Shows


23
Aug 18

Ekmeles and Friends

This program features works for voices augmented by exceptional instrumentalists and innovative systems of electronics. Bass clarinetist Carlos Cordeiro, trombonist Will Lang, and International Contemporary Ensemble’s Jacob Greenberg on celesta will join with the voices of Ekmeles. The program includes classic works by established masters of vocal and electronic music, as well as new works written expressly for Ekmeles.

  • Kaija Saariaho – Tag des Jahres arr. Rachid Safir (2001)
  • Nathan Davis – The Sand Reckoner (2017) New York Premiere
  • Ann Cleare – Earth Waves (2018) World Premiere
  • Bernhard Lang – Hermetica V – Fremde Sprachen (2011/12)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Guest artists for concert

Ekmeles’s 2018-2019 season is made possible with funds from the Amphion Foundation, and the generosity of private donors.

Composition of Earth Waves by Ann Cleare funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.


1
Feb 18

Eastman: That Which is Fundamental

Ekmeles performs Julius Eastman’s early graphic work Macle on a festival dedicated to the composer’s work. The concert will also feature performances by Tilt Brass, Julian Terrell Otis, and ACME.

Ekmeles rep for concert

  • Julius Eastman – Macle (1968)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Ekmeles in Manhattan, Spring 2018 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. LMCC.net


16
Jan 18

New Chamber Ballet

New Chamber Ballet joins forces with Ekmeles for a new ballet to music by Kaija Saariaho and Karin Rehnqvist. Also on the program: a new ballet to music by Bach.

Ekmeles rep for concert

  • Kaija Saariaho – From the Grammar of Dreams (1988)
  • Karin Rehnqvist – Davids Nimm (1983)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Ekmeles in Manhattan, Spring 2018 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. LMCC.net


1
Jan 18

Microtonal Premieres

This program features U.S. and world premieres by composers experimenting with the infinite tuning flexibility of the human voice. A world premiere commission by Marc Sabat is paired with U.S. premieres by Catherine Lamb and Rebecca Saunders, and an Ekmeles favorite by Erin Gee.

  • Marc Sabat – Seeds of Skies, Alibis (2017)
  • Rebecca Saunders – Soliloquy (2007)
  • Catherine Lamb – pulse/shade (2014)
  • Erin Gee – Three Scenes from SLEEP (2008)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Ekmeles in Manhattan, Spring 2018 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. LMCC.net


15
Aug 17

Ekmeles +

Ekmeles is augmented by electronic accompaniment for this celebration of collaborative sound. Ekmeles’s Chamber Music America commission from Christopher Trapani receives its second performance here, paired with an older work for voices and electronics by established master of computer music Kaija Saariaho. Finally, the expansive and open form of John Cage mixes voices and electronics in four interconnected solos.

  • Christopher Trapani – End Words (2016)
  • Kaija Saariaho – Nuits, Adieux (1991)
  • John Cage – Four Solos for Voice (93-96) (1988)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

End Words has been made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.


8
Aug 17

Music of Longing

Ekmeles performs the World Premiere of James Weeks’s Primo Libro, the U.S. Premiere of Cassandra Miller’s Guide and other works on the theme of personal and spiritual longing.

  • James Weeks – Primo Libro (2016) World Premiere
  • Cassandra Miller – Guide (2013) U.S. Premiere
  • Liza Lim – Three Angels (2011)
  • Ben Johnston – Rose (1971)
  • Courtney Bryan – Come Away, My Beloved (2013)
  • Kayleigh Butcher and Bethany Younge – Her Disappearance (2015)

Ekmeles personnel for concert


20
Apr 17

That Which is Fundamental

Ekmeles visits Bowerbird in Philadelphia to take part in That Which is Fundamental, a Julius Eastman retrospective. Other artists featured on this program include Moor Mother, the Eastman Community Choir, and Arcana New Music Ensemble. Ekmeles will perform Eastman’s half-hour vocal quartet Macle, in its first performance since the 1970s.

Ekmeles repertoire for concert

  • Julius Eastman – Macle (1968)

Ekmeles personnel for concert


6
Apr 17

End Words

Ekmeles performs the World Premiere of Christopher Trapani’s End Words, a Chamber Music America commission. It will be paired with the U.S. premiere of a work by Joanna Bailie, as well as Ekmeles commissions by Courtney Bryan and Zosha di Castri

  • Christopher Trapani – End Words (2017) World Premiere
  • Joanna Bailie – Harmonizing (2012) U.S. Premiere
  • Courtney Bryan – A Time for Everything (2013)
  • Zosha di Castri – The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named (2013)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

End Words has been made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.

