Pittsburgh New Music Net

cutting-edge music in the ’burgh and beyond


May 4, 2016
7:00 pmto8:00 pm
8:30 pmto9:30 pm

unnamedMusic on the Edge concludes it’s 25th anniversary season with Cineshape on Wednesday, May 4th at the Andy Warhol Museum. Part of the 2016 Pittsburgh Festival of New Music, Cineshape is co-presented by The Andy Warhol Museum and the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of the Provost and Humanities Center.

Cineshape began in 2003 when Pittsburgh composer Amy Williams was inspired by the Korean film Chunhyang to write a piece of chamber music that came to be the first installment of Cineshape, a word she invented to describe musical compositions that draw structural inspiration from films. There are now five Cineshape pieces, each inspired by a different film, written for varying instrumentations from solo piano up to 7 players. This past year, Williams began working with video artist Aaron Henderson, who took an immediate interest in the Cineshape project. Henderson’s new films draw from sources as diverse as chemical reactions and NASA. Together they have turned these five compositions into a multimedia performance with live film processing by Henderson and an all-star lineup of performers, including the JACK Quartet, flutist Lindsey Goodman, percussionist Scott Christian, and the composer at the piano.

Amy Williams is a composer of music that is “simultaneously demanding, rewarding and fascinating” (Buffalo News), “daring” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “fresh, daring and incisive” (Fanfare). Her works have been presented throughout the United States, Australia, Asia and Europe, by many of the world’s leading contemporary music soloists and ensembles. As a member of the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo, she has concertized globally and recorded a critically-acclaimed series of CDs for the Wergo label, including first recordings of works by Nancarrow, Stravinsky, Varèse, Kurtàg and others. Amy’s pieces appear on the Albany, Parma, VDM, Blue Griffin, Centaur and New Ariel labels. She is the recipient of awards from the Howard Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation and American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is currently Associate Professor of Composition at the University of Pittsburgh and Artistic Director of the New Music on the Point Festival.

Aaron Henderson’s videos and installations examine the ways that humans move. “Each of Henderson’s exhilarating pieces offer delicious, small revelations….” (The Hook) Recent projects look at the personal, cultural and political ramifications of all action, from intimate gestures to displays of super-human acrobatics. Well acquainted with movement, he threw himself into walls and off of platforms for STREB Extreme Action, an acrobatic performance company from 2002-6. His videos, installations and projection designs have been presented at Lincoln Center, the Wexner Center and many other theaters, colleges and festivals across the country. Aaron co-founded LOSTWAX, an East Coast company creating fusions of performance and video, and edited and founded the International Thought Exchange, a now defunct mail art organization. Currently, Aaron is Assistant Professor in the Studio Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh.

Deemed “superheroes of the new music world” (Boston Globe), the JACK Quartet is “the go-to quartet for contemporary music, tying impeccable musicianship to intellectual ferocity and a take-no-prisoners sense of commitment.” (Washington Post) “They are a musical vehicle of choice to the next great composers who walk among us.” (Toronto Star) Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland, JACK is focused on presenting cutting edge pieces, leading them to collaborate with many composers on compelling new works such as Cineshape.

Lindsey Goodman is known for her “generous warmth of tone and a fluid virtuosity” (Charleston Gazette), and for her “impressive artistry” (Tribune-Review), “agility and emotion” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Principal flutist of the West Virginia Symphony and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, she is in high demand as a soloist, chamber collaborator, orchestral musician, teacher, and clinician.

Scott Christian is the Principal Timpanist with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and full-time percussion instructor at West Virginia State University. He is also founder, Artistic Director, and performer of Fresh Ink; a Charlotte-based new music chamber series.

Tickets are available through the University of Pittsburgh Stages Box Office by calling 412-624-7539 or visiting music.pitt.edu/tickets.

Tickets in advance: general admission is $15; students and seniors are $10.
At the door: general admission is $20; students and seniors are $15.

This performance promises to be an unforgettable visual and sonic event with stellar performances. Don’t miss this epic conclusion to MOTE’s 25th anniversary season!

April 7, 2016 at 1:38 pm Comments (0)

Ensemble Linea

April 2, 2016
8:00 pmto10:00 pm
8:00 pmto10:00 pm
8:00 pmto10:00 pm
April 4, 2016
8:00 pmto10:00 pm
8:00 pmto10:00 pm
8:00 pmto10:00 pm

LineaMusic on the Edge and the Andy Warhol Museum are excited to present Ensemble Linea in residency in Pittsburgh this April. One of the top new music ensembles in France, Linea will perform an adventurous program at the Andy Warhol Museum on Saturday April 2nd at 8 p.m. featuring works by Raphael Cendo, Aurelien Dumont, Valerio Sannicandro, Marco Momi, Pascal Dusapin, and Frederic Duriuex. Continuing their residency later that week, Linea will perform a free program of Pitt graduate student compositions at Bellefield Hall Auditorium on Monday April 4th, 8 p.m.

