SOUND EXHIBITION: HOMAGES
Sound Exhibition: HOMAGES
APRIL 20–24, 2017
Austrian Cultural Forum New York
11 East 52nd Street, New York
Curated by Christian Scheib │Exhibition Design by Fränk Zimmer
APRIL 19, 4–11 PM│OPENING NIGHT
Rooftop reception and concert featuring the Talea Ensemble
FREE ADMISSION, reservations required
HOMAGES FEATURED IN THE SOUND EXHIBITION
Homage à Philip Glass by Patrick Pulsinger
Homage à Yoko Ono by Andrea Sodomka
Homage à Morton Feldman by Peter Ablinger
Homage à Charles Mingus by Peter Herbert
Homage à Pauline Oliveros by Mia Zabelka
Homage à John Zorn by Max Nagl
Homage à Cyndi Lauper by Christian Fennesz
Homage à Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five by dieb13
Homage à Maryanne Amacher by Bernd Klug
Homage à Robert Ashley by Bernhard Lang
Homage à Patti Smith by Olga Neuwirth
Homage à David Tudor by Demi Broxa (Agnes Hvizdalek und Jakob Schneidewind)
Homage à Jeanne Lee by Elisabeth Harnik
Homage à Laurie Anderson by Mira Lu Kovacs
Homage à Max Brand by Elisabeth Schimana
ABOUT THE SHOW
In celebration of the 15th anniversary of its iconic landmark building, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, in collaboration with Austria’s oldest contemporary music festival, ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst, presents the sound exhibition Homages. Opening on April 19 with a free all-evening event featuring the Talea Ensemble performing works by influential contemporary Austrian and American composers, Homages will be on view for a limited time only, until April 24, 2017.
Curated by Christian Scheib and designed by Fränk Zimmer of musikprotokoll, Homages features 15 newly composed or arranged recorded pieces by contemporary Austrian musicians, each paying tribute to one particular pivotal artist whose work was influenced by New York. The 15 commissions are spread throughout the unique architectural structure of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, inviting visitors to explore all public spaces of the building designed by Austrian architect Raimund Abraham in 1992 and completed in 2002. Aided by sensory receivers and LED light boxes, the sound pieces are installed to be experienced privately through audio devices and headphones. Curator Christian Scheib describes Homages as “a quiet display of fireworks” in a city always on full volume; “a kaleidoscope of references emerges, relating as much about the Austrian artists as the artists to whom the reference is dedicated.” Between each installation, soundscapes from NYC and Graz, Austria, will be audible, emphasizing the bridge between the two cities.
On the opening night, visitors have the rare opportunity to access the ACFNY’s private rooftop terrace, where the Talea Ensemble will perform a six-hour marathon concert. Symbolizing the heart of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York’s mission of continuous cultural exchange, the powerful program features works by the influential American composers John Zorn and Steve Reich as well as pieces by two of Austria’s living titans, Olga Neuwirth and Beat Furrer.
After its run at the ACFNY, the sound exhibition Homages travels to the Stadtwerke-Haus in Graz, Austria, as part of musikprotokoll, organized in collaboration with contemporary art festival steirischer herbst. At musikprotokoll it will be part of yet another jubilee: as Austria’s oldest festival for contemporary music, musikprotokoll celebrates its 50th edition with a dozen danceable world premieres in addition to other concerts on the festival program. musikprotokoll takes place from October 4 to 8, 2017, Homages can be experienced at Stadtwerke-Haus from September 24 to October 8, 2017.
Information in German:
A quiet display of fireworks will mark the fifteenth year since the Austrian Cultural Forum New York took residence in its Manhattan home base, an unmistakable structure that achieved legendary status from the very outset.
