MATA: 16th annual Festival of New Music

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Called “the city’s leading showcase for vital new music by emerging composers” by The New Yorker, MATA presents its biggest annual festival ­to date, featuring an A-list of instrumentalists performing works by an international group of 34 composers under age 40. Finland’s Ensemble Uusinta has their US debut, while Germany’s Neue Vocalsolisten is paired with International Contemporary Ensemble for Oscar Bianchi’s evening-length Matra and an a capella program. Also appearing are Talea, Ekmeles, Mivos Quartet, and Mantra Percussion, among many others.

Wednesday April 16, 8pm
Between Noise and Silence

Fresh from Helsinki, comes the nine members of Uusinta – Finland’s leading new music ensemble – in their American debut. They bring their “virtuosically fast-paced and precise” skills to a world premiere MATA commission, Jōruri Death Metal, by Japanese composer Hikari Kiyama influenced by the unlikely bedfellows of metal, Brian Ferneyhough, and Japanese folk music; its polar opposite: the quiet susurrations of Aaron Helgeson’s A Place Toward Other Places; the improvisatory paradoxes of Spain’s Joan Arnau Pàmies; Russian composer Alexander Khubeev’s apocalyptic eschatology Sounds of the Dark Time; and two of Finland’s leading emerging compositional voices: Sampo Haapamäki’s searing quartet Connection and Ilari Kaila’s intense and moving memorial, Kellojen Kumarrus.

Aaron Helgeson: A Place Toward Other Place (2012)
Alexander Khubeev: Sounds of the Dark Time (2011)
Joan Arnau Pàmies: [IVflbclVIvln_c] (2011)
Hikari Kiyama: Jōruri Death Metal (2014) – MATA Commission
Ilari Kaila: Kellojen Kumarrus (2006)
Sampo Haapamäki: Connection (2007)

Thursday April 17, 8pm
That Which Remains

MATA’s second night is a movement into the nearness of origins. The unhewn sounds of em_bruto is our Big Bang: a multimedia soundscape by Brazil’s André Damião Bandeira that tears away perceptions of music and the musical experience; stirrings come forth in Natacha Diels’s exploration of grammatology: A is for Alphabet; the sublime alchemy of Canary Islands’ native Rubens Askenar Garcia Hernandez’s El Puerperio reframes the possibilities of the piano; while a new work from MATA’s own Alex Weiser restores our confidence in resonance and harmony. Capping off the evening is a world premiere MATA commission by Carolyn Chen for ensemble and video (Relationships with Gravity) that restores our faith in reason.

Rubens Askenar García Hernández: El Puerperio (2012)
André Damião Bandeira: em_bruto (2012)
Carolyn Chen: New Work (2014) – MATA Commission
Natacha Diels: A is for Alphabet (2013)
Alex Weiser: New Work (2014)

Friday April 18, 8pm
Lives in Miniature

MATA’s third concert brings together two powerhouses of the New York new music scene: the incredible Talea Ensemble is joined by the “virtuousically adventurous” vocal ensemble Ekmeles in an evening of lives. The UK’s Martin Iddon gives us the sounds of his Hamadryads for vocal ensemble and tuned glasses – the haunting lamentations of tree-bound nymphs inspired by Greek mythology and Josquin. MATA’s own Todd Tarantino’s Cap Malheureux for soprano (Charlotte Dobbs) and large ensemble is a tragedy that asks how one can describe a life; while Clara Iannotta (Italy) asks the same of sound in her microcosmic concerto for cello Clangs; Chris Gross is the soloist. Josep Sanz (Spain) in his King Lear: Act IV Scene 6 distills a scene from Shakespeare’s tale of madness into six minutes. Simon Vosecek’s (Austria – Czech Republic) Mouses for video and ensemble, inspired by Czech stop-motion animation, explores madness in other ways, from the perspective of a rodent. Edward Hamel’s new work for voice (Michael Weyandt) and ensemble Approach Prune Destroy Begin – commissioned by a consortium of MATA, Holland’s Gaudeamus Festival, and the Venice Biennale, is a fitting conclusion.