Founded in Strasbourg by pianist and conductor Jean-Philippe Wurtz in 1998, Ensemble Linea has, since its beginnings, been committed to promoting a democratization of contemporary music, giving priority to the encounter with the audience and openness towards other artistic disciplines. 
Beyond any schools and trends, the artistic project of Linea covers quite diverse aesthetic perspective, from musical theater to electronic music, from Western music to the rich Asian and American repertoires. Based in Alsace (eastern France, bordering on Germany and Switzerland), at the crossroads of many different cultures, Linea naturally approaches the repertoires in their multicultural dimension. Linea advocates an engaged music anchored in modernity: it favors works that question the mutations and complexities of our era.

Tickets are available through the University of Pittsburgh Stages Box Office, by calling 412-624-7529, or visiting music.pitt.edu/tickets. Tickets in advance: general admission is $15; students and seniors are $10. At the door: general admission is $20; non-Pitt students and seniors are $15. (No free student tickets at the Warhol.)

March 21, 2016 at 2:19 pm Comments (0)

Bedroom Community Cancelled

March 31, 2016
8:00 pmto10:00 pm

We regret to report that Bedroom Community Whalewatching Tour 2016 has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

March 17, 2016 at 2:10 pm Comments (0)

Vicky Chow and Tristan Perich

March 19, 2016
8:00 pmto10:00 pm

Chow:PerichThe Warhol and Music on the Edge welcome composer Tristan Perich and pianist Vicky Chow (Bang on a Can All-Stars), for a unique performance of Surface Image, a composition for solo piano and 40-­channel 1-­bit electronics. Blurring lines of organic and electric, Chow’s piano is accompanied by an orchestra comprised of 40 loudspeakers hand-wired by Perich. Released by New Amsterdam Records, the album has garnered several accolades, including being named #4 in Rolling Stone’s 20 Best Avant Albums of 2014. The show takes place Saturday March 19th at the Warhol at 8 p.m. Tickets available on the Warhol’s page here.

March 17, 2016 at 2:03 pm Comments (0)

Jace Clayton: the Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner

March 14, 2015
8:00 pm

The Carnegie Museum of Art Theater

The Warhol welcomes back Jace Clayton, a.k.a. DJ /rupture, who leads an ensemble work conceived for twin pianos, live electronics, and voice, that brings fresh insight to the artistic legacy of Julius Eastman – the mercurial gay African American composer who mixed canny minimalist innovation with head-on political provocation. The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner comprises new arrangements and interpretations of a selection of Eastman’s piano compositions. As Clayton uses his own custom-designed ‘Sufi Plug Ins’ software to live-process the pianos of David Friend and Emily Manzo, he also intersperses musical vignettes – performed by neo-Sufi vocalist Arooj Aftab – to lend context and nuance to the composer’s saga, which was cut short in 1990 at age 49.

Find out more about this event…

March 9, 2015 at 4:35 pm Comments (0)

Beyond Microtonal Music Festival, Remembering Ezra Sims

This is a terrific weekend for new music in Pittsburgh with Sumeida’s Song already in performances by the Pittsburgh Opera and the Beyond: Microtonal Music Festival ready to be uncorked at the Warhol this weekend. All the details for “Beyond” are in the PNMNet events calendar, so I won’t rehash that here. You can also see Liz Bloom’s in-depth preview in the PG if you want some very useful context. What I do want to do, on the occasion of the Beyond Festival, is to take a moment to remember one of the great proponents of microtonal music. We lost Ezra Sims on January 30 of this year and many times I’ve meant to sit down and write something about what that meant, but feared my inability to do it justice. I probably still won’t do it justice, but here goes.

My encounter with Ezra Sims began in 1996 when I was a first year MA student in composition and theory at Pitt. Like all incoming grad students I had to write a state of research paper for the bibliography class. I chose to write about research in microtonal music, not because it was an area of particular interest, but because I didn’t know much about it. (This, by the way, is not the best way to approach that sort of course.) For my own edification, I decided to listen to as many actual microtonal composers as I could while I was working on the paper, so I listened to Partch, Johnston, Blackwood, Riley, Harrison and many others. One night I was in my study tapping away in Word Perfect 5.1 on my 386 IBM clone and suddenly I had to stop what I was doing and just listen to the music that was coming out of my stereo. It was the second movement of Ezra Sims’ Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet—haunting, poignant, perfect.

A few years later I was ready to start working on my doctoral dissertation and Mathew Rosenblum and Eric Moe had invited Ezra to Pittsburgh for a lecture and performance of his music. As I listened to Ezra speak I realized that no one but him had written about his music and that that could be a fertile subject for the analytical part of my dissertation.

Now keep in mind that I had never written any microtonal music, and didn’t really aspire to do so, but what I had heard in Ezra’s music all those years before had stuck with me. My intuition was that he was the consummate composer and studying his craft would only make me better at my own.