We all know that New York has been associated with a plethora of attributes in the last few decades. Loud and dangerous, tame and domesticated, broke and rich, beautiful and absurd, chatty and communicative, ready to go and prone to withdraw: you can find all these qualities from street to street, avenue to avenue, and neighborhood to neighborhood — sometimes all at once. All these qualities resound in just about any music that comes out of this city. We’ve heard them in the protopunk club CBGBs, in Robert Ashley’s Loft, in Phill Niblock’s experimental Downtown concert series, and in clubs that might already be old, but still excite, like the Village Vanguard and Sweet Basil.
And since the music born in this city is perceived far and wide, its qualities are equally endemic in the music of lands that seem to be far removed from New York. Precisely for this reason, and because the Austrian Cultural Forum new York considers it its task to establish a fruitful relationship between Austrian art and art from New York, our goal for this anniversary project is to bring the two worlds as close to each other as possible. When 15 Austrian composers create an homage to New York’s most influential artists, a kaleidoscope of references emerges, relating as much about the Austrian artists as about the artists to whom the reference is dedicated.
Patrick Pulsinger on Philip Glass
„Play. Come in, Philip, sit down, relax, while I press play.“ (Patrick Pulsinger)
Patrick Pulsinger (*1970, GDR) has been producing and composing music for more than twenty years and has made a name for himself in many fields. His first solo releases in the early and mid-1990s evolved around the basic, machine and analog synth-driven idea of techno. In 1993, Pulsinger co-founded the label Cheap Records. Extensive research in analog recording techniques and improvised music has led to collaborations with musicians such as Christian Fennesz, Hilary Jeffery, and Hans-Joachim Roedelius. Recent activities include working as a producer,engineer, and remixer out of is own recording studio in Vienna. He has worked with Elektro Guzzi, Killed by 9 Volt Batteries, Bulbul, Hercules and Love Affair, David Holmes, Grace Jones, the Pet Shop Boys, and many more. In addition to this, Patrick Pulsinger also composes music for theater, ballet, and film, for instance for Stefan Ruzowitzky.
Andrea Sodomka on Yoko Ono
“Yoko Ono walks the line between worlds, between art disciplines as well as her realities of life, where she comes from and where she is going. In all this, she moves with independent ideas and on independent paths. Hard to grasp, unclassifiable, thus all the more mesmerizing.” (Andrea Sodomka)
Andrea Sodomka is a composer, media artist, and curator working in the fields of intermedia art, sound art, radio art, and interactive art. Sodomka studied at the Academy of Applied Arts and the Academy of Music (Institute of Electroacoustics), Vienna. She is co-founder of alien productions, a network of artists established in 1997. Focusing on the theory and practice of technology and new media, alien productions stands especially for cooperative projects with other artists, technicians, theorists, and scientists. Andrea Sodomka lives and works in Vienna.
Peter Ablinger on Morton Feldman
Morton Feldman was a composer who left the European avant-garde behind, shedding the complexities it was fraught with. Not only did he refuse to go backwards, but he postulated a new kind of theory that stated that there must no longer be a difference between construction and reality, between concealed technique and musical event; in short – and in the words Feldman himself often used – the only thing that matters is the surface itself, not the construction behind it. Peter Ablinger, however, puts the question differently and asks: “What is a surface in music?”
Peter Ablinger, born in Schwanenstadt, Austria in 1959, studied graphic design at the Linz Polytechnic School from 1974–76 and jazz piano at the University of Music in Graz from 1977–79. From 1979 on he took private lessons in composition from Gösta Neuwirth in Graz. Parallel to this, he also took lessons from Roman Haubenstock-Ramati in Vienna until 1982. Ablinger has lived in Berlin as a freelance composer since 1982. In 1988 he founded Ensemble Zwischentöne. The exploration of unconventional instruments, venues, performance practices,and notational forms are paradigmatic for the ensemble’s work. Along with his compositional activity he has also initiated and run numerous festivals. Together with Bernhard Lang, Klaus Lang, Nader Mashayeki, and Siegwald Ganglmair he founded the publishing house Zeitvertrieb Wien Berlin. From 2012–2017 he was research professor at the University of Huddersfield.
