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MATA Festival's 20th Anniversary: The World's Fair of Fresh International Music Set for April 2, 9-14, 21

MATA Festival's 20th Anniversary: The World's Fair of Fresh International Music Set for April 2, 9-14, 21

MATA celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its brilliantly curated international Festival of New Music with "ear-opening, satisfying music for every contemporary taste and philosophy" (Brooklyn Rail), on April 2 (Church of the Epiphany, Upper East Side) 10-14 (The Kitchen, Chelsea), and 21 (Imagine Swimming, Tribeca). Tickets, all $25, may be purchased via the MATA website.

The twentieth anniversary Festival reaches above and beyond, importing Mexico's crackerjack Liminar ensemble and engaging New York's finest-Contemporaneous, Sandbox Percussion, Vicky Chow, and many more-to realize the wildly creative visions of composers from every inhabited continent while reflecting on MATA's taste-making legacy. Special to the anniversary, MATA 2018 remounts legacy works from the organization's first twenty years alongside new commissions from alumni whose careers were propelled to success by early recognition from the Festival.

Along with a jury of esteemed listening ears, MATA's Festival curator and Executive Director Todd Tarantino evaluated submissions by more than 1100 composers from 69 countries for a stunningly cosmopolitan musical showcase. From this expansive net, three rising stars have been selected for MATA commissions this season-Daniel Silliman, Erin Rogers, and Jenna Lyle-alongside five special twentieth anniversary commissions from MATA Alumni Annie Gosfield (MATA 2000), Jennifer Higdon (MATA 1998), David T. Little (MATA 2008), Nico Muhly (MATA 2004, 2008), and Ken Ueno (MATA 2002, 2008). All told, this season's Festival boasts twelve world premieres, eleven American premieres, and five New York premieres, with current sounds from Russia to the Philippines, from Argentina to Egypt, from Sweden to Bolivia, Australia, Denmark,Switzerland, and Italy.

Also special to the twentieth anniversary, the 2018 MATA Festival launches MATA Divine Mysteries, a new initiative devoted to sacred music, the centerpiece of which is David M. Gordon's mesmerizing Mysteria Incarnationis, a forty-minute meditation on Christ's taking on of human form, sung in ancient Syriac, with additional works by Shawn Jaeger and Lydia Winsor Brindamour, and a world premiere miniature from MATA Alumnus Nico Muhly (MATA 2004, 2008). The Festival closes with Nadia Botello's truly immersive Sono/Aqua as part of A Room of One's Own, MATA's future-forward initiative devoted to female-identifying composer-performers. This unmissable performance takes place at Tribeca's Imagine Swimming where the audience will be invited to enter a sonified pool to become one with sound and the creation.?

Says Executive Director, Todd Tarantino, "New York City can only look to MATA for treasures such as these. When composers run the organization and call the shots, producing the work of their colleagues and democratizing the programming process, we are truly able to open the field to new and marginalized voices, presenting work with care and respect. Randy Hostetler's P(l)aces is a prime example. After Randy's untimely death, MATA's founder Lisa Bielawa reassembled the work from his sketches for a posthumous premiere. This year, we revisited the archives to remount this important piece, unheard for twenty years, re-engraving it and working with obsolete technology to bring it to the next generation of performers and listeners."

Since its founding in 1996 and launch in 1998 by Philip Glass, Eleonor Sandresky, and Lisa Bielawa, MATA has proven exceptionally prescient in identifying tomorrow's leading voices. MATA has commissioned or presented nearly 600 early-career composers, including a who's who of today's most heard American composers including Derek Bermel, Bryce Dessner, Gabriel Kahane, Missy Mazzoli, Alex Mincek, Angélica Negrón, Andrew Norman, Tristan Perich, Gregory Spears, Kate Soper, and Du Yun. Over the years, the Festival has steadily expanded its international profile to become one of the world's leading international new music events, collaborating with organizations across the globe and giving New York City audiences rare chances to hear the world's premier new music performers.

MATA's Mainstage events will be prefaced by an invitation-only opening gala on Monday, April 9 at the ultra-chic Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea, featuring short performances by Liminar and Friends of MATA (FOM) that will pay tribute to MATA's founders Lisa Bielawa, Philip Glass, and Eleonor Sandresky, through performances of their work, capped off by a performance by Liminar's Alexander Bruck of Samuel Cedillo's (Mexico) virtuosic Monologo III, last heard at the 2017 MATA Festival.


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