Music at First announces an evening of contemporary music featuring the talents of the “gorgeously subtle” (Time Out New York) janus and the “finely polished” (The New York Times) Mantra Percussion ensemble.  Flute, viola and harp trio janus presents a range of older and brand new works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Kaija Saariaho, Michael Ippolito, Caleb Burhans and Ryan Brown, while Mantra brings a special preview performance of an excerpt from Michael Gordon’s new evening-length percussion sextet, Timber.

Bringing together both the old and the new, janus will perform two “older” works by two established composers: The Garden of Joys and Sorrows by Sofia Gubaidulina (which was written in 1980) and New Gates by Kaija Saariaho (written in 1996), as well as the world premiere of a newly commissioned work, Ballade by Michael Ippolito, which includes the composer on accordion.  In support of their “beguiling new CD” (Time Out New York), the trio will perform two tracks from the release, Keymaster by Caleb Burhans and Under the Rug by Ryan Brown, both of which were written for janus.

In a special preview performance, Mantra will present an excerpt from Michael Gordon’s Timber, a new evening-length tour de force for six percussionists.  Scored for six graduated wooden two-by-fours, the work brings the physicality, endurance and technique of percussion performance to a new level. Gordon shapes the music in both polyrhythmic and dynamic textures, such that the player’s hands are often in separate rhythmic worlds, each traversing a different dynamic contour.  The piece was co-commissioned by the Dutch dance company, Club Guy and Roni, and the percussion ensembles Slagwerk den Haag and Mantra Percussion, with support from the Nief-Norf project.

Concert Details:
WHAT: Music at First Series featuring janus and Mantra Percussion
WHEN: Friday, April 8, 2011, 7:30pm
WHERE: First Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn Heights)
124 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY
2/3 to Clark St.; A/C to High St.; R/4/5 to Borough Hall
ADMISSION: $10
INFO: www.musicatfirstsite.com

About Music at First Series:
Music at First is an exciting new concert series that takes place at First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights curated by Brooklyn-based composer and FPC organist Wil Smith.  It features a diverse mix of some of New York City’s top new music ensembles, performers, and composers, accessible to a wide audience of both community members and seasoned new music listeners.  Concerts take place monthly at First Presbyterian Church and begin at 7:30pm with a $10 admission. www.musicatfirstsite.com

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