MATA FESTIVAL Returns to The Kitchen, 4/25 - 29
Now in its nineteenth year, MATA Festival is back at The Kitchen on April 25 - 29 with an overflowing bounty of the newest music. Representing 31 early-career composers from seventeen countries, it offers a singular opportunity for New Yorkers to grasp the complete spectrum of new music emerging today - from gritty European modernism to experiments in theater, sound, and acoustics. This year's concerts include seven world premieres (including three MATA commissions), fifteen US premieres, and six NY premieres.
The performer lineup is no less compelling. Denmark's adventurous Scenatet (shown at right) will be heard in its US debut, and the fearless Los Angeles-based piano duo Hocket will make its first New York appearance. The "home team" includes many of New York's most exciting artists, among them Trinity Wall Street's Novus NY chamber orchestra, violinist Miranda Cuckson, pianists Blair McMillen, Isabelle O'Connell, and Adam Tendler, cellist Mariel Roberts, harpist Bridget Kibbey, and many others.
This year, more than 1150 composers from 72 countries offered their work for MATA's consideration, making the Festival one of the most sought-after opportunities in the field. From this deep pool, MATA's curatorial team - led by Executive Director Todd Tarantino and Artistic Director Du Yun - has drawn a breathtakingly diverse selection of music. From the introspective to the riotous, each represents a rising voice worthy of international attention. Three composers have been selected for MATA commissions this year: Siraseth Pantura-umporn (Thailand), Kristina Wolfe, and Eric Wubbels (USA).
Since its founding in 1996 by Philip Glass, Eleonor Sandresky, and Lisa Bielawa, the Festival has proven exceptionally prescient in spotting talent. Composers who have been commissioned or presented by MATA early in their careers include Jennifer Higdon, Derek Bermel, Annie Gosfield, Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli, Andrew Norman, David T. Little, Alex Mincek, and Tristan Perich. Over the years, the Festival has steadily expanded its international profile, highlighting fresh voices and emerging trends on a global scale.
Says Du Yun, "Each work presented this year is a highly-charged distillation of a multiplicity of artistic and socio-cultural experiences. To me, the MATA Festival is an active conglomeration that is primarily defined by the multifaceted and rich notion of the composer - one who engages in thoughts and experiments to create an apparatus for the world we live in. The face of that world is plural, variable and layered."
MATA Festival will be prefaced by an opening party on Monday, April 24 at the Whitebox Gallery in Soho, featuring short performances by Hocket and members of Scenatet; a complete listing of events appears below.
Monday, April 24: Opening Night Concert Reception at WhiteBox
Meet and mingle with the composers and performers of MATA Festival 2017, hear some short pieces, drink some wine. Program includes members of Scenatet in a US premiere by Jexper Holman and a New York premiere by Thomas Kotcheff, played by Hocket.
Tuesday, April 25: SCENATET: Wow and Flutter
Denmark's buzzy Scenatet makes its official New York debut with a potent program that belies the cozy Danish stereotype of 'Hygge.' Along with the twitchy improvised grooves of Yu Oda and the strobe-funk theatrics of Kaj Duncan David's Computer Music, highlights include the first of this year's MATA commissions, a world premiere by Eric Wubbels. Also on tap: the hermetic canons of Daniel Tacke's musica ricercata | musica poetica, Turkish composer Murat Çolak's Orchid, an octet by rising Danish star Christian Winther Christensen, and German composer Martin Grütter's Messer Engel Atem Kling (Cleaver Angel Breathing 'Ding').
Wednesday, April 26: 88 Keys Open Many Doors
LA's bold Hocket piano duo, heard in its New York debut, joins some of NY's fiercest new-music pianists in an evening of keyboard adventures. Adam Tendler explores unintentional sounds in Charlie Sdraulig's subtly choreographed collector, and repurposes the piano in Marina Poleukhina's for thing. Hocket teases the ebonies and ivories in Joseph Michaels' Together in Perfect Harmony and Michael Laurello's Touch. Molly Herron's trio resonates in her exquisite Full Blood Moon. Soprano Sarah Brailey is joined by pianist Blair McMillen in Sojourner Hodges's eloquent Fire Command Room, while interloper harpist Bridget Kibbey gives life to Iranian composer Karen Keyhani's Nightly Monologue II.
Thursday, April 27: plus 1
Three-dimensional works for one or two players. Thursday's MATA Festival concert opens with Oleg Elagin's space age electronic fanfare, The Formation of New Sensual Experience, setting the tone for an evening of evolution and innovation. Samuel Cedillo's Monólogo III refashions the viola in an incredible tour de force of expression. The consummate Daniel Lippel brings elegance to the shifting guitar figures of Karin Wetzel's Amorphose II and Basque composer Mikel Urquiza's dialogues with Dowland, Belarretan. The evening reaches for the heavens with Nikolet Burzy?ska's Cold burning out, played by TIGUE's Matt Evans, and Liisa Hirsch's ethereal Cloud Tones for piano "glides" and viola.
Friday, April 28: Stencils and shadows
Performing as Friends of MATA, nine of NYC's top new-music interpreters - including violinist Miranda Cuckson, cellist Mariel Roberts, and pianist Isabelle O'Connell - play works that explore what remains unsaid. Bangkok native Siraseth Pantura-Umporn's MATA-Commissioned Ripples, inspired by disturbances of water, exposes what lies beneath the surface. Chilean composer Francisco C. Goldschmidt reflects on the loneliness of existence in his mesmerizing ...y te pierdes y te hundes... Foreground and background are engaged through the vibrant absences of the Italian Giovanni Bertelli's quartet Libro d'Aprile and the shifting shapes and contours of Piano by Krists Auznieks from Latvia.
Saturday, April 29: Dangerous currents
Novus NY, the vibrant new music ensemble based at Trinity Church, makes its MATA Festival debut in an evening of large-ensemble works. British composer Philip Venables uncovers a vein of Shakespearean tragedy in his boxing melodrama The Revenge of Miguel Cotto. In Letters from Brown Men, Paul Pinto explores the fallout from natural disasters. A monolithic yet ethereal stillness infuses Russian composer Dmitri Timofeev's elegy, Angel. This year's final MATA commission, Kristina Wolfe's Record of Ancient Mirrors, conjures the drones of temple bells through retuned viola da gamba and large ensemble. Bringing it all back home, the Festival closes with the New York-based Le Boeuf Brothers joining Novus for Pascal Le Boeuf's bracingly inventive Alkaline for string quartet and jazz combo.