Friday, March 16, 2018

Ensemble Court Circuit: Building International Relationships

Since its foundation in 2006, the Center has functioned as a key pillar of support for European new music ensembles touring in the US through its visiting artist series and annual June in Buffalo Festival. During its twelve years of existence, the Center has created an extensive network of partnerships, with Arts Council Norway, Central Arts Council (Finland), Embassy of France in the United States, FACE (French-American Contemporary Music), Swedish Arts Council, the University of Pittsburgh, and others. This has resulted in a formidable lineup of visiting artists, with many of the most in-demand European new music ensembles conducting residencies at the Center: ensembles Surplus (2010), Linea (2011, 2013, 2016, 2017), Court-Circuit (2011, 2013, 2014, 2018), Interface (2012), Norrbotten NEO (2012, 2014), Son (2013), Uusinta (2016), Cikada (2017), and the Arditti String Quartet (2007, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017).

Ensemble Court Circuit at June in Buffalo 2014
 In the near future, this programming will continue in the form of Ensemble Court-Circuit’s residency at the Center in April. The Ensemble will conduct a workshop with the Center’s graduate composers on April 16 (to be discussed in a future blog post) and give a concert of works by established French and American composers. The ensemble’s activities in Buffalo are part of a larger US tour including visits to NYC (Roulette), Massachusetts (Le Laboratoire, Cambridge & Clark University), and Pittsburgh (Music on the Edge/University of Pittsburgh/Andy Warhol Museum); the touring program includes Center artistic director David Felder’s partial [dist]res[s]toration, as well as works by Sean Shepherd, Christophe Bertrand, Philippe Hurel, Philippe Leroux, John Aylward (world premiere), Helmut Lachenmann, and Ludwig von Beethoven. The tour is supported by l’Institut Français, part of the Office of Exports and Cultural Services of the Embassy of France in the United States, and the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, who will play alongside Court-Circuit at the concerts in NYC and Massachusetts.

Court-Circuit writes that their tour is “both the opportunity to integrate American and French composers in the same concerts and to work with young university student composers.” Face to face encounters between artists are uniquely generative for artists’ growth, and the opportunity for young American composers to work with an ensemble of this caliber is as rare as it is invaluable. New music specialist performers may be able to provide special insight into innovative compositional projects—encouraging promising new directions, while pointing out possible practical problems. The ensemble recognizes the importance of this endeavor, based on past experience: “All know how well French composers are welcomed in the United-States and the relationships built between musicians from both countries are a real artistic and personal asset that Court-circuit wishes to protect and reinforce.”

Ensemble Court-Circuit at June in Buffalo 2014
Ensemble Court-Circuit’s concert at the Center for 21st Century Music is on April 17 at 7:30 in Slee Hall. For details about tickets, visit Slee Hall’s website.


Sean Shepherd, The Birds are Nervous, the Birds have Scattered, for clarinet, violin, piano

Christophe Bertrand, Sanh, for clarinet, cello, and piano

David Felder, Partial [dis]res[s]toration, for ensemble

Philippe Leroux, Continuo(ns), for ensemble


Flute: Jérémie Fèvre
Clarinet: Pierre Dutrieu
Violin: Alexandra Greffin-Klein
Cello: Frédéric Baldassare
Piano: Jean-Marie Cottet
Conductor: Jean Deroyer

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