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Miller Theatre Opens Its 20th Composer Portraits Season With Music Of Anthony Braxton, 9/25

Miller Theatre Opens Its 20th Composer Portraits Season With Music Of Anthony Braxton, 9/25

The iconoclastic composer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton is one of the most important musicians, educators, and creative thinkers of our time.

Drawing upon a range of influences, from John Coltrane to Karlheinz Stockhausen, his work examines core principles of improvisation and structural navigation, alongside innovation, spirituality, and intellectual investigation.

Joining in a worldwide celebration of the polymath's 75th birthday, the JACK Quartet and Either/Or perform a selection of his unparalleled body of works.

Composition No. 1 (1968)
Composition No. 17 (1971)
Composition No. 18 (1971)
Composition No. 40(O) (1975)
Composition No. 46 (1975)
Composition No. 101 (1981)
Composition No. 168 (1992)
Composition No. 358 (2006)

JACK Quartet
Richard Carrick, conductor

For twenty years, Miller Theatre's flagship series has fostered the creation of new work, served as an incubator for emerging artists, and created a community of adventurous listeners. The series champions the works of today's most inspiring composers, and both The New York Times and The New Yorker have called it an "indispensable" part of New York's contemporary artistic landscape. These evening-length musical profiles explore the work of a single composer in depth, and this season Miller celebrates its two-decade legacy.

Anthony Braxton (b. 1945), the Chicago-born composer and multi-instrumentalist, is recognized as one of the most important musicians, educators, and creative thinkers of the past 50 years. He is highly esteemed in the experimental music community for the revolutionary quality of his work and for the mentorship and inspiration he has provided to generations of younger musicians. Drawing upon a disparate mix of influences from John Coltrane to Karlheinz Stockhausen, Braxton has created a unique musical system that celebrates the concept of global creativity and our shared humanity. His work examines core principles of improvisation, structural navigation and ritual engagement-innovation, spirituality, and intellectual investigation.

From his early work as a pioneering solo performer in the late 1960s through to his eclectic experiments on Arista Records in the 1970s, his landmark quartet of the 1980s, and more recent endeavors, such as his cycle of Trillium operas and the day-long, installation-based Sonic Genome Project, his vast body of work is unparalleled. His small ensembles of the 1970s through to the present day are considered among the most innovative groups of their respective eras, while his Creative Orchestra Music has brought together the varying streams of American jazz orchestras, marching bands, and experimental practices with the traditions of European concert music in a wholly individual compositional voice. His continuing and evolving current systems of the past 15 years, including Ghost Trance Music, Diamond Curtain Wall Music, Falling River Music, Echo Echo Mirror House Music, and ZIM Music, have served as the artistic incubators for some of the most exciting artists of the current generation. Braxton's many awards include a 1981 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 1994 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a 2014 NEA Jazz Master Award, and honorary doctorates from Université de Liège (Belgium) and New England Conservatory (USA).

Either/Or Praised by The New York Times as "an ensemble that plays by its own rules" and "a trustworthy purveyor of new sounds," Either/Or has been at the forefront of New York's contemporary music scene since 2004. Winner of the 2015 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, Either/Or focuses on new, recently composed, and rare works for various and often times unconventional instrumentations. Programmed by director Richard Carrick and guest curator Christopher McIntyre, the group's projects are brought to life by its roster of 17 world-class musicians and special guests.

Either/Or's programming is aesthetically inclusive, ranging from the American Experimental tradition (Cage, Feldman, Lucier, Ashley) to the historical and contemporary European avant-garde, with a special emphasis on composers working outside the institutional mainstream. The group has premiered more than 200 works since its inception and has worked closely with many leaders in contemporary composition including George Lewis, Zeena Parkins, Beat Furrer, John Zorn, Miya Masaoka, Elliott Sharp, Helmut Lachenmann, Anthony Coleman, and Thomas Meadowcroft.

Either/Or has performed throughout the Northeast at venues including Philadelphia Museum of Art, ICA Boston, Miller Theatre at Columbia University, The Kitchen, as well as California and Swedish tours, and frequent appearances at local experimental music venues such as The Stone, Roulette, and ISSUE Project Room. They have released ten full-length recordings of works commissioned or premiered by them on New World Records, Edition Moderne, Starkland, and Sterling labels.

JACK Quartet Hailed by The New York Times as the "nation's most important quartet," the JACK Quartet is one of the most acclaimed, renowned, and respected groups performing today. JACK has maintained an unwavering commitment to their mission of performing and commissioning new works, giving voice to underheard composers, and cultivating an ever-greater sense of openness toward contemporary classical music. In 2018, they were selected as Musical America's "Ensemble of the Year," named to WQXR's "19 for 19 Artists to Watch," and awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Additional awards include Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA's Trailblazer Award, and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. JACK has performed to critical acclaim at at leading venues and festivals around the world.

Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell, JACK is focused on new work, collaborating with composers John Luther Adams, Chaya Czernowin, Simon Steen-Andersen, Caroline Shaw, Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Reich, Matthias Pintscher, and John Zorn. JACK recently announced their new Fulcrum Project, an all-access initiative to commission six artists each year, who will receive money, workshop time, mentorship, and resources to develop new work to be performed and recorded by the quartet.

Operating as a nonprofit organization with a commitment to education, JACK is the Quartet in Residence at the Mannes School of Music, which will host JACK's new Frontiers Festival, a multi-faceted festival of contemporary music for string quartet in fall 2019. JACK also has a long-standing relationship with University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program, where they teach and collaborate with students. They also teach at New Music on the Point, a contemporary chamber music festival in Vermont for young performers and composers, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, numerous universities including Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Princeton, and Stanford, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy, of which the four members are all alumni.

Now in its 31st season, Miller Theatre at Columbia University is the leading presenter of new music in New York City and one of the most vital forces nationwide for innovative programming. In partnership with Columbia University School of the Arts, Miller is dedicated to producing and presenting unique events, with a focus on contemporary and early music, jazz, opera, and multimedia performances. Founded in 1988, Miller Theatre has helped launch the careers of myriad composers and ensembles over the years, serving as an incubator for emerging artists and a champion of those not yet well known in the United States. A four-time recipient of the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming, Miller Theatre continues to meet the high expectations set forth by its founders-to present innovative programs, support the development of new work, and connect creative artists with adventurous audiences.

Upcoming Portraits

VIJAY IYER: Four premieres by the MacArthur "Genius" include a Miller commission; performers include The Knights and Jennifer Koh (10/24)

ANNEA LOCKWOOD: Yarn/Wire performs a range of the New Zealand-born composer/sound artist's works, including a world premiere commission (11/14)

BRIGHT SHENG: The Columbia alum & MacArthur Fellow performs as pianist and conductor leading Curtis 20/21 in a concert of his works (12/5)

CAROLINE SHAW: Attacca Quartet and Sō Percussion perform the Pulitzer-winning star composer's chamber music from the last decade (2/6)

OSCAR BETTISON: Alarm Will Sound returns to Miller to perform two of the British-American composer's recent chamber concertos (2/20)

DAI FUJIKURA: Champions of Fujikura's music, ICE performs a high-octane program, including a world premiere Miller commission (3/5)

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