Hailed more than once by the New York Times as the best interpretation of Terry Riley's 1964 masterwork in recent memory, Darmstadt's annual birthday concert has become a time-honored tradition on the Fall cultural calendar. Now in its ninth year, Darmstadt offers a different reading than in the past. A dream ensemble of new music legends, including vocalist Joan La Barbara, saxophonist Matana Roberts, guitarist Elliott Sharp, clarinetist Joshua Rubin, and string virtuosi Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris perform alongside key members of So Percussion and Iktus Percussion on a battery of pitched percussion instruments.
Terry Riley's work was radical for its abandonment of classical form, allowing any group of musicians to play its 53 musical fragments in just about any combination they wish. The result is a hypnotic interweaving of mantric musical fragments, and is open to myriad interpretations. While past performances have seen the Darmstadt In C ensemble led by a rock drummer and a large and varied ensemble, this year promises a radical shift—perhaps its quietest yet. Darmstadt's birthday concert serves as the annual benefit for its celebrated Essential Repertoire series. Funds raised will support its fifth iteration, a rare production of Karlheinz Stockhausen's 1961 music theater work, Originale, on the 50th anniversary of its storied premiere in New York.
Darmstadt is the new music series led by composers Nick Hallett and Zach Layton, a program of ISSUE Project Room. Now in its ninth year, Darmstadt's focus continues to be the presentation of seminal works from the experimental music canon, including masterpieces by John Cage, Morton Feldman, Pauline Oliveros, Meredith Monk, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Alvin Lucier, and Anthony Braxton. In addition to the performance of In C, Darmstadt's fundraising activities include a second and final run of the t-shirts designed and screenprinted by Kayrock for its performance of John Cage and Lejaren Hiller's HPSCHD earlier this year.