ACME Performs Three Concerts in May, Beg. 5/11; Releases Album in June


ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, announces three New York concerts in May and an album release in June 2012. At 8 pm both tonight, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 the group will take the stage at The Kitchen (512 W. 19th St., NYC) for two performances of the music of William Brittelle and Mick Barr. At 8 pm on Monday, May 14, ACME performs Timothy Andres' I Found it by the Sea as part of the 2012 Look & Listen Festival, held at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery (144 W. 14th St., 2nd Floor, NYC).

ACME last performed in New York in March at the innovative Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall. That same month, the group performed at Stanford Lively Arts in California and at All Tomorrow's Parties curated by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel in Minehead, England. ACME has performed in recent seasons at (Le) Poisson Rouge, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and Columbia University's Miller Theatre, among others.

ACME's concerts at The Kitchen bring together two distinct programs of music written for the ensemble – the world premiere of ACMED for string trio commissioned from Mick Barr, known for his relentless speed and agility on guitar and avant-garde compositions; and Loving the Chambered Nautilus, a series of works by electro-acoustic artist William Brittelle with original video by LoVid that merge the classical chamber music tradition with electronic retro-futuristic pop gestures. Barr will also join ACME for a performance of Louis Andriessen's 1975 milestone, Workers Union. These concerts celebrate the release of Brittelle and ACME's recording of Loving the Chambered Nautilus by New Amsterdam Records, forthcoming on June 26, 2012. 

Mick Barr is an American avant-garde metal guitarist, well known for being one half of the band Orthrelm. His previous projects have included Crom-tech, a duo with drummer Zach Hill. He has also released albums under the names Ocrilim and Octis. Barr has recently been composing for chamber ensemble and in addition to ACME has written for the Kronos Quartet. ACME Artistic Director Clarice Jensen says, "ACME is thrilled to begin a new collaboration with Mick Barr, whose musical perspective is incredibly unique and respected by many. I've admired his music for years and we are already planning future works together."

William Brittelle's Loving the Chambered Nautilus re-imagines chamber music for the 21st century, juxtaposing the energy and sonic language of pop drum and synth programming with classical forms and instrumentation, resulting in propulsive and visceral music. The piece was composed by Brittelle to highlight ACME's remarkable rhythmic precision and crystalline tone against a backdrop of his programmed electro landscapes. Loving the Chambered Nautilus (at the time entitled Future Shock) debuted in August 2010 at Le Poisson Rouge and has since been featured at the String Theory Festival in Minneapolis and San Francisco's Switchboard Music Festival.

ACME players for these concerts are Caleb Burhans (violin, banjo, and voice), Clarice Jensen (cello), Eric Lamb (flute), Megan Levin (harp), Ben Russell (violin), Nadia Sirota (viola) and Chris Thompson (percussion).

At the 2012 Look & Listen Festival, ACME will perform Timothy Andres' piano quartet I Found it by the Sea, with the composer at the piano. I Found it by the Sea re-contextualizes elements of Brahms' chamber music. Andres says, "I found it impossible to write a piano quartet without paying homage in some way to Brahms's Op. 25 (which I first heard 11 years ago and remains my benchmark for great chamber music). I noticed a similarity between the theme of I Found it in the Woods to the piano theme about 10 bars into the Brahms quartet and mashed the two of them together, creating the theme for, in a sense, my Variations on a Theme by Brahms."

ACME players for the Look & Listen Festival are Ben Russell (violin), Caleb Burhans (viola), Clarice Jensen (cello), and Timothy Andres (piano). The concert will be hosted by Tracie Morris, Associate Professor, Humanities and Media Studies Department at Pratt Institute and also includes performances by Brooklyn Rider, janus trio, clarinetist/composer Derek Bermel and pianist/composer Michael Brown.

