Friday, November 16, 2012

Norbotten NEO visits the Center!

We’re looking forward to a winter visit from virtuosic new music ensemble and long-time friend of the Center, Norbotten NEO, who will be in residence at the University at Buffalo Department of Music, from December 5 – 6. On Wednesday, December 5, they will perform a concert of contemporary music in Lippes Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m., and the next day, Thursday, December 6, at 12:00 p.m., they will perform works by University at Buffalo graduate composers Clint Haycraft, Colin Tucker, David Rappenecker, Nathan Heidelberger, Kenichi Saeki, Daniel Bassin, and Megan Buegger.

Norrbotten NEO is Sweden’s newest voice on the contemporary music scene. Formed in January 2007, the ensemble is funded by the national, regional and municipal governments, and has a mission to perform throughout the country, as well as internationally. NEO has a core ensemble of seven musicians: flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola and cello.

Norbotten NEO

NEO regularly incorporates new commissions into its repertoire and stages at least one chamber opera production annually under the name Piteå Chamber Opera. NEO has its home in Piteå, at the newly built Acusticum complex located in Sweden’s northern most province. Acusticum offers a unique working environment complete with a concert hall boasting world-class acoustics, a ”black box” theatre, as well as state of the art broadcasting and recording studios.

Norbotten NEO has recently released a new CD full of music by contemporary composers, Bent Sørensen, Tristan Murail, David Felder, Rolf Wallin, and Steve Reich. The CD is titled The Age of Wire and String, and has been receiving rave reviews, including from the major Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, "This is new music that sounds like new music should. Brilliance that bursts, switching timbre, a hair of repetition aesthetics. What stands out is the American composer David Felder and his work Partial [Dist]res[s]toration."

We asked some of the UB graduate composers about the pieces they wrote for Norbotten NEO. Megan Buegger writes about her piece, Wabi-Sabi, for snare drum, piccolo, and cello, “Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic centered on the acceptance of the momentary and imperfection. The range of conventional performance techniques and dynamics are limited to only that which can be completely controlled, and thus perfected. My piece uses techniques that sit right outside normative controlled ranges. Instead of notating the beginning of the sounds, the piece often notates the beginning of the intention to create sound. Due to the innate indeterminacy of these techniques, the sound we hear will occur later than the onset of the intention to create sound. Additionally, in most music performers are commonly instructed to minimize the time between the onset of intention to create sound, and the sound itself. My piece embraces the effort required to create sound and often sits in the space between sound and silence by asking performers to stretch the amount of time between the intention to create sound and the actual sound further than they normally would.”

We also asked Kenichi Saeki to talk a bit about his piece for NEO, “Deconstruction is the first of my three-movement work, Transformations, the second and the third movements of which I am still working on. The main concept of Transformations is to inject memorable elements into a complex polyphonic texture so that they work as a guide to help follow and remember the complexity. Two things have been done to support this concept –one is to create a clear and audible structure, which is a ‘deconstruction’ in the first movement. The opening texture is gradually deconstructed into something different while it always maintains a link with the later fragmented and transformed textures. The other is to create several repeated patterns of motives (harmonies, sonorities, contours, or gestures) which can be remembered. These patterns are also deconstructed and varied, and heard in different contexts throughout the first movement. As a result, Deconstruction explores textual and motivic links in a process of deconstruction, which I consider to be one of continuous transformation. The duration of the first movement is 4’30”.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

Norrbotten Neo
New Music Ensemble, Sweden
December 5th: Concert
Lippes Concert Hall, 7:30pm
December 6th: Composer Workshop
Lippes Concert Hall, 12:00pm

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