thingNYQueens, NY NYC Impact Fund
thingNY is a quirky collective of New York composer-performers who fuse electronic and acoustic chamber music with new opera, improvisation, theater, text, song and installation. Founded in 2006 for an ad hoc festival in the historic Loew’s Jersey City Theater, thingNY performs experimental sound works created collaboratively and individually by the core ensemble – Paul Pinto, Erin Rogers, Jeffrey Young, Gelsey Bell, Dave Ruder, and Andrew Livingston – and by adventurous composers such as Robert Ashley, Frederic Rzewski, John King, Pauline Oliveros, Miguel Frasconi, Vinko Globokar, John Cage, Julius Eastman, James Tenney, David Snow, and Andrea La Rose. In 2017-18 thingNY will premiere “Passover” a newly commissioned work by composer and Obie-award winning playwright Rick Burkhardt and perform 10 shows for the HERE Art Center‘s production of Thomas Paine in Violence by thingNY’s own Paul Pinto.
The musicians of thingNY are a prolific bunch. They’ve collaboratively created three concert-length operas: This Takes Place Close By, “the collective’s darkest piece yet” (Village Voice) explores the reactions of isolated individuals in the wake of a devastating storm. Premiering September 2015 at The Knockdown Center, a 50,000 square-foot space in Maspeth, Queens, the opera toured to Philadelphia, Boston, New Haven, and Edmonton and Calgary (Canada) during its production. ADDDDDDDDD indulged the sweet sounds of excess, premiering in 2009, followed by a studio release in 2010 complete with a comic-book libretto. Time: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts, a 2011 performance collaboration with Panoply Performance Laboratory was accompanied by a 250-page hardcover book. Later in 2011 thingNY created In House, a sound installation with music created for each of the rooms commonly found in a home, to be played simultaneously. From 2009-2012, thingNY premiered hundreds of works over the course of three marathon performances called SPAM, in which the ensemble sent out a mass call for scores by email and performed every submitted piece. Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment: an Opera by Paul Pinto and Jeffrey Young, a 30-minute, politically-charged, theatrical work, was created and performed by the thingNY members in the title. It premiered in 7 West Coast performances in 2011, and toured to 17 cities in 17 days in June 2013 and to Mexico, Southern California and Mesa Arizona’s Oh My Ears Marathon in January 2016. thingNY joined indie superstar, Helado Negro, in the collaborative string-conducted project, Brainfinger, presented by the 2015 Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Hall. thingNY has premiered many compact, high-energy chamber works by individual group members, including Paul Pinto’s wildly verbose minis series and Erin Rogers’ whimsical Trajectories, released on Gold Bolus records in 2016 and covered by the cast of Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.
thingNY is a driving force in the New York music community, working to bolster and support new music and experimental performance, curating the New Music Showdown (2013-2014) and the Immediacies Series (2012-2014), putting a swath of performers from NYC and beyond in conversation with one another and allowing them to perform anti-concert-hall, or difficult-to-program works. thingNY has also performed important contemporary works such as Frederic Rzewski’s Attica (1971), the New York premiere of Vinko Globokar’s rarely staged opera Un Jour Comme Un Autre (1975), and played a large role in Varispeed’s acclaimed site-specific adaptation of Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives (1983).
thingNY has produced some of its most interesting performances in underutilized spaces. In 2014, with the teenage new music ensemble Face the Music, the ensemble created a spatial work on the walkway surrounding the Queens Museum‘s 9335 square foot Panorama of New York City. Their mobile sound installation In House housed itself, among other places, in an abandoned Lower East Side apartment and an 18th century house museum. And, in an industrious flurry, the group refitted an old taxi garage for a three-day festival of experimental opera in Long Island City in 2012.
thingNY has received support from the Aaron Copland Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Network of Ensemble Theaters, Chamber Music America, the Queens Council on the Arts, and is a member of the New Music USA Inaugural Impact Fund Cohort, with residencies at Incubator Arts Project, Harvestworks, Standard Toykraft, Orange Theater, and the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. In 2013, the ensemble helped launch Spaceworks LIC, with an intimate performance for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. thingNY is featured on Season 3 of the Made HERE documentary series, devoted to the lives of performing artists based in New York City.
Trajectories (EXCERPT) by Erin Rogers
Trajectories (2013) by Erin Rogers
Performed by thingNY
EXCERPT – Mvt I. Money / Mvt III. Love
February 18, 2015
Ecstatic Music Festival
Merkin Hall, Kaufman Center, NYC
Gelsey Bell (Sop/celtic hp)
Paul Pinto (Ten/perc)
Erin Rogers (sax/vocals)
Jeff Young (vln/vocals)
Andrew Livingston (db/vocals)
Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment: an opera by Paul Pinto and Jeffrey Young
Finale from …Patriots…, a verbose satirical (and portable) opera for voices, violin, percussion, a turntable, electronics, and lots of cardboard boxes, focusing on issues of immigration and national identity. Instrumental music alternates with sung and spoken words, zany and humorous topical quips alternate with personal, pointed critiques of the political zeitgeist, fully notated sections merge into structured musical and textual improvisations, and tonal harmonies mix with less traditional musical effects.
Around and Abound – Chorale No. 4 – Chorale No. 5 (from ADDDDDDDDD)
This excerpt from thingNY’s first experimental opera highlights the everyday excesses of gluttony and consumerism, and turns it into a suite of attention-deficient songs, monologues and infomercials.
Written and performed by:
Jeffrey Young, voice and violin; Paul Pinto, voice, percussion, keys and electronics;
Andrew Livingston, voice and bass; Isabel Castellvi, voice and cello; Erin Rogers, voice and saxophone