Interview With Conrad Winslow

Ahead of our coming concert at Spectrum, we asked Conrad Winslow a few questions about his piece Bloody Lyre that he wrote for us.

Bloody Lyre—it almost sounds like some peculiar American folk song. But instead, it’s a setting of radical feminist poetry! What draws you to Adrienne Rich’s work?

Conrad: “Political” predicaments are woven into the syntax of her work: for Rich it’s never a question of making a poem about politics; the poems take up their place within the scope of the problems that she fights. You can’t separate her activism from her art. Claudia Rankine (and a thousand others) was hugely influenced by Rich, and Rankine has carried this torch forward in work such as Citizen. In reading these poets you follow certain contours of thought that fill your head with questions. They put you on a path and then send you on your way, which is what I want my music to do.

The other thing that drew me to Rich was her use of ordinary language that feels so good to sing, and works on the low burner with occasional spectacular flares. The title refers to her image of a lyre that tethers the (aspirations for the) 21st Century to the 20th; the lyre/liar pun refers to her preoccupation with the idea that all language shuts out as much truth as it reveals. Continue reading “Interview With Conrad Winslow”

Interview with Brian Petuch

We chatted with Brian Petuch about his new piece for us, 24 Hours, which we’re premiering on April 15th at Spectrum. Read on for a sneak peek at Brian’s thinking.

When we first approached you about this commission, you mentioned this idea of a piece about each hour of the day. How did you settle on this idea & how did the writing of the thing morph the idea into the piece that we’ll be premiering in April?

Brian: I’ve had this idea kicking around in my head since at least 2008, but I didn’t really have the chops back then to write it. Our relation to the day is so embedded into each hour, I’ve always felt that each hour of the day has a distinctive color and energy. It varies a bit from day to day, but it’s definitely there. The piece turned out almost how I initially envisioned it, though some of the movements are a little longer. I wanted them to all be “micro movements” that stick to the point, are very simple, and last less than a minute. Most do just that, but that was very hard to successfully sustain over 24 distinct movements! Also, the idea of having the option for the performers to expand the single movements into a longer stand-alone movement was an idea that came a little later in the process. Continue reading “Interview with Brian Petuch”

Echo Chamber at Spectrum

We’re excited to announce our spring concert happening at Spectrum, one of New York’s preeminent presenters and supporters of new music, on April 15th at 7pm. We’ll be giving the world premiere of music by Conrad Winslow (featuring acclaimed soprano Justine Aronson), Brian Petuch, and our Call for Scores winner, Caroline Mallonée, alongside music by one of the trailblazers from the New York School, Christian Wolff.

Check out our Facebook event for the concert, and we’re looking forward to sharing these brand new pieces with you soon in Brooklyn! Keep your eyes peeled for sneak peak into the rehearsal process.

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Brian Petuch looking very excited about his mechanized percussion; Conrad Winslow looking contemplative.

Movie Night Interview with Fjóla Evans and Amanda Bonaiuto

Before its premiere at tomorrow’s concert, we asked Fjóla Evans and Amanda Bonaiuto to talk about their collaboration on Running up that hill.

What is the conceptual basis behind Running up that hill? You’ve mentioned that it’s based loosely on I Love Dick, by Chris Kraus. How does the book relate to your piece? And does the title have anything to do with the eponymous Kate Bush song?

Fjóla: Chris Kraus has this line in I Love Dick that talks about the importance and radical act of witnessing women engaging intellectually with the world. Like that the idea of a woman just sitting or thinking alone, or reading a book or whatever, but being alone with herself and her thoughts, is a radical act. Back in the spring, Amanda showed me some clips of a piece she was working on where these monastic looking female characters were walking down a spiral staircase and I immediately thought of that line. The women looked really engrossed in their own world, and didn’t seem to notice or care that they were being watched. We talked about how cool it would be to make a piece that was about a series of women embarking on solitary creative quests, some kind of epic, wandering journey. I also just love how Amanda draws women characters – they always look super fierce and powerful, yet free and goofy at the same time. I wanna be more like those women! Continue reading “Movie Night Interview with Fjóla Evans and Amanda Bonaiuto”