The celebrated New York-born composer and electronic musician Dan Deacon returns to the Ecstatic Music Festival following last year’s sold-out collaboration with So Percussion. This time around, Deacon has prepared a series of new works for two chamber groups: NOW Ensemble, dubbed “a deft young group gaining attention” (New Yorker), and the “outstanding” (New York Times) Calder Quartet.
This concert is a part of the Ecstatic Music Festival and will be webcast live on our sister station WQXR's web service, Q2. Bonus live introductions and interviews with host John Schaefer will be taped from the stage for later broadcast on New Sounds.
Absurdist composer and electronic musician, Dan Deacon, is based in Baltimore, Maryland. Musically influenced by Devo, Talking Heads, Scratch Orchestra, People Like Us, Raymond Scott and Conlon Nancarrow, Dan’s music strives to take contemporary experimental composition and electronic music out of the circle of the esoteric intellectual gangs and hipster communities, placing it into the more informal “fun time.” His high-energy performances consist of song-structured material performed with Casio keyboard, computer, vocoder and many whosits and whatsits to process his voice and signal generator. His performance and compositional techniques shows strong influences from the Fluxus Movement, Italian Futurism, Performance Art, Spiderman, Absurdism, and the current movement in underground rock. While maintaining a constant performance and tour schedule Dan has spent most of his time working on pieces for brass ensemble, string quartet, solo cello, solo study and his study in mid and high frequency sine waves. Dan Deacon has performed with Cat Power, People Like Us, Matmos, Tracy and the Plastics, Rasputina, Dufus, Kool Keith, MC Paul Barum, Prince Paul, Blue Oyster Cult, Oxes, Grand Buffet, Arab On Radar, Rainer Maria, the Aquabats and many others.
is a dynamic young group of performers and composers dedicated to making new chamber music for the 21st century. With its unique instrumentation of flute, clarinet, electric guitar, double bass, and piano, the ensemble brings a fresh sound and a new perspective to the classical tradition, infused with a blend of musical influences that reflects the diverse backgrounds and listening experiences of its members. Their music has been described as “formal elegance … with a pop honed concision and rhythmic vitality” by Time Out New York, and their sophomore release has been called “a truly delightful experience from beginning to end” by The Silent Ballet. They play in concert halls and art museums, rock clubs and jazz venues, for large audiences and for intimate gatherings, acoustic and plugged in. Above all, they strive for performances that are as lively and engaging as they are rigorous and technically sophisticated. Since 2004, NOW has maintained its lineup with Alex Sopp on the flute, Sara Phillips on the clarinet, Mark Dancigers on the electric guitar, Michael Mizrahi on the piano, and Peter Rosenfeld on the double bass, and with Patrick Burke and Judd Greenstein, along with Mark, as the composers. Each of the performers in NOW Ensemble are virtuoso players with distinguished solo careers and a wide variety of experience in other ensembles and genres of music. They’ve given recitals in Carnegie Hall, been members of world class orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, and the American Composers Orchestra, and have appeared onstage and on recordings with indie rockers like Sufjan Stevens, The National, and Bright Black Morning Light. This breadth of experience, rather than distracting from their roles in NOW Ensemble, brings an essential diversity of sound and perspective to the group, something that is required in their interpretations of the widely varied scores and approaches that they encounter when working with today’s best young composers.
Calder Quartet is an LA-based string quartet who perform traditional classical repertoire as well as partner with modern composers, emerging musicians, and performers across genres. Called "superb" by the New York Times, the group defies boundaries through performing a broad range of repertoire at an exceptional level, always striving to channel the true intention of the work's creator. Since forming at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 1998, they have become the choice of many leading composers to perform their works - including Christopher Rouse, Terry Riley and Thomas Adès. The group's distinctive approach is exemplified by a musical curiosity brought to everything they perform, whether it's Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, or sold-out rock shows with bands like The National or The Airborne Toxic Event. Known for the discovery, commissioning, recording and mentoring of some of today's best emerging composers (over 25 commissioned works to date), the group continues to work and collaborate with artists across musical genres, spanning the ranges of the classical and contemporary music world, as well as rock, dance, and visual arts; and in venues ranging from art galleries and rock clubs to Carnegie and Walt Disney concert halls. Inspired by innovative American artist Alexander Calder, the Calder Quartet's desire to bring immediacy and context to the works they perform, creates an artfully crafted musical experience.