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Liquid Music presents Grand Band
May 16 @ 7:30 pm$16 - $20
New work by Missy Mazzoli with music by Julius Eastman, Michael Gordon, Paul Kerekes and Kate Moore.
Grand Band, a New York-based “supergroup” (New York Times) formed by pianists Erika Dohi, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore and Isabelle O’Connell, makes its Midwest debut at the Ordway Concert Hall on Wednesday, May 16. Their performance features the world premiere of Three Fragile Systems by Missy Mazzoli alongside music by Julius Eastman, Michael Gordon, Paul Kerekes and Kate Moore.
The powerful sextet commissions new works and arrangements for their unique instrumentation and brings a wholly distinct sonic experience to audiences. Each one an accomplished performer in their own right, the combination of their musical prowess results in mesmerizing performances that have been described as “a miracle of ensemble coordination and sonic delight” (Kalamazoo Gazette). Grand Band’s Twin Cities debut includes the world premiere of Three Fragile Systems by the “consistently inventive and surprising” (New York Times), and “thoroughly original” (Wall Street Journal) composer Missy Mazzoli.
Notes on the program
Over the course of this performance, listeners will be taken on a wild ride through an unconventional exploration of what piano music can be. The audience will be transported to a space where the physicality of sound and the metaphysicality of music interface in new ways. Grand Band’s gripping and thought-provoking program for six pianos is a revolutionary celebration of the instrument and an embodiment of the physicality of sound.
Missy Mazzoli’s new piece Three Fragile Systems, which will receive its world premiere at Liquid Music, plays off the many mathematical and musical definitions of “system”: an organized scheme, an interconnected network, a group of celestial objects connected by mutual attractive forces, the prevailing political or social order, a set of staves in a musical score. Each movement features a repeating melody transformed according to an idiosyncratic system of layering, expansion, contraction and transposition. The pianos rarely act like pianos; players are asked to mute the strings of the instrument, tremble lightly on the keys, hold the sustain pedal down for an outlandish amount of time, and embrace the natural imperfections that arise when six players try to play in perfect unison. The result is a raw and fluid music that constantly pushes against a rigid, austere mathematical framework.
Paul Kerekes takes a spatial approach in his piece wither; his pristine, delicate music passes around the physically expansive ensemble in a sort of musical choreography that can be heard as well as felt. Michael Gordon’s fancifully-titled Ode to La Bruja uses the ensemble to create an almost theatrical fantasy based on childhood memories of piano lessons and the cacophonous sonic melting-pots of conservatory practice rooms. Kate Moore’s Sensitive Spot uses a unique set of performance instructions to create a complex and enveloping tapestry of sound that would be impossible to communicate through conventional notation and standard performance practice. Julius Eastman’s landmark but rarely performed Gay Guerrilla revels in the sheer scale of sound that the collection of multiple pianos can achieve, while engaging the political and innovative musical ideas that made him such a compelling and unique compositional voice.