The SPCO's Liquid Music Series Announces 2017-18 Season

The SPCO's Liquid Music Series Announces 2017-18 SeasonThe Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's pioneering Liquid Music Series announces today the full schedule of events for its 2017.18 season.

Entering its sixth season this fall, Liquid Music has become known for developing innovative new projects with iconoclastic artists in unique presentation formats. Performances invite adventurous audiences to discover the new and the fascinating within the flourishing landscape of contemporary chamber music. Each program features new works, world or regional premieres and new collaborations including many artists working together for the first time. In addition to facilitating these transformational performances, this season sees the continuation of Liquid Music's virtual residency program.

Liquid Music continues to stretch musical imaginations and facilitate the creation of emotionally-engaging contemporary chamber music projects featuring today's most exciting and expansive artists in the 2017.18 season, with five world premiere projects from artists with a diverse range of influences and musical perspectives. Son Lux guitarist / composer / electronic music artist Rafiq Bhatia joins forces with Minneapolis-based visual artist Michael Cina and video artist Hal Lovemelt in a Walker Art Center co-commission to transform his latest work, Breaking English, into an immersive multimedia experience. "Michael Cina once told me that he has come to relish the uncomfortable knot he gets in the pit of his stomach when stepping into uncharted territory, because that feeling is almost always a harbinger of progress," Bhatia explains. "These words became a signpost as I created the music of Breaking English, which, like much of Cina's work, explores the continua between beauty and destruction, otherworldliness and intimate familiarity."

Liquid Music ventures into a new venue for the world premiere of Emily Wells' The World Is Too _____ For You at the Machine Shop in Minneapolis. The violinist / singer / producer / composer will showcase new work inspired by hymns, imagined eulogies for loved ones, along with new orchestral arrangements by Michi Wiancko. Wells describes her music as "a space for its listeners to enjoy its influences which are rooted in traditional classical music but extend to minimalism, dance music and literature. I blend sonic worlds that value lyrics, synthesized and acoustic instrumentation, and repetition."

Local music icon Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and the innovative dance troupe TU Dance come together for three performances at the newly renovated Palace Theatre, featuring new music by Vernon paired with new choreography from Uri Sands. Vernon expressed his excitement for the project stating, "I feel so inspired by the prospect of collaborating with Uri on new work; it'll be a brand new experience for me. After seeing TU Dance in top form at a recent recital, I know that the experience will be both positively challenging and extremely rewarding for all involved."

Grand Band, a New York-based supergroup formed by pianists Vicki Chow, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore and Isabelle O'Connell, makes its Midwest debut at the Ordway Concert Hall in a performance featuring the world premiere of Degenerate Psalms by Missy Mazzoli alongside music by Julius Eastman, Michael Gordon, Paul Kerekes and Kate Moore.

In addition, Liquid Music presents deeply moving and insightful projects from Anna Meredith, Brian Harnetty, Vijay Iyer and Teju Cole. Each of these projects poses exciting challenges and unique forms of expression that are perfectly suited to Liquid Music's strengths. Copresented with the Walker Art Center, Anna Meredith's performance of her maximalist compositions from her debut album Varmints mixes contemporary classical, art pop, electronica and experimental rock.

Performed with sampled archives, field recordings and live musicians, Brian Harnetty's Shawnee, Ohio critically engages ecology, energy, place and personal history. The composer explains, "The Liquid Music Series and its attentive and adventurous audience are perfect for sharing the stories of Shawnee, Ohio, where residents of a small town talk and sing of coal, fracking, social life and hope amid our contested energy landscape. It is an honor to perform this piece for Liquid Music, to open a conversation about these issues and to be among so many other visionary artists." This performance will be part of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's No Fiction Festival, a festival inspired by music's ability to get to the emotional heart of a story. In addition to Shawnee, Ohio, festival programming includes SPCO chamber music concerts at the Capri Theater, Icehouse and Saint Paul Academy on the theme of sisterhood, featuring works by intrepid composers Hildegard von Bingen, the Boulanger sisters (Nadia and Lili), Jessie Montgomery and Dame GillIan Whitehead; a Liquid Music presentation of Nathalie Joachim's Fanm d'Ayiti, spotlighting women of Haitian song (the culmination of her 2016.17 Liquid Music virtual residency), and additional events with partners On Being, Macalester College and Carleton College.

