Brooklyn-based composer Lukas Ligeti (yes, the son of Gyorgy Ligeti) will appear in concert with his spastic art-jazz-rock trio HYPERCOLOR on Wednesday, September 23 at Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Ave. Doors are at 8 pm and admission is $7. The opening acts are Dean Cercone (solo guitar, percussion & electronics) and Plastic Ashtray (spoken word with guitar accompaniment). The event will also be a release for the comic book “Gold Bullion” by artists Thom Delair and Ben Hickling.
Transcending the boundaries of genre, composer-percussionist Lukas Ligeti has developed a musical style of his own that draws upon downtown New York experimentalism, contemporary classical music, jazz, electronica, as well as world music, particularly from Africa. Known for his non-conformity and diverse interests, Lukas creates music ranging from the through-composed to the free-improvised, often exploring polyrhythmic/polytempo structures, non-tempered tunings, and non-western elements. Other major sources of inspiration include experimental mathematics, computer technology, architecture and visual art, sociology and politics, and travel. He has also been participating in cultural exchange projects in Africa for the past 15 years.
Born in Vienna, Austria into a Hungarian-Jewish family from which several important artists have come including his father, composer György Ligeti, Lukas started his musical adventures after finishing high school. He studied composition and percussion at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and then moved to the U.S. and spent two years at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University before settling in New York City in 1998.
His commissions include Bang on a Can, the Vienna Festwochen, Ensemble Modern, Kronos Quartet, Colin Currie and Håkan Hardenberger, the American Composers Forum, New York University, ORF Austrian Broadcasting Company, Radio France, and more; he also regularly collaborates with choreographer Karole Armitage.
As a drummer, he co-leads several bands and has performed and/or recorded with John Zorn, Henry Kaiser, Raoul Björkenheim, Gary Lucas, Michael Manring, Marilyn Crispell, Benoit Delbecq, Jim O’Rourke, Daniel Carter, John Tchicai, Eugene Chadbourne, and many others. He performs frequently on electronic percussion often using the marimba lumina, a rare instrument invented by California engineer Don Buchla.
His first trip to Africa, a commission in 1994 by the Goethe Institute to work with musicians in Côte d’Ivoire, embarked him on an exploration of cross-cultural collaboration that continues to this day. In Abidjan he co-founded the experimental, intercultural group Beta Foly which led to the release of his first CD Lukas Ligeti & Beta Foly in 1997. He has worked with Batonka musicians in Zimbabwe; collaborated with Nubian musicians in Egypt culminating in a concert at the Cairo Opera; and composed a piece for musicians for various Caribbean cultures which premiered in Miami Beach. In 2005, Lukas was featured at the Unyazi festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, the first festival for experimental electronic music in Africa, and in 2006, he was composer-in-residence at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Lukas traveled to Uganda in 2007 to collaborate with that country’s premier music/dance/theater group, the Ndere Troupe, and in 2008, he taught composition at the University of Ghana at Legon (Accra). Lukas’ band Burkina Electric, based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, combines African traditions with electronic dance music and has been touring internationally.
Recent highlights include a month-long curatorial project in March 2009 at The Stone in NYC; a solo concert as part of the Whitney Museum’s Composer Portrait Series; touring in support of his electronic percussion solo CD Afrikan Machinery (Tzadik Records); and an American Composers Orchestra commission and world premiere of “Labyrinth of Clouds” with Lukas on solo marimba lumina.
PRAISE FOR AFRIKAN MACHINERY:
“One of the world’s top classical composers…”; “the rhythms grow wildly complex, as if African music had been chopped and split apart, and the pieces reassembled at odd angles to each other. But still there’s a typically African sense of community in each of the album’s … tracks…. It’s absorbing to hear, from start to finish.” – Greg Sandow, Wall Street Journal (U.S.)
“sophisticated music that has communicative directness yet retains a sense of mystery…he really knows sound and how it lives in the mind.” – Julian Cowley, The Wire (U.K.)
“This is remarkable music…Ligeti represents, under a Clark Kent exterior, a new generation of musical Superman — a globally minded, technologically adept, technically sophisticated composer who also happens to be a virtuoso performer and accomplished improviser…There wasn’t a dull second.” – Mark Swed, reviewing a recent LL solo concert in the Los Angeles Times