New York City— The 9th Annual MATA Festival, a global catalyst for emerging composers and contemporary music, presents a lively performance series of new and recent genre-jumping works at the fitting experimental space, the Brooklyn Lyceum. Fully committed to expanding the canon of classical music, MATA has selected 19 young composers representing diverse cultures and musical backgrounds including this year’s MATA commissionees: Yotam Haber, Ned McGowan, and Christopher Tignor. Under the leadership of MATA’s directors Lisa Bielawa and James Matheson and Curator Christopher McIntyre, the festival features works written for, in collaboration with, and to be performed by two versatile ensembles: the quintet Hexnut, and the Brooklyn-based orchestra, The Knights.
In keeping with its spirit of adventure, MATA is marching the festival into the borough of Brooklyn. According to James Matheson, Executive Director of MATA, this marks an exciting chapter for both the organization and the field of new music. “With the coupling of the ever-evolving music scene with the MySpace generation of composers, it’s imperative for us to explore new avenues. We’re thrilled to be incubating new seeds of music in the Brooklyn community.”
This year’s MATA festival features 19 composers in their 20s and 30s serving as ambassadors from around the world including the United States (12), the Netherlands (2), France, Italy, Japan, Brazil, and Germany. Some highlights include the New York premiere of Christopher Bailey’s electroacoustic, soda machine-inspired The Quiet Play of Busy Pipes, Missy Mazzoli’s haunting Shy Girl Shouting Music for soprano, electric guitar, piano and double bass, and composer/pianist Bruno Ruviaro’s juxtaposition of acoustic piano and its electroacoustic counterpart in InstantÃ¢nea. Composer Andrew Norman, winner of the 2006 Rome Prize, has sketched a motoric, virtuoso piece for violin ensemble; Gran Turismo portrays the striking parallels amongst the car racing video game of the same name, the “force lines” found in Italian Futurist art-specifically in Giacomo Balla’s 1913 series of speeding cars, and the competitiveness found in the Baroque model of soloists versus ensemble that is prominent in Norman’s music. Japanese composer/pianist Hideki Kozakura brings the sound of shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute, to his serene piece Shorai, a Japanese term referring to the soft rustle sounds heard when wind passes through pine trees, which the Japanese believe to be therapeutic.
To date, MATA has commissioned almost 40 new works and has presented over 160 new compositions by young composers. This year’s commissions include: A wine-dark sea by Yotam Haber, a 2005 Guggenheim fellow; Untitled by Ned McGowan, an American expatriate living in Amsterdam known as a leading contemporary composer/flutist; and Thunder Lay Down in the Heart for string orchestra and laptop by Christopher Tignor. In addition, MATA is thrilled to welcome 2006 commissionee K-Kalna to this year’s festival. (Due to unfortunate transportation problems last season, she wasn’t able to perform her commissioned piece.) Her American debut is a multimedia production featuring K-Kalna as laptopist/vocalist alongside film projections by Brooklyn-based video artist Shige Moriya.
Program Details (subject to change)
Sunday, March 18th, 3:00pm– Instrument Petting Zoo and Concert
Two-hour special performance and educational program for families hosted by Ted Wiprud, Director of Education at New York Philharmonic. “Instrument Petting Zoo” where kids can touch, play, and learn about musical instruments. Meet-and-greet with MATA composers and musicians. Children ages 5 and up.
Tuesday, March 20th, 8:00 pm – Solitary Confinement V
A MATA tradition: spotlight on works for solo performer, with or without technology, and solo performer/composers who write works for and on themselves.
Performers: The Knights, Members of Hexnut, Mark Dancigers (guitar), Jenny Lin (piano), and Brian Sacawa (saxophone)
MATA Festival Composers: Ryan Brown- Our Friend Adam, Mark Dancigers- Electric Guitar Etudes, Alexandra Gardner- Tourmaline, Vincent Ho- Stigmata, Daniel Koontz- Selections from 12 Improvements for Piano, Missy Mazzoli- Shy Girl Shouting Music, and Bruno Ruviaro- InstantÃ¢nea
Wednesday, March 21st, 8:00pm- Passport to Brooklyn
Brooklyn becomes a meeting-ground for young composers from all over the world, including the Netherlands, Japan, Germany and Brooklyn, of course.
Performers: Members of Hexnut, Kalna Katsoum (vocalist), and Christopher McIntyre (trombone)
MATA Festival Composers: K-Kalna (featuring video artist Shige Moriya)- Hydro-World**, Hideki Kozakura- Shorai, and Ned McGowan- Untitled** and Tools
Special Guest Composers: Christopher McIntyre- Stuplimity No.3 for Solo
This first of two concerts featuring the chamber orchestra The Knights explores the interface between 17th-century and 21st-century instruments: strings and computers.
Performers: Members of The Knights; Lisa Bielawa (vocalist), Eric Jacobsen (guest conductor)
MATA Festival Composers: Ondrej Adamek- Rapid Eyes Movements, Cecilia Arditto- Casi Cerca, Christopher Bailey- The Quiet Play of Busy Pipes, Yotam Haber- A wine-dark sea**, and Jeff Herriott- Trio
Friday, March 23rd, 5:30pm- Electronic Media and the Composing Performer
Saturday, March 24th, 6:45pm, Conversations with Composers
Conversations with Composers, a free annual pre-concert conversation series, hosted by Alex Ross, Music Critic at The New Yorker. MATA’s four commissionees will be on hand to discuss their new works, and what it is like to be a young composer in 2007.
Saturday, March 24th, 8:00pm – A Little More Knights Music
This second concert featuring The Knights offers virtuoso ensemble pieces that celebrate the timelessness of the acoustic chamber orchestra, plus a performance by commissionee Christopher Tignor as laptop soloist.
Performers: Members of The Knights; Christopher Tignor (laptop), Eric Jacobsen (guest conductor)
MATA Festival Composers: Matthew Barnson- Sibyl Tones, Andrew Norman- Gran Turismo, Filippo Perocco- Corti e di varia ricreazione, and Christopher Tignor- Thunder Lay Down in the Heart**