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SUNDAY, SEP 05 2010, 01:00 PM

> Information on the Moving Sounds Festival 2010



Steven Takasugi –Klavierübung– 36 min (2010 version, WORLD PREMIERE)
Georg Friedrich Haas (performed by the Argento Chamber Ensemble) - Duo for prepared Piano and Viola – 18 min (US PREMIERE)

After collaborating closely with Argento's violinist in 2008 and 2009 on his extended solo violin work "in terra fine", Haas asked Miranda Cuckson if she would play his “duo for prepared Piano and Viola”, which dates from his early days as a young composer. The work is a timbal play in which 15 strings of the piano are prepared to create overtones which blend ambiguously with those of the viola. Though this work is small in scale, virtually out of print, and rarely performed, it is one of the pieces that is dearest to the composer.

Austrian spectral composer Georg Friedrich Haas (* Graz, 1953) has been teaching counterpoint, contemporary composition techniques, analysis, and introduction to microtonal music at the Musikhochschule in Graz since 1978, first as university lecturer, later as professor. In 1997, he took a sabbatical to be able to dedicate himself completely to composing. Since 2005 Haas has taught composition classes at the Conservatory of Music of the City of Basel Music Academy.

It is the remarkable multifacetedness that makes Haas’ music so fascinating. His works are filled with a dramaturgy of sound that reveals itself to the listener very directly, and above all nonverbally. They attest to a penetration of profane life with what can only be referred to as a mystical power of sound, a unification of the pleasant and the rough, the exuberant and the ugly, in a world of sound where dissonance represents the measure of all things rather than consonance. Haas is convinced that “the various musical traditions are not looking for conformity with the proportions of the partial tone series, but rather are trying to depart from it.” It’s not about union, but dissonance, he says. According to Haas, abstract chord develops its own independent quality, says Haas, and therein lies the compositional conclusion (Lisa Farthofer, www.musicaustria.at).

Works by Haas were featured in the Moving Sounds Festival 2009, and the composer and his oeuvre were also part of the Spring 2009 ACFNY-Composer Series. Photo of Georg Friedrich Haas by Universal Edition AG.

Related article: “Disconcerting Perfection: Georg Friedrich Haas”, by Bernhard Guenther, Transforum 4

Steven Takasugi (* 1960 in Los Angeles) received his masters and doctoral degrees in composition from the University of California San Diego. His work has been performed throughout the world, at venues such as Ultraschall and MärzMusik/ Berlin, Symphony Space/New York, ICMC/ Thessaloniki, IRCAM/ Paris, Asia Music Week 2000/ Yokohama, Tempus Novum/ Tokyo and The Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music. Takasugi has authored many articles, lectured extensively on New Music and aesthetics and teaches composition at Harvard University. Furthermore, Takasugi has taught at the University of California, San Diego, the California Institute of the Arts, the Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, and HaTeiva in Jaffa, Israel.


The Argento Chamber Ensemble is the performance arm of the Argento New Music Project. The ensemble performs compositions that embody pressing musical concerns in Western music. Consisting of nine core members, the ensemble regularly expands to perform and record chamber orchestra works of up to 30 musicians. They have toured widely in the US and abroad, in festivals including the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the International Festival of Spectral Music/ Istanbul, the American Festival of Microtonal Music, the Sounds French Festival, the Kilkenny Arts Festival/ Ireland, and Shanghai´s International Festival of Electroacoustic Music. Argento has worked closely with leading composers such as Pierre Boulez, Tania Leon, Tristan Murail, Elliott Carter, Philippe Hurel, Gerard Pésson, Joshua Fineberg, and Philippe Leroux.