Ekmeles in Manhattan, Spring 2017 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. LMCC.net


21
Mar 17

Darkness is the future

As part of our 2016-2017 season we’re giving each of our core singers a turn at the helm of the blog. The below post below comes from our soprano, Charlotte Mundy.


“Darkness is the future. The present and past are daylight and the future is night. But in that darkness is a kind of mysterious, erotic, enveloping sense of possibility and communion… people have often taken on things that seemed hopeless – freeing the slaves, getting women the vote – and achieved those things.” – Rebecca Solnit

Ekmeles’ program of Passion settings coming up on Monday has gotten me thinking about paradox. A proper telling of the Passion story needs to embrace paradox – the horrific pain and uncertainty of crucifixion needs to sit right up against the miraculous glory of resurrection – and the 21st century Passion settings we’re performing on Monday are beautifully paradoxical.

Wolfgang Rihm’s Sieben Passions-Texte plays with our feelings of knowing (joy!) and not knowing (fear!). To my ear the music oscillates constantly between order and chaos – the voices slip from unison to atonality to brief chord progressions that make tonal sense for a few seconds, and back to atonality. The text is Latin, the stereotypical language of institutional certainty, but it’s incomplete, it only tells fragments of the story. It’s up to you whether to read along with a translation or to give up on that level of understanding and just let the sound wash over you.

In one of my all-time favourite pieces of music, David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion, H. C. Andersen’s little match girl is substituted for Jesus. Lang tells the whole story in English and uses starkly neutral words and harmonies. Somehow, maybe because it takes some structural cues from J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the form of the piece is so perfectly balanced, it feels like a force of nature rather than something man-made. By never projecting a particular emotion onto the story, Lang gives us the space to hear every word of it as simultaneously horrible and sublime.

If you’ll allow me a little naive optimism here – I think in dark times like these, complex music can help us understand, on a level deeper than intellect, that nothing is ever all good or all bad. No situation is hopeless, the unknown is fertile territory, and by working hard together on things we care deeply about, the way Ekmeles spends hours practicing pieces that took months or even years to write, it’s possible to create new, beautiful (if complex!) realities that no one could have previously imagined.


17
Mar 17

Lenten inspiration

As part of our 2016-2017 season we’re giving each of our core singers a turn at the helm of the blog. The below post below comes from our countertenor, Tim Keeler.


You guys, we’re in Lent!

Everyone knows that the best music is sad music and that the best sad story is the Passion story. Lent, therefore, is the best time for music. That’s why I’m excited.

Ok maybe I made a few exaggerations and assumptions just then, but it is true that I get pretty pumped about Lent. From Allegri’s “Miserere” to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, it just doesn’t get any better.

Just so we’re all on the same page, Lent is the time in the Christian calendar between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. It lasts for 40 days and the end coincides with the commemoration of the Passion story. The Passion story follows Jesus Christ from his entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and ends with his crucifixion on Good Friday. Easter is technically not in Lent, so all the happy stuff about resurrection and eternal life gets left out. So Lent is, in a nutshell, sad. And sad music is juicy and dramatic!

Our next concert features a bunch of this juicy, sad music. Ekmeles will perform two different Passion settings – one each by David Lang and Wolfgang Rihm – and parts two versions of the Seven Last Words of Christ – by Haydn (performed by Attacca Quartet) and Schütz. While they are all inspired by the same Lenten story, these compositions are all drastically different. Lang’s work is sparse, delicate, and isn’t even explicitly about Jesus. Rihm’s Sieben Passions-Texte is harmonically complicated, tonally ambiguous, but texturally very simple. Haydn’s collection of seven instrumental sonatas contains no text at all, but each movement is inspired by the same seven sayings that Schütz sets in his work, which is an early German Baroque masterpiece.

Each piece is incredibly expressive in its own way. The shared Lenten inspiration brings out emotion and drama in these disparate compositions. This concert is thus a perfect encapsulation of why I get excited about Lent – we get drama, musical ingenuity, and passion (!) from four very different composers. See you there!