This project was born out of those noxious Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music-style compilation albums of, say, five minutes of classical music’s “greatest hits” presented back to back to back with no transitions or context. It is endlessly fascinating how that specific format is how probably 90% of Americans interact with classical music, and The Living Earth Show is interested in the profound impact that that specific interaction has on the canon, the tradition, and the way we conceptualize, create, and consume classical music. To investigate and confront the tradition, The Living Earth Show is building a production called The Living Earth Show “Does” The Symphony. The organization has commissioned a dozen or so of the most vital composers in the world to make their own “arrangement” of a ~5 minute classical music “greatest hit” for electric guitar and percussion. Staged and directed by Roy Rallo and presented as a sort of punk rock Fantasia, The Living Earth Show “Does” The Symphony represents a 21st-century response to centuries of artistic creation.
Timo Andres (Für Elise, b. 1985, Palo Alto, CA) is a composer and pianist who grew up in rural Connecticut and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. A Nonesuch Records artist, his newest album of orchestral works, Home Stretch, has been hailed for its “playful intelligence and individuality,” (The Guardian) and of his 2010 debut album for two pianos, Shy and Mighty, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that “it achieves an unhurried grandeur that has rarely been felt in American music since John Adams came on the scene… more mighty than shy, [Andres] sounds like himself.” Notable works include Everything Happens So Much, commissioned and premiered by the Boston Symphony, led by Music Director Andris Nelsons; Strong Language, a string quartet for the Takács Quartet, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Shriver Hall Concert Series; Steady Hand, a two-piano concerto commissioned by the Britten Sinfonia and premiered at the Barbican Centre in London with Andres and pianist David Kaplan; and The Blind Banister, a piano concerto for Jonathan Biss. Co-commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra with Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, The Blind Banister was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist.
Luciano Chessa (Marketplace at Limoges) is a composer, conductor, audiovisual and performance artist. His most recent record, Canti felice, has been released on the Parisian label Skank Bloc Records in Spring 2018. His compositions include Cromlech, a large organ piece that just premiered in Melbourne’s Town Hall as part of a solo organ recital that received over 2,200 ticket bookings; the opera Cena oltranzista nel castelletto al lago—a work merging experimental theater with reality TV which required from the cast over 55 hours of fasting—and A Heavenly Act, an opera commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, with original video by Kalup Linzy. Chessa has been commissioned multiple times by the Performa Biennial, and in 2014 he presented three events at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as part of the exhibition Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe. Chessa’s work appeared more than once in Artforum, Flash Art, Art in America, and Frieze; and has been featured in the Italian issue of Marie Claire and in the September Issue of Vogue Italia. He has been interviewed twice by the British BBC, and has been the subject of two short documentaries: one produced by RAI World (2014), and the other by Vietnamese State TV VTV1 in the occasion of his first trip to Viet Nam (2015). Chessa is also a music historian specializing in 20th-century Italian and 21st-century American repertoire. He is the author of Luigi Russolo Futurist. Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult (2012), the first monograph dedicated to Russolo and his “Art of Noise.” In 2009, his Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners (OFNI) was hailed by the New York Times as one of the best events in the arts; it continues to tour internationally. With this project he collaborated with the likes of Mike Patton, Lee Ranaldo, Ellen Fullman, Blixa Bargeld, Joan La Barbara, among others. He just completed his residency at the Steel House in Rockland, ME, where he developed the audiovisual installation #00FF00 #FF00FF and prepared the edition of Julius Eastman’s Second Symphony, the world premier of which he will conduct in NYC in the Fall 2018.
Mark Applebaum (Rite of Spring) is the Edith & Leland Smith Professor of Composition at Stanford University. His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia, including notable commissions from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Fromm Foundation, the Spoleto Festival, the Kronos Quartet, Chamber Music America, and the Vienna Modern Festival. Many of his pieces are characterized by challenges to the conventional boundaries of musical ontology: works for three conductors and no players, a concerto for florist and orchestra, pieces for instruments made of junk, notational specifications that appear on the faces of custom wristwatches, works for an invented sign language choreographed to sound, amplified Dadaist rituals, a chamber work comprised of obsessive page turns, and a 72-foot long graphic score displayed in a museum and accompanied by no instructions for its interpretation. His TED talk has been seen by more than three million viewers. Applebaum is also an accomplished jazz pianist and builds electroacoustic sound-sculptures out of junk, hardware, and found objects. At Stanford Applebaum is the founding director of [sic]—the Stanford Improvisation Collective. He serves on the board of Other Minds and as a trustee of Carleton College.
Called a “brilliant musical scientist” and lauded for “creating a stir with listeners for her breathless imagination and ability to capture Gen-X and beyond generation”, JUNO-nominated composer Nicole Lizée (Anvil Chorus) 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. Nicole’s compositions range from works for orchestra and solo turntablist featuring DJ techniques fully notated and integrated into a concert music setting, to other unorthodox instrument combinations that include the Atari 2600 video game console, omnichords, stylophones, Simon™, and karaoke tapes. 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.
The work of Sarah Hennies (Bolero) 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.
