A concert of works written for The Living Earth Show by eight of the most vital living composers, each of whom was born in, immigrated to, or utilizes the musical traditions created within the current borders of the United States. The show investigates the role of geography in shaping musical language. The collaborators built this program to ask the question: what does it mean for music, culture, or individuals to be considered “American” in 2018?
Montréal-based Nicole Lizée creates new music from an eclectic mix of influences including the earliest MTV videos, turntablism, rave culture, Hitchcock, Kubrick, 1960s psychedelia and 1960s modernism. She is fascinated by the glitches made by outmoded and well-worn technology and captures these glitches, notates them and integrates them into live performance. In the broad scope of her evolving oeuvre she explores such themes as malfunction, reviving the obsolete, and the harnessing of imperfection and glitch to create a new kind of precision.
Originally from the Navajo Nation, Raven Chacon, born in 1977, is a composer of chamber music, a performer of experimental noise music, and an installation artist. Chacon’s work explores sounds of acoustic handmade instruments overdriven through electric systems and the direct and indirect audio feedback responses from their interactions.
Daniel Wohl: Born and raised in Paris and currently residing in Los Angeles, Daniel Wohl blends electronics with acoustic instrumentation to often “surprising and provocative effect” (NPR). He has produced albums, orchestral and chamber works, film, television and ballet scores, and has received critical praise as one of his generation’s “imaginative, skillful creators” (New York Times) making music that is “beautiful…original” (Pitchfork).
Born in post-revolutionary wartime in Iran, San Francisco-based Sahba Aminikia has been christened by the San Francisco Chronicle as “an artist singularly equipped to provide a soundtrack to these unsettling times.” Highly influenced by the poetry of Hafiz, Rumi, and Saadi, as well as traditional, classical and jazz music and the albums of Pink Floyd, Beatles, and Queen, Aminikia cites music to be an immersive, transcendent, yet visceral human experience. He is curious about the duality in existence, and musically explores subjects that confront the pursuit of enlightenment amid darkness.
The work of Sarah Hennies utilizes an often grueling, endurance-based performance practice in a subversive examination of psychoacoustics, queerness, trans and gender identity, and performance art. Based in Ithaca, New York, Hennies is currently a member of improvised music group Meridian with Greg Stuart and Tim Feeney, a duo with sound/performance artist Jason Zeh, and the Queer Percussion Research Group with Jerry Pergolesi, Bill Solomon, and Jennifer Torrence. In late 2017 she premiered the groundbreaking work, Contralto at Issue Project Room (NYC), a film featuring a cast of transgender women with a live score for string quartet and three percussionists.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Dennis Aman is a composer, vocalist, instrument builder, sculptor, designer, and engineer. His instruments (including a theremin built into a scale model of the sputnik, a microtonal washing machine, and amplified Jell-O) investigate the space between “object” and “instrument,” creating sites of whimsy and purposefully inclusive sonic discovery.
Winner of a 2015 Rome Prize and a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, the Brooklyn-based composer Christopher Cerrone is internationally acclaimed for compositions which from chamber music to electronic. Throughout, his music is characterized by a subtle handling of timbre and resonance, a deep literary fluency, and a flair for multimedia collaborations.
Born in Sardinia, Italy, Bay Area-based Luciano Chessa is a composer, improviser, conductor, author, pianist, musical saw and dan bay soloist, and musicologist. Chessa is a performer of Futurist sound poetry, spearheaded the construction of Luigi Russolo’s noise intoners, and is a noted scholar on the work and life of Julius Eastman. Chessa’s compositions are born from experimentation, blending unorthodox ideas with classical form.