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Sound American Releases Alex Mincek Portrait Album "Torrent"



On April 26th, Sound American releases a new album, Torrent, featuring the music of Alex Mincek—the composer's first solo album since 2011's self-titled release on Carrier Records. Torrent collects recordings of several new works for ensemble alongside extensive interviews and wrtitings on Mincek into a 28-page art-object, and is the first of Sound American's "Young Composer Portrait series".

Torrent includes recordings of several works performed by members of the Wet Ink Large Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, and the Mivos Quartet. These works were all composed in the past seven years, and include Pendulum VII, which is available from PSNY. Check out an excerpt below: 

In a special issue devoted to the music of Alex Mincek, Sound American offers several interviews between Mincek, the Wet Ink ensemble, Nate Wooley, and Jeremiah Cymerman. On the works collected and recorded on Torrent, Eric Wubbels notes:

"Each piece is a balance between objects and ideas that have been thoroughly tested and developed in previous pieces and new, exploratory, or experimental ideas (sounds, objects, forms). In any given piece, if the new ideas work well, they might find their way into the next piece, and so on... As a result, I see a kind of slow evolution and refreshing of the musical language within a style that maintains a strong profile and internal consistency."

For more critical analysis of Mincek's recent work, check out George Grella's long-form article on Mincek in Music and Literature, which describes him as "on the outside, looking out."

Kate Soper's "Ipsa Dixit" Named Finalist for Pulitzer Prize



Kate Soper
's Ipsa Dixit has been named a Finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Music, along with winner Du Yun for her work Angel's Bone and fellow finalist Ashley Fure for Bound to the Bow.

Ipsa Dixit, which synthesizes several of Soper's compositions into a seamless theatrical performance, was developed during a residency at EMPAC, and premiered in a fully-staged version this February at Dixon Place. The piece, as Alex Ross writes in The New Yorker, is a "twenty-first century masterpiece" and "an awesomely wide-ranging intellectual journey." Soper's nomination also marks an important event in the seventy-four year history of the Pulitzer Prize: it is the first time that all three nominees are women. 

Three of the movements of Ipsa Dixit are available on PSNY, and each can also be performed as a standalone work: Cipher, for soprano and violin; Only The Words Themselves Mean What They Say, for soprano and flute; and Rhetoric, for soprano, flute, violin, and percussion. The remaining movements will be published soon, making each individual movement available for study and performance, as well as a score and set of parts for Ipsa Dixit in its entirety.

Below, check out an excerpt from Ipsa Dixit from the recent live staged performance at EMPAC with Soper and the Wet Ink Ensemble:

Anthony Cheung's "The Real Book of Fake Tunes" in Chicago and New York

Players, students, and enthusiasts of jazz will be familiar with the many iterations of the "fake book"—a collection of lead sheets that has seen many versions throughout the 20th century, even an "official" edition as The Real Book in the 1970s. Anthony Cheung, no stranger to the long stylistic and compositional traditions of jazz, takes the "real book" as a starting point for his The Real Book of Fake Tunes, written for fellow Chicagoans Claire Chase and the Spektral Quartet. Cheung takes the architecture of a "Real Book" and designs his own plans for the classical instrumentation of string quartet and flute, recalling the dance or compositional suites of the 18th century while catapulting the listener into the 21st. 

On Thursday, April 13th, Claire Chase and the Spektral Quartet will perform The Real Book of Fake Tunes at Northwestern University, as a part of Chase's "Density" project, alongside a new commission by fellow PSNY compoer Marcos Balter. Later in the month, the ensemble will travel to New York to present The Real Book of Fake Tunes at National Sawdust, in a program that features a new quartet by George Lewis and Katherine Young's arrangement of Arthur Russell's Hiding Your Present From You

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