The Italian Academy
Women, Music, Power: a concert by the International Contemporary Ensemble
Music of David Adamcyk & Zosha Di Castri, Natacha Diels, Maria Stankova
First come first seated; doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Concert followed by a discussion with the composers and performers
ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), “America’s foremost new-music group” (Alex Ross) is dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced. With a flexible roster of instrumentalists performing in forces ranging from solos to large ensembles, ICE functions as performer, presenter, and educator, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and pursuing groundbreaking strategies for audience engagement. Since its founding in 2001, ICE has premiered over 500 compositions.
With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ICE launched ICElab in 2011. The program places teams of ICE musicians in close collaboration with emerging composers to develop works that push the boundaries of musical exploration. Zosha Di Castri and David Adamcyk’s Phonobellow, an hour-long new music theater work for five musicians, electronics, and large-scale performative installation, is the result of this collaborative process. Taking as their starting point the year 1877, Di Castri and Adamcyk explore how Muybridge’s high-speed camera and Edison’s phonograph have marked human perception. Via a heterogeneous assemblage of music, images, recorded texts/sounds, electronics, movement, sculpture, and lighting, the piece seeks to capture how deeply these inventions reverberated with people at the time, and continue to reverberate to this day. Both hailing from Canada, Di Castri is an Assistant Professor of Music (Composition) at Columbia University, and Adamcyk teaches Electronic Music at Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University’s Computer Music Center.
In contrast to the imposing Phonobellow, Natacha Diels’ An Economy of Means explores the small scale with DIY electronics, choreographed movement, performer controlled lighting, vocalizations, and a miniature drum kit. By avoiding the temptation of writing for a large setup, this quirky percussion solo (written for ICE’s Ross Karre) reflects the obsessive concentration that most percussionists bring to their practice, while at the same to invoking the clangorous freedom and ritualistic intimacy of child’s play. At once experimental, repetitive, and humorous, An Economy of Means follows its own unusual internal logic. Diels’ compositions have been described as “a fairy tale for a fractured world” (Music We Care About) and “fantastic playful modern chamber music full of magic and wit” (Vital Weekly). An accomplished composer/flautist, Diels is founder of the experimental music collective Ensemble Pamplemousse and co-founder of the performance duo On Structure. Holding degrees from NYU and Columbia University, Diels is an Assistant Professor of Music Composition at University of California San Diego.
Bulgarian composer/experimental vocalist Maria Stankova offers a new work for voice and clarinet which she performs with ICE’s Joshua Rubin. Stankova’s work interweaves multi-linguistic poetry fragments in an exquisite study of harmony. Her unique approach to the human voice reflects her experience singing classical music with the Bulgarian National Radio Youth Choir, studying vocal folk techniques from the Shop region of Bulgaria, and improvising in the NY experimental new music scene. Stankova is a founding member of the live electronics duo Pygmy Jerboa, and a member of the composer/performer collective Ensemble Pamplemousse. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology at NYU.
This concert is part of a two-day event Women, Music, Power, which celebrates the work of musicologist Suzanne G. Cusick through a symposium and the Festschrift launch of Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, in her honor.
Phonobellow was commissioned by the ICElab program, made possible through lead support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, alongside generous funding from the Greenwall Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Francis Goelet Lead Charitable Trusts, New Music USA, Canada Council for the Arts, FQRSC, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.