Once a month, the Talea Ensemble curates and performs at the Roger Smith Hotel’s Penthouse, a salon-style room on the 16th floor. The series aims to promote the accessibility of contemporary classical music. Each concert focuses on one single piece by dissecting its inner-workings, while considering the external factors of its conception and existence. The concerts are interactive in that the audience is considered an equal participant in the performance; they are encouraged to ask questions and participate in discussions after the music is performed. The reception immediately following serves as a platform for discussion of the work among people of all ages and backgrounds.
Roger Smith Arts is a multi-disciplinary arts production company providing cultural entertainment as a way to promote dialogue within and between the leading disciplines of the New York and global art worlds. The company’s mission is to establish itself as a pre-eminent and sought after cultural institution to the city of New York. Recognizing dialogue as the backbone of any cultural organization, RSA embraces variety as a means to foster the exchange of creative ideas. RSA produces performance art and site specific installation exhibits, jazz and acoustic singer/songwriter concerts, poetry readings, chamber music concerts, and ongoing speaker series, all with leading creative intellectuals of their various fields.
Sunday December 19th 2010, 4pm
Talea Ensemble with composer Julian Anderson
Exploded Melodies: Heterophony, Synchrony and Infinity
Contemporary composers often speak of a “return to melody,” with the promise of something inoffensively lyrical and familiarly gratifying. Others avoid the premise of melody altogether, preferring to focus on elements of music like timbre or rhythm in which the focus of the material is less directly discernible. The composers on this concert, however, have turned to novel melodic experimentation as one of the fundamental features of their outputs, with fascinating and unpredictable results. The influences in these works range from the multiple layers of folk melodies to acoustic properties of bells to infinite fractal cycles; from simultaneous variations to dense harmonizations of a single line. The Talea Ensemble is pleased to welcome Julian Anderson, one of the most inventive and distinguished composers to emerge from the UK in recent years. Anderson is in town for the US premiere of his Comedy of Change, which will be performed by the New York Philharmonic on December 17-18, and he joins the Talea Ensemble for a concert of composers whose works have resonated with his own.
Julian Anderson will introduce each piece, and the Talea Ensemble will perform his work “The Bearded Lady,” in which melodic convergence between the soloists (clarinet and piano) is in constant competition with a playful and virtuosic polyrhythmic dialogue that thwarts it at every turn.
Sunday January 23rd 2011, 4pm
Wet Ink Ensemble
Wet Ink presents a program of intimate duos and trios based on music for the voice and linked by a sonic and thematic focus on loss, memory, and fragmentation. Works included are: György Kurtág’s elusive S.K. Remembrance Noise for violin and soprano, with text by Deszö Tandori; Kate Soper’s Only the Words MeanWhat They Say for soprano and flute, a virtuosic duo for flute and voice on texts by Lydia Davis; and Mathias Spahlinger’s haunting adieu m’amour for violin and cello alongside the 15th Century rondeau by Guillaume Dufay on which it is based.
Sunday February 27th 2011, 4pm
The Talea Ensemble
Buddhism in Music
The Talea Ensemble explores the influence of Buddhist thought and practice in contemporary music. Buddhism plays a central role in Jonathan Harvey’s output, from the purely metaphysical musical treatment of materials to the thematic inspiration of his pieces, and “Lotuses” is an example of both. Qu Xiaosong’s quietly meditative music works within the space between silence and very limited but essential gestures. James Tenney’s “Koan” is a selection from his “Postal Pieces,” conceptual works with performance instructions etched onto the back of postcards. In Zen Buddhism, a koan is a philosophical proposition or question, often without an immediate solution. Tenney’s work consists of a simple upward-ascending figure, yet its execution and duration is open to interpretation.
Sunday March 27th 2011, 4pm
New York Miniaturist Ensemble
Works of 100 Notes or Fewer
The New York Miniaturist Ensemble specializes in performing works of 100 notes or fewer. This performance will feature world premieres of works written for the ensemble by composers from around the world, as well as exciting works from the Ensemble’s repertoire.
Sunday April 24th 2011, 4pm
The Talea Ensemble
Language and Text in Music
How do composers translate or transliterate linguistic concepts or even actual texts into musical material? And how is that challenge met in purely instrumental music, using a convincing narrative? Composers Derek Bermel and Drew Baker will be on hand to discuss their approaches. Bermel’s “Language Instruction” is a humorous and theatrical description of a “lesson” in Brazilian Portuguese, “taught” by a clarinet to two strings and an impulsive, interrupting piano. Baker’s “Inter” takes the first line of Proust’s “Swann’s Way,” analyzing its rhythmic dictation and stretching its duration to form the rhythmic framework for the piece; perception is thus altered, and events become more momentous through the silences surrounding them.
Address: The Penthouse at The Roger Smith Hotel
501 Lexington Ave, at 47th Street, New York NY 10017
Cross Street: 47th Street and Lexington Avenue
Subway: E, 6, V to 53rd and Lexington or 4, 5, 6, 7 to Grand Central
Tickets: $15 (paid at door, cash only) inc. wine and cheese selection
Reservations: Please call 212.339.2092 or email email@example.com