That the serious music world is beset by an aging repertoire is widely acknowledged. One-hundred-year-old works by Bartók are still called “New Music,” and the bulk of concert music’s audience still expects and rewards programming with a Romantic preponderance. SUNY-New Paltz’s Davenport American Music series was conceived in part to devote the institution’s performance resources to the development of bracing new repertoire and emerging artists, and in so doing connect New Paltz to similar currents flowing locally at Bard, at EMPAC in Troy, at the late Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening Institute, at Basilica Hudson and in the variety of experimental music programming to be found in the Beacon area.
On Saturday, March 10, the acclaimed percussionist and