New York City’s Kaufman Center, in association with New Amsterdam Records, presents the 2011 Ecstatic Music Festival, a showcase of collaborative evenings between 150 genre-pushing composers, songwriters and performers who represent a new generation of artists combining vast influences and techniques to explore the crossover of classical and pop music. The event opens with a free seven-hour marathon on January 17th, 2011 and continues with 13 additional concerts until March 28, 2011.
The series includes imaginative collaborations such as Owen Pallett with Nadia Sirota and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman); Clogs with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus; Dan Deacon with So Percussion; tUnE-yArDs, William Brittelle, and Caleb Burhans with Roomful of Teeth; a Ben Frost arrangement for Alarm Will Sound; Vijay Iyer writing for Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society and much, much more. All concerts will be performed at the award-winning Merkin Concert Hall–famed for its unparalleled acoustics and intimate scale–and include premieres, full listings below.
The Ecstatic Music Festival is curated by composer Judd Greenstein, Co-Director of New Amsterdam Records and Managing Director of NOW Ensemble, collaborating with Jenny Undercofler, Ecstatic Music Festival Coordinator at the Kaufman Center. The series includes four WNYC New Sounds® Live concerts hosted by acclaimed radio host John Schaefer, which will be webcast live on Q2, WQXR’s new music station, and taped for future broadcast on WNYC.
Ecstatic Music Festival Series schedule (Additional artists TBA):
Monday, January 17th, 2011 2-9PM, FREE
Ecstatic Music Festival Marathon
Featuring sets by some of the artists appearing later in the festival along with performers TBA.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Creator/Curator, vol. 3: The Chiara String Quartet and the Music of Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurðsson
The “luminous” and “searing” (New York Times) Chiara String Quartet presents the third in their Creator/Curator series, focusing on composer Nico Muhly. The quartet will perform a world premiere by Muhly, who will also join the quartet in arrangements of his concert and film work, as well as a premiere by Muhly’s long-time collaborator, acclaimed Icelandic composer/producer Valgeir Sigurðsson (producer for Björk and Bonnie “Prince” Billy).
Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm
So Percussion & Dan Deacon
The “brilliant” (New York Times), “astonishing and entrancing” (Village Voice) quartet So Percussion is joined by electronic iconoclast Dan Deacon, whose visceral and sophisticated work has inspired a near-cult following by “connect[ing] the loops and repetition of dance music to the patterns of 20th-century classical Minimalism” (New York Times), in a series of new collaborative works. The quartet will also play arrangements of Deacon’s songs and selections from their own vast and varied output.
Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Craig Wedren, Jefferson Friedman & ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble)
Former Shudder to Think lead singer Craig Wedren and rising contemporary classical star Jefferson Friedman premiere the complete version of their critically-acclaimed song cycle, “On In Love”, plus related music performed by ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble), “one of New York’s brightest new music indie-bands” (Time Out New York).
Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 2 pm
Alarm Will Sound & Face the Music
The 20-member chamber giant Alarm Will Sound, called “as close to being a rock band as a chamber orchestra can be” and “the future of classical music” by the New York Times, is joined by Kaufman Center’s teen new music ensemble Face the Music for a performance of Steve Reich’s Tehillim. The program also features an array of electronic musicians whose work is transferred to the acoustic realm, as Alarm Will Sound presents the premiere of a new work by Ben Frost, along with music of Aphex Twin, Preshish Moments, and Matt Marks/Stefan Freund, while Face the Music plays music by Tristan Perich.
Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Bang on a Can All-Stars 2011 People’s Commissioning Fund Concert
A special Presentation of New Sounds® Live with WNYC’s John Schaefer
The famed electric chamber ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars perform world premieres of their annual People’s Commissioning Fund commissions. This year’s composers are Bryce Dessner, Karsh Kale and Nick Brooke. The People’s Commissioning Fund is a radical partnership between artists and audiences to commission works from adventurous composers, funded through small donations from interested music fans.
Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Roomful of Teeth & tUnE-yArDs: The Music of William Brittelle, Caleb Burhans & Merrill Garbus
The eight-voice polystylistic vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth are joined by three rising star composer/performers in a concert of new works and expanded arrangements: William Brittelle, the former lead singer of The Blondes, whose latest album was called “expansive, anthemic, all-encompassing, [and] shot through with raw emotion” (eMusic); the multi-talented “new music virtuoso” (New York Times) Caleb Burhans; and Merrill Garbus, lead singer of tUnE-yArDs, hailed for her “extraordinary voice” (The Guardian) and described as “somewhere between Aretha Franklin and Yoko Ono” (New York Times).
Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Newspeak & Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society: Works by Darcy James Argue, Vijay Iyer, Nicole Lizée & David T. Little
A Special Presentation of New Sounds® Live with WNYC’s John Schaefer
The eight-piece, high-powered electric chamber ensemble Newspeak performs the first-ever commissioned work by Darcy James Argue, director of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society and winner of the 2010 DownBeat Critics Poll as Rising Star in the Big Band, Composer and Arranger categories. Argue’s 18-piece big band Secret Society, called “a wholly original take on big band’s past, present and future” (Newsweek), will perform new works by highly-acclaimed pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, winner of the 2010 Jazz Journalists Association Artist of the Year Award, the Montreal-based composer Nicole Lizée and Newspeak founder David T. Little.
Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Judd Greenstein (The Yehudim) & Olga Bell (Bell)
Ecstatic Music Festival curator Judd Greenstein, hailed as “among New York’s most gifted younger composers” (Alex Ross), debuts his new 14-person ensemble, The Yehudim, led by the ethereal, Moscow-born vocalist Olga Bell. In addition to a performance of Greenstein’s Shlomo, Bell will present a series of new collaborative arrangements of songs from her debut album along with members of The Yehudim.