Vital Vox Fest 2012/13 ~ A Preview

vital-vox---marzo---FRENTE2013

The 4th annual VITAL VOX: A VOCAL FESTIVAL–an event that explores the myriad power of the human voice in its solo and ensemble forms across a multitude of genres–will take place at 8pm on Monday, March 25th and Tuesday the 26th at Roulette, located at 509 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. Tickets are $15 ($10 Students/Seniors/Members) and can be purchased at roulette.org. More information on the festival and the performers can be found at vitalvoxfest.com.

Having been postponed from last October due to Hurricane Sandy, the Vital Vox Festival is now finally returning to the stage.

Over the course of two diverse evenings, Vital Vox will explore the theme of ‘vox electronics,’ featuring artists who expand their sonic vocabulary with electronics of all kinds. Performances will draw from wide-ranging international influences and genres including jazz, experimental, contemporary, free improvisation, world music, interactive electro-acoustic and audio sampling.

Having seen the 2011 festival at Roulette with the likes of Iva Bittova, Gelsey Bell and Judith Berkson, I can say it was a really fascinating couple of nights, and it looks to be just as exciting this year!

Festival founders and curators Sabrina Lastman and Sasha Bogdanowitsch had just a little time to stop and discuss this year’s show. Continue reading

Vital Vox Fest 2012 ~ A Preview

The 4th annual VITAL VOX: A VOCAL FESTIVAL–an event that explores the myriad power of the human voice in its solo and ensemble forms across a multitude of genres–will take place at 8pm on October 29 and 30 at Roulette, located at 509 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. Tickets are $15 ($10 Students/Seniors/Members) and can be purchased at roulette.org. More information on the festival and the performers can be found at vitalfoxfest.com.

Over the course of two diverse evenings, VITAL VOX will explore the theme of ‘vox electronics,’ featuring artists who expand their sonic vocabulary with electronics of all kinds. Performances will draw from wide-ranging international influences and genres including jazz, experimental, contemporary, free improvisation, world music, interactive electro-acoustic and audio sampling.

Having seen this festival last year with the likes of Iva Bittova, Gelsey Bell and Judith Berkson, I can say it was a really fascinating couple of nights, and it looks to be just as exciting this year!

Festival founders and curators Sabrina Lastman and Sasha Bogdanowitsch had just a little time to stop and discuss this year’s show.

CM: Can you talk about the festival this year and how it is different this time?

S&S: The festival is in its 4th year and this year it focuses on a new selection of artists to us who are composer performers, just like in years past. The main different aspect in this year’s festival is the two day theme of new vocal music with electronics of any kind, shape and size. For some artists this means processing & live looping, others it means interactive video and computer programs. The world of electronic music is an ever growing field and has brought a huge new palette to vocal music.

CM: Are there any specific people we should look out for at these shows?

S&S: As curators of the festival we are happy to bring artists that come from different musical backgrounds and vocal approaches. In the festival, we are interested in intermingling different generations of artists. For instance, those that have had long careers in the field mixed with younger musicians who are still developing their careers. We would like people to experience the festival in its entirety:

The October 29 program includes vocalist Philip Hamilton performing “Vocalscapes: Solitude”, vocalist/composer Sabrina Lastman performing her original piece “An Encounter with ‘El Duende’”, and Unearthish—a duo comprised of violinist/composer/vocalist Sarah Bernstein and percussionist/electronic musician Satoshi Takeishi—performing Bernstein’s compositions.

[Pictured right Pamela Z courtesy of Ars Electronica]
The October 30 program includes composer/vocalist/video and performance artist Lisa Karrer in collaboration with composer/multi-instrumentalist David Simons performing “Collision Theory: Works & Premieres for Voice & Multi-Media”, composer/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Sasha Bogdanowitsch performing his new song cycle “Mirror Upon Mirror”, and composer/performer Pamela Z performing works for voice, live processing and video.