In another Walker Art Center copresentation, jazz luminary Vijay Iyer joins photographer, novelist and spoken word artist Teju Cole for the Midwest premiere of Blind Spot, a multi-disciplinary investigation of humanity's blindness to tragedy and injustice throughout history.

Liquid Music's trendsetting virtual residency program continues in 2017.18, tracking the artistic process of Minneapolis-based Bharatanatyam dancer / choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy and composer / DJ / author Jace Clayton. Using a shared love of literature and interest in artistic explorations of social memory as a starting point, the two artists will develop an original work for its 2018.19 world premiere. Audiences will be able to follow their creative process on the Liquid Music blog as Ramaswamy and Clayton share behind-the-scenes insight into their collaboration. Ramaswamy stated, "As a dancer/choreographer interested in the nuances within artistic and cultural hybridity, I am very excited to work with Jace, who dexterously defies categorization. I approach this project like a Rubik's Cube with myriad possibilities and no absolute solution." Clayton mirrored her sentiments: "A large part of my art involves creating connective space between different audiences, discourses, and media. So I'm thrilled with this opportunity to generate new work from the ground up with Ashwini."

In the 2017.18 Liquid Music season, musicians of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will continue to play a vital role in the series, performing in Emily Wells' The World is Too ­­­_____ For You, Nathalie Joachim's Fanm d'Ayiti, and Vijay Iyer & Teju Cole's Blind Spot. SPCO Principal Violin Francisco Fullana, who helped to shape the Emily Wells and Nathalie Joachim projects and is a member of the Liquid Music Advisory Council, shared his excitement about being a part of the series: "I find it so refreshing to have a series that truly listens to musicians, that looks for amazing artists outside of the traditional channels and that isn't afraid to take risks and push the envelope." In addition, SPCO Artistic Partner Patricia Kopatchinskaja will make her Liquid Music debut, perforMing Luigi Nono's La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura in Walker Art Center galleries as part of the museum's Target Free Thursday Nights programming.

The SPCO's Executive Producer of Special Projects and Liquid Music Curator Kate Nordstrum, celebrated by MinnPost as "the most adventurous curator in town," is thrilled to share the coming season. "Liquid Music strives to respond to our cultural moment, and the 2017.18 season is filled with artists whose work and ideas are both timely and timeless. As always, commissions, premieres and new collaborations are bountiful. We are humbled to have played matchmaker to some of the great artistic minds and makers on the season - Justin Vernon and TU Dance, Emily Wells and Michi Wiancko, Ashwini Ramaswamy and Jace Clayton, Nathalie Joachim and Krista Tippett - and are eager to explore new partnerships with On Being, Carleton College and Macalester College. Our long-running commitment to partnership with the Walker Art Center remains vital with three copresentations next season. We will also build upon the success of the current season's Where Words End Festival with 2017.18's No Fiction Festival. This type of programming allows for different facets of the SPCO and community partners to come together under one conceptual umbrella, to lend a variety of musical and cultural perspectives. No Fiction's focus is storytelling - this season I hope we will be listening to each other's stories more deeply than ever before."

Flutist Nathalie Joachim shares her appreciation for her 2016.17 Liquid Music virtual residency, "With Fanm d'Ayiti, Liquid Music has made it possible for me to celebrate the women of 20th and 21st century music from Haiti, deeply explore my personal heritage, and share the roots of Haitian music through the oeuvre of global feminism, political activism and Afro-Caribbean musical traditions. Through my virtual residency, I have been able to invite audiences into my research and creative process, and connect with young public school students in Minneapolis through interactive education initiatives. In essence, Fanm d'Ayiti has engaged a community in storytelling through music and history - a true homage to Haitian culture."

