Voice comments, “When the 21st Century glances back to see where the future of opera came from, Ashley, like Monteverdi before him, is going to look like a radical new beginning.” A prolific composer and writer, Ashley’s operas are “so vast in their vision that they are comparable only to Wagner’s Ring cycle or Stockhausen’s seven-evening Licht cycle. In form and content, in musical, vocal, literary and media technique, they are, however, comparable to nothing else.” (The Los Angeles Times).

Robert Black: Growing up in suburban America during the 1960’s and 70’s, my main musical experiences came from the radio, records, and the Music Program in the public school system (a program that not only existed, but was substantial). The radio connected me to millions of other people and together we listened to an explosion of music that was new, exciting, and ground breaking. Music was never going to be the same again. This communal sharing of such daring music was a revelation. It was mind blowing. I didn’ tknow it at the time, but I was developing a taste for the ‘new’, for the ‘other’ – for all of those peoples, cultures, and musics that I didn’t know. I was forever hooked on ‘the possibilities’ and ‘the unknown.’ The public school system changed my life in other ways. My Junior High School music teacher suggested I try the double bass. Mr. Gillian showme how to play my first two notes on the instrument and the next minute I was in the jazz band playing ‘Eleanor Rigby’. I came home from school that afternoon and told my parents that I wanted to play the bass for the rest of my life. And what a life. The sense of exploration and discovery that I experienced from the radio and on my first day with the bass have never stopped. As a result, I’ve focused my performing energies on New Music. New Music – an unending source of challenges and discoveries. New Music -never sits still, never runs out of ideas, never ceases to thrill, amaze, and engage. New Music – it has taken me throughout the world, involved me in technology, improvisation,world musics, pop music, and all things traditional and experimental, It has allowed me to collaborate with actors, dancers, painters and musicians of all sorts. This same passion for exploration and discovery has led me deeper into the history of the double bass and its repertoire, which has led me deeper into the performance of the Classical Literature and the world of Teaching. Teaching – another passion. I’ve had many mentors, people who have reached back and grabbed my outstretched hand, pulled me along and propelled meforward, showing me everything along the way. And now, with my outstretched hand still being pulled, I can reach back and grab the outstretched hands of others, helping them along, propelling them forward, showing them. So the circle’s complete. The Helped becomes the Helper becomes the Helped. Performing becomes Teaching becomes Performing. The New becomes the Old becomes the New.

John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, philosopher, poet, music theorist, artist,printmaker, and amateur mycologist and mushroom collector. A pioneer of chance music, electronic music and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage’s romantic partner for most of their lives. Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, the three movements of which are performed without a single note being played. The content of the composition is meant to be perceived as the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, rather than merely as four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence, and the piece became one of the most controversial compositions of the twentieth century. Another famous creation of Cage’s is the prepared piano (a piano with its sound altered by placing various objects in the strings), for which he wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces, the best known of which is Sonatas and Interludes(1946–48). His teachers included Henry Cowell (1933) and Arnold Schoenberg (1933–35), both known for their radical innovations in music, but Cage’s major influences lay in various Eastern cultures. Through his studies of Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism in the late 1940s, Cage came to the idea of aleatoric or chance-controlled music, which he started composing in 1951. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic text on changing events, became Cage’s standard composition tool for the rest of his life. In a 1957 lecture, Experimental Music, he described music as “a purposeless play” which is “an affirmation of life – not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living”.

Michael Gordon‘s music merges subtle rhythmic invention with incredible power embodying, in the words of The New Yorker‘s Alex Ross, “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz and the intransigence of classical modernism.” Over the past 25 years, Gordon has produced a strikingly diverse body of work, ranging from large-scale pieces for high-energy ensembles to major orchestral commissions to works conceived specifically for the recording studio. Transcending categorization, this music represents the collision of mysterious introspection and brutal directness. Deeply passionate about the sonic potential of the traditional orchestra, Gordon’s orchestral works include Rewriting Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, a radical reworking of the original, commissioned by the 2006 Beethoven Festival in Bonn and premiered by Jonathon Nott and the Bamberger Symphony; and Sunshine of your Love, written for over 100 instruments divided into four microtonally tuned groups. Under the baton of composer/conductor John Adams, The Ensemble Modern Orchestra toured Sunshine of your Love to seven European capitals in 1999. Gordon’s string orchestra pieceWeather was commissioned by the Siemens Foundation Kultur Program, and after its tour was recorded and released on Nonesuch to great critical and popular success. His interest in exploring various sound textures has led him to create chamber works that distort traditional classical instruments with electronic effects and guitar pedals, including Potassium for the Kronos Quartet and Industry for cellist Maya Beiser. Also for Kronos,The Sad Park, written in 2006, uses the voices of child witnesses to September 11th as its subject. Gordon’s monumental, 52-minute Trance, originally written for the UK-based group Icebreaker, was debuted in 1997 and recently performed twice in New York City by the ensemble Signal.