CM: Will there still be a Q&A segment at the end of the concerts? Those are always wonderful and informative.

S&S: We will have a talk back with artists and audience each night, so people will have the opportunity to interact with artists to get to know a little bit more about their work and creation process, etc.

UPDATE: The 2012 Vital Vox Vocal Festival, which was scheduled to take place October 29 and 30 at Brooklyn’s Roulette, has been postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.

New dates will be announced soon. Apologies for the inconvenience.

For more information, contact Jill Strominger: jstrominger@gmail.com (617) 270-8853

Learn more about the Vital Vox festival at vitalvoxfest.com

TwoSense Plays Roulette (A Review)

TwoSense are L to R: Lisa Moore (piano) and Ashley Bathgate (cello; Photo courtesy of Stephen Taylor)

TwoSense
Ashley Bathgate, cello
Lisa Moore, piano
Roulette
Brooklyn, NYC
Thursday, October 4th, 2012

It was two familiar things for me on this night–My favorite new music duo TwoSense, and the venue Roulette on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn, but this is the first time I’ve seen the duo at Roulette, and they seemed to make the place feel bigger than it was.

The evening was devoted to composers that happen to be all American, mostly living ones, and the first half of the program was three world premieres that were commissioned by the duo.

Ryan Brown’s Three Ideas Sleep (Furiously) was the first one up, and it was a plucky, uplifting delight with Ashley playing pizzicato all through the 2nd movement, followed by a chugging third movement. Continue reading

TwoSense ~ Preview of Their Roulette Show

TwoSense performing at the Bang On a Can Marathon in June 2012; Composer/pianist Paul Kerekes helping them out as page turner (Photo courtesy of Tom Steenland)

TwoSense (Ashley Bathgate, cello; Lisa Moore, piano) will be starting up the season with a concert on Thursday, October 4th at 8 PM at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY. 

The acclaimed duo will be featuring an all-American program comprised of pieces by mostly living composers, including some world premieres of commissioned pieces by Daniel Felsenfeld, Ryan Brown and Hannah Lash. Please come down and check them out!

Program (scheduled to be played):
“Three Ideas Sleep (Furiously)” (2012)*+ ~ Ryan Brown (b.1979)
“Nudities” (2012)*+ ~ Daniel Felsenfeld (b.1970)
“Pressure, Friction and Impact” (2012)*+ ~ Hannah Lash (b.1981)
“Fast Flows the River” (2009) ~ Timo Andres (b.1985)
Sonata for Cello and Piano Op. 6 (1932) ~ Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
*World premiere
+Commissioned by TwoSense

TwoSense is a NY-based chamber duo and commissioning venture. Established by the Bang on a Can cellist Ashley Bathgate and alumna pianist Lisa Moore in 2010. TwoSense perform new cello and piano works paired with mainstream classics. Described as the “new music equivalent of a special ops team” (New York Magazine), an “excellent duo” and “eloquent new-music interpreters” (New York Times) TwoSense frequently expand their creative boundaries collaborating with other musicians and artists. During the 2011-12 New York City season they appeared at Bargemusic, the Rubin Museum and the Bang on a Can 25th Anniversary Marathon at the World Financial Center.

Stephen Feigenbaum: Suspended Animation (Firehouse12, New Haven, CT; 10/2/10)

Click here for info and to buy tickets for TwoSense at Roulette
TwoSense, Thursday, October 4th at 8 PM
Roulette
509 Atlantic Ave (corner of Third Ave)
(Downtown) Brooklyn NY 11217
Subway 2, 3, 4, 5, C, G, D, M, N, R, B & Q trains and the LIRR

Lisa Moore Piano : Two Sense

Ha-Yang Kim ~ On The Revised Version of ThreadSuns & The JACK Quartet at Roulette

Photo courtesy of Peter Gannushkin

Cellist-composer Ha-Yang Kim had a few minutes to speak about The JACK Quartet‘s upcoming show on Saturday, September 8th, 8 PM at Roulette, where the ensemble will be perfoming a newly-revised version of her work “ThreadSuns”. Kim will also be performing other works of hers on the program.

