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Glenn Kotche to Release 'Adventureland' ft Kronos Quartet, 3/25
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March 25, 2014
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Chicago-based percussionist and composer Glenn Kotche has been called one of the most exciting, creative and promising composers and performers in modern music, receiving international attention for his "unfailing taste, technique and discipline" (Chicago Tribune). He has written pieces for world-renowned ensembles including Kronos Quartet, The Silk Road Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, So Percussion and eighth blackbird, and his compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall and Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, among other prestigious venues worldwide. Cantaloupe Music will release Adventureland, Kotche's first solo album since 2006's Mobile (Nonesuch Records) and the first album of his compositions for ensembles, on March 25.
The genesis of Adventureland began when Kotche attended a Kronos Quartetconcert in 2006. Afterwards, he set out to write a string quartet; eventually, the scope of the project morphed into a kaleidoscopic amusement ride of strings, gamelan, electronics and Kotche's vast arsenal of percussion instruments. "For the string quartet, I was banging my head against the wall for ideas," Kotche remembers, "and the solution didn't really come to me until I sat down at the drums. I realized, 'Hey-four voices, four limbs!' So I made the cello my right foot, the viola my left foot, and took it from there. When I transposed that, I had the first three movements of Anomaly."
Kotche premiered Anomaly with Kronos Quartet at the 25th Anniversary San Francisco Jazz Festival in 2007. The piece's seven movements serve as the connective?tissue that binds Adventureland into a cohesive whole. From the wild ride of Triple Fantasy (an ingeniously spliced suite of performances by Kronos Quartet and Chicago's eighth blackbird ensemble, embellished with various field recordings) to the playfully pop-like gamelan arrangement? of The Traveling Turtle, the recording maps an intense and fertile period of growth in Kotche's artistic vision. It's capped off by the chilling, at times even macabre five-part piece The Haunted (for "two pianos vs. percussion"), which features Lisa Kaplan, Doug Perkins, Matthew Duvall and Yvonne Lam.
Of Adventureland, Kotche says, "It's a confluence of new territory that I'm trying to figure out and navigate, and by approaching it as who I am-as a drummer, a percussionist-that's where I do have an original voice, and I do have something to say."
In the coming months, Kotche will perform in a number of new music engagements. On February 22, he and the ensemble Victoire will co-headline a concert at Zankel Hall in New York. He will perform the New York premiere of John Luther Adams' Ilimaq for solo percussion and, with Victoire, compositions by himself and Missy Mazzoli. He and the cellist Maya Beiser will perform the world premiere of Beiser's Vows in a concert featuring films by Bill Morrison, March 21 & 22 at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The program also includes Kotche's composition Three Parts Wisdom. Additionally, Kotche will perform at the 2014 Big Ears festival, March 28-30 in Knoxville, TN.
Aside from his work as a composer and solo percussionist, Kotche is a member of the groundbreaking American rock band Wilco, with whom he has played since 2001. With Wilco, he has recorded the records Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Kicking Television, as well as the Grammy nominated Sky Blue Sky, Wilco (The Album) and The Whole Love and the Grammy-winning A Ghost is Born. In 2010, Kotche and his Wilco bandmates started their own music festival, Solid Sound, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). Kotche contributed a permanent sound installation to the museum's collection, created for the 2011 festival.
Beyond Wilco, Kotche records and performs regularly along with Darin Gray in the longtime rhythm duo On Fillmore. Together they have released four records, the most recent being Extended Vacation (Dead Oceans) about which Pitchfork wrote, "These seven interwoven pieces delight... it reveals two focused, imaginative composers and performers." The duo recently joined the cast of the Peabody Award-winning show "Radiolab" for a 26-city U.S. tour. Kotche is also a member of the trio Loose Fur, along with Jim O'Rourke and Jeff Tweedy, who have just recorded their third studio record.