Peter Herbert on Charles Mingus
“In ’78 I bought my first fake book. ‘Fables of Faubus’ was one of the first tunes I came across. ’79 Mingus died. I never saw him live. During my New York years I heard countless stories from fellow musicians who performed with him. This unsung hero became one of my biggest inspirations over the years. I experimented with scordatura and came up with ‘my’ Mingus tuning,E-A-eb-ab, which gives the bass a ‘major’ flavor, a quite fitting color for this giant of music.” (Peter Herbert)
The double bass player and composer Peter Herbert plays an average of 100 concerts a year with about 100,000 miles of annual traveling distance. Besides performing solo concerts, he maintains duos with David Tronzo or Carol Robinson, just to name two. His musical focus in Vienna includes collaborations with the Koehne Quartetor the cello quartet eXtracello. Much in demand as a sideman, he has collaborated with diverse jazz musicians, which has been well documented on over 150 CD recordings. Peter Herbert is also a versatile composer with works for various orchestras and chamber groups. He established his own internet-based label Aziza Music in 1999. In his native Austria he received the Hans Koller Prize (musician of the year) in 2001. Herbert has been teaching bass, improvisation, and composition at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz since 2007.
Mia Zabelka on Pauline Oliveros
“Pauline Oliveros is an extremely important pioneer of electronic music and spatial sound art. ‘Elegy for Pauline’ consists of multi-layered, electronically modified, and spatially arranged violin sounds. The piece is a reflection, an echo, a deeply personal homage to a great artist, teacher, friend, and human being, Pauline Oliveros.” (Mia Zabelka)
Mia Zabelka is a noise artist, composer, experimental violinist, and vocalist from Vienna. She studied the violin with Alexander Arnekov at the Vienna Conservatory and composition and electro-acoustic music at the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna. After completing her training with a strong classical emphasis, she continued to explore the limits of sound and music in a language entirely her own, based on the de- and reconstruction of the violin’s sonic possibilities, expanding the range of the instrument using live electronic devices, preparing it through the insertion of alien objects and innovative performance techniques. Since 2008, Mia Zabelka has been the artistic director of the Klanghaus Untergreith, an international centre for sound art in the region of Southern Styria, and since 2009 the artistic director of the Phonofemme Festival in Vienna.
Max Nagl on John Zorn
„I met John Zorn for the first time in the late eighties in Vienna, as one of the musicians performing in his game pieces, with John as the prompter. Since then and even earlier, I have admired the music of this extraordinary musician. Since it is impossible to cover the extent of John Zorn’s musical output in a three-minute piece, I decided to honour him with a tune from his Masada books, ‘Sariel’.“ (Max Nagl)
The saxophonist Max Nagl was born in Upper Austria and took clarinet and piano lessons at an early age. He then studied piano at the Bruckner Conservatory, Linz, and saxophone at the Vienna Conservatory. He has played at many jazz festivals in Europe with his own projects and bands, from different trios and duos to quartets and quintets and more recently with a 10-piece band. He has also toured in the USA, Taiwan, Australia, and North Africa. As a composer he has received numerous commissions and he writes music for theater, dance performances, radio plays, film productions, and chamber ensembles. In Austria he was awarded the Hans Koller Prize (musician of the year) in 1999. He is well-known for his often cinematic-sounding CDs and for his ability to mix different musical styles.
Christian Fennesz on Cyndi Lauper
In 1998, Mego released a vinyl single with the simple title “Fennesz — Plays”. And Fennesz played his versions of “Paint It Black” and “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head OnMy Shoulder)”, that is, Rolling Stones and Beach Boys. Now for our New York Homages project Fennesz plays again in 2017, this time Cyndi Lauper. “I played/interpreted parts of some songs my way, but in the end I focused mainly on ‘Time After Time’. Cyndi Lauper is a popicon! I think she was originally more into punk, which I’ve always liked.” (Christian Fennesz)
The Austrian guitarist, composer, and electronic musician Christian Fennesz is recognized as the key figure and one of the most distinctive voices of electronic music today. In the beginning of the 1990s Fennesz became involved with the Viennese techno scene. Though formally educated in guitar and ethnomusicology, Fennesz decided to pursue composing. By plugging his guitar into his laptop and transforming and processing it, he created his own sound world in the distinctive electronicidiom. His first full-length solo release, Hotel Paral.lel (1997), won the Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction for Digital Musics. Within the last ten years, Fennesz has collaborated with many musicians, filmmakers, and dancers. These encounters of diverse art forms have resulted in numerous stage performances and several exceptional studio albums. Fennesz’ most recent releases include his last solo album, Bécs (Editions Mego2014), and a duo recording with Jim O’Rourke, It’s Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry (2016).