CM: Can you talk about the pieces that were chosen for this concert?

Ha-Yang: The program features a newly revised string quartet (originally written in ’08) titled “ThreadSuns”. It’s in three distinctive contrasting movements, in all, the piece lasts about 45 minutes. It’s inspired by the mystical cryptic poetry of Paul Celan, who invented a completely original poetics to express “that which could not be expressed with words”, specifically the atrocities and horrors of witnessing the systematic genocide of Jews during WWII. Celan’s poetry was an attempt to reach beyond the finite limitations of words, to express the deep inner heart experience. His poetry is incredibly mysterious, dark, haunting, yet also there is an underlying longing for the redemption of humanity’s spiritual decay.

I wrote the piece drawing from the visual imagery of the Sun, which represents humanity’s spiritual oneness, wholeness, completeness being violently obliterated to countless threads, drifting through infinite space and time. Nonetheless, even in it’s fractured form, all the original matter of the Sun remains. So there exists the possibility for the threads to come together and merge as one, transformed. Though perhaps, not in this current reality but in another.

CM: What is your feeling about The JACK Quartet’s performance of this piece?

[Photo left courtesy of Henrik Olund]
Ha-Yang
: I’m incredibly excited and thrilled to hear them champion the piece! They are so generous with themselves, and I trust their artistic sensibilities and intuition. I deliberately wrote the piece with rather spare concise performance markings, so that the music would speak for itself and give much space for each of them to contribute and “own” the music with their innate musicality.

CM: Any upcoming releases for you?

Ha-Yang: I’m planning to record JACK and release “ThreadSuns” with Tzadik. If all goes smoothly and forces align, I hope that it’ll be released by the middle of 2013.

Click here to buy tickets for The JACK Quartet and Ha-Yang Kim at Roulette

Ha-Yang Kim & The JACK Quartet
Saturday, September 8th, 8 PM
Roulette
509 Atlantic Ave (On the corner of Atlantic & 3rd Aves)
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(917) 267-0368
roulette.org

Cory Smythe

Photo courtesy of Peter Gannushkin

International Contemporary Ensemble‘s Cory Smythe, the pianist I just saw playing Ives Violin Sonatas, hymns, and “Happy Birthday” with Hilary Hahn at The Stone last October, is quite a great artist in his own right, and along with his journey through Ives he’s also been interpreting works by Iannis Xenakis, Alvin Lucier, Anthony Braxton, Magnus Lindberg, Donald Crockett, and many others. A graduate of the music schools of Indiana University and USC, Smythe is also a composer, and has an album titled Pluripotent available for download. On Tuesday, December 13, Cory will be appearing in concert with avant-cabaret artist Amy X Neuburg at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY. Mr. Smythe had a few minutes to speak with me. Continue reading

Vital Vox 2011 ~ A Review

Judith Berkson performing “Vor an Sicht” (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Reddin)

Originally posted on Sequenza 21

Vital Vox: A Vocal Festival (Vital Vox 2011)
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
Sat, Nov 5 & Sun, Nov 6, 2011

I guess there was no better way to kick off the Vital Vox Festival than with a primal scream. Gelsey Bell and her partner for this performance, composer/performer Paul Pinto, actually gave us several of them separate and together at the start of the song cycle Scaling, and they seemed to be the sound that signified both the power of vocal performance and the experimental nature of the festival as well.
In general, the festival is a huge emphasis on artists that recognize the human voice as an instrument, an instrument that has just as much range and capability as any great violin, piano or guitar, and works wonderfully as a duet with other instruments or other voices. These artists are all equally gifted as vocalists as they are composers or musicians of other instruments, and they all put on compelling performances. Continue reading