MATA: 17th Annual Festival of New Music

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The MATA Festival celebrates its seventeenth year as the leading international festival for emerging composer talent by showcasing the wild variety of today’s compositional climate with a sweeping range of original compositions from around the globe. Among the Festival's featured works are eleven American and nine world premieres—including three MATA commissions—representing voices from Croatia to Iran, Bolivia to China. "A bellwether of shifting tides" (Village Voice), the Festival's non-dogmatic stylistic range is dizzying, offering a percussion sculpture, a punk-inspired scream-song, works involving lamps and light bulbs, a dancer connected to a pulley-driven prepared piano, and more in performances by Sweden’s Curious Chamber Players, in their US debut, along with the Talea Ensemble, Momenta Quartet, Bearthoven, and others.

17th annual Festival of New Music, April 14–18, 8pm, Tickets $20.

Tuesday, April 14: Curiouser and Curiouser 

MATA welcomes Sweden’s Curious Chamber Players for a night that moves from the primeval depths skyward. Bolivian composer Carlos Guittiérez Quiroga’s Jintili posits the beginnings of the world with natural sounds born of natural materials. Tomi Räisänen’s Stheno imagines the Gorgon’s mourning, what Pindar says was the basis for all music. Wang Lu and Malin Bång’s music deals with the detritus of the urban – Berlin’s constant remaking in the case of Bång’s palinode and the daily life of Xi’an, Wang’s hometown, in her MATA-commissioned work Urban Inventory. Johann Svensson’s diamond dust gives life to the tiny ice crystals that together form the clouds. The evening ends with a new work from MATA’s own Todd Tarantino.

Wednesday, April 15: Mad Filaments and Ungovernable Shoots 

MATA goes full blast in an unforgettable evening that probes all that we understand to work together to create music. Norwegian composer Bjørn Erik Haugen’s Summon transforms images to sound and back to image, questioning if what we see is really what we intend it to be. Mirela Ivičević, in her Orgy of References, takes on the role of the composer, their resumes in particular, giving a new take on the litany of accolades that fill them. Meanwhile American Megan Grace Beugger’s Liaison connects a dancer to a prepared piano via a pulley system – what is more important: the sound or the performance? Serbian composer Jasna Veličković tears apart the instrument, creating music instead with electromagnets in her sUn. Finally, Music for Lamps – the trio of Adam Basanta, Max Stein, and Julian Stein – puts forth a clean slate in which tens of table lamps outfitted with transducers create their own music.

Thursday, April 16: Unreasonable Visions

The Momenta Quartet joins with friends for a fascinating evening of games, visions, and sublimities. From Teheran comes Idin Samimi Mofakham’s transcendent Mirage, a slowly unfolding apparition for percussion and trio, while Eric Nathan's vision for the quartet is heard in the compelling Four to One. Impossibilities are ever-present in Michalis Paraskakis’s Not Yet II, in which a clarinet’s subtle microtonal bendings, blendings, and beatings challenge the quartet. Oboe and percussion join the fray for Daniel Moreira’s Das Nein-Doch Spiel: a persuasive take on the unwinnable children’s game of yes and no, while Guy Barash’s ambitious String Quartet poses its own challenges. The evening closes with a new work from MATA’s own Alex Weiser.

Friday, April 17: Bearthoven Buckshot

The eccentrically named trio of piano, percussion, and bass known as Bearthoven takes the stage with a widely varied program of new music that challenges the notion that the instrumentation makes the music. The evening begins with the fluorescences and electronics of Jonathan Nangle’s lambent untitled (after Dan Flavin) and continues with the improvisational talents of Amanda Schoofs as she joins Bearthoven for her graphic score, Intimate Addictions. David Broome’s atomistic Ominousty scatters glitches from Billy Joel’s “Honesty” into millions of pieces, while Fjóla Evans’s Shoaling rumbles in murmuring and growing streams. MATA’s own Du Yun performs a new work with bass, and the evening concludes with the UK’s Adam de la Cour’s MATA-commissioned Corporate Talent Factor’s Next Top Idol!, a talent competition the likes of which has never been seen on these shores.

Saturday, April 18: Incomparable Contrivances

MATA closes its festival with Talea Ensemble in an evening of percussion-rich works that explore technology, machines, and resonances. Dan VanHassel’s Ghost in the Machine gives voice to the natural by dismantling the apparatus of logic and allowing percussion to sound without performers. Irish composer Ann Cleare’s new MATA-Commissioned percussion mini-concerto, explores the resonant qualities of a handmade sculpture. Monoliths are made audible in the sonic walls of Sam Pluta’s three-percussion concerto in binary: Machine Language, and curves sound in Davor Branimir Vincze’s shape-shifting Inflection Point with its surprising midpoint. From Israel comes Ofir Klemperer’s A Love Song: a punk-inspired challenge to the limitations of instrumental sound. Finally, Matthias Kranebitter’s packthebox(withfivedozenofmyliquorjugs) attempts to make a pangram audible.

The MATA Festival is made possible with support from The Amphion Foundation, Inc.; BMI Foundation; Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust; The Aaron Copland Fund for Music; Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Alice M. Ditson Fund; Randy Hostetler Living Room Fund; Fan Fox and Leslie T. Samuels Foundation; Sound and Music, London; and from individual donors; and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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