dieb13 on Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
“My grandparents are called Dada, Fluxus, Punk, and Hip-Hop. Without Grandmaster Flash, DJing in its present form wouldn’t exist, and without DJing, experimental turntablism in its present form wouldn’t exist. Although I have to admit that I haven’t explored the roots of Hip-Hop systematically, Grandmaster Flash has definitely influenced my music. The starting point of my homage was a few lines from ‘It’s a Shame’ from the album ‘The Message’ from 1982.” (dieb13)
– There is no peace!
– Who wants to know?
– We do!
– Cause men love money!
The stage name dieb13 stands for Dieter Kovacic (born in 1973), who works as a musician, composer, filmmaker, programmer of open source music software, internet service provider, and organizer. He has been active in electronic, noise, and improvised music since the mid-1990s and has played more than 500 shows on four continents. He has released music on more than 30 labels as a soloist as well as a member of various orchestras, big and small ensembles, bands and duos. dieb13 runs the internet platform klingt.org, which focuses on abstract/experimental music.
Bernd Klug on Maryanne Amacher
“In 2015 I completed my MFA studies at Bard College, where Maryanne Amacher co-founded the music/sound program. Maryanne continues to be omnipresent, and over the years I have consistently tried to hear the absence of her music and to integrate her approach to technology, creative processes, and private, public as well as architectural listening habits into my own music. I’m fascinated by her life and the rigor of her work processes.” (Bernd Klug)
Bernd Klug is a sound artist and double bassist. In sound installations and solo concerts, his music questions our perceptions of sound and social space. His installations make use of acoustic phenomena like feedback, resonances, and electromagnetic waves and explore materials as audiovisual components. Recently Klug has shown his works in solo exhibitions (NYC 2013 and 2015, NJ 2014) as well as in collaboration with Johanna Tiedtke (AT 2015). His double bass work focuses on the world inside and around the double bass: the bow, the body, and room frequencies lay the groundwork for a radical reduction of both the composer-performer’s role and the traditional musical narrative. Klug was Artist in Residence at IEA, Alfred University and Wave Farm (NY), and the awardee for interdisciplinary arts 2015 from the Carinthian government (AT). His compositions received commissions by New Music USA and the Austrian Federal Chancellery.
Bernhard Lang on Robert Ashley
“I saw Robert Ashley for the first time at the Annenhof cinema in Graz with ‘Perfect Lives’ in the 80s: nowadays, I consider his works to be perhaps the most influential work of new music theater in the 21st century. This little homage is based on a loop, the enigmatic voice of one of Ashely’s artistic relatives and the crazy piano transcription of the selfsame, somehow quoting Blue Gene Tyranny’s playing.” (Bernhard Lang)
Bernhard Lang, born in Linz in 1957, has been regularly invited to present his work at the musikprotokoll festival for years. After studying in Graz, he went on to work as a composer, arranger, and pianist with different jazz bands for several years, and has experimented generating software for computer-assisted composition at the Institute of Electronic Music Graz. Today he teaches at the Universityof Music in Graz as well as internationally. Lang’s comprehensive examination of music and dance theater began with the world premiere of his Theater der Wiederholungen (Theater of Repetitions) at the steirischer herbst festival in 2003 and has paved the way for collaboration with Xavier Le Roy, Willi Dorner, Christine Gaigg, and Silke Grabinger (Moving Architecture). Currently Bernhard Lang is continuing his Differenz/Wiederholung series of compositions based on loops.
