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Posts tagged 'Kate Soper'

Kate Soper's "Ipsa Dixit" Album Release and Portrait Concert

"[T]hat’s something that happens in a lot of my work lately: I’m trying really hard to tell you something, and you know that I’m trying, and you’re getting something out of it, but basically we’re both aware of the fact that that’s not possible. And I think the texts that I feel really drawn to have something of that in them."

For the past eight years, Kate Soper has been testing, and playing, with the liminal space between music, text, and language. This study has produced, among other works, the evening-length "philosophy-opera" Ipsa Dixit, a recording of which will be released on New World Records on October fifth, featuring the many people with whom Soper has worked closely over to produce this work—including flutist Erin Lesser, violnist Joshua Modney, and percussionist Ian Antonio, all of the Wet Ink Ensemble.

But Ipsa Dixit is much more than a recording: it has also existed as a staged performance, with lighting, projection, and costumes, and its individual movements also function on their own.  These movements—Poetics, Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say, Rhetoric, The Crito, Metaphysics, and Cipheralso function on their own, and indeed have been performed by Soper and her collaborators since 2010. In each, Soper offers a multi-faceted exploration of fundamental questions of textuality, communication, and sound, through setting texts by Aristotle, Guido d'Arrezo, Lydia Davis, Michael Drayton, Robert Duncan, Plato, Sigmund Freud, Jenny Holzer, Sophocles, Sarah Teasdale, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.  

All of this led to Ipsa Dixit being a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Music, whose committe described it as "a breakthrough work that plumbs the composer’s fertile musical imagination to explore the relationships between idea and expression, meaning and language."

Ipsa Dixit will also be performed live, by Soper, Lesser, Antonio, and Modney, at a Portrait Concert at Columbia University's Miller Theatre, on October 27th. This performance, directed by Ashely Tata, will feature costumes, lighting, and projection, by the same creative team that premiered the evening-length work in 2016 at EMPAC. Check out a video recording of Poetics from that performance below. 

PSNY Recent Recordings: Part II

We're continuing our celebration of recent recordings by PSNY composers this week, and that celebration begins with a landmark album for Anthony CheungDystemporal, a portrait CD released on Wergo in 2016. Containing six premiere recordings of works Cheung, Dystemporal is performed by the Talea Ensemble, which Cheung co-directs alongside percussionist Alex Lipowski, and Ensemble Intercontemporain. These works represent a formative period in Cheung's career, and this new recording presents a landmark document of his unique compositional voice. They include: SynchroniCities (2012) for 8 musicians with electronics; Windswept Cypresses (2005) for flute, viola, harp, percussion; Running the (Full) Gamut (2008) for piano; Centripedalocity (2008) for 7 musicians; Enjamb, Infuse, Implode (2006) for 6 musicians; and Dystemporal (2012) for 23 musicians.

Another PSNY composer also saw a major portrait CD released in 2016: Lei Liang, whose Luminous, released on New World Records, documents five recent compositions that explore his long-standing research into traditional Asian arts and music, and their incorporation into a contemporary music aesthetic. These works, performed by musicians and ensembles including Steven Schick, Daniel Schlosberg, Aleck Karis, Third Coast Percussion, the Formosa Quartet, and the Palimpsest Ensemble, include: Verge Quartet (2013) for string quartet; Trans (2013) for solo percussion; The moon is following us (2015) for solo piano; Inkscape (2014) for percussion ensemble and piano; and Luminous (2014) contrabass solo and ensemble. Check out a performance of Luminous below.

With the Mivos Quartet, Kate Soper recorded her work 2015 work Nadja, a three-song cycle sets texts by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ovid, and André Breton that incorporates the composer's own voice into the quartet. Released on New Focus Recordings, Nadja is accompanied by works by Taylor Brook and Andrew Greenwald to complete Mivos's album, titled The Garden of Diverging Paths. Check out Soper and Mivos performing the work in 2015 below. 

Narrowing from large ensemble pieces to solo works, we're thrilled to feature percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum's solo album, Memory Palace, released on VisionIntoArt Records, the in-house label of Brooklyn venue National Sawdust. Memory Palace contains recordings of the eponymous 2012 work by Christopher Cerrone, as well as Timo Andres'Crashing Through Fences, which Rosenbaum originally commissioned and premiered in 2010. Check out a performance of Memory Palace at EMPAC below: 

Kate Soper's "Here Be Sirens" Performed in Massachusetts and New York

Kate Soper'sHere Be Sirens has been hailed as "audacious, genre-bending music theatre", and is described by the composer as "an opera/theatre work that blends beautiful music, terrifying noise, screwball comedy, and Aristotelian tragedy." After two widely acclaimed stagings in 2014, Fresh Squeezed Opera will mount a new production directed by Amber Treadway, featuring sopranos Victoria Benson, Claire Myers McCormick, and Devony Smith. Before its performance at National Sawdust on January 28th, Fresh Squeezed Opera will also perform the work on January 12th at the I/O Fest at Williams College, where Soper will also herself perform George Lewis' 2011 work, Anthem, for ensemble. 

Fresh Squeezed Opera has previously performed a suite from Here Be Sirens at New York City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center on a program of "nano-operas" in 2017. 

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