ICE to Perform Music by Georges Aperghis and the New Generation at MCA

The MCA Stage presents a concert of new works by composers Georges Aperghis, Juan Pablo Carreño, and Patricia Alessandrini, along with an important early work by Aperghis, performed by ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble). Aperghis has been a central figure in the music theater movement that breaks genres and features playful, humorous, or aggressive performance techniques in which musicians act and react to their playing. The concert is guest conducted by renowned Ludovic Morlot and is the final ICE concert of the MCA Stage season, and takes place Saturday, May 26, 2012, at 7:30 pm.

Georges Aperghis is one of Europe’s most influential experimental composers. His compositions are theatrical and provocative, ignoring boundaries and expectations, much like his mentor and fellow Greek Iannis Xenakis. Both Carreño and Alessandrini have been inspired and influenced by Aperghis to explore new directions and expressions in their work. All three currently live in Paris, but were born in other countries: Aperghis in Greece, Carreño in Columbia, and Alessandrini in Italy.

The program’s most significant performance is the premiere of George Aperghis’ Shot in the Dark (2011, 30 min). It was commissioned by ICE and created in close collaboration with Ludovic Morlot. It features sixteen ensemble members and soprano Tony Arnold, and is intended to portray a woman sliding from one state of consciousness to another. Musical sequences and Arnold’s voice come and go, playing with and taunting each other. Arnold plays the role of a storyteller using a hybrid language created by Aperghis.

Aperghis’ early work, Signaux (1978, 11 min), was designed as a social experiment that features four string players – two violins and two violas — who musically follow each other too closely and have to engage non-verbal signals to perform this playful, fast-paced chamber music without error.

Juan Pablo Carreño’s Golpe en el diafragma (2012, 14 min) uses noise as a theatrical structure to create sound clusters and waves that collide into a wall of sound by the fourteen member ensemble. The complete range of acoustic instruments is employed, from piccolo to tuba. Carreño composed the work for ICE through an ICElab residency; he will be in attendance.

Patricia Alessandrini’s Ommagio a Berio (2012, 8 min) is a quiet contrast to Carreño’s piece and serves as an ode to the Italian composer Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs, a catalog of international folk melodies. A pianist plays silently while six musicians, crowded around the piano, are challenged to reconstruct a melody by plucking its strings and playing around the instrument. The piano acts as a resonator, capturing fragments of sounds made by the players and soprano singer, Tony Arnold, who performs at the end of the work. She composed the work for ICE through an ICElab residency; she will be in attendance.

Georges Aperghis, born in Athens in 1945, studied music and piano in Greece. He was almost self-taught before he moved to Paris in 1963 and began musical training. Aperghis has paved the way for a new type of music/musician that is political, relevant, and not confined to the conventions of music, theater, and dance. He was a pioneer in this movement and now it is a more common model for contemporary and new music composers. In 1976, Aperghis founded the music and theater company ATEM (Atelier Théâtre et Musique) in Bagnolet, France, outside of Paris. In 1997, he left ATEM to work on personal projects and focus on writing.

Patricia Alessandrini creates all her works from existing music because she sees the act of composing as an interpretation or performance. She has become increasingly involved in multimedia and theatrical work, using live electronic and interactive situations with video and other media. Her work often engages in social and political issues. Alessandrini has a BA in composition from Queens College, CUNY, a PhD from Princeton University, and a diploma from the Conservatoire de Strasbourg. She has taught at Queens College and Princeton and the Accademia Musicale Pescarese in Italy. She is participating in ICELab’s 2012 residency program.

Juan Pablo Carreño is influenced by traditional Columbian music and focuses on sonic and tonal theories in his music. He studied composition at Javeriana University in Bogotá, Columbia, and Florida International University before moving to Paris to study at the Conservatoire de Nanterre. He has participated in multiple residencies, including the 2012 ICELab.

Ludovic Morlot, an acclaimed French conductor, is the recently appointed Music Director of the Seattle Symphony and Chief Conductor of La Monnaie/De Munt Opera in Brussels. Trained as a violinist, Ludovic studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music and then at the Royal College of Music, both in London, as the recipient of the Norman del Mar Conducting Fellowship. In 2001, he was the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship Conductor at the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts and subsequently appointed Assistant Conductor for the orchestra and their Music Director James Levine. He also served as Conductor in Residence with the Orchestre National de Lyon. Morlot will participate in the Saturday Speakeasy post-show gathering at the MCA.

(ICE) International Contemporary Ensemble is in the second year of a three-year ensemble-in-residence at MCA Stage. The organization was founded in 2001, and has established itself as one of the leading musical ensembles of its generation as well as one of the most innovative young arts organizations in the US. ICE has created a pioneering performer/presenter model that sets a bold new standard for the future of music in the 21st century. A champion of music by young composers, ICE has also given more than 400 world premieres by composers under the age of 35. They are artists-in-residence at the Mostly Mozart Festival of Lincoln Center in New York through 2013.

George Aperghis and the New Generation takes place on May 26 at 7:30 pm, at the MCA Stage, 220 East Chicago Avenue. Individual tickets are $28. Student tickets are $10 and subject to availability. MCA Box Office is at 312.397.4010 or www.mcachicago.org. One free museum admission is granted with an MCA Stage ticket stub, valid up to seven days after the performance.

ARTISTS UP CLOSE

Saturday Speakeasy

Saturday, May 26

An informal post-show gathering provides a special opportunity for the audience to engage with the artists. Snacks, hot and cold beverages, and beer and wine are available for purchase.