I was right on, I think, both counts. I spent a few days in Cambridge meeting with Ezra, talking with him about his harmonic approach, taping our conversations. I pulled the second movement of Quintet apart, harmony by harmony. What I found in this maverick Just Intonation composer was not only an amazing ear for local harmonic movement, but large scale voice leading that would have been at home in any Mozart sonata. Or as I wrote in the conclusion of my dissertation,

“In his ground breaking book, Personal Knowledge, Michael Polanyi shows that the path to discovery begins with an intuitive grasp of the solution. He writes,

‘…true discovery is not a strictly logical performance, and accordingly, we may describe the obstacle to be overcome as a ‘logical gap’, and speak of the width of the logical gap as the measure of the ingenuity required for solving the problem. ‘Illumination’ is then the leap by which the logical gap is crossed. It is the plunge by which we gain a foothold at another shore of reality… The pioneer mind which reaches across this logical gap deviates from the commonly accepted process of reasoning to achieve surprising results. Such an act is original in the sense of making a new start, and the capacity of initiating it is the gift of originality, a gift possessed by a small minority.’

Ezra Sims’s creative development surely reflects this process of illumination. His discovery is the application of microtonality in a way that affords him the exigencies of local and large scale tonal direction. His development of the twenty-four tone justly tuned scale and the 72 tpo tuning constitute the means by which Sims overcomes the logical gap. His compositional technique represents the logical, coherent articulation of an intuitively grasped solution, and because of this we may regard Sims as a truly original composer whose work is a valuable resource not only to those interested in the possibilities of extended tuning, but to all composers concerned with relating their work to the western concert music tradition.”

I’m very pleased that as part of tomorrow night’s opening concert of “Beyond”, the brilliant cellist Ted Mook will play Ezra’s Solo in four movements, a piece he wrote for Ted. It’s a fitting way to remember a composer who embodied so much of what it is we strive for as we create our own music.

February 26, 2015 at 9:10 pm Comments (0)

Battle Trance at the Warhol

February 7, 2015
8:00 pm

The Andy Warhol Museum

The Warhol welcomes the genre-defying saxophone quartet Battle Trance (comprising Travis Laplante, Matthew Nelson, Jeremy Viner, andPatrick Breiner) on a tour supporting their debut release, Palace of Wind, on New Amsterdam Records. Performing primarily the music of member Travis Laplante, the quartet crosses boundaries and exists loosely within realms of contemporary classical music, avant-garde jazz, black metal, ambient, and world music, the new record challenges conventions of the saxophone as an ensemble instrument. The sonic vocabulary of the quartet has developed through techniques such as circular breathing, allowing them to build continues, hypnotic waves of sound and intricate textures.

January 25, 2015 at 2:10 pm Comments (0)

Interview with Violist-Composer Jessica Meyer

On January 31, violist and composer Jessica Meyer will split a recital for Music on the Edge with guitarist Seth Josel. Well-known in the New York contemporary music scene for her work with groups such as counter)induction and American Modern Ensemble, composing reemerged as an important part of Jessica’s musical identity when she encountered Reggie Watts’ masterful use of the loop pedal. Soon she began composing pieces of her own for viola and loop pedal. Sounds of Being, her recently released CD, contains many of these compositions and Jessica will perform them at her concert at the Warhol. She’ll also premiere a new work by Eric Moe for viola and fixed media titled Uncanny Affable Machines.

This past December, Jessica and I talked together over Skype about her compositions and how her creative voice has developed. The video feed got choppy at times, so I had to do a little more patching together than usual, but I know you’ll be happy to hear what Jessica has to say about all of this, so here it is.

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January 24, 2015 at 5:29 pm Comments (0)

Wed. Jan 21: Ken Vandermark-Nate Worley Duo at the Warhol

Check out my full post yonder or just get it straight from the horse wallpaper’s mouth. Gonna be a real interesting show. Andy definitely take a look the videos. These guys can play.

January 20, 2015 at 8:47 pm Comments (0)

Ken Vandermark-Nate Worley Duo at the Warhol

January 21, 2015
8:00 pm

The Andy Warhol Museum


Speaking of the Warhol, here’s one we shouldn’t let pass us by. The Warhol welcomes back saxophonist, Ken Vandermark, to the Museum’s intimate theater, this time with fellow experimental jazz composer, Nate Wooley, who Time Out New York has dubbed “an iconoclastic trumpeter”. The two are touring together in support of a new duo release on Pleasure of the Text, Wooley’s own label. This unique evening will feature two solo sets, followed by a duo set. Vandermark’s current projects include Made To Break, The Resonance Ensemble, and duos with Paal Nilssen-Love and Tim Daisy. Wooley performs regularly with such icons as John Zorn and Anthony Braxton.

January 20, 2015 at 8:41 pm Comments (0)

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