Moby Dick: An Oratorio
MATA Interval 7.2 presents
West Fourth New Music Collective and Contemporaneous
MOBY DICK: EXTRACTS ON DEATH AND OTHER CURIOSITIES
Friday, February 21st, 2014 | 8:00 pm
ISSUE Project Room | 22 Boerum Place, Ground Floor | Brooklyn
Tickets Available at issueprojectroom.org
MATA Interval presents two rising stars of the DIY new music scene in a modern oratorio inspired by Melville's Moby Dick. Composer collective West Fourth New Music Collective (W4) joins Contemporaneous, a New York-based new music ensemble, in the world premiere of Moby Dick: Extracts on Death and Other Curiosities on Friday, February 21 at 8:00 pm at Brooklyn's ISSUE Project Room.
Collaboratively written by composers and W4 co-founders Matt Frey, Tim Hansen, Molly Herron, and Ruben Naeff, the evening-length piece composes through Melville's novel, focusing on themes and events related to mortality, identity, and the hunt. Singers will include Lucy Dhegrae, Ariadne Greif, Charlotte Mundy and Sean Christensen. The music will be accompanied by abstract projections inspired by Rockwell Kent's illustrations to the 1930 Modern Library edition of Moby Dick, created by visual artist Andy Cahill.
Moby Dick: Extracts on Death and Other Curiosities
I. Hymn Tim Hansen
II. At the Mast-head Molly Herron
III. The Graceful Repose of the Line Ruben Naeff
IV. Some Ships Matt Frey
V. The Sea Herron
VI. The Non-Valvular Structure of the Whale's Blood-Vessels Naeff
VII. A Song of Wind, Sea and Stars Hansen
VIII. A White and Turbid Wake Frey
IX. There She Blows Hansen
X. All Men are Enveloped in Whale-Lines Naeff
XI. Lower Away Frey
XII. Call Me Herron
The program will be performed without intermission and runs approximately an hour.
About Moby Dick: Extracts on Death and Other Curiosities.
Echoing the multiplicity of Melville's novel, W4 composers created a collection of responses to themes and events from the book. From a narrative episode depicting the final chase of Moby Dick to abstract meditations incorporating spoken text as a textural element embedded in the music, the evening ranges widely through styles and impressions vividly evoking scenes and emotions from Melville's world. Balancing collaboration and individual expression, each composer engaged with personal areas of interest while together conceiving the flow and experience of the work as a whole. The libretto was crafted by the composers, in some cases using extended excerpts, and other times stitching together lines from across the whole novel. This oratorio was written specifically for Contemporaneous who work-shopped early sketches.
About the Artists:
Matt Frey (b. 1980) is a Brooklyn-based composer of contemporary concert music. In 2013, selections from his opera-in-progress The Fox and the Pomegranate were selected for performance at Ft. Worth Opera's inaugural Frontiers showcase. Frey's concert music has been heard in performances by the JACK String Quartet, West Point Woodwind Quintet, NYU Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Wind Ensemble, Washington Square Winds, and at the 2012 Etchings Festival in France and 2012 Duffy Festival in Norfolk, VA. An alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop and a recent graduate of the Masters program in Music Composition at New York University, where he studied with Joan La Barbara and Julia Wolfe, Frey is also known as a new music producer, performer, conductor, and advocate through his activities as co-founder of the West 4th New Music Collective.
Tim Hansen (b. 1978) is a composer whose work fuses cabaret and music theatre, with more traditional concert music idioms. His music has been performed in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Mexico, and the United States, as well as in his native Australia. He has composed music for Austrailia's Song Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Saffire Guitar Quartet, Guitarstrophe and the Griffyn Ensemble, and has collaborated closely with artists such as guitarist Tim Kain and clarinetist Nicole Canham. In America, Hansen has worked with Transit, the JACK Quartet, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, NYU Symphony Orchestra, NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble, and has been a composition fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute and the Norfolk Contemporary Music Festival. He has been awarded the Frank Ponton Memorial Prize, the Darwin International Guitar Festival Composition Prize, and an ArtStart Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. He is a founding director of both ExhAust New Music and the W4 New Music collective in New York.
Molly Herron (b. 1982) is a Brooklyn based composer, performer, and educator. She is a recipient of the Exploring the Metropolis 2012/13 Con Edison Composer's Residency at the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy and a fellow at La Pietra Forum in Florence. Recent commissions includes pieces for the JACK Quartet, ECCE, The Cygnus Ensemble, The NYU Contemporary Ensemble and arrangements for the folk group The Great Republic of Rough and Ready, among others. Herron has collaborated with a variety of artists in theater, dance, and film. Her work with the filmmaker Josephine Decker will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February. She is a co-founding director of the W4 New Music, a composer's collective dedicated to enriching the possibilities for new music and its makers since 2010. Herron received her bachelor's degree from Sarah Lawrence College where she studied composition with Chester Biscardi and Steven Burke. She received a Master of Music degree from the Steinhardt School at NYU having studied with Joan La Barbara and Michael Gordon.
