One of the hottest things in Philadelphia has to be the Relâche chamber ensemble.  They’ve performed and recorded work by a wide variety of composers in the Downtown tradition including Kyle Gann, Michael Nyman, Robert Ashley, Lois V. Vierk, James Tenney, and they’re about to hit the road with Elliott Sharp’s new work “Evolute.”  The piece is, to quote the  Relâche press release, “a new chamber- and electronic musical work. . . [in which] Relâche’s octet instrumentation will be processed by Sharp through live electronics, resulting in a swirling mass of acoustic and electronic sound – a live classical remix. . . Evolute’s title comes from the differential geometry of curves, referring to the ways that a new shapes can evolve out of an old one.  The work is a cascade of ideas fighting for their survival and reproduction in a veritable Darwinian celebration.”  Hot stuff.  The program also includes John King’s “Road Map,” Sophia Serghi’s “Pleiades,” and Fred Frith’s “shading my face it shall be you.”  You can hear this program on Thursday, March 22nd at 8:00 PM at the University of Delaware, or Friday March 23rd at 8:00 PM at Trinity Center in Philadelphia. 

But if you can’t stand the wait, or just can’t get out of Manhattan, you can catch the Serghi piece at Merkin Hall tonight, March 15th, at 8:00 PM.   Relâche will be rounding out an evening of Sophia Serghi’s chamber music, sharing the billing with ensembles including the Manhattan Trio, and the Williamsburg Symphonia.  The Mariner String Quartet was also slated to perform, but it seems likely that they will be forced to pull out after the tragic death of violinist and composer Phanos Dymiotis, who was killed in a car accident on Saturday.  Sad news aside, tonight’s concert sounds good and I plan to be there.

Relâche will round out their season on April 21st in Philadelphia with a concert of music by Eve Beglarian, David Lang, Arthur Jarvinen, Eric Moe, and a new piece by Jennifer Barker.

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