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New York City-based new music chamber group loadbang is building a new kind of music for mixed ensemble of trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice. Since their founding in 2008, they have been praised as ‘cultivated’ by The New Yorker, ‘an extra-cool new music group’ and ‘exhilarating’ by the Baltimore Sun, ‘inventive’ by the New York Times and called a ‘formidable new-music force‘ by TimeOutNY. Creating ‘a sonic world unlike any other‘ (The Boston Musical Intelligencer), their unique lung-powered instrumentation has provoked diverse responses from composers, resulting in a repertoire comprising an inclusive picture of composition today. In New York City, they have been recently presented by and performed at Miller Theater, Symphony Space, MATA, and by the Look and Listen Festival; on American tours at Da Camera of Houston, and the Rothko Chapel; and internationally at Ostrava Days (Czech Republic), China-ASEAN Music Week (China), the Xinghai Conservatory of Music (China), and Shanghai Symphony Hall (China).         

loadbang has premiered more than 320 works, written by ensemble members, emerging artists, and today’s leading composers. Their repertoire includes works by Pulitzer Prize winners David Lang and Charles Wuorinen; Rome Prize winners Andy Akiho and Paula Matthusen; and Guggenheim Fellows Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, and Alex Mincek. Not content to dwell solely in the realm of notated music, loadbang is known for its searing and unpredictable improvisations, exploring the edges of instrumental and vocal timbre and technique, and blurring the line between composed and extemporaneous music. To this end, they have embarked on a project to record improvisations and improvised works written by members of the ensemble. These recordings are designed, fabricated, and released in hand-made limited editions.  loadbang can also be heard on a 2012 release of the music by John Cage on Avant Media Records, a 2013 release of the music of loadbang member Andy Kozar titled On the end… on ANALOG Arts Records which was called ‘virtuosic’ by The New Yorker, a 2014 release on ANALOG Arts Records titled ‘Monodramas,’ a 2015 release on New Focus Recordings titled ‘LUNGPOWERED’ which was called ‘new, confident, and weird’ by I Care If You Listen and ‘an album of quietly complex emotions‘ by The New Yorker, a 2017 Bridge Records release titled ‘Charles Wuorinen, Vol. 3’, featuring the music of Charles Wuorinen, and a 2018 release on New Focus Recordings titled old fires catch old buildings’ of which was said ‘Though they arrived on the scene without a repertoire to speak of, loadbang’s decade-long output now speaks for itself in quality and depth of involvement’ by I Care If You Listen.

loadbang is dedicated to education and cultivation of an enthusiasm for new music. They have worked with students ranging from elementary schoolers in the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids Program to college aged student composers at institutions including Columbia University, Cornell University, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, Peabody Conservatory, Princeton University, University of Buffalo, the University of California in San Diego, and Yale University. They are an ensemble-in-residence at the Charlotte New Music Festival, and through a partnership with the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Boston, they are on the performance faculty of Divergent Studio, a contemporary music festival for young performers and composers held each summer. 

old fires catch old buildings by Paula Matthusen

old fires catch old buildings draws its title from Burroughs’ writing on recording in The Invisible Generation. Rather than play with the text of Burroughs’ original writing, the piece instead engages with physical recordings (namely cassette tapes) of each of the ensemble members. The flexibility of language combined with the idiosyncrasies and manipulability of recording and playback devices pair forges intriguing interdependencies between the musicians as well as their stored voices. As Burroughs notes, “it is the height of rudeness not to r

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Number May Be Defined by Alex Mincek

Mincek’s Number May Be Defined is a rhythmically active and driving work, focusing on blending the sounds of the instruments and the voice together. It explores muted sounds in the instruments as well as the voice, with a frantic and mechanical force, traveling swiftly between sound worlds until the instruments and voice. (program notes by Jeffrey Gavett)

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Alphabetical Ashbery (excerpt) by Charles Wuorinen

Alphabetical Ashbery is a setting of four poems by American poet John Ashbery from his collection Planisphere. The texts are strikingly surreal, and Wuorinen’s kaleidoscopic weaving of lines mirrors their wildly roving but always concise impact. Rather than setting these texts as a work for voice with accompaniment, Wuorinen treats the voice and instruments together as a true chamber group, with every member given a chance to shine in different solos and ensemble groupings.

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