American Composers Orchestra (ACO) continues its season-long initiative, coLABoratory: Playing It UNsafe, the first and only professional research and development lab to support the creation of cutting-edge new American orchestral music through no-holds-barred experimentation, encouraging composers to do anything but "play it safe." Audiences will have the opportunity to see and hear the composers' works-in-progress at free lab workshops on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 10am at Flushing Town Hall (137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing, NY), and Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 2pm at The DiMenna Center (450 W. 37th St., NYC). coLABoratory culminates on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 7:30pm with a concert featuring all of the new works at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, conducted by ACO Music Director George Manahan.
The composers participating in coLABoratory this season are Du Yun, Troy Herion, Raymond J. Lustig, Judith Sainte Croix, and Dan Visconti, selected from a national search for their willingness to experiment and stretch their own musical sensibilities, and their ability to test the limits of the orchestra. coLABoratory grew out of ACO's ongoing mission to commission and perform new music that expands the range of possibilities for - and challenges conventional notions about - orchestral music.
coLABoratory is unusual in that it does away with the expectations often associated with orchestral premieres that can squelch composers' creative impulses - limited rehearsal time, restrictive instrumental possibilities, pre-conceived programmatic or thematic ideas for concerts - and most importantly, the overwhelming pressure on composers to do something "safe."
coLABoratory alters the orchestral landscape by treating the creation of a new work as an interactive and collaborative process, rather than just the delivery of a musical "product." This season, coLABoratory has included a unique incubation process of workshops, public readings, collaborative feedback, and laboratory performances of music, open to the public, taking place from November 2012 through April 2013. Each composer's work is being developed with the orchestra over the course of the season in a process that includes ACO's Music Director George Manahan, ACO's artistic leadership Robert Beaser and Derek Bermel, mentor composer Morton Subotnick, and members of the orchestra.
Participants in past installments of ACO's Playing It UNsafe created a concerto for junked car and orchestra (Sean Friar's Clunker Concerto), collaborations with lighting designers (Laura Schwendinger's Shadings), new levels of orchestral improvisation (Henry Threadgill's No Gates, No White Trenches, Butterfly Effect), hybrid orchestration of laptop computers and acoustic instruments (Dan Trueman, silicon/carbon (an anti-Concerto Grosso)), sound paintings for voice, electronics and unorthodox spatial arrangements of the orchestra (Joan La Barbara's In solitude this fear is lived), and multimedia work with live computer illustration, electronics and orchestra (Anna Clyne's TENDER HOOKS).
The new pieces developed this season continue this experimental exploration. Du Yun's Slow Portraits is an acoustic exploration of a "frozen point" of orchestral sound paired with super slow motion video (visuals by David Michalek). Troy Herion serves as both composer and filmmaker in his New York City Symphony, an audio and visual celebration of the city. In Latency Canons Raymond J. Lustig investigates the slight and often unpredictable delay in audio signal transmission through musicians playing via videoconferencing, with Dane Lam co-conducting a group of musicians in Manchester, England via Google Hangouts. Judith Sainte Croix adds non-orchestral instruments including the electric guitar (played by Oren Fader), pre-Columbian flutes (played by the Andrew Bolotowsky), and the synthesizer (played by Sainte Croix) plus visuals (photography by Claudia Miranda with design support from Marcelo Mella) to the orchestra in Vision V. Dan Visconti creates new instruments from obsolete analog technology such as Speak & Spell toys and vintage recording devices accompanied with video by filmmaker Simon Tarr in Glitchscape.
About the coLABoratory Composers
Du Yun: Slow Portraits
For more information about Du Yun: www.channelduyun.com
Born and raised in Shanghai, China, currently based in New York, Du Yun is an internationally-performed composer and musician. Hailed by The New York Times as "cutting-edge... to whom the term 'young composer' could hardly do justice," and "an indie pop diva with an avant-garde edge;" "re-invents herself daily... so does her music," (Time Out New York), her music exists at an artistic crossroads of chamber music, theater, pop music, opera, orchestral, cabaret, storytelling, visual arts and noise. Du Yun has received commissions include from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Weill Institution Commission, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, the Whitney Museum Live, the Fromm Foundation, Meet the Composer, violinist Hillary Hahn, cellist Matt Haimovitz, flutist Claire Chase and many more. An alumna of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Oberlin College (BM), Harvard University (MA, PHD), she has served on the faculty of SUNY-Purchase since 2006.