Images: Claire Chase photo by Walter Wlodarzcyk

Claire Chase: Density 2036, part xi

with JACK Quartet on May 2 at Public Records

On View: May 2-May 5

Public Records and BRIC

The Kitchen continues its presentation of Claire Chase's Density 2036, now the 11th year of the project for which the artist commissions and presents new work for solo flute, building a bold repertory for the instrument (May 2 & 4). "Perhaps the [flute’s] most imaginative living advocate” (The New Yorker), Chase adds new contributions annually to this collection reimagining solo flute literature over the course of 24 years (culminating in 2036, the 100th anniversary of Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking 1936 flute solo, Density 21.5). This year, Density 2036, part xi features the world premiere of The Holy Liftoff, a large-scale new piece by legendary composer Terry Riley, performed by Chase and the JACK Quartet on May 2 at 6pm and 8pm at Public Records (233 Butler St, Brooklyn).

On May 4 at BRIC, as part of Long Play Festival, Chase will perform selections of works from throughout the last decade of the project including works by the New York-based composers Du Yun, Marcos Balter, Suzanne Farrin, and Mario Diaz de Leon. She will also perform excerpts from The Holy Liftoff, the latest Density installation by Terry Riley.

The Holy Liftoff is a large-scale new work from Riley, who began composing it in 2022 as an open score sketchbook brimming with colorful drawings that were intended to be realized by Chase (on multiple flutes) in collaboration with any number of additional musicians. Over the following two years, the sketches evolved into a multidimensional work. It now combines extensive through-composed material — heard in this rendition as an eight-voice chorus of low and high flutes, seven of which are pre-recorded and one of which Chase plays live — as well as graphic notation, evocative artwork, and Riley’s signature open-form scoring that can be freely interpreted by the performers in variable durations and realizations. For the premiere at Public Records, Chase partners with the dynamic JACK Quartet in a 60-minute rendition arranged in collaboration with Samuel Clay Birmaher.

Terry Riley said, “When I improvised the first 16 bars of The Holy Liftoff the melody and the chords whispered its name while simultaneously urging me to make drawings of the experience. The drawings had angels and flying creatures and all the energies were rising up into a surrealistic skyscape…This piece could only have been written for Claire Chase.”

Claire Chase: Density 2036, part xi is organized by Matthew Lyons, Curator.


Claire Chase, described by The New York Times recently as “the North Star of her instrument’s ever-expanding universe,” is a musician, interdisciplinary artist, and educator. Passionately dedicated to the creation of new ecosystems for the music of our time, Chase has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works by a new generation of artists, and in 2013 launched the 24-year commissioning project Density 2036. Now in its eleventh year, Density 2036 reimagines the solo flute literature over a quarter-century through commissions, performances, recordings, education and an accessible archive at Chase co-founded the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2001, was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012, and in 2017 was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Chase is currently Professor of the Practice of Music at Harvard University’s Department of Music, a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School, and a Collaborative Partner with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony. She was the Debs Creative Chair at Carnegie Hall for the 2022-23 season.

Undeniably our generation’s “leading new-music foursome,” the GRAMMY-nominated JACK Quartet's “stylistic range, precision and passion have made the group one of contemporary music’s indispensable ensembles” (The New York Times). Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell, JACK was founded in 2005 and operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance, commissioning, and appreciation of 20th and 21st century string quartet music, synchronized in its mission to create an international community through transformative, mind-broadening experiences and close listening. Through intimate, longstanding relationships with many of today’s most creative voices, the quartet has a prolific commissioning and recording catalog, has been nominated for three GRAMMY Awards, and is the 2024 recipient of Chamber Music America’s Michael Jaffee Visionary Award. Committed to helping dismantle outmoded classical music pipelines for composers, JACK’s all-access initiative JACK Studio supports collaborations with a selection of artists each year, who receive money, workshop time, mentorship, and resources to develop new works for string quartet. More than 40 composers have worked with JACK through JACK Studio thus far, hailing from Argentina, Belarus, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, South Africa, Syria, and the United States.


The Kitchen’s programs are made possible in part with support from The Kitchen’s Board of Directors, The Kitchen Leadership Fund, and the Director’s Council, as well as through generous support from The Amphion Foundation, Inc., Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Aaron Copland Fund for. Music, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, Inc., Howard Gilman Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, Marta Heflin Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund, a fund of Tides Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Open Society Foundation, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, Ruth Foundation For The Arts, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Simons Foundation, and Teiger Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.