PEAK Performances to Present GRAND BAND: PIANO EVOLUTION
PEAK Performances presents two concerts by the United States' only professional piano sextet, Grand Band, who arrange and play six pianos in a circle. The unconventional ensemble-Erika Dohi, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore, and Isabelle O'Connell-engulfs the audience in the sonic intensity of four landmark contemporary works, including the iconic and massive Gay Guerilla by late minimalist composer Julius Eastman. The Quietus describes the piece as "one of the most moving pieces ever to be written for eight hands...beginning in lonely stuttering notes, slowly unraveling into defiant crescendos, before the final part repurposes Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress Is Our God into a queer manifesto."
This performance continues a surge of recognition for Eastman's bold works which unflinchingly layered intersecting experiences of marginality onto the abstractions of minimalist music and were for decades relegated to the far margins of its canon. The performance also features compositions by Missy Mazzoli, Kate Moore, Julia Wolfe, and the world premiere of an animated film by Joshua Frankel, and continues PEAK Performances' 2019-2020 season on February 14 & 15 at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University.
This latest program from Grand Band further explores the intricate musical relationships that unfold when a group of pianos joins forces-and the constantly shifting systems of listening, performing, and understanding that evolve as a result. A balance between epic power and the highly detailed work of the individual performers emerges over this evening of music, as the pianists create delicate counterpoint, develop sonic intensity, and collectively build music of an immense scale.
Grand Band will perform Australian composer Kate Moore's Sensitive Spot, which centers explorations of tempo and metric timing. Moore describes her work as "unearth[ing] elaborate, intricate, underlying structural possibilities and buried architecture...to build complexity embedded below the immediate aural impression." The concert will also feature my lips from speaking, a riff on Aretha Franklin's Think by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Bang on a Can co-founder Julia Wolfe, whose recent oratorio Fire in My Mouth was deemed "a monumental achievement...one of the year's best performances" by The Nation and was a New York Times Critic's Pick; and Three Fragile Systems by Missy Mazzoli, in a thrilling combination of sound and sight, Mazzoli's Three Fragile Systems is enhanced by the debut of Emergent System, an animated film by Joshua Frankel, commissioned by PEAK Performances. In this film, Frankel builds a world of geometry, color, and looping patterns of human bodies created collaboratively with choreographer Faye Driscoll, heightening the experience of the music.
Performance Schedule and Ticketing
Grand Band: Piano Evolution will take place Friday, February 14 at 7:30pm and Saturday, February 15 at 8:00pm at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University (1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ). Performances run 68 minutes, with no intermission. Tickets are affordably priced at $30, and can be purchased at www.peakperfs.org or 973.655.5112. Tickets are always free for Montclair State students.
A First Impressions talk with Joshua Frankel, Missy Mazzoli, and Isabelle O'Connell will take place following the performance Saturday, February 15.