After four years, 27 composers, and 48 world premieres, ICElab has been a transformative program for ICE and for the participating composers. With important support from New Music USA, ICElab is closing out on a powerful note. In its final year, there are currently only two ICElab commissions that have yet to be premiered, and we hope you’ll keep your eyes out for them!
Suzanne Farrin’s new opera, For the Love of Thomas, is a monodrama, setting the love letters of Michelangelo. A selection from the full work was recently premiered as part of the Tertulia series in April 2015, featuring the inimitable countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. The premiere of the full work will be presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on April 1-3, 2016. Sabrina Schroeder’s ICElab commission also received a partial premiere, occurring last February at Toronto Soundstreams. ICE will premiere the full work next season in Chicago, as a part of OpenICE.
The most recent major ICElab premiere was Phonobellow (2015). Zosha Di Castri’s and David Adamcyk’s evening-length work received its world premiere performance at the Agora Hydro-Québec on March 5, 2015 as part of the Montreal New Music Festival. Phonobellow combines theatrical and visual elements with sound installation and live performance to explore the meaning of and relationship between the 1877 inventions of the high-speed camera and the phonograph. These two inventions, Di Castri explains, represent an “interesting moment in history…which caused people to reflect on their perception.” As a musical-theatrical work, Phonobellow’s staging features a large, bellowing, accordion-like structure visually mimicking the bellows of cameras from this period. The quintet of musicians are staged among the bellows, moving around and in some cases interacting with its towering structure.With dynamic lighting, and the use of electronics, the activities on stage become an immersive reflection on the two inventions which, according to Di Castri and Adamcyk, presented a historical turning point in our creation and experience of media. Phonobellow was premiered as part of the Montreal New Music Festival on March 5, 2015. Four days earlier, the work was given a preview performance at Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side, as part of ICE’s free OpenICE series at Abrons.
Please enjoy this excerpt from the premiere on DigitICE, ICE’s online concert archive.
In addition to these exciting premieres, ICE has continued to draw on our important and lasting collaborative relationships with previous ICElab composers. ICE performed Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s In the Light of Air at MCA Chicago on April 25 and will perform the evening-length work again at the Ojai Music Festival on June 13th. This work in addition to Transitions, another work of Thorvaldsdottir’s, were recently recorded by ICE for the Somo Luminous label based in Virginia. On April 12, ICE’s bassoonist Rebekah Heller gave world premieres of works by ICElab composers Felipe Lara and Carla Kihlstedt, as part of the ongoing free OpenICE series at the Hideout in Chicago. In NYC, Ryan Muncy and Peter Evans premiered ICElab composer Marcos Balter’s Landscape of Fear at Abrons Arts Center. ICElab has fostered these fruitful, artistic relationships that are continuing to generate new works of art even as the program officially comes to a close. As we move forward, we are excited to build not only on these relationships, but also on what we’ve learned about the infinite collaborative possibilities between composer and performer.