The [Switch~ Ensemble] Upstate New York Tour: Concerts, Residencies, and Recordings
The [Switch~ Ensemble] seeks support for a tour of concerts and residencies throughout upstate New York. Founded in Rochester, NY, our ensemble is excited to embark on a homecoming tour that features new world premieres alongside works by pioneering composers with ties to the region.
The crux of our project is a major new work for ensemble and live electronics by Matt Sargent, a former Buffalo resident and current professor of electronic music at Bard College. Our repertoire includes works by the laureates of our 2016-2017 International Commissioning Competition, works by Earle Brown and Morton Feldman, and works by composers with a connection to each tour stop: Annandale-on-Hudson, Woodstock, Ithaca, Rochester, and Buffalo.
Sargent’s new work, Three Rooms, draws inspiration from a three-stanza poem by Robert Creeley entitled “Kitchen”. Creeley is naturally connected to our other programming, too, both through his longtime residence in Buffalo and his affiliation with Black Mountain College.
Sargent writes: There’s a connection in these three stanzas with the three stages of life: birth, life, and death. The last section: “perpetually sweeping / this room, I want it to be / like it was,” is a phrase that I’ve ingrained over the years. It comes to mind daily, while working through the habits and practice that make up a musical life. I am always the most interested to work with simple materials – to explore a kind of delicate, cyclical writing for the ensemble, changing in shades as the music moves through its metaphorical day.
Our tour begins with three days in the electronic music studios at Bard College. Bard has always had close ties to experimentalism, and we feel it a fitting place to kick off our tour and premiere Matt’s new work. The following day, we will perform at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, featuring chamber repertoire, pioneering electroacoustic works, and two works by Bard students. The WAAM holds a prominent collection of the works of Philip Guston, so we are especially excited to share works by Feldman and Brown at this venue.
Subsequently, we will spend six days in Ithaca in a residency at Cornell University, performing works from our program alongside music by internationally renowned faculty and students, and two days in Rochester working with local composers and Eastman faculty. Our tour concludes with two days of events in residency and collaboration with composers at Buffalo State University.
As our most ambitious curatorial venture to date, this tour comes at a pivotal time in our ensemble’s life. After thoughtfully considering our collaborators and programming for over a year, this homecoming tour will be a milestone achievement in our 6th season. We are passionate about this repertoire and excited to share it with audiences beyond our planned tour. Indeed, we have plans for a long life for these works, including projects in the 2018-2019 season in San Diego, NYC, and San Francisco, where our artistic director Jason Thorpe Buchanan is a curator at the Center for New Music.
This 3-minute excerpt is from a performance of the [Switch~ Ensemble] in November of 2013, with Jason Thorpe Buchanan, conductor, and Sophia Burgos, soprano. It is the 2nd movement of Philippe Leroux’s 5-movement work, Voi(rex), a 23-minute piece for soprano, ensemble, and live electronics. This was our first major performance together as an ensemble—and the one that sparked our vision to life. More at http://www.switchensemble.com
A U.S. premiere of “Jökulsárlón” will be included in our upstate NY tour. “Visiting Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, I was left speechless by both the sight and sounds before me. As the glacier slowly melts, it creates a lagoon full of ice crystals of all shapes and sizes, which crackle and hiss gently. The vastness of the lagoon seemed to amplify these sounds; they were simultaneously delicate and striking. While writing, I attempted to create a world that was similarly sparse yet captivating, in reflection of the natural polyphony of the ice.”
This sample illustrates the beauty & subtlety of Sargent’s electroacoustic works.
T.Saint, B.Solomon, & J.Torrence, Sep.30 2016, WAAM (Woodstock NY). Ghost Light Trio is a ten-minute work for percussion and field recordings, focusing on two fragile strata of activity. A narrow band of small metal percussion instruments, which are sounding as a single, ever-changing bell tone throughout, and a build-up of many layers of field recordings, played through two speakers placed in hallways or open spaces adjacent to the hall.
Start and End Dates
02/23/2018 — 04/06/2018
Annandale-on-Hudson, Woodstock, Ithaca, Rochester, and Buffalo, New York