Tag Archives: music+art

From the Center: John Zorn Marathon

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Artist vision. Undiluted. So reads the credo of Tzadik, visionary composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist and MacArthur Fellow John Zorn’s not-for-profit cooperative record label. Zorn’s impact on contemporary music worldwide is immeasurable. His vision is vital and relentlessly prolific. As we have worked with John Zorn over the course of almost two years to help realize his vision for this robust day of performance, his first time in Los Angeles in 25 years, we have borne witness to his deep sense of rigor and the profound persistence of his undiluted artist vision.

Zorn’s remarkably diverse aesthetic draws inspiration from art, literature, film, theater, philosophy, alchemy, and mysticism. For those of you here tonight who were also among the many intrepid explorers of Zorn’s artistic vision through the halls of the permanent
collections of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art earlier today, we thank you for joining us on this marathon. And we suspect you’re still vibrating with the incredible energy brought to that space by a group of truly commanding musicians—Kinan Idnawi, Mellissa Hughes, Kirsten Sollek, Jane Sheldon, Jack Quartet, Kenny Wollesen, Carol Emanuel, Chris Otto, Kevin Mcfarland, Dave Lombardo, William Winant, Nava Dunkelman and Zorn himself. Today’s musical progress through LACMA could not have happened without our friends Claire Kim, Jane Burrell and Mitch Glickman at LACMA.

It is an experience we will not soon forget. We are incredibly grateful to them, all the artists and everyone at LACMA for saying yes to making that experience happen. Everyone who steps into the hall tonight will keep the vibration going, into the wee small hours of tomorrow after Zorn’s eclectic midnight organ recital.

It has truly been a marathon, one that has gathered so much momentum as this epic moment in the art of performance drew near. Helping set the tone for tonight on the Royce Terrace are artists from our most immediate community, UCLA students and faculty who have been influenced by Zorn’s work. Our thanks also go to Ganavya Doraiswamy, Elizabeth Erickson, Hassan Estakhrian, Putu Hiranmayena, Aaron Hogan, Molly Jones, AJ Kluthm Elisabeth Le Guin, Steven Loza, Alex W. Rodriguez, Mehrenegar Rostami, Richard Savery, Otto Stuparitz, Andrea Vancura, Jordan Watson, Dave Wilson, who performed a series of improvisational duets, inspired by Zorn’s compositional techniques.

Today is for all of us. For everyone Zorn has influenced, inspired, thrilled or challenged—artists and music lovers, Zorn aficionados and newcomers to his work, collaborators and curiosity seekers.

Today is a beautiful example of what we make together as artists and audiences. Together, in this moment in time we become the permanent collection of this project. There will be no John Zorn Marathon album to re-visit, no poster or painting to hang on a wall. But there will be all of us. We are the keepers and caretakers of this incredible moment in the art of performance.

Thank you for being part of the permanent collection.

From the Center: ‘River of Fundament’ by Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler–Royce Hall April 25, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Nearly seven years in the making, River of Fundament is Matthew Barney’s largest filmic undertaking since The Cremaster Cycle—an an elaborate contemporary opera of cinematic dimension.

Alluring, authentic and intense, it is a vast, multidimensional experience interspersed with remarkable live performances.
The multidimensional scope of Barney’s work in River of Fundament is truly epic and vast. His longstanding collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler is alive in the structure and operatic pacing of the work, and Bepler’s score is extraordinary.

In the extensive advance planning to present River of Fundament at the Center, we discussed at length the requirements associated with Barney/ Bepler’s vision for the work. Put succinctly, it was envisioned to be held within the architecture of a “grand concert venue” and in this presentation, Royce Hall itself plays a role in the framing of Barney’s original intent. Royce Hall technical and production staff have made major adjustments to the soundscape in order to balance the acoustic properties of Royce with the rich and refined composition of Bepler. These details aren’t visually apparent – but will certainly be in the aural experience, the effort of which warrants mention.

In an era of downloadable clips, and repeated loops and various points of digital points of reference, we are honored to be able to present River of Fundament as it was meant to be experienced – live, large, an epic in its entirety, surrounded by the refined acoustics that simply cannot be achieved without this grand
architecture.

We are also proud to collaborate with fellow artsinstitutions
around the presentation of this work, starting with the Manchester International Arts Festival where it had its World Premiere—UCLA
Hammer Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

This week the Hammer Museum presented the entire Cremaster Cycle, giving local Barney aficionados a chance to view that seminal work in anticipation of this West Coast premiere. The Hammer also hosted a discussion between Barney, Bepler and Kenneth Reinhard, UCLA associate professor of English and Comparative Lit.

In September MOCA opens the eponymous exhibition, Matthew Barney: River of Fundament, featuring 14 large-scale sculptures weighing up to 25 tons, drawings, photographs, and vitrines
that were inspired by or made in conjunction with the film. The exhibition will be presented at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo, from September 13 through January 18, 2016.

Matthew Barney is one of the most influential artists of his generation, and our multi-institutional collaboration is a testament to Barney’s relevance and vision, while marking the collegial esprit du corps there is among all of us in Los Angeles.

Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA makes Royce Hall the creative home for many performing artists from here and around the world. So too for the audiences who have dubbed us their ‘living room’ for live performance. Feel free to ‘move in’ for this unforgettable night – a journey in in many ways – and thank you for being here.

From the Center: Ethel ‘Documerica’–Schoenberg Hall April 17, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Thank you for joining us as we welcome ETHEL back to the program. If you’ve experienced this masterful quartet before, you know well just how buoyant and electrifying they are in live performance. This very special multimedia project allowed the members of ETHEL to apply their keen artistic sensibilities to a major photographic undertaking of the people, places and landscapes that comprise this country.

At first blush it might not seem so significant to think that there is a massive collection of images documenting daily life in the U.S. After all, here in 2015, we are confronted daily by, or making our own contributions to, myriad social media applications that allow us to share any and all photographic details of our independent experiences. Most of us walk around holding in our hands the ability to snap a high-quality photograph of anything that moves us– ourselves, our meals, people and sights around us. We can even immediately and sophisticatedly edit, stylize and share that image fairly broadly.

But from 1972-1977, this was decidedly not the case, and therefore the 15,000 images now available to view from the EPA’s Documerica project, if you take pause to consider how nascent the digital world was then, is utterly fascinating. Don’t be surprised if you leave here feeling inspired to peruse the entire archive. (Which you can do at Flickr.com)

Investigating these images and selecting ones that resonated was the driving force behind each composer’s approach to their segment on tonight’s program. Their highly individual and creative responses to the imagery they encountered has resulted in new layers of poignancy and buoyancy around each shot.

Combined with the creative editing and technologies employed in this unique performance project and animated further by ETHEL’s incredible stage presence, it makes for an unforgettable program of sight and sound.

Sit back and enjoy.