Inaugural New AIR Festival to Take Place This September at Tenri Cultural Center
Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, in collaboration with violinist/composer Mari Kimura, will inaugurate a new concert series, "New AIR Festival," September 14 and 15 at Tenri Cultural Center, 43 West 13th Street, Manhattan (West Village). The event features outstanding artists from the music and technology residencies at Harvestworks in New York City.
The Harvestworks Residency Programs provide an environment for experimentation where teams of artists, engineers and designers focus on building custom computer programs and new instruments to perform contemporary music. A staff of engineers employ complex engineering concepts in collaboration with the artists, who bring artistic and philosophical creativity and inquiry to the process. This festival highlights some of the finest artists from this program. (see: www.harvestworks.org/category/residencies)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 - NEW AIR FESTIVAL: QUBIT/KIMURA
Qubit (https://qubitmusic.com),is a collective of composers and sound artists who curate and produce events that feature innovative applications of technology in music. Two composers from the group, David Bird and Alec Hall, will share the evening with Mari Kimura (http://www.marikimura.com), who is at the forefront of violinists who are extending the technical and expressive capabilities of the instrument.
Alec Hall will perform new works based on techniques for the electric violin that create a sound world that moves beyond the instrument itself, toward a more digital aesthetic, while still being totally produced by traditional violin techniques. David Bird will perform a live electronics set featuring selections from a large scale electro-acoustic work "Synonymic," which explores a synth-laden retro-futuristic sound world comprised of off-kilter samples and computer generated sound.
Mari Kimura, the renowned violinist/composer who is best known for her use of subharmonics and interactive motion sensor technologies, will perform two pieces: "Harmonic Constellations: abridged version" (2016) by composer Michael Harrison and her own composition, "Rossby Waving" (2017), which uses her prototype motion sensor system, MUGIC.
"Harmonic Constellations" by Michael Harrison was commissioned and composed for Kimura and is scored for violin with 13 pre-recorded violin tracks and sine tones. It is a work of "Integrated Proportionality," composed entirely using math and text based computer programming. The data was organized into spreadsheets to create a more traditional score with the just intonation ratios and exact frequency specified in Hertz above each note. All of the tones were divided between the violins and sine tones to create a complex and integrated timbre. The work is inspired by the harmonic language of La Monte Young's "The Well-Tuned Piano" and all of the frequencies, durations and envelopes are generated from multiples of the prime numbers two, three and seven. Kimura will perform an eleven-minute reduction of the piece.
"Rossby Waving" by Mari Kimura is named for Rossby Waves, a natural atmospheric phenomenon relating to rotation of the planet. When a Rossby Wave 'breaks,' it could cause extreme climate conditions as El Niño/La Niña. The piece consists of a 'flexible ostinato,' a somewhat regular 'wave' of violin sound that's processed and flows. The motion sensor MUGIC detects and interprets the character of the bowing movements which affect 'ostinato' in its timbre and character.
MUGIC (pronounced "mu-zhik") is a motion sensor system developed by Mari Kimura and media artist Liubo Borissov in 2015, supported by ITAC.org/NYSCA through Harvestworks. MUGIC analyzes movement and gesture to extract human expression. It is a wearable music controller that enables the creation of seamless motion-driven interfaces for real-time multimedia performance. It contains a gyroscope, an accelerometer and a magnetometer. In past performances, this fully wireless Wifi device has been housed inside gloves that were worn by the performers. It is meant to be attached not only to the violin or other musical instruments, but also to any object that accepts communicative expressive motions. Since January 2018, Kimura has been building a new MUGIC prototype through a Multi Disciplinary Program at Calit2 at UC Irvine. (www.calit2.net)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 - NEW AIR FESTIVAL: STRING NOISE AND KRISTEN NORDERVAL
String Noise (http://www.stringnoiseduo.com), a.k.a. Pauline Kim-Harris and Conrad Harris, will perform "Fabric for String Noise in Two Parts," a new work composed for them by composer Michael Byron (http://www.michaelbyron.org).
"Fabric for String Noise in Two Parts" was sponsored by Harvestworks and will be released this fall on Cold Blue Records. This "sound object" is tangible, compact, and marked by extreme polyrhythmic complexity and intricate contrapuntal textures. One dominating factor throughout is an adherence to the principle of multiplicity. In the work's formal organization, the development of intervallic correlations is primary; its harmonic relationships, ancillary. According to musical criteria, "Fabric..." was composed using only the higher registers of the violin, sharpening the music's edge and crystallizing the perceptual object.
Kristen Norderval (http://kristinnorderval.org), a pianist/composer, combines her operatic lineage with electronic experimentation, placing a special emphasis on small-scale opera, cross-disciplinary work, and compositions utilizing interactive technology.
She will perform "Tongue Tide," a work which poses a series of questions about what is considered unspeakable and what happens when the tides shift. It makes use of both lo- and hi-tech to sample and process the voice in real-time. The piece was originally conceived as a solo movement of "Mothertongue," a larger work for multiple voices and iPADs. Norderval will also perform an improvisation titled "For Dalia" and two short pieces, "Extreme Weather" and "13 Inspirations," from her solo CD, "Aural Histories: post-ambient arias for voice and electronics."
The New AIR Festival is made possible by the support from ICIT (Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology Program at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, UC Irvine) http://music.arts.uci.edu/icit/; Harvestworks Media Arts Center http://www.harvestworks.org with funds from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, mediaThe foundation and Music USA's NYC New Music Impact Fund made possible by the Scherman Foundation's Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund. Additional support is provided by Kimari, LLC.