Olga Neuwirth on Patti Smith
“My fascination for Patti Smith cannot be summed up in a little homage. It would be presumptuous. My homage is a wall of sound, which is also a wall of words and screams made up of a loose succession of fragments by Patti Smith and myself. Patti Smith was for me – a punk in the Austrian countryside – and still is to me a great inspiration to go my own, non-conformist way. For me, as for many people, she is a role model of female self-empowerment. I admire her freedom and ease in confronting the legacy of rock’n’roll and her use of poetry (interpreting the words from various perspectives and taking on allimaginable roles in her performances) as well as her readiness to always publicly speak out against injustice.” (Olga Neuwirth)
Olga Neuwirth studied Composition and Music Theory at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Composition and Electronics in Vienna. During her stay in the States she also attended the San Francisco Art College, where she studied painting and film. Since the beginning of the 1980s Olga Neuwirth has worked at the interface of literature, music, acoustics, visual arts, electronics, science, and architecture. She has also realised art exhibitions, short films, and sound installations, such as the multi-media installation for the documenta 12 in Kassel and a 3D-sound-installation for Centre Pompidou in 2017. Along with her compositional activity which is focused on music-theater-pieces such as Baalambs Feast (1992/1998) after Leonora Carrington and Lost Highway (2002/03) after David Lynch, she has fused live musicians, electronics, and video into genre-crossing audiovisual experiences. Beside having received numerous prizes she was awarded the Austrian State Prize in 2010.
Demi Broxa on David Tudor
“Vocal cords oscillating near the limits of control – amplified, processed by a table full of electronic devices. Celebrating the relative serendipity that occurs, the microphone is the crossing point between today’s sources of inspiration and the history of experimental electronic music.” (Demi Broxa)
Demi Broxa is Jakob Schneidewind (bass, electronics) and Agnes Hvizdalek (voice). Together they blend electronic soundscapes with abstract vocal sounds and minimalist musical structures with organic improvisations. Operating between the poles of electronic and acoustic music, Demi Broxa creates hypnotic club music combined with bizarre sound events. In 2015, the Vienna-based music label Listen Closely released their debut album Zakeri.
Elisabeth Harnik on Jeanne Lee
„A tribute to a singer, dancer, poet, composer, improviser, educator, and working mother who embraced avantgarde and took a multidisciplinary and intercultural approach to her work, always listening with the entire body for the miracle.“ (Elisabeth Harnik)
On 52nd Street I realized Jean [sic] Lee is clothed and fed by her voice. That’s the same street my aunts and uncles were born and black on, so 52nd and 10th means something to me – like a people who come out with what they can carry: love, sweat, blood and song. Though everything we know is wonderful and rich, we, as a people, hide, to keep it safe. Jean Lee don’t. [. . .] We got a woman among us who isn’t afraid of the sound of her own voice.” (From Ntozake Shange’s review of a 1981 performance at Soundscape in New York)
Elisabeth Harnik, freelance composer and pianist, was born in Graz in 1970. She studied classical piano at the College of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, and started her career with different forms of improvised music. Later she studied composition with Beat Furrer at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz. Now Harnik moves freely between the fields of improvisationand composition, clearly differentiating these two very different disciplines in her personal approachand application. She has received numerous commissions, and her compositions are performed regularly at concerts and festivals for contemporary music. In addition to her work as a composer, she appears as a pianist at concerts and festivals for improvised music and has worked with many renowned exponents of the contemporary jazz scene in Europe and abroad.
