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katiskelton on 03/15/2012 at 01:00AM

String Theories: IPR & The String Orchestra of Brooklyn

This Saturday, March 17, St. Ann's Church will host the second installation of String Theories, the joint partnership between ISSUE Project Room and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn that provides artists with an opportunity to premiere new experimental works for orchestra. This year's commission features works composed by Anthony Coleman, C. Spencer Yeh, MV Carbon, and Eric Wubbels, which is awesome, because for most of these artists this is their first opportunity to compose works on such a large scale (check out this interview with Spencer regarding the transition from solo and improvisational work to composing for an orchestra). I'm super excited to see what these guys come up with--what does Burning Star Core sound like with 10 VIOLINS? Will all the musicians be equipped with circuit-bent TV instruments? These and more mysteries will be illuminated on Saturday night. 

Until then, listen to this live recording of Katherine Young's composition from last year's program, titled Inhabitation of Time. Young is a bassoonist and composer who received an emerging artist commission from ISSUE last year, and this piece sounds like what it would be like to try to walk in a straight line on the quantum level--variables constantly shifting and rearranging, time stretching and compressing. What kinds of physical laws will this year's String Theories defy? We don't yet know. Get your tickets here.

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andrewcsmith on 06/10/2010 at 09:00AM

Double the reeds, double the fun

Michael Kenney's schematic of his sculpture machine

These low growls, short ecstatic bursts of energy, distant soft whispers are all something that seem like they shouldn't be within the limits of any single instrument. Katherine Young's bassoon, in harmonic counterpoint to itself, contains the whole spectrum of timbres and sounds, from the resonant open ones to the terse, dissonant multiphonics that are unstable even as single tones. This whole gamut is deployed in the service of this unmerciful instrumentation of a rock band, plus electric violin, and the orchestra expat is left to ably muscle its way through the crowd.

Not that Young is working in a cheap pastiche of rock + classical + free jazz; the ideas are all there, and it begins with the expansion and discovery of hearing the fiendish double reed sighing, shouting, whistling or humming, and almost go bel canto for a moment or two. She's content to cede the floor sometimes to her rhythm section, but when she comes back it's as another intrument, fed through reverb and distortion pedals in the top register. It's these moments of total immersion in the sound, dissociating associations and reconstructing new ones, that make the performance stand repeated listens.

Young received one of ISSUE's Emerging Artists Commission Grant for 2010, so tonight at 8:30 she'll be performing Releasing Bound Water in Green Material involving a quartet of wind and brass (Dan Peck, tuba; Nathaniel Morgan, saxophone; Jacob Wick and Brad Henkel, trumpets), trio of percussion (TimeTable: A. Lipowski, M. Gold, M. Ward), duo of synth (Jeff Snyder) and keyboard (Emily Manzo), visuals by Michael Kenney ("a sculpture that externalizes its insides, projecting memories of the objects it contains"), and, one can only assume, a bassoon. For now, though, check out the first piece from Young's performance at the Porter Records Showcase back in March, and her well acclaimed debut on that label, Further Secret Origins.

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