Lou Silver Harrison (May 14, 1917 – February 2, 2003) was an American composer. He was a student of Henry Cowell, Arnold Schoenberg, and K. P. H. Notoprojo (formerly called K.R.T. Wasitodiningrat, informally called Pak Cokro). Harrison is particularly noted for incorporating elements of the music of non-Western cultures into his work, with a number of pieces written forJavanese style gamelan instruments, including ensembles constructed and tuned by Harrison and his partner William Colvig. The majority of his works are written in just intonation rather than the more widespread equal temperament. Harrison is one of the most prominent composers to have worked with microtones.

Benjamin J Mansavage Klein prods at the definition of the tuba, using electronics as a means to stretch the perception of what a tuba can sound like.  Benjamin has worked as a solo player, with dance and theatre groups, and with ensembles incorporating his tuba and electronics combination.  Benjamin grew up in Wisconsin, and worked there in various manufacturing industries.  He attended Lawrence University where he studied tuba with Martin Erickson and Charles Guy, and composition with Philip Bodin, Matt Turner, and Joanne Metcalf.  In August 2005, Benjamin was awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, allowing him to undertake projects in Amsterdam, London, Sydney, New Zealand, and Tokyo.  He completed graduate studies at Wesleyan University where he studied with Ron Kuivila, Alvin Lucier, Anthony Braxton, and Neely Bruce. Benjamin currently lives, works, and teaches in Hartford, Connecticut.    You can listen to his work at: www.bjmklein.comv

Levy Lorenzo is a percussionist and electronics engineer based in New York.  He performs contemporary percussion music in solo and chamber settings across the US and Europe. He also specializes in designing new electronic musical instruments for performance on the concert stage. His electronics design work has been featured at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show, BBC Ecuador and the G4 network.  An advocate for interdisciplinary arts, he has collaborated with dancers, video artists, sculptors, mathematicians and dramaturgs. He performs live electronics with the International Contemporary Ensemble in New York City, and was a featured marimba soloist with the International Ensemble Modern Academy in the Klangspuren Schwaz Festival (AT).

Levy has worked professionally as a firmware engineer for Bose and

holds B.S. and M.Eng. degrees in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Cornell University.  He also earned a M.M. degree from SUNY Stony Brook, where he is a D.M.A. candidate. Levy has studied percussion with Eduardo Leandro and Nathan Davis, and has studied electronic music with Margaret Schedel and Daria Semegen.

James Moore is a versatile guitarist with many musical personalities. Performing on a wide variety of acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, and home-made instruments, James combines the sensitivity and lyricism from his classical training with a healthy dose of improvisation, theatrics, and experimentation. Both as a soloist and ensemble player, he aims for all of his music to be unique and personal. Places where you may have found James Moore include: at the Wulf in downtown LA performing amplified banjo compositions; at the Bang on a Can Marathon directing an orchestra of hearing deprived guitarists; at the Fringe Theater in Hong Kong presenting apocalyptic multimedia theatrical works; at the Performa Festival playing Fred Frith’s music for multiple table-top guitars; at the Kitchen performing alongside rock musicians Bryce Dessner, Sufjan Stevens and Glenn Kotche; at the Barbican Center in London playing the music of Michael Gordon with Alarm Will Sound; at the Whitney Museum performing the music of Christian Marclay with Elliott Sharp; at the World Financial Center performing on ukulele with the pop/chamber group Clogs; at Northwestern University performing on a prepared classical guitar; in Astoria, Queens, premiering a concerto for the Greek Bouzouki. James is a member and co-director of the electric guitar quartet Dither, a group that has been gaining international recognition for precision playing and creative programming. Other projects include the folk-noise group Oliphant, the experimental band Passenger Fish, and the conceptually extreme chamber music project Ensemble de Sade.

 James is the guitarist for William Brittelle’s lip-synched pop collage Mohair Time Warp, for Matt Marks’s Christian nihilist musical The Little Death, and for Jacob Cooper’s electronic pop-tragedy Timberbrit. Additionally, James performs with Object Collection, the resident experimental ensemble at playwright Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater. James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, received his undergraduate degree in guitar performance and electronic music from The University of California, Santa Cruz, and his MM in guitar performance from the Yale School of Music. His primary teachers have been Mesut Özgen and Benjamin Verdery. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Olga Neuwirth studied composition in San Francisco, later in Vienna with Erich Urbanner, graduating with a thesis on film music in a film by Resnais. Adriana Hölszky, Tristan Murail and Luigi Nono were important influences on her own music. In 1998, two concerts of the ‘Next Generation’ series at the Salzburg festival featured her work. 2002 composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival. Her music shows an amazing variety of sound patterns which lead the listener into a labyrinth of constant metamorphosis. Deconstructs language and other everyday sounds in order to find new, musical contexts for familiar acoustical elements
Lauretta Pope is a chanteuse comedienne who graduated in 2008 from UConn’s Professional Actor Training Program under the tutelage of Dale AJ Rose.  Audiences familiar with the UConn/Connecticut Repertory Theatre will most likely remember her as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. For CRT she also appeared in As You Like It (Celia), Restoration Comedy (Narcissa/Hoyden), The Arabian Nights (Sheherazade), Pentecost (Yasmin) and The Threepenny Opera (Mrs. Peachum).  Since finishing grad school, Lauretta has appeared in Kiss Me Kate (Lilly Vanessi), Closer Than Ever (Ensemble), Seussical (Gertrude), The Witches,  Speech and Debate (in the role of Diwata, which won her a Pitch Magazine’s Best of Kansas City Award for Best Comedienne), My First Time and in the Nutmeg Summer Series’ RENT (Joanne).  She is a proud member of Exilkabarett.  Look for her new production of Hamlet to hit the scene this summer.

Bill Solomon

is a Hartford, CT-based percussionist specializing in solo and chamber contemporary classical music performance, mentioned as “a stand out among unfailingly excellent performances” in the Boston Globe.  Performance credits include the solo vibraphone part for Pierre Boulez’s Répons in collaboration with the Lucerne Festival, IRCAM, Ensemble InterContemporain and Mr. Boulez; a member of the ensemble SIGNAL with composers Helmut Lachenmann and Steve Reich, including an upcoming recording of Music for 18 Musicians and performances at Tanglewood, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Miller Theatre and Society for Ethical Culture (NYC); a soundtrack by Philip Glass for the 9/11 documentary “Project Rebirth”; and a sound installation at Yale-Haskins Labs Gallery in collaboration with composer Matt Sargent.  Other performance highlights include June in Buffalo, Sebago-Long Lake Chamber Music Festival, Tune In Festival, Percussive Arts Soceity International Conference, Bang on a Can Marathon, HOT!Fest NYC, Pixelerations, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Miami String Quartet, Full Force Dance Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Brattleboro Music Center, EXILKABARETT, Luduvico Ensemble, Island Chamber Musicians, as well as recitals at universities and galleries throughout the northeast with cello/percussion duo The Uncanny Valley and the new music collective Hartford Sound Alliance (which he co-directs). He is on the board of directors of Studio for Electronic Music, Inc. (SEMI) as well as the co-curator of the Hartford New Music Festival. Current and forthcoming recordings can be heard on Mode, EUROArts, Naxos, Capstone, Tzigane and Equilibrium labels.  Bill currently teaches at The Loomis Chaffee School and is a doctoral candidate at The Hartt School where he studies with Benjamin Toth.

Andie Springer is a classically-trained, modern-minded violinist. She enjoys performing music from a wide range of genres- from baroque to amplified, romantic to minimalist, Broadway to improvised. She is passionate about promoting the music of her generation and as a result has co-founded new music ensembles TRANSIT and Redshift. Andie also frequently performs with Redhooker and Anti-Social Music- all of which are groups whose members blur the line between composer and performer. While living in New York, Andie has performed at venues such as The Blue Note, The Stone, Monkeytown, Galapagos, Le Poisson Rouge, Merkin Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Tribeca Film Festival. Her music has also taken her across the globe- from touring Alaska and Canada with the Arctic Chamber Orchestra to performing Sarasate’s “Navarra” with the Neue Philharmonie in Westfalen, Germany, to playing with rock stars in Lima, Peru. Andie earned her BFA at Carnegie Mellon University with Professor Andres Cardenes, and her MFA at New York University with Professor Arturo Delmoni. She has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, and her playing has been broadcast on stations WQED FM, KUAC FM, WBGO FM, and WFMU FM. She enjoys teaching and is currently on the faculty the Larchmont Music Academy.

Jon Stehney is pursuing his D.M.A. at SUNY Stony Brook under the direction of Frank Morelli.  He has had the opportunity to spend three years at the Lucerne Festival Academy studying with Pascal Gallois and Paul Riveaux.  During his time at CalArts and San Francisco Conservatory of Music he has done several premieres as well as teaching classes for composers on how to write for the bassoon.  His newest projects include working on prepared bassoon and transcribing Stockhausen’s clarinet piece “Harlequin” for bassoon.


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