The most recent Liquid Music season featured electric projects from Colin Stetson, Poliça, s t a r g a z e, David Lang, Ambrose Akinmusire, Kool A.D., Sarah Kirkland Snider, Roomful of Teeth, Nick Zammuto, Pekka Kuusisto, Bedroom Community and Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio).


LIQUID MUSIC SERIES 2017.18 FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

Rafiq Bhatia: Breaking English
With visual art by Michael Cina and Hal Lovemelt
Copresented with Walker Art Center
Commissioned by Liquid Music, Walker Art Center and Jazz Gallery

Sat, Oct 21, 2017
Doors at 7:30pm | Music at 8:00pm
The Walker's William and Nadine McGuire Theater, Minneapolis

Breaking English, a visceral new work from the "Intrepid, arresting and stylish" (New York Times), composer/guitarist/electronic music artist Rafiq Bhatia, exploits divisions between organic and mechanical, intimate and removed, new and known. "At times I use electronic processing to destabilize, twisting stereotypes of Indian music into noise beyond recognition," says Bhatia. "But elsewhere, I use it to magnify otherwise indecipherable traces of human action; the smallest of breaths or movements that would ordinarily be scrubbed clean." In its world premiere, Bhatia's compositions and improvisations are transformed into an immersive multimedia experience by Minneapolis-based visual artist Michael Cina and video artist Hal Lovemelt. Son Lux bandmate Ian Chang (percussion) will open the evening with Spiritual Leader, an exacting and propulsive set of works for electronic percussion.

Tickets: $20 ($16 for Liquid Music subscribers and Walker Art Center members)

Patricia Kopatchinskaja: Luigi Nono's La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura for Violin and Electronics
Copresented with Walker Art Center's Target Free Thursday Nights

Thu, Oct 26, 2017
Doors at 7:00pm | Music at 7:30pm
Walker Art Center galleries, Minneapolis

Patricia Kopatchinskaja, "one of classical music's great risk takers" (Bachtrack), brings the music of 20th century composer, Marxist and staunch anti-fascist Luigi Nono to life in the Walker Art Center galleries. The fiery Moldovan violinist performs Nono's La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura, a late work for violin and electronics inspired by an inscription found on a monastery in Toledo, Spain: "Caminante, no hay caminos hay que caminar" ("Wanderer, there is no way, there is only walking"). Known for "alarmingly innovative" (LA Times) musical interpretation that "excites and puzzles" (New York Times), Kopatchinskaja brings contemporary perspective to Nono's mid-century cry for meaningful political change.

Tickets: Free event thanks to support from Target Free Thursday Nights at Walker Art Center

Emily Wells: The World Is Too ______ For You (World Premiere / Liquid Music Commission)
With violinist/composer Michi Wiancko, percussionist Greg Fox and musicians of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Thu, Nov 16, 2017
Doors at 6:30pm | Music at 7:30pm
Machine Shop, Minneapolis

"Quietly transfixing" violinist, singer, producer and composer Emily Wells is known for her varied use of classical and modern instrumentation, deft approach to live sampling, and "dramatic, meticulous and gothic songs" (New York Times) that blend "traditionalism with electronic ambiance" (NPR). Speaking to our cultural moment, The World Is Too ____ For You includes new work inspired by hymns, imagined eulogies for loved ones and arrangements of Wells' music by Michi Wiancko. The performance also reveals new video work designed by Wells, drawing heavily from contemporary dance.

Tickets: $20 ($16 for Liquid Music subscribers)

Anna Meredith: Varmints (Midwest Premiere)
Copresented with Walker Art Center

Wed, Feb 7, 2018
Doors at 6:30pm | Music at 7:30pm

Aria, Minneapolis

Visionary maximalist composer Anna Meredith makes her Twin Cities debut with an evening of her "striking and smart" (The Guardian) electro-acoustic music performed by her band featuring clarinet, cello, electric guitar, tuba, drums and electronics, a live show National Public Radio calls "incredible." Meredith's debut album Varmints (2016) mixes contemporary classical, art pop, electronica and experimental rock into compositional experiments like few before her. Prepare to be delightfully overwhelmed.

