Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Musical Aside: 'Face the Music' in Rehearsal

My previous post, subtitled “Carla in the ICE House,” documented a rehearsal in the Brooklyn studio of the International Contemporary Ensemble, or ICE, for the major piece in this Saturday’s musical event in Merkin Hall.  That event is the world premiere of Carla Kihlstedt’s At Night We Walk in Circles and Are Consumed by Fire.

In today’s post, I build on this, returning to the ICE House in Brooklyn and photographing a rehearsal that features the musical group Face the Music.   Face the Music is supported by the Kaufman Music Center and is an alt-classical ensemble of highly talented teenagers (and some younger students) from New York City and environs.  The group was founded in 2005 by Jenny Undercofler, has played in musical venues around the city, and received the ASCAP Aaron Copland Award in 2011.

On Saturday, 19 members of Face the Music will join the 9 members of ICE and Carla as part of the first half of the evening's program; they will perform George Lewis’ 2007 composition, Artificial Life.  This composition consists of two pages containing instructions which offer the performers certain rough guides for improvisation.  Or, as an ICE introductory statement explains, “Artificial Life is a schema for collective improvisation – and collective silence.  No musical material is prescribed; the principle is rather that of stimulus, and the medium that of verbal instructions that could give rise to radically different results, depending on the performers taking part.”

The performers will work together in groups, but also individually while on the first page.  As the composer tells us, “the success of the performance is not so much related to individual freedoms but to the assumption of personal and collective responsibility for the sonic environment.”

How fitting this statement is in this particular week, when we have just heard President Obama inspire us with his formula for progress through teamwork, when he told the nation: “preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”

Below are twenty documentary photographs from this rehearsal of January 21, both of individuals and of the collective groupings of some of these young musicians from Face the Music.  Please join us this Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 7:30 PM in Merkin Hall for the performance.

Dean (piano): here you can see page 2 of Lewis' score for Artificial Life

Dean's view of many of his Face the Music compatriots and ICE musicians in rehearsal

ICE House: view of violin, wind, guitar groups [clockwise from left]

Guitar group: Ethan, Dan Lippel (ICE), TJ, Jack, Kyle [left-to-right]

Wind group: Rebekah Heller (ICE),  Matt, Daphne, Joseph, Owen [clockwise, from top]

Assorted (treble) group: Juan, Jonah, Liz, Erik Carlson (ICE), Claire Chase (ICE: only end of flute visible) [from left-to-right]

Violin group: Jennifer Curtis (ICE), Carla Kihlstedt (hidden), Paris, Sophia, Will (hidden behind on the stairs) [front-to-back]

Percussion group: Harun, Nils, Nathan Davis (ICE), Yonatan, Juliana (hidden) [front-to-back] 

Percussion group: Nathan Davis (ICE), Harun, Nils, Juliana, Yonatan [front-to-back]

Guitar group: Kyle, Jack, TJ, Dan Lippel (ICE), Ethan [left-to-right]

Guitars: Kyle, TJ [left-to-right]

Clarinet: Juan

Piano: Dean, Joshua Rubin (ICE, standing), parents (seated behind)

Percussion: Yonatan, Juliana [right-to-left]

Winds: Rebekah Heller (ICE), Matt [left-to-right]

Violin: Will

Wind group: Rebekah Heller (ICE),  Matt, Daphne, Joseph, Owen [clockwise, from top]

Percussion: Nathan Davis (ICE), Nils, Juliana [left-to-right]

Winds: Daphne, Joseph, Owen [left-to-right]



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