Ruben Naeff (b. 1981) writes music that speaks to broad audiences as well as to new music lovers. A native of Amsterdam, currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, he is a co-founder of West 4th New Music and has collaborated with such groups as Signal, JACK Quartet, Deviant Septet, Wild Rumpus, Berkeley Symphony, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. His music has been performed in seven European countries and across America and was presented by as a part of the Bang on a Can Marathon. In 2008, he released his CD De Bètacanon. Naeff was awarded the prestigious HSP Huygens Talent Scholarship to study with Michael Gordon at NYU; previously he attended the conservatories of Amsterdam and The Hague and also holds a master's degree in mathematics. He has attended master classes by Louis Andriessen, David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas and Christopher Rouse and the summer programs of Aspen Music Festival, June in Buffalo, Bang on a Can and Music11.
About West Fourth New Music Collective
West Fourth New Music is a collective of composers and performers dedicated to presenting new live concert music in and around New York City. W4 makes a priority of programming and producing new music events with an eye toward bringing diverse audiences together through innovative concert experiences. Co-directors Matt Frey, Tim Hansen, Molly Herron, and Ruben Naeff met while studying in the graduate program of NYU's Steinhardt School on West 4th Street in Manhattan in 2010. A mutual desire to produce their own work outside of the academic environment and to cultivate a broader audience for new music spurred the formation of W4.
Contemporaneous is a New York-based ensemble of nineteen musicians dedicated to performing and promoting the most exciting music of now. Founded in 2010 at Bard College, Contemporaneous has played over sixty shows at venues including (le) poisson rouge, Merkin Concert Hall, Roulette, St. Ann's Warehouse, Galapagos Art Space, Baryshnikov Arts Center and The Stone and has been featured as guest artist at the MATA Interval Series, Tribeca New Music Festival, Neighborhood Classics, and in California at the Berkeley Arts Festival. The ensemble has been featured on WNYC's "SoundCheck" and "New Sounds" programs. Contemporaneous supports the work of new and established composers, encouraging artists to take risks, challenge expectations and defy constraints. To date, Contemporaneous has performed more than thirty world premieres by such composers as Albert Behar, Conor Brown, Ryan Chase, Kyle Gann, Yotam Haber, Molly Joyce and Dylan Mattingly. In 2012, Innova Recordings releasedthe ensemble's debut album, Stream of Stars — Music of Dylan Mattingly, comprising music written specifically for Contemporaneous by its founding co-artistic director. Contemporaneous often collaborates with musicians and artists from other fields, among them pop and rock artists Jherek Bischoff, David Byrne, Sondre Lerche, Amanda Palmer, Zac Pennington, Greg Saunier, Mirah Zeitlyn, Zola Jesus, Fifth Veil and Yassou Benedict. The ensemble regularly presents educational programs for New York public elementary school P.S. 142 and the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra.
MATA is unique in its singular devotion to the music of young and emerging composers regardless of their stylistic inclinations or aesthetic leanings. Founded by Philip Glass, Eleonor Sandresky, and Lisa Bielawa in 1996 as Music at the Anthology, MATA presents a week-long festival of new music by composers under age forty each spring in New York City, an acclaimed series of occasional concerts and events known as Interval, and workshops and activities geared to the professional development of young composers. Each year's MATA festival presents approximately twenty works by young composers, three to four of which are commissioned specifically for the occasion. MATA receives more than 600 submissions to its annual call for scores, making a MATA commission the most sought-after opportunity for young composers worldwide. To date, MATA has commissioned more than 70 works, and has presented over 300 performances of pieces by young composers. In 2007 MATA established Interval, an occasional concert series that presents the work of young composers. Since its inception, MATA's festivals and events have been critically acclaimed and broadly respected within the contemporary music community: The New Yorker has hailed MATA as "the city's leading showcase for vital new music by emerging composers"; The New York Times has called it "nondogmatic, even antidogmatic;" The Village Voice named MATA "the contemporary classical equivalent of the U.N. General Assembly." In 2010 MATA received the ASCAP Foundation's prestigious Aaron Copland Award in recognition of its outstanding commitment to young composers. MATA is dedicated to providing opportunities for young composers who may be overlooked by other institutions and consequently programs its events nearly exclusively from free and open submissions to several annual calls for scores. For the majority of the composers selected through our jury process, a MATA performance is an early harbinger of success; it is often one of their first major commissions and first significant exposure to New York and national audiences. MATA Alumni have gone on to receive Takemitsu, Siemens, Pulitzer and Rome prizes, MacArthur "Genius" grants, Guggenheim Fellowships, Barlow and Koussevitsky commissions and every other major prize in contemporary music. In recognizing, presenting and supporting unique compositional voices, MATA is a catalyst for their entry into American musical life.