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Posts tagged 'saxophone'

Ann Cleare & Alex Mincek in ICE's "Animal Behaviors"


(Ryan Muncy, saxophonist)

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) consists of some of the best instrumentalists in contemporary music, who regularly champion ensemble works by some of the most fascinating composers of our time. In a free "pop-up" concert at Columbia's Miller Theatre on June 6th, members of ICE will split off to perform solo and duo works that dig into the sonic profiles of individual instruments and players, in a program titled "ICE: Animal Behaviors". 

ICE saxophonist Ryan Muncy will perform Ann Cleare's luna (the eye that opens the other eye) for alto saxophone, as well as Alex Mincek's Pendulum III, for alto saxophone and piano, alongside pianist Jacob Greenberg. In Cleare's luna, the composer writes that "the saxophone should be thought of as a dragonfly with eyes so big they cover almost its entire head, giving it a helmeted appeaance and a full 360-degree field of vision." Check out a recording below. 

ICE and Cleare will return to the Miller Theatre in 2018 with a Composer Portrait concert, featuring a newly-commissioned work, two world premieres, and performances of the square of yellow light that is your window and dorchadas

Mincek's Pendulum IIIis an early entry in the composer's Pendulum series, in which musical material oscillates between two poles, accellerating, decelerating, reaching tipping points, and repeating. Check out a 2015 recording by Michael Ibrahim and Ron Stabinsky below. 

Sound Icon Performs Ken Ueno's "Zetsu"

Sound Icon, Boston's acclaimed contemporary music sinfonietta, gives the East Coast premiere of Ken Ueno's Zetsu on November 12th at Boston University's CFA Concert Hall, presented by Boston University's Center for New Music. The performance features violinist Gabriela Diaz, for whom Ueno originally wrote this "person-specific" piece, and who premiered the piece along with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players in February 2015. Zetsu is inspired by the ceramics of Nishida Jun, whose works are in the collection of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Like Jun's ceramics, Zetsu attempts to analogize the creation of a protean form of music, which Ueno accomplishes by crafting both new ways of playing instruments and new instruments themselves, such as percussion idiophones using microtonal tunings specific to the harmonic spectrum of the piece, and the "Hookah Sax"—a saxophone augmented with a 7' length of plastic hookah tubing: 



Ueno writes that, formally, the piece "pushes and pulls gestures and textures to extremes: the slowly evolving shimmer in the solo violin of the opening gives way to discrete, rhythmically clarified polyphony for the ensemble. The soloist returns with an intricate part ranging widely in articulation and tessitura, microtonal contours lending an organic, improvised, very human intensity."

Lei Liang's "Xiaoxiang" Concerto Named Pulitzer Prize Finalist!

Lei Liang’s Xiaoxiang Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra has been named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work received its world premiere in its revised and expanded version in 2014 with soloist Chien-Kwan Lin and Gil Rose leading the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. This nomination marks another significant achievement for Liang, who has received an Aaron Copland Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rome Prize.

Liang evokes a specific incident in Chinese history with Xiaoxiang, a name for the region in Hunan Province where the rivers Xiao and Xiang intersect. This incident occurred during the Cultural Revolution, when a woman sought to avenge the unjust death of her husband by wailing in the forest near the house of the local official that killed him. Liang writes of the work:

Instead of displaying technical virtuosity, the soloist in this piece portrays the protagonist’s inability to articulate or utter. The soloist’s music is marked by silences. In that sense, the work may be perceived as an anti-concerto.

Listen to a full recording of BMOP's premiere performance here: 

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