Alarm Will Sound comes to Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, April 6 (9 pm). Highlighting the program is the world premiere of Fly By Wire by composer/multi-instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton.
Formerly of the critically acclaimed avant-rock band Battles, Braxton is known for his innovative solo projects, as well as collaborations with Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, and other genre-defying artists. According to Braxton, 'Fly by wire' is an aviation term referring to "the technology that 1) translates a pilot's manual movements to digitally control modern aircraft; 2) acts as an auto pilot; 3) is constantly stabilizing the aircraft without the pilot's input. Stabilization through turbulence is something of an a proposdescription in composing music."
The concert also features a trio of New York premieres, all composed for Alarm Will Sound. Scenes from ' The Hunger,' by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy, sets a harrowing account of the Great Irish Famine of the 19th century in Dennehy's much-admired post-minimalist style. Rising mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway is the guest soloist.
Revered iconoclast Charles Wuorinen contributes Big Spinoff, which expands his brisk and bracing Spinoff for violin, double bass, and congas to the dimensions of Alarm Will Sound's 20-member ensemble. Pianist and founding AWS member John Orfe's Journeyman takes inspiration from the impulse to "renew and improve...striving ever onward toward true mastery and attainment."
Rounding out the program is David Lang's increase, written for AWS in 2002 when the ensemble was in its infancy (its first concert took place the previous year). The title refers to Puritan preacher Cotton Mather's brother, Increase Mather. Says Lang of the name, "It's full of determination and optimism. It's what you wish for as a future, for a child, for a community, or, for that matter, a new performing ensemble."
Alarm Will Sound is in the midst of busy season. On March 16 at Stanford University's brand new Bing Concert Hall, the ensemble performs an all-Steve Reich program featuring the US premiere of Radio Rewrite, based on two songs by Radiohead.
Radio Rewrite is also the centerpiece of a March 20 program at Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis, heard with music by Aphex Twin, Donnacha Dennehey, and John Orfe. And on Friday, April 26, the group performs its evening-length multimedia presentation 1969 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis. Visit www.alarmwillsound.com for updates.