New New Music Groups in Louisville

NewNewMusicLouisville

As I mentioned in my previous post, at least five groups have been formed in the past couple of years which focus significantly or exclusively on new music in the Louisville area.  This is not to say that this exhausts the list of new and experimental groups in the area. For a mosre complete (but by no means exhaustive) list, please check out the ensembles and composers pages at the NuMuLu website. Now to the recently formed groups (and again–full disclosure: I’m involved with three of these group).

Camera Lucida (debut performance at the Commonwealth Gallery in Madison, WI on November 10, 2012)

Camera Lucida with dancers, Cherie Dawn and Holly Price, and special guest bassoonist, Jackie Royce, at Classical Revolution Cincinnati. January 12, 2014.
Camera Lucida with dancers, Cherie Dawn and Holly Price, and special guest bassoonist, Jackie Royce, at Classical Revolution Cincinnati. January 12, 2014.

While Camera Lucida, my interactive video, cello, and electronics project had its debut in Madison, Wisconsin, we do play the majority of our shows in the Greater Louisville Metro area. In the nearly 18 performances we’ve given since November 2012, only three have been well out of the area (St. Louis, Indianapolis, Madison). Here’s a video of one of our most recent performances at Dreamland premiering my piece, “Before Anaesthesia,” (February 27, 2014):

We also collaborate with local and touring musicians, dancers, like the Moving Collective, T.J. Borden, and my other new music group, the Mothership Ensemble.

Mothership Ensemble (debut performance at The Bard’s Town in Louisville, KY on December 9, 2012)

The Mothership Ensemble performing Louis Andriessen's "Worker's Union" at IU Southeast's Steifler Recital Hall on March 15, 2014. Interactive video projections by Roxell Karr.
The Mothership Ensemble performing Louis Andriessen’s “Worker’s Union” at IU Southeast’s Steifler Recital Hall on March 15, 2014. Interactive video projections by Roxell Karr.

I’d been having conversations with a number of local composers about starting a new music ensemble. Since a number of musicians at IUS and I have been performing works by composer, Rachel Short, it made sense to just give ourselves a name and start expanding.  The name was something of a fluke, and accident–which adds to the charm, so we were dubbed the Mothership at our first official outing as an actual new music group rather than just an arbitrary collection of musicians performing new works. The Mothership Ensemble functions something like a “community orchestra” in that we have players of a wide variety of skill levels and in various stages of their career as musicians.

Music students from UofL School of Music, IUS, members of the IUS Orchestra and other local, non-affiliated, musicians and amateur musicians get together to rehearse two times a week (once on the Indiana side and once on the Louisville side) and only ever fully play with each other as we do a show. We focus on large scale contemporary works with open instrumentation and smaller chamber works often written by local composers including me and co-founder, Rachel Short.  We’re pleased to have composer, Jacob Gotlib, as an artistic adviser.  I suppose we’ll have to call him Dr. Gotlib soon as he has just finished his dissertation in composition at SUNY.  The group numbers close to 20 musicians but the most we’ve had for any one performance is 12, I believe.

The Mothership ensemble isn’t the only large chamber group doing new music in the area.

Orchestra Enigmatic (debut performance at St Francis In The Fields Episcopal Church in Harrods Creek, KY on January 25, 2013)

Members of Orchestra Enigmatic warming up on the Shostakovich 8th String Quartet before the evening concert at St. Francis in the Fields. January 25, 2013.
Members of Orchestra Enigmatic warming up on the Shostakovich 8th String Quartet before the evening concert at St. Francis in the Fields. January 25, 2013.

This chamber orchestra had 18 performers (plus a baritone soloist) for their debut concert which included Terry Riley’s “In C” as well as works by Haydn, Barber, and Shostakovich.  As we can see the group pairs up new music with old–as their Facebook page states:

A new chamber orchestra in Louisville Ky, we seek to play good music, be it new or old. We’ll play Reich, we’ll play Tenney, and we’ll play them in the context of Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms.

Here’s some audio from their second concert of Dadá Malheiros’ “Baião Armorial” (world premiere):

The concert included Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony and another world premiere by P. Kellach Waddle’s “At the Snowy Bourbon Winter’s Twilight, Impression-Satz fur Kammersinphonie,” also a world premiere.

A/tonal (debut concert at Steifler Recital Hall in New Albany, IN on March 1, 2014)

A/tonal performing at the Steifler Recital Hall at IU Southeast in New Albany, IN. March 1, 2014
A/tonal performing at the Steifler Recital Hall at IU Southeast in New Albany, IN. March 1, 2014
A/tonal is another group which features both old and new music.  As their Facebook page states:
Contemporary music ensemble bridging the gap between traditional and new music with unique musical experiences.
The primary instrumentation is flute (Amy Ensel), clarinet (Carrie Ravenscraft), and piano (Jessica Dorman).  Cellist, Felix Borges (in the Orchestra Enigmatic quartet photo above), joined the group for the world premiere of one of two resident composers’ (Daniel Gilliam) works, “The Aggregate of Our Joy and Suffering,” which included a projected video by local video artist and filmaker, Ryan Daly.  See an excerpt of the performance in the video below:

Composer, Erich Stem, rounds out the group. The program of their performance was posted at their Facebook page, here, rather than in a more traditional printed programs.  As they state in their Facebook event:

A/Tonal was created with a mission to present music without the typical concert traditions. No paper program, no dress code, and phones on (but on silent) to share on your experience on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atonalensemble and Twitter @atonalensemble or with the hashtag #atonalshow

Eight.dB (will debut in summer of 2014)

Nate Tucker's "Choose Your Own Adventure" graphic score which will be premiered on Eight.dB's first show.
Nate Tucker’s “Choose Your Own Adventure” graphic score which will be premiered on Eight.dB’s first show.

The latest group is Eight.dB, which had its first rehearsal last weekend. As the Facebook page says, “8dB is an experimental new music collective founded by Tim Miller and based in Louisville, KY.”

Lineup is currently:

Tim Miller – CONDUCTOR/ELECTRONICS
Traci Bluhm – FLUTES
John Moore – TENOR SAX
Russell Shartzer – TUBA
Adrienne Fontenot – PIANO
Sara Soltau – VIOLIN
Jon Silpayamanant – CELLO
Claire DiVizio – SOPRANO

This is the other new new music group I’m involved with and we’ll be focusing a lot on group improvisation, graphic scores and non-traditional notations, and electro-acoustic performance–all pretty standard new music techniques. I’m currently working on a graphic score which will be projected and manipulated in real-time (I’ll probably blog about this in the near future) which the group will perform at our first show.

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And that rounds out the new new music groups in the area, and shows a wide variety of performance styles, instrumentation, and size.  Given that the Louisville Orchestra will also be featuring a number of contemporary pieces and world premieres during their next concert season, the Louisville area is just brimming full of new music awesomeness.  Add in the already flourishing underground experimental scene and University related computer, and improvised new music activity it shouldn’t be a surprise that one can easily find a show with new music to attend nearly every day of this month, and with luck the future!

Visit the NuMuLu website for info about New and Experimental Events in the Great Louisville Metro Area: http://numulu.org

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