SOLD OUT! Matmos perform Robert Ashley's "Perfect Lives"

ISSUE Project Room hosts a special benefit event featuring acclaimed electronics duo Matmos performing two scenes from Robert Ashley's groundbreaking television-opera Perfect Lives. They present the first and final acts, “The Park”, featuring string ensemble, and “The Backyard”, both accompanied by new collaborative video work by M.C. Schmidt and emerging Baltimore video artist and electronic musician Max Eilbacher.

Performance art supergroup HARIBO open the night, fronted by 2014 ISSUE Project Room Artist-In-Residence Raúl De Nieves.


7:00pm - VIP Reception - $100

$40 tax-deductible. Includes pre-concert reception with food and drinks by Rucola, and preferred concert seating.


8:30pm - Concert - $45 General

Doors at 8pm, now sold out! Matmos perform scenes “The Park” and “The Backyard” from Perfect Lives, with opening performance by HARIBO.

“The Park”
M.C. Schmidt: Voice
Drew Daniel: Electronics
Davindar Singh: Bansuri
Adam Markiewicz, Electric Violin
Britton Powell: Upright Bass, Arrangement, Orchestration
Isabel Castellvi: Cello
Leigh Stuart: Cello
Clarice Jensen: Cello

“The Backyard”
M.C. Schmidt: Voice, Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer
Drew Daniel: Electronics



Perfect Lives (1978-83) is Robert Ashley’s opera “about” bank robbery, cocktail lounges, geriatric love, adolescent elopement, et al, in the American Midwest. One of the definitive text-sound compositions of the late 20th century, it has been called a comic opera about reincarnation. Originally commissioned by the Kitchen in the early 80s, Ashley’s Perfect Lives, the opera for television is widely considered the precursor of music-television and a masterpiece of the American vernacular. A Spanish-language adaptation of Perfect Lives, Vidas Perfectas, was commissioned by ISSUE Project Room in 2012 and later staged as part of the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

Nothing less than the first American opera, written within an American language utilizing various American attention spans: snippets for the channel switchers, layers of meaning for the smart-alecks, something for everyone, and accessible. Works such as this put to rest any doubts if opera can or should survive, and how.
Fanfare (Allan Evans), March/April 1999



Matmos is an experimental electronic music duo of M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel. Marrying the conceptual tactics and noisy textures of object-based musique concrete to a rhythmic matrix rooted in electronic pop music, the two quickly became known for their highly unusual sound sources: amplified crayfish nerve tissue, the pages of bibles turning, water hitting copper plates, liposuction surgery... These raw materials are manipulated into surprisingly accessible forms, and often supplemented by traditional musical instruments.

Matmos have released over eight albums on such acclaimed labels as Matador and Thrill Jockey. They have collaborated with Icelandic singer Bjork on her “Vespertine” and “Medulla” albums, and embarked on two world tours as part of her band. Most recently, they were part of the ensemble for the Robert Wilson production “The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic”, featuring Marina Abramovic, Antony and Willem Dafoe, in addition to musical collaborations with Antony, So Percussion, David Tibet, and Zeena Parkins, among others.



Robert Ashley (1930-2014) achieved an international reputation for his work in new forms of opera and multi-disciplinary projects, innovative use of language in a music, and as a pioneer of opera-for-television. In Ann Arbor in the 1960s, Ashley organized the ONCE Festival and directed the legendary ONCE Group, with whom he developed his first operas. Throughout the 1970s, he directed the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College and toured with David Behrman, Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma as the Sonic Arts Union. Stage versions of Perfect Lives, as well as his following operas, Atalanta (Acts of God), Improvement (Don Leaves Linda), Foreign Experiences, eL/Aficionado, and Now Eleanor’s Idea have toured throughout the US and Canada, Europe and Asia. His final opera, Crash, premiered in 2014 as part of the Whitney Biennial.

And let it be set down, Bob was one of the most amazing composers of the 20th century, and the greatest genius of 20th-century opera.
— Kyle Gann, "Postclassic"



HARIBO is a performance supergroup of 2014 ISSUE Project Room Artist-In-Residence Raul De Nieves, Jessie Stead and Nathan Whipple . A master blend of punk installation, live show and original music, HARIBO have presented their cross-genre pop-operettas to sold out crowds in New York and internationally. Recent engagements include Performa 11, MoMA PS1, Fitzroy Gallery, Real Fine Arts, Cage, Santos Party House, Styx Gallery and Akershus Kunstsenter. HARIBO have appeared in numerous motion-pictures and will soon release their debut studio LP and several paintings


Benefit Committee

Thomas Buckner
Stuart Comer
Mónica de la Torre
Anthony Elms
Peter Gordon
Keith Gray
Nick Hallett
Alanna Heiss
Alex Waterman
Thea Westreich Wagner & Ethan Wagner
Howard Wolfson
Dustin Yellin


ISSUE Project Room Board of Directors

Tom van den Bout, Board Chair
Tony Conrad, Artistic Chair
Jeanne Lutfy, Vice Chair
Marianne Berry, Secretary
Margo Somma, Treasurer
Marcus Brauer
Steve Buscemi
R. Luke DuBois
Kathleen Forde
Sarah Garvey
David Grubbs
Jeremy Hurewitz
Branden W. Joseph
Jan Larsen
John Latona
Barbara London
Robert Longo
Stephen Maine
Henry Rich
Steve Wax