Šimon Vosacek: Mouses (2012)
Edward Hamel: Approach Prune Destroy Begin (2014) – MATA Commission
Clara Ianotta: Clangs (2012)
Todd Tarantino: Cap Malheureux (2012)
Martin Iddon: Harmadryads (2011)
Josep Sanz: King Lear: Act IV Scene 6 (2009)

Saturday April 19, 8pm

MATRA brings together two of the finest international ensembles in a first-ever pairing. Germany’s Neue Vocalsolisten, an ensemble who the Financial Times says come “formidably close to achieving the impossible” is joined by ICE – “the new gold standard for new music” ( The New Yorker) in an American premiere performance of Oscar Bianchi’s evening-length cantata Matra. Featuring six vocalists; a solo trio of contrabass Tubax saxophone, contrabass recorder, and bass flute; large ensemble and electronics; and setting text from Lucretius, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, and the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, this is an evening not to be missed. A post-concert discussion will follow the concert.

Sunday April 20, 1pm
Neue Vocalsolisten: American Premieres

Writes The Guardian, “The Neue Vocalsolisten deal fearlessly with anything a composer can throw at them.” Today, MATA is the pitcher as Neue Vocalsolisten returns for an a capella concert of American premieres by young composers from around the world. Beginning with their calling card: Vittriool from Georges Aperghis’s “Wölfli Cantata,” the concert spans the globe to showcase their incredible skills. Whether in the dada inspired works of Jennifer Walshe (Paddy Reilly Runs with the Devil), the radical reconfigurations of Norwegian composer Lars Petter Hagen’s The Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart Notebook, Francesco Filidei’s Dormo molto amore, dedicated to the memory of the anarchist Franco Serantini, Syrian composer Zaid Jabri’s Two Songs from Mihyar from Damascus on texts of Adonis, the founder of Arabic modernist poetry, Gabriel Dharmoo’s kaleidoscopic Notre Meute, Anglo-Moroccan composer Brahim Kerkour’s intone, or Silvia Rosani’s T-O, Neue Vocalsolisten brings their trademark theatrically, impeccable intonation, and daring to this afternoon.

Georges Aperghis: Vittriool (2001)
Silvia Rosani: T-O (2013)
Brahim Kerkour: intone (2013)
Zaid Jabri: Two Songs from Mihyar from Damascus (2013)
Francesco Filidei: Dormo molto amore (2013)
Gabriel Dharmoo: Notre Meute (2013)
Lars Petter Hagen: The Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart Notebook (2011)
Jennifer Walshe: Paddy Reilly Runs with the Devil (2007) 

Monday April 21, 8pm

Of Circles and Motion of the Others
The 2014 MATA Festival concludes with a not-to-be missed evening that pairs the “excellent and enterprising” MIVOS Quartet with the “superhuman” Mantra Percussion in an evening of circles, seasons, and revolutions. Lisa Streich of Sweden begins the night with Play Time, her tribute to Jacques Tati in which three percussionists explore the resonant properties of a bicycle by beating, scraping and plucking it. Ansgar Beste’s Pelerinage Fantastique is a journey to the center of the prepared string quartet. MATA’s own outgoing Artistic Director Yotam Haber’s Torus, inspired by the sculpture of Richard Serra, is a study in the monumentality of forms; while Daniel Wohl’s Progression puts its faith in mechanics. From China, comes Ke Xu’s Tai Chi a gestural study in stillness, motion and entropy. Paula Matthusen’s The Days are Nouns, a setting of the Norwegian Table Prayer, sung by Jamie Jordan, channels our focus to the passage of time and the succoring power of each day.

Music programs are made possible with support from The Amphion Foundation, Inc., Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.

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