Quién Como Tú (Who Like You)
New Music Detroit (NMD) requests support for a commissioning project that will result in a new work for our ensemble by composer Angélica Negrón. With her characteristically imaginative instrumentation, use of electronics and sampling, and sound described as “at once futuristic and nostalgic” (NPR), Negrón’s music is ideally suited for NMD’s artistic style and repertoire.
Using personal data and introspective observations gathered in her visual journal, Negrón intends to sonically translate the underlying patterns that characterize her life at present. To flesh out her self-exploration, she will layer micro-samples from early-90s Latin pop hits into the work, reflecting her childhood inspirations and lifelong musical development. Of her plans for the piece, she writes:
“I will map my current experience as a 38-year-old living in New York with specific sounds and meaningful intimate memories from when I was a young girl living in Puerto Rico. In juxtaposing these two very different times in my life, I will embark on an inquiry process that could spark insights into my identity and the way I interact with the world.”
Although she continues to gain recognition nationwide, Negrón’s music has seldom – if ever – been heard in Detroit. We are eager to introduce Detroit audiences to her music at our annual Strange Beautiful Music (SBM) festival in 2020, a three-day new music marathon. A multi-instrumentalist, Negrón will have the opportunity to perform/program a set of works during SBM. Through her set, NMD’s audiences will become familiar with her artistic personality and gain insight into her inspirations and aspirations. This will help build excitement for the deeply personal premiere later in the weekend.
Increasingly, NMD is prioritizing commissioning, growing the portfolio of works that we’ve brought into existence. Our most recent commission resulted in a new work by Annie Gosfield, inspired by Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals, which Gosfield cites as one of her own early artistic influences. Building on themes of personal and cultural evolution, and of art’s role in self-actualization, we feel that Negrón is the right composer to help us carry on the conversations started during our project with Gosfield. We are particularly interested in growing the body of repertoire written by diverse female composers with unique perspectives on social issues: Negrón adeptly investigates issues of gender, violence, identity, place, and personhood in her work.
This premiere will reach an audience of 300-400 people who take part in SBM: in addition to Michigan residents, the festival attracts audiences and musicians from across the country and occasionally international guests. We plan to record the work as part of an album featuring NMD commissions (including the above-mentioned Gosfield work). Other performances of this commission will be announced as plans come together.
Marc Mellits’ “Prime” appears as the final piece on NMD’s debut recording, “Smoke”. Collaborators since NMD’s early days, we’ve come to be closely associated with Mellits and the qualities found in his music: driving rhythms paired with lyrical beauty; virtuosity; an affinity for minimalism; and a melding of classical and pop sensibilities. PopMatters wrote: “An epic work from Mellits, the players from [NMD] deserve heaps of praise for maintaining the energy and virtuosity necessary to honor the composer’s complex vision.”
This composition is an example of Negrón’s compelling work for chamber ensemble. With its use of the inventive gamelan electrika, it is a definitive example of her use of cutting-edge instrumentation and new sounds within a well-established compositional tradition (in this case, minimalism). Like Mellits, she demonstrates herself to be a composer whose music is at once accessible and invigoratingly new. We’ve paired these works to demonstrate the ways in which Negrón fits within, and adds to, NMD’s signature repertoire.
This video features the second performance of NMD’s recently commissioned work by Annie Gosfield, part of SBM 2019. The sample is indicative of NMD’s commissioning objectives: working with female composers, melding nostalgia and innovation, and offering opportunities for composers to realize the works that they most want to create. As will be the case with our Negrón commission, “Detroit Industry” was a deeply personal project for Gosfield, who had always dreamed of creating a work inspired by Rivera’s monumental murals.
Start and End Dates
06/01/2020 — 05/31/2021