Because Brooklyn boosterism is in decline, our friends on the West Coast have decided to the fete the Borough of Kings with a week long music festival in our honor. The Brooklyn Festival will feature such BK based musical luminaries as Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, The Antlers and Chairlift, just to name a few.
Location has always figured prominently in the world of art and music. For today’s most forward-thinking music-lovers, Brooklyn has emerged as ground zero for young compositional talent. From composers whose work has begun to inform the repertoire of contemporary orchestras and ensembles, to those pushing the boundaries of art rock and electronic music, Brooklyn has become an incubator of innovative music ideas.
With the Brooklyn Festival (April 16 – 22, 2013), the LA Phil focuses on the contribution of Brooklyn artists to American music, including the world premiere of Stem by Ted Hearne; and the world premiere of Strip Mall, Matt Marks “mini-opera,” performed on the same program as Tyondai Braxton’s adventurous Central Market, a conceptually and sonically big, multi-movement work by an artist formerly of math-rock band Battles, but here enlisting an orchestra.
Brooklyn’s art-rock scene gave birth to a new musical movement that continues to lend credibility and foster creativity in all different forms of music. Three of today’s most multifaceted music talents – The National’s Bryce Dessner, singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens and composer Nico Muhly – come together to consider the cosmos with the West Coast premiere of Planetarium, a planet-by-planet song cycle that melds their distinct creative contributions into a harmonic whole that unfolds against the backdrop of a giant orb. This show opens with a string quartet performance of compositions by Dessner, Stevens and Muhly.
Brooklyn-based bands The Antlers and Chairlift come together on one bill, transporting the sounds of the ever-progressive borough to Walt Disney Concert Hall. Both bands make their Concert Hall debuts.
Brooklyn Festival press release continued after the jump.
“Brooklyn’s music scene represents a unique and concentrated cultural phenomenon. The LA Phil celebrates the significance of Brooklyn-influenced artistry with a dedicated focus on the artists and composers of the region, who are pushing new musical boundaries and tipping the scales of creativity,” says Deborah Borda, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
Alan Pierson, Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and conductor of the Festival’s Green Umbrella program, comments, “I’ve been a huge admirer of the LA Phil for years, so it’s very exciting to get to work with them on bringing some of the amazing music and culture that’s being created in Brooklyn to a West Coast audience.”
April 16, 2013
Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group
Alan Pierson, conductor
Tyondai Braxton, guitar
Samuel ADAMS, Tension Studies
Matt MARKS Strip Mall
Tyondai BRAXTON Central Market
Bridging experimental sound, orchestral music and pop hooks, the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s celebrated new artistic director Alan Pierson conducts an evening of Brooklyn’s most adventurous new music.
Until recently, Braxton, on stage and in the studio, had been a determined one-man band, employing guitar, voice, looping and delay pedals plus various found objects to create work that simulates the sound of a large ensemble. On Central Market, however, Braxton took a radically different course from the “orchestrated loops” that had become his trademark: he collaborated with a real orchestra. The resulting seven-song album, said New York magazine, was “a relentlessly exciting, elaborately layered 45-minute score that pounds through a sequence of musical landscapes with the manic intensity of a movie foot chase.” Though there were plenty of ominous, unsettling sounds on the disc, particularly in its later tracks, the sheer ambition of Central Market gave it an uplifting, almost joyful quality.
After a March 2011 performance at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, a New York Times reviewer summed up the spirit of that adventurous evening: “It was simply – actually quite intricately – a blast.” Said the London Telegraph of a recent Central Market performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall with London Sinfonietta: “What emerged from Braxton’s noisy assemblages of guitar licks, biting violin patterns and kazoo buzzings wasn’t anger so much as a delighted naivety, guided by a very refined sensibility.”.
Matt Marks’ Strip Mall is a short musical drama centered around a gay teenaged boy named Myles and his rebellious sister Sheenah as they take a trip to the local strip mall, both to stop by the Dairy Queen and to visit Sheenah’s boyfriend, who works selling bibles at the Christian bookstore. Out of this seemingly banal excursion we learn of the various boiling tensions between this ever-so-suburban trio. The musical language is largely inspired by bubblegum pop, yet a variety of musical styles are woven throughout the piece, from Eastern European waltz to hip hop. Strip Mall is an episode of a larger serial work by Matt Marks and librettist/lyricist Royce Vavrek, called Strangers in Many Ways. Other episodes having been written for such ensembles as Alarm Will Sound and the Brooklyn Philharmonic.
Alan Pierson has been praised as “a dynamic conductor and musical visionary” by The New York Times. He is the Artistic Director and conductor of the acclaimed ensemble Alarm Will Sound, which has been called “the future of classical music” by The New York Times and “a sensational force” with “powerful ideas about how to renovate the concert experience” by The New Yorker. Mr. Pierson recently began his second season as the Artistic Director and conductor of the newly renovated Brooklyn Philharmonic. Time Out New York praised Pierson’s inaugural season as extraordinary,” a “season of miraculous resurgence.”