Mira Lu Kovacs on Laurie Anderson
“From the beginning I've felt attracted by the way Laurie Anderson takes her androgyny for granted and the sober, natural way she embraces it, on and off the stage. In my search for things we share or perhaps things that set us apart, what became apparent was our love of reduction, of a certain simplicity. Apart,from that I realized that Anderson’s music is unrelentingly hypnotizing and comforting at the same time, like someone explaining that life doesn’t last forever, and that that’s a good thing.” (Mira Lu Kovacs)
Mira Lu Kovacs is a singer, guitarist, songwriter, and lyricist. Best known for her band SchmiedsPuls (winner of the FM4 Award 2016), which released two full-length albums and toured in Europe and North America, the singer also dedicates her time to various other projects. The recent collaboration with the critically acclaimed jazz/electro-improv band Kompost 3 is just one of them. Over the past years she has worked with Richard Eigner (aka Ritornell), Bernhard Eder, Lukas Lauermann, Cid Rim, Clemens Wenger, to name a few. Robert Rotifer (FM4) wrote about Mira LuKovacs: “This woman knows how to use both her wide-ranging, changeable voice and her stunning classical guitar technique to spectacular effect.”
Elisabeth Schimana on Max Brand
“To someone who went out into the world to become a pioneer. To someone whose insatiable desire for the theater made him invent machines for the opera. To someone who left me a legacy of visions and machines.” (Elisabeth Schimana)
Elisabeth Schimana has been working as a composer, performer, and radio artist since 1983. She studied electro-acoustics and experimental music at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, computer music at the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics in Graz, and musicology and ethnology at the University of Vienna. Her artistic work is centred around space/body/electronics. She has collaborated for years with the Austrian Kunstradio. She also founded the IMA Institute of Media Archaeology and has focused her research on women in art and technology. Elisabeth Schimana gives lectures and holds composition workshops all over the world.
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Christian Scheib, born in 1961, studied Music and Musicology in Vienna and Berlin. He was New Music Chief Producer at ORF/Radio Ö1 from 1993 to 2007, Head of Music Department at Radio Ö1(2007–2011) and Head of Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna (2009–2014). He has been curating the festival ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst since 1995. Scheib was a visiting lecturer at theSchool of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts (1998) and lecturer for Music Aesthetics at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts. He has edited and written several books such as das rauschen, Transfer – Metapher – Übertragung, and In the East – New Music Territories.
Fränk Zimmer, born in Luxembourg in 1972, lives in Graz since 1994. Since the 1990s he has explored the electric guitar and electronic musical instruments. He studied Telecommunications Engineering at the Lycée des Arts et Métiers in Luxembourg and Musicology at the Universities of Graz and Vienna. Since 2002 he has worked on numerous sound and media installation projects in public space and in art-designated spaces. He also acts as editor of several publications focusing on interweaving media art and applied social research. Zimmer is the producer and co-curator of the ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst.
EVENTS IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE EXHIBITION
APRIL 19, 4–11 PM│OPENING NIGHT
Rooftop reception and concert featuring the Talea Ensemble
OPENING NIGHT ROOFTOP CONCERT PROGRAM
Steve Reich: New York Counterpoint (1985)
John Zorn: All Hallows Eve (2012)
Olga Neuwirth: Weariness heals wounds I (2014)
Beat Furrer: Lotófagos (2006)
Set will be repeated throughout the evening.
Rane Moore, clarinet
Jessie Fellows, violin
Elizabeth Weisser Helgeson, viola
John Popham, cello
Brian Ellingsen, double bass
Juliet Fraser, soprano
Sam Torres, electronics
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Bringing New York and Austria together, the program builds a musical bridge by joining four of the most influential composers from both countries. Americans John Zorn and Steve Reich will come together with two of Austria’s living titans, Olga Neuwirth and Beat Furrer. From John Zorn’s Schoenbergian twelve-tone methods to Beat Furrer’s minimalistically repetitive cells linking his Lotófagos to American minimalist Steve Reich, the performance will celebrate the musical bonds of these great artists. Symbolizing the heart of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York’s mission of continuous cultural exchange, the concert features the ACFNY’s long-time US partners, the Talea Ensemble with esteemed guest soprano Juliet Fraser, and will transport audiences to Austria and back.
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