David Bird and Alec Hall are members of Qubit, a contemporary music and performance art initiative founded in 2010. Its principal mission is to foster the development of emergent voices by working with young composers whose work has yet to reach wide audiences, and to explore and develop new and experimental technologies as they relate to performance practice, sonic aesthetics, and public engagement.
David Bird is a composer and multi-media artist based in New York City. His work explores the dramatic potential of electro-acoustic and mixed-media environments, often highlighting the relationships between technology and the individual. His work has been performed internationally, at venues and festivals such as the MATA festival in New York City; the Gaudeamus Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands; the Wien Modern Festival in Vienna, Austria; and the Festival Mixtur in Barcelona, Spain. (http://davidbird.tv)
Alec Hall is a composer and violinist who re-imagines the possibilities of acoustic materials in the post-Avant-Garde musical landscape. Using forms of sonic representation to address urgent non-musical debates, his work is aesthetically polycentric and politically engaged. His compositions have had been performed by Ensemble SurPlus, Proton, Intercontemporain, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, the JACK Quartet, ICE, Talea, Either/OR, Wet Ink, Continuum, Pamplemousse, Ekmeles, Continuum, and soloists Séverine Ballon, Stephane Ginsburgh and David Broome. He earned a DMA from Columbia University and an MA from UC San Diego. He is a 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellow.
Mari Kimura is a violinist/composer and a leading figure in the field of interactive computer music. As a violinist, Kimura is renowned for her mastery of subharmonics--the production of pitches that sound up to an octave below the violin's lowest string--as well as for her dynamic performances as an improviser and interpreter of many notable compositions by today's composers. She is also known for her work as soloist with such orchestras as the Tokyo Symphony and the Hamburg Symphony. She has received numerous awards including Guggenheim Fellowship, Fromm Award, residency at IRCAM in Paris, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. She is a developer of "MUGIC," a prototype motion sensor for interactive performance. She has been the founding chair of Future Music Lab at the Atlantic Music Festival since 2013. A faculty member at The Juilliard School since 1998, she was appointed last year as a Professor of Music at the Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT) program at UC Irvine. (www.marikimura.com)
Michael Harrison, composer of "Harmonic Constellations," is a composer/pianist who occupies a unique place in the world of music. His works are a blend of European musical traditions and those of North Indian classical music, forging an entirely new approach to composition through tunings and methodologies that employ and extend the ancient concept of"just intonation." Philip Glass called him an "American Maverick." As a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), Harrison will be creating a new work for Alarm Will Sound. He is currently working on a commission for Del Sol Quartet, based in San Francisco. (http://michaelharrison.com/)
String Noise is a classical, avant-punk violin duo comprised of violinists Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris. Since Stringnoise's inception in 2011 at Ostrava New Music Days, the duo have expanded the two-violin repertoire in over 50 new works to include larger collaborations with multimedia art, electronics, video projections, opera and dance. Their first feature album, "The Book of Strange Positions," was released on Northern Spy Records in November 2015. Tiny Mix Tapes describes this collection of original works and arrangements by Eric Lyon of punk covers by Bad Brains, Violent Femmes, Deerhoof, Radiohead, and Black Flag as a "mix of classic punk covers and ZERO APOLOGIES." Their 7" inch EP "Covers," produced by Deerhoof drummer and composer Greg Saunier, is also available on Northern Spy Records. (http://www.stringnoiseduo.com)
Michael Byron, composer of "Fabric for String Noise in Two Parts," grew up in Los Angeles. In 1971 he began studying at CalArts with James Tenney, and later, with Richard Teitelbaum. His music is marked by its use of ergodic forms, extreme polyrhythmic complexity, and intricate contrapuntal textures. Byron's work has been released on Neutral Records, Poon Village Records, Tellus, Meridian Records, Koch Records, Cold Blue Records and New World Records. His music is published by Frog Peak Music. (http://www.michaelbyron.org)
Kristin Norderval is a composer and singer who specializes in developing new works for voice, cross-disciplinary work, and works using interactive technology. Her works have been performed at festivals in Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East by ensembles such as Chants Libres (Montreal), Den Anden Opera (Copenhagen), jill sigman/thinkdance, and the Parthenia viol consort (New York). Her first full-length opera, "The Trials of Patricia Isasa," was premiered at the Monument National Theater in Montréal, Quebec in 2016 and won Quebec´s OPUS prize. She has been a soloist with the Oslo Sinfonietta, Philip Glass Ensemble, Netherlands Dance Theater, and the San Francisco Symphony. The New Yorker's music critic Alex Ross included her solo CD, "Aural Histories (post-ambient arias for voice and electronics)," on his list of "Ten Notable Classical Music Recordings of 2012." (http://kristinnorderval.org)
Harvestworks is a nonprofit Digital Media Arts Center that presents experimental artworks created in collaboration with its Technology, Engineering, Art and Music (TEAM) Lab. The Harvestworks TEAM Lab is an environment that provides project expertise from consultants, technicians, instructors and innovative practitioners in all branches of the electronic arts. Its programs are made possible with funds from New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, the Jerome Foundation, mediaThe foundation, New Music USA Impact Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Andy Warhol Foundation, Materials for the Arts, and the Friends of Harvestworks. (http://www.harvestworks.org)
Photo Credit: Chris Bradley