For the past seventeen years, American composer Tyondai Braxton has been actively involved in music composition and performance. Bridging the purview of his interests in solo composition, experimental sound, pop music and large-scale orchestra, his music has received critical acclaim from an extraordinarily diverse expanse of the music world. In late 2002, Braxton co-founded the avant-rock group Battles, in which, until 2010, he performed as guitarist, keyboardist and singer. He recently collaborated with esteemed composer Philip Glass for a live re-imagining of Glass’ Piano Etudes at the “I’ll Be Your Mirror” ATP Festival in New York City. Braxton’s further commissions have ranged from multimedia art/music installations (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council) to compositions for world-renowned ensembles (Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can, Alarm Will Sound) and contemporary dance (choreographer Alan Good). On March 21, 2013, Braxton will give the World Premiere of his newest project HIVE at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Matt Marks is a composer/performer of innovative opera and music-theater works, as well as unique and exciting instrumental and electronic music. A founding member of Alarm Will Sound, he also performs as a French hornist with such acclaimed new music ensembles as the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Signal, and ACME. As a composer and arranger, Matt’s work has been called “staggeringly creative” by The New York Times, “obsessively detailed” by New York Magazine, and “stunning” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Lincoln Center, The Barbican Center, The Bang on a Can Marathon, and live on WNYC radio.
April 18, 20 and 21, 2013
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Joshua Weilerstein, conductor
Cameron Carpenter, organ
Christopher CERRONE Invisible Overture
Hannah LASH Hush
Ted HEARNE Stem (LA Phil co-commission with Brooklyn Philharmonic)
COPLAND Organ Symphony
Aaron Copland’s early French- and jazz-influenced Organ Symphony is paired with a new piece by Ted Hearne, a dynamic young composer as comfortable in operatic and orchestral works as in rock and choral music.
Ted Hearne’s new piece for large orchestra, Stem, is a rich, thickly textured, colorful work, built from a provocative mix of new and sampled music. Using source material the way graffiti uses public space, Stem exhumes the ghosts of Copland and Ives with radical collage techniques, combining isolated puzzle pieces into a challenging and politically-resonant new hybrid. The title is a reference to the preferred American form of high-stakes testing – the multiple choice question (the “stem” is the name for the first part of the item, the problem to be solved.)
April 19, 2013
The Antlers ∙ Chairlift
From the lo-fi bedroom recordings of singer/ guitarist Peter Silberman to the electronic-minded aquatic sound-scapes of their 2012 EP, Undersea, The Antlers create music that keeps moving forward, entrancing and expansive. Chairlift’s kaleidoscopic pop layers tones from manic to brooding, pastoral to anthemic.
The Antlers, singer/ guitarist Peter Silberman, drummer Michael Lerner and multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci, released Undersea in the summer of 2012. The band grew out of the solo lo-fi efforts of Silberman and several self-recorded albums. Their 2009 record, Hospice, received high praises and struck a deep chord with listeners. While touring behind it, The Antlers developed an increasing interest in electronic music, which was drawn upon for 2011’s Burst Apart – self-recorded and produced in their Bushwick studio.
Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly of Chairlift made Something, their sophomore record, over 18 months between the back of an antique store in Brooklyn and the basement of a family home in Streatham, London. Producer Dan Carey’s studio is part of the world of Something, full of giant plate-reverb boxes, mint green reel-to-reels salvaged from dismantled BBC studios, plastic human heads which are used to record and simulate the listener’s location in approximation to the sound.
April 21, 2013
This virtuoso composer-performer, unique among keyboardists, has generated a level of acclaim, exposure, and controversy unprecedented for an organist. He will announce his program from the stage, including some collaborative works with Brooklyn-based composers.
April 22, 2013
Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens
With the West Coast premiere of Planetarium, The National’s Bryce Dessner, singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, and composer Nico Muhly come together to consider the cosmos. For the first half, a string quartet performs each artist’s classically informed compositions, and for the second half, Stevens’ voice anchors a planet-by-planet song cycle that melds the collaborators’ distinct creative contributions into a harmonic whole. The cycle unfolds against the backdrop of a giant orb that morphs to reflect the characteristics of the sphere being celebrated.
Bryce Dessner is a composer, guitarist, and curator. He is best known as the
guitarist for the rock band The National and has also received widespread acclaim as a composer and guitarist for the new music quartet Clogs. He is the founder and artistic director of the annual Music Now Festival in Cincinnati, OH and the co-founder of the artist-operated label Brassland. Dessner has appeared at Brooklyn Academy of Music with The Long Count (2009 Next Wave Festival) and was the co-founder with his brother Aaron of last spring’s inaugural Crossing Brooklyn Ferry music and film festival.