Tickets: $25 ($20 for Liquid Music subscribers and Walker Art Center members)

No Fiction Festival
True stories and personal histories told through music

Music's ability to get to the emotional heart of a story is the inspiration for The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's No Fiction Festival. Programming includes SPCO chamber music concerts at the Capri Theater, Icehouse and Saint Paul Academy on the theme of sisterhood, featuring works by intrepid composers Hildegard von Bingen, the Boulanger sisters (Nadia and Lili), Jessie Montgomery and Dame GillIan Whitehead; Liquid Music presentations of Fanm d'Ayiti, spotlighting women of Haitian song, and Shawnee, Ohio, illuminating life in a small Appalachian mining town; and additional events with partners On Being, Macalester College and Carleton College. Learn more about the entire festival at thespco.org/nofiction.

No Fiction Festival
Nathalie Joachim: Fanm d'Ayiti (World Premiere / Liquid Music Commission)
With musicians of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Wed, Mar 14, 2018
Doors at 6:30pm | Performance at 7:30pm
Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul

Flutist and composer Nathalie Joachim (Eighth Blackbird, Flutronix), "an edgy multi-genre performance artist who has long been pushing boundaries with her flute" (The Washington Post), brings her infectious passion for music and living tradition to Saint Paul in the culmination of her 2016.17 Liquid Music Virtual Residency. Fanm d'Ayiti (Women of Haiti) explores Haitian song and the role of women's voices in Haitian music culture. Joachim's new arrangements and compositions for flute, string quartet, vocals and electronics examine some of the most prominent female voices in Haitian music, tracking international influences and telling stories of political exile, cultural affirmation and independence.

Tickets: $20 ($16 for Liquid Music subscribers)

Fanm d'Ayiti Related Event:
On Being with Nathalie Joachim and Krista Tippett

Mon, Jan 15, 2018
Doors at 7:00pm | Conversation at 7:30pm

On Being, the Peabody Award-winning radio show and podcast, takes up the big questions of meaning at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? In conversation with On Being host Krista Tippett, artist Nathalie Joachim shares the richness of her Haitian heritage, her life in music and journey to create Fanm d'Ayiti (Women of Haiti). In addition to their conversation, Joachim will also perform a few songs from Fanm d'Ayiti.

Tickets: Free but reservation required

No Fiction Festival
Brian Harnetty: Shawnee, Ohio

Tue, Mar 20, 2018
Doors at 7:00pm | Music at 7:30pm
Mairs Hall at Macalester College, Saint Paul

Performed with sampled archives, field recordings and live musicians, Brian Harnetty's Shawnee, Ohio critically engages ecology, energy, place and personal history. Known for his ability to "bring gem recordings up out of the basement and into the light" (New Music Box), Harnetty derives his compositional material from the sounds of production and Appalachian town life, reflecting the experience of a town fighting to survive after a century of economic decline and environmental degradation. The town's downturn and partial restoration act as an ethos of the struggles and hopes of the larger region, now immersed in a controversial fracking boom. Shawnee, Ohio considers these histories, evokes place through sound, and listens to the present alongside traces of the past.

Tickets: $20 ($16 for Liquid Music Subscribers)
Post-show conversation led by Macalester College Professor of Music Mark Mazullo

Shawnee, Ohio Related Event:
Shawnee, Ohio Gallery Installation
Visual and sound art by Brian Harnetty
Weitz Center for Creativity, Carleton College
Opening reception and exhibition run to be announced fall 2017

TU Dance and Justin Vernon (World Premiere / Liquid Music Commission)
Choreography by Uri Sands / Music by Justin Vernon

Thu, Apr 19, 2018
Doors at 6:30 | Performance at 7:30pm
Fri, Apr 20, 2018
Doors at 7:00pm | Performance at 8:00pm
Sat, Apr 21, 2018
Doors at 7:00pm | Performance at 8:00pm
Palace Theatre, Saint Paul

"Electrifying" (City Pages) contemporary dance troupe TU Dance, known for navigating complex themes of social change "with variety and innovation" (Star Tribune) and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, whose "rustic chamber pop with an experimental edge" (Pitchfork) and "hyper-modern balladeering" (The Guardian) has garnered Grammy Awards and significant international acclaim, come together in an unprecedented collaboration of local powerhouses. Taking place in the breathtaking and newly restored Palace Theatre, this evening-length commission features new music from Vernon as well as new choreography from TU Dance's "incredible polyrhythmic genius" (Star Tribune) Uri Sands.

