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Qubit

New York, NY            

Qubit is a collective of composers and sound artists who curate and produce events that feature innovative applications of technology in music. Our principal mission is to foster the development of emergent voices by working with young composers and performers who have yet to reach wider audiences, and by exploring and developing new and experimental technologies that expand performance practice, sonic aesthetics and public engagement.

Currently in its sixth season, Qubit occupies a unique position in New York’s musical ecosystem. We are presenters who curate, program, and commission work for distinctive events in non-traditional spaces at the boundaries of concert performance, sound installation art, and multimedia happening. We collaborate with some of the most exciting young ensembles and soloists from near and far to help them realize their creative visions, developing events that neither party could have conceived alone. And we contribute professional audio gear and technical expertise, two resources that are often limited by both budget and time in the busy city.

Recent examples include Magnitudes, a week-long exhibition in East Harlem featuring sound sculptures, performed installations, audio-visual performances, and technological improvisation, funded by a New Music USA project grant. Saturation Concrète paired superstar French cellist Séverine Ballon with the Impact Fund recipient TAK ensemble in a micro-festival of work for ensemble, interactive multichannel electronics, and electroacoustic soundscape. Another significant milestone was the 2013 Noise Non-ference, produced by Qubit in the Lower East Side that brought more than 50 artists from around the world for a two-day festival, celebrating noise in its many contexts: sounding, visual, performative, and written. And in 2014, Machine Music coordinated music for six Yamaha Disklaviers—MIDI controlled, robotic grand pianos—in a live stream between New York and Melbourne. In each case, we offered to our performer-collaborators a unique curatorial perspective, along with the technological expertise to put it into practice and reach out to the public in impactful ways.

Qubit would like to broaden its contribution to bring technologically charged music to eager audiences in New York and beyond. Next season we will continue our collaboration with TAK in a music theater production developed with the exciting young director Katherine Brook. We will present our new Innovator Lab, a series focused on giving space, time and financial resources to the best young solo artists to commission and develop new works with electronics. With committed funding from the West Harlem Development Corporation to establish a pop-up venue in a corner of the city ripe for greater artistic representation, the Innovator Lab will be an important feature of New York’s musical calendar in 2017-18. For this series, we will be looking for young performers to showcase, as well as building on our track record of commissioning and premiering up-and-coming composers. For both events, we will be seeking out non-traditional venues that will help us to touch the public with expressive technologies.

Machine Music: In sin fin bin din bin fin sin in by Bryan Jacobs

Machine Music was the focal point of Qubit’s 2014 season, highlighting the interstices of improvisatory instrumental practice and experimental sound installation. This composition by Bryan Jacobs was created for four computer-controlled pianos and four loud speakers, and was composed especially for the three-day event alongside works by Natacha Diels, Bjoern Erlach, David Bird, and a major new work by distinguished New York composer, trombonist, and scholar George Lewis.

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Electrovox: Charlotte Mundy performs Banhoff by Natacha Diels

Qubit was proud to present Charlotte Mundy’s extended vocal palette in “Electrovox” at the Jack Arts Center in Brooklyn in July 2015. The medium of voice and interactive electronics is under-exploited, yet shockingly powerful. In Natacha Diels’s composition Banhoff, Charlotte wears a costume integrating custom-built electronic controller gloves to produce an uncanny performance.

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Saturation Concrète: TAK performs Zoopoetics by Alec Hall

In Spring 2016 Saturation Concrète explored two currents shared by young American and French musicians: “musique concrète instrumentale” is instrumental writing inspired by mid-20th century French electronic music, and “saturation” brings heavy amplification and pop-inspired elements back into the concert hall. Alec Hall’s Zoopoetics, one of the featured works, explores the mechanisms of sound production of both (non-human) animals and musical instruments—an investigation into the sounds and proto-languages of our endlessly fascinating cousins.

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