Nico Muhly has composed a wide scope of work for ensembles, soloists and organizations including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Symphony, countertenor Iestyn Davies, violinist Hilary Hahn, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, Paris Opéra Ballet, soprano Jessica Rivera, and designer/illustrator Maira Kalman. Born in Vermont in 1981 and raised in Providence, RI, Muhly graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English literature. In 2004, he received a masters in music from the Juilliard School, where he studied under Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano. His writings and performance schedule can be found at nicomuhly.com.
Sufjan Stevens mixes autobiography, religious fantasy, and regional history to create folk songs of epic proportions. His albums Michigan and Illinois grew out of his proposal to make a record for each of the 50 States. With his stepfather Lowell Brams, Stevens owns and operates his own music label, Asthmatic Kitty Records, named after Brams’ beloved cat Sara, who suffers from acute feline asthma. Stevens lives in Brooklyn and in 2007 presented The BQE (2007 Next Wave), a symphonic and cinematic exploration of New York City’s infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
April 17, 2013 at REDCAT
Brooklyn | Bridge to Palm
Edgar VARESE Octandre
David LONGSTRETH Instructional Video, Matt Damon and Breakfast at J&M
Du YUN Vicissitudes No. 1
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS Cover arr. Andrew Tholl
David T. LITTLE Haunted Topography
Jacob COOPER Black or White
Matt MARKS Song for Wade featuring Matt Marks, voice
Andrew NORMAN Susanna featuring Andrew McIntosh, viola
Matt McBANE new work for wild Up
J.S. BACH Double Concerto featuring Caleb Burhans and Andrew Tholl, violins
wild Up looks at the music being made by their friends in Brooklyn. The group is interested in where this eclectic style of music making fits in the canon, and where it mixes with work made on the West Coast. From hocket roots in Bach and Varese, through the influence of Sondheim and the pop idiom, to experimentalism, noise, and multi-media – wild Up will be exploring these composers’ complex simplicity.
wild Up is the Los Angeles contemporary music ensemble lauded as “Searing. Penetrating. And thrilling” by Fred Child of Performance Today, and “Magnificent” and “Best in Classical Music 2012” by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times. Led by Artistic Director Christopher Rountree, the ensemble is brought together around the premise that music is a catalyst for shared experience, and that a concert venue is a place for challenging, exciting, and igniting the surrounding community.
Since appearing in 2010, wild Up has been Orchestra in Residence at the Hammer Museum and Ensemble in Residence with American Composers Orchestra and at CalArts. They have been featured at a number of Los Angeles’ prominent cultural spaces including: the Broad Stage, REDCAT under Walt Disney Concert Hall, Beyond Baroque, the Armory Center for the Arts, and the Jensen Rec. Center Studio. Their recordings of Shostakovich, Rzewski and Messiaen have been featured on KUSC, KPFK and American Public Media’s Performance Today.
April 20, 2013 at ALEX THEATRE
April 21, 2013 at ROYCE HALL
April 27, 2013 at Green Music Center at Sonoma State University
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Jeffrey Kahane, conductor
Margaret Batjer, violin & leader
HANDEL Concerto Grosso in A major, Op. 6, No. 11
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major
Andrew NORMAN new work (world premiere, LACO Sound Investment commission)
GINASTERA Variaciones concertantes
Andrew Norman is a composer of chamber and orchestral music, who studied the piano and viola before attending the University of Southern California and Yale. A native Midwesterner raised in central California, Andrew now lives and works in Brooklyn, and is part of Sleeping Giant, is a collective of six emerging Brooklyn-based composers, including Christopher Cerrone and Ted Hearne, both appearing on the LA Phil’s Brooklyn Festival.
A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, Andrew writes music that is often inspired by forms and textures he encounters in the visual world. His music draws on an eclectic mix of instrumental sounds and notational practices, and it has been cited in the New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors” and in the L.A. Times for its “Chaplinesque” wit. Andrew is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2005 ASCAP Nissim Prize, the 2006 Rome Prize and the 2009 Berlin Prize. Andrew’s 30-minute string trio The Companion Guide to Rome was recently named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Andrew is composer-in-residence at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit LAPhil.com/brooklyn.
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles
TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 2013 at 8 p.m. (Green Umbrella)
THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2013 at 8 p.m. (The Antlers ∙ Chairlift)
SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2013 at 8 p.m. (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2013 at 2 p.m. (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. (Organ Recital)
MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013 at 8 p.m. (Planetarium)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013 at 8:30pm – (wild Up performance at REDCAT)
SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2013 at 8 p.m. – (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at Alex Theatre)
SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2013 at 7 p.m. (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at Royce Hall)
SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2013 at 8 p.m. – (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at Green Music Center at Sonoma State University)
REDCAT, 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, redcat.org
Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA 91203, alextheatre.org
Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095, cap.ucla.org
Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, 1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928, http://gmc.sonoma.edu/