Tickets: $45/35/25 ($38 for Liquid Music subscribers)

Grand Band: Degenerate Psalms (World Premiere)
New work by Missy Mazzoli alongside music of Julius Eastman, Michael Gordon, Paul Kerekes and Kate Moore for pianists Vicky Chow, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore and Isabelle O'Connell

Wed, May 16, 2018
Doors at 7:00pm | Music at 7:30pm
Ordway Concert Hall, Saint Paul

Grand Band is a "supergroup" (New York Times) of New York City-based pianists who have joined forces to create a powerful piano sextet. The unconventional ensemble commissions new works and arrangements for their unique instrumentation and brings a wholly distinct sonic experience to audiences. Each one an accomplished performer in their own right, the combination of their musical prowess results in mesmerizing performances that have been described as "a miracle of ensemble coordination and sonic delight" (Kalamazoo Gazette). Grand Band's Twin Cities debut includes the world premiere of Degenerate Psalms by the "consistently inventive and surprising" (New York Times), "thoroughly original" (Wall Street Journal) composer Missy Mazzoli.

Tickets: $20 ($16 for Liquid Music subscribers)

Vijay Iyer & Teju Cole: Blind Spot (Midwest Premiere)
Copresented with the Walker Art Center

Thu, May 31, 2018
Doors at 7:30pm | Music at 8:00pm
Fri, Jun 1, 2018
Doors at 7:30pm | Music at 8:00pm
The Walker's William and Nadine McGuire Theater, Minneapolis

Vijay Iyer, "one of his generation's brightest jazz luminaries" (Time Out New York), joins Teju Cole, "one of the most vibrant voices in contemporary writing" (Los Angeles Times) in a powerful new collaboration. Blind Spot combines Cole's photography and spoken prose with Iyer's "provocative and accessible, intellectually substantive and sensuously attractive" (Chicago Tribune) music in an investigation of humanity's voluntary blindness to tragedy and injustice throughout history. The program opens with new work by Iyer for piano quintet with musicians from the SPCO.

Tickets: $30 ($24 for Liquid Music subscribers)

Blind Spot Related Event:
On Being with Teju Cole and Krista Tippett

Wed, May 30, 2018
Doors at 7:00pm | Conversation at 7:30pm
On Being Studios, 1619 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis

On Being, the Peabody Award-winning radio show and podcast, takes up the big questions of meaning at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? In conversation with On Being host Krista Tippett, writer/photographer/art historian Teju Coles shares his distinct artistic voice and reflects on his work and the animating principles behind Blind Spot.

Tickets: Free but reservation required

Ashwini Ramaswamy & Jace Clayton
Liquid Music artists in virtual residence 2017.18

Liquid Music's Virtual Residency program continues in the 2017.18 season with a project that brings together Minneapolis-based Bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy, celebrated for her ability to "[weave] together, both fearfully and joyfully, the human and the divine" (New York Times), and composer/DJ/author and "pan-global, post-everything superhero" (Wire), Jace Clayton. Using a shared love of literature and interest in artistic explorations of social memory as a starting point, the two artists will develop an original work for its 2018.19 world premiere. Audiences will be able to follow their creative process on the Liquid Music blog as Ramaswamy and Clayton share behind-the-scenes insight into their collaboration.


The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music Series, named "Best of Classical" by The New York Times, develops innovative new projects with iconoclastic artists in unique presentation formats. Liquid Music performances invite adventurous audiences to discover the new and the fascinating within the flourishing landscape of contemporary chamber music. Visit liquidmusicseries.org to learn more.

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