Samuel Adams (Les Barricades Mystérieuses, b. 1985 in San Francisco) is a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music. Adams has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, the San Francisco Symphony, the New World Symphony, pianist Emanuel Ax and the St Lawrence String Quartet. In 2015 Adams was named a Mead composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). During his tenure with the CSO, Adams has created new works for the orchestra and co-curate the CSO’s critically acclaimed MusicNOW series. A committed educator, Adams frequently engages in projects with young musicians. Adams grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he studied composition and electroacoustic music at Stanford University while also active as a contrabassist in San Francisco. Adams received a master’s degree in composition from the Yale School of Music.
Aleksandra Vrebalov (Shostakovich Piano Concerto #2, b. 1970) moved to the United States from her native Serbia in 1995. She has had her works performed by Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, clarinetists David Krakauer and David Griffiths, ETHEL and Momenta Quartets, guitarist Jorge Caballero, National Opera of Serbian National Theater, and Belgrade Philharmonic, among others. Vrebalov has written or arranged nine works for Kronos. Vrebalov has received numerous commissions from institutions and ensembles that include Carnegie Hall, Fromm Foundation, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Kronos Quartet, Dusan Tynek Dance Theater, ASCAP, Barlow Endowment, Clarice Smith Center, and Merkin Hall. Vrebalov’s music has been used in two films about atrocities of war: Soul Murmur directed by Helen Doyle (Canada) and Slucaj Kepiro by Natasa Krstic (Serbia), and her latest work for Kronos Quartet, Beyond Zero, with a film by Bill Morrison, was written in commemoration of the World War One centennial.
Winner of a 2015 Rome Prize and a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, the Brooklyn-based composer Christopher Cerrone (Selections from Carnival of the Animals) is internationally acclaimed for compositions which range from opera to orchestral, 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. In the current season, Cerrone has world premieres of his new piece for string quartet Can’t and Won’t with the Calder Quartet for the LA Phil; a new percussion quartet piece for Miller Theatre as part of a Cerrone Composer Portrait performed by Third Coast Percussion; and a violin concerto for Jennifer Koh and the Detroit Symphony, led by Leonard Slatkin. His music will be performed this season by the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and at the MITO SettembreMusica Festival in Turin and Milan, Italy.
Juraj Kojs (Rondo Alla Turca, Slovakia/USA) is a composer, sound and multimedia artist, performer, producer, researcher and educator living in Miami, FL. His compositions received awards at Europe—A Sound Panorama, Miami New Times Best Off Award, Eastman Electroacoustic Composition and Performance Competition and the Digital Art Award. Miami New Times described his muscle-powered multimedia Neraissance as “striking and unforgettable,” and MiamiArtzine called his Signals“enthralling and immersive.” Miami Herald praised his Bang for the Train as “the most profound…unexpected and enjoyable.”
David T. Little
David T. Little is “one of the most imaginative young composers” on the scene (The New Yorker), with “a knack for overturning musical conventions” (The New York Times). His operas Dog Days, JFK, and Vinkensport(librettos by Royce Vavrek), and Soldier Songs have been widely acclaimed, “prov[ing] beyond any doubt that opera has both a relevant present and a bright future” (The New York Times). Other recent works include how it begins / how it ends (London Sinfonietta / BGSU), The Conjured Life(Cabrillo Festival / Cristian M?celaru), Ghostlight—ritual for six players (eighth blackbird / The Kennedy Center), AGENCY (Kronos Quartet), and dress in magic amulets, dark, from My feet (The Crossing / ICE). Little is currently composing a new opera with Royce Vavrek, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater new works program, and the music-theatre work Artaud in the Black Lodge with poet Anne Waldman (Beth Morrison Projects)
Brent Miller (1812 Overture, b. 1978) is a composer, performer, and arts administrator based in San Francisco, CA. Recent projects include works for Rova Saxophone Quartet, violinist Eric km Clark (Southland Ensemble, EAR Unit), Dither Electric Guitar Quartet, and Sqwonk. He has received grants from Zellerbach Family Foundation and American Composers Forum to fund his work. He studied composition at the University of Arkansas with Robert Mueller and University of Missouri-Kansas City with James Mobberley and Paul Rudy. Brent is active in the arts administration field founding and serving as Managing Director for The Center for New Music in San Francisco, a work/performance space that supports creative music, as well as managing Rova:Arts, a non-profit organization that supports Rova Saxophone Quartet. He also has worked with Other Minds, helping to produce the annual Other Minds Festival, and is a founding member of The Collected, a group dedicated to the advancement of new music.
Roy Rallo, started his career in opera directly after receiving his BA in Music from the University of Southern California by forging a strong association with what was then arguably the only opera company in the United States producing opera in a progressive production style – Southern California’s Long Beach Opera, where he was named artistic administrator at the age of 22. He continued his association with the company for six years, during which he helped produce over 15 new productions of opera, as well as directing his own production of Mozart’s LUCIO SILLA in 1991 . After leaving the company, he returned to direct critically acclaimed productions of Bartok’s BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE and Strauss’ ELEKTRA. This brought him to the attention of Pamela Rosenberg, who chose him to direct the first new production of her tenure at San Francisco Opera – Mozart’s LA FINTA GIARDINIERA for the San Francisco Opera Center.