About William Brittelle: William Brittelle is a Brooklyn-based composer of pop-influenced electro-acoustic art music. His primary musical mentors include Mike Longo, longtime pianist/arranger for Dizzy Gillespie, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici, and punk guitarist Richard Lloyd of Television. Brittelle's work is characterized by the melding of complex thematic ideas, rhythms, and formal structure with the visceral power and surface appeal of pop/rock music. That duality is best represented by Television Landscape, his fully-composed, post-apocalyptic art rock concept album scored for orchestra, rock band, synths, and children's choir. Brittelle has been the subject of features in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Time Out NY, and NPR's All Things Considered. His compositions have been presented across the U.S., including performances in Seattle's Icebreaker Festival curated by Alex Ross and Kyle Gann, the Festival Internacional in Chihuahua, Mexico, Pittsburgh's Music on The Edge series, New Music New College in Sarasota, Florida, the String Theory Festival in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the Switchboard Festival in San Francisco, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, le Poisson Rouge, Galapagos Art Space, Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, The Stone, and the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Hall. Recent commissions include Obituary Birthday (A requiem for Kurt Cobain) for the Seattle Symphony, Computer Wave for pianist Michael Mizrahi, and a series of pieces for Roomful of Teeth, premiered at Mass MoCA. Brittelle has been the recipient of grants and awards from the American Music Center, American Composers Forum, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and ASCAP. Along with composers Judd Greenstein and Sarah Kirkland Snider, he co-directs New Amsterdam Records and New Amsterdam Presents, a vital Brooklyn-based record label and presenting organization. He is a passionate promoter, presenter, and producer of new and adventurous music in New York City, having overseen the release of more than 30 critically acclaimed recordings. Brittelle also co-produced and presented more than 50 live music events throughout the U.S. in the last four years.

About Mick Barr: Mick Barr is an American musician, composer and performer currently based in the NYC/NJ area. Notable for his relentless speed and agility on guitar and avant-garde compositions, he has been an active musician for almost twenty years and has released over 40 recordings. He is most known for his work with the technical duos Orthrelm and Crom Tech, the progressive black metal band Krallice, as well as his 2 solo projects Octis and Ocrilim. He has released records with notable labels such as Tzadik, Ipecac, Profound Lore, Hydrahead and Kill Rock Stars. He has also been an active improviser, releasing records and playing alongside greats such as Weasel Walter, John Zorn, Mike Pride, Jon Irabagon, Kevin Shea and Milford Graves among many others. In recent years he has been composing for chamber ensembles and has written pieces for Kronos Quartet, Wet Ink Ensemble and ACME. He was named one of the 50 fastest guitarists of all time by Guitar World magazine in 2008. In 2009 he was awarded an unrestricTed Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

About Timothy Andres: Timothy Andres (b. 1985, Palo Alto, CA) is a composer and pianist who grew up in rural Connecticut and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. His début album, Shy and Mighty, was released by Nonesuch Records in May 2010 to immediate critical acclaim. Of the disc, which features ten interrelated pieces for two pianos, performed by Timothy (Timo) and co-pianist David Kaplan, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that Shy and Mighty "achieves an unhurried grandeur that has rarely been felt in American music since John Adams came on the scene… more mighty than shy, [Andres] sounds like himself." Current season highlights include a weekend of performances in Los Angeles, including a commission from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and his re-composition of the Mozart "Coronation" Concerto, and chamber works performed by wild Up; performances of his "Crashing Through Fences" by eighth blackbird and Crash Ensemble; and solo recitals at (le) Poisson Rouge and Wigmore Hall. Upcoming items include a new Nonesuch album of orchestral works performed by Andrew Cyr and the Metropolis Ensemble; a commission from the Gilmore Foundation for Kirill Gerstein; and a new piano quintet for Jonathan Biss and the Elias String Quartet, commissioned by Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Performances and the Concertgebouw.

About ACME: Led by artistic director and cellist Clarice Jensen, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily the work of American composers. The ensemble presents cutting-edge contemporary literature by living composers alongside the "classics" of the contemporary. Known for their work with the Wordless Music Series as well as indie music icons such as Grizzly Bear, ACME's dedication to new music extends across genres, and has earned them a reputation among both classical and rock crowds. Time Out New York calls them "one of New York's brightest new music indie-bands." ACME has performed at (Le) Poisson Rouge, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, The Kitchen, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, Columbia University's Miller Theatre, Stanford Lively Arts in California, and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Vermont, among others. ACME's instrumentation is flexible, and includes some of New York's most sought-after, engaging musicians. Since its first New York concert season in 2004, the ensemble has performed works by John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Caleb Burhans, John Cage, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Jacob Druckman, Jefferson Friedman, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, Donald Martino, Olivier Messiaen, Nico Muhly, Michael Nyman, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Arnold Schoenberg, Ryan Streber, Toru Takemitsu, Kevin Volans, Charles Wuorinen, Iannis Xenakis, Chen Yi, and more.

Photo Credit:  Liz Linder