Darmstadt and ISSUE Project Room celebrate the John Cage centenary year with this program of works for string ensemble and chorus. The evening's program includes Twenty Three, String Quartet in Four Parts, and Hymns and Variations.
Cage’s Number Pieces, composed during the last six years of his life, feature a technical specification Cage referred to as Time Brackets, in which short fragments of musical material are given to each performer who can flexibly enter and exit the overall musical texture. Cage referred to these as enabling a kind of “earthquake proof” musical architecture. Twenty-Three (1988) is scored for twenty three string instruments who each have their own chronometer and can keep time independently of one another.
Cage’s String Quartet in Four Parts was originally premiered in August of 1950 at the Black Mountain College and dedicated to Lou Harrison. The structure of the piece is influenced by Indian conceptions of the four seasons and associated each with a particular kind of force: creation, preservation, destruction and quiescence.
Hymns and Variations (1979) for twelve amplified voices is Cage's largest choral work. Utilizing material from the 18th Century American composer William Billings (considered the father of American choral music), Cage used a technique of "harmonic subtraction" to produce a ‘sublimely beautiful series of long overlapping tones and empty spaces’. The inspiration behind this technique could be traced to the “erased De Koonings” of Cage’s longtime associate Robert Rauschenberg.
The String Orchestra of Brooklyn is a close-knit group of musicians dedicated to exploring the breadth of the string repertoire, from the concerti of Bach to the latest experimental works by emerging composers. The orchestra also frequently invites its fellow wind, brass and percussion colleagues to join them for concerts throughout the year. Praised by The Wall Street Journal as “[an] excellent orchestra” and by the New York Times for its “vivid intensity,” the String Orchestra of Brooklyn is passionately devoted to sharing its inclusive approach to music-making with the greater New York City area. The orchestra also seeks out collaborative projects with other like-minded performance ensembles and organizations, including ISSUE Project Room, American Opera Projects, GHOSTLIGHT Chorus, and the Fort Greene Park Conservancy. Founded in 2007 by violinist and conductor Eli Spindel, the SOB has quickly become an integral part of Brooklyn’s vibrant musical community. Based at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights, the ensemble also presents an annual summer concert in Fort Greene Park, and holds regular chamber recitals around the borough.
Founded in 2010 by artistic director Evelyn Troester, Ghostlight Chorus is an elite chamber choir with 16-20 singers focusing on vocal/choral technique work, musicality, intonation and rhythm mastery, as well as creative improvisation.
The Darmstadt Institute is made possible, in part, through generous support from the Dedalus Foundation and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.