Species – Monsters –
Wed, July 10th, 6:30pm
601Artspace, 88 Eldridge St, NYC
Species – Monsters – Things Artificial was a one-night concert that explored interchanges of energy and agency between performers and instruments. As the materials for making visual art radically broadened in the post-war era, a parallel development in music expanded what constituted an instrument and how instruments could be played. The music in this concert draws upon extended performance techniques that foreground the complex vibrational behaviors of acoustic instruments.
The evening featured Pala Garcia, John Popham, and Hannah Levinson, playing the works of Alvin Lucier, Suzanne Farrin, Catherine Lamb, and Daniel Fox. The violinist, cellist, and violist interpreted recent compositions that explore how the source of expression shifts between the bodies of the performers and the bodies of the instruments. In Alvin Lucier’s Lovesong, a piano wire tied to the bridges of the violin and cello stretches taut across the room. The wire transfers the vibrations of the violinist’s bowing to the cello so that the cello vibrates sympathetically and, along with the wire, takes on a life of its own. In Daniel Fox’s Viola and Cello, rhythmic instabilities shift from the bodies of the instruments to the bodies of the performers. Based on a poem by Petrarch, Suzanne Farrin’s Corpo di Terra is a song without words in which the instrument struggles to express an idea beyond its limitations. Catherine Lamb’s open-scape cultivates sensitivity to minute differences in timbre and pitch as the violinist deforms the sound of her instrument through song.
Pala Garcia - violin
John Popham - cello
Hannah Levinson - viola
Lovesong (15’) for violin duet; arranged for violin and cello (2018). Alvin Lucier
Viola and Cello (13’) (2018). Daniel Fox
open-scape (10’) for solo violin (2008). Catherine Lamb
Corpo di Terra (13’) for cello (2012). Suzanne Farrin
Suzanne Farrin is a composer who explores the interior worlds of instruments and the visceral potentialities of sound. In 2017 she won the Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize. Her dolce la morte was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2016 and has been performed at the Crested Butte Festival in Colorado and again at the MET in 2017. She is the Frayda B. Lindemann Professor of Music and Chair at Hunter College and The CUNY Graduate Center, where she teaches composition.
Daniel Fox is a doctoral candidate in composition at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His music has been performed by the Mivos Quartet, Talea Ensemble, and Contemporaneous. His writing has appeared in Perspectives of New Music, Hyperallergic, and Van Magazine. He holds a PhD in mathematics from Duke University and has published in the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society and Communications in Analysis and Geometry. His dissertation investigates the role of acoustic resonance in the music of Alvin Lucier and Morton Feldman.
Catherine Lamb is a composer exploring the interaction of elemental tonal material and the variations in presence between shades and beings in a room. In 2003 she turned away from the conservatory in an attempt to understand the structures and intonations within Hindustani Classical Music. She studied (experimental) composition at the California Institute of the Arts (2004-2006) under James Tenney and Michael Pisaro. She received her MFA from the Milton Avery School of Fine Arts at Bard College in 2012 and is currently residing in Berlin, Germany.
Alvin Lucier co-founded the Sonic Arts Union, an influential group of composers and performers of electronic music, in 1966. From 1968 to 2011 he taught at Wesleyan University where he was John Spencer Camp Professor of Music. Lucier lectures and performs extensively in Asia, Europe and The United States. He has collaborated with John Ashbury (Theme) and Robert Wilson (Skin, Meat, Bone). His sound installation, 6 Resonant Points Along a Curved Wall, accompanied Sol DeWitt’s sculpture, Curved Wall, in Graz, Austria. In the last five years he has been honored by the Tectonics Festival in Glasgow, the Ultima Festival in Oslo, and gave a portrait concert at the Louvre, Paris.