Music At First Presents THE MUSIC OF JEROME KITZKE, 5/23
Music at First presents the music of American composer/storyteller Jerome Kitzke in a concert celebrating his upcoming album The Paha Sapa Give-Back (Innova - tbr 7/29/14) and the New York City premiere of an excerpt from Buffalo Nation (Bison bison) (2012), a theatrical musical historical survey of the bison in North America. Known for creating works inspired by American life, politics and literature, the program also includes The Character of American Sunlight (1996) featuring Kitzke's ensemble The Mad Coyote, and Winter Count (2008) performed by premier string quartet, ETHEL, and actor Jennifer Kathryn Marshall. (See below for program details.)
Given Kitzke's omnipresent concern with the American landscape and its history, his works often illuminate the union and clash of the cultures of the Europeans and Native Americans in American history. "As an American creative artist, I have always been acutely aware of the non-static quality of history, and that the way we now live on this land is directly connected to the way we historically came to live on it," explains Kitzke. "The real stories of the nitty gritty genesis of America are the stories that occupy my mind. There's an endless supply of these tales that prick my musical impulses."
Kitzke's music thrives on the spirit of Plains Indian song, driving jazz, Beat Generation poetry, and contemporary classical music, where freedom and ritual converge, resulting in a sound that is uniquely and bracingly American. According to the Village Voice, "new music offers no more joyous phenomenon than the irrepressible, earth-worshipping Kitzke." At once exuberant and carefully crafted, Kitzke's music amply demonstrates he "has the makings of an American original" (Fanfare).
The evening begins with four excerpts from the 90-minute, evening-length theatrical work Buffalo Nation (Bison bison) - the only sonic narrative that tells the tragic story of the 19th Century decimation of America's ancient bison herds as well as its integral place in many Native America cultures. With a libretto by Kathleen Masterson, it weaves together an astonishing array of references to the bison encountered in historical records, naturalists' journals, contemporary ecological writings and fiction, and centrally from the aural histories of the Great Plains Indian Nations. Performed by one singer, four actors, 10 instruments and sound effects chorus, audiences hear the roaring of the herds galloping down hills of the rich prairie country, the slaughter of the bison, and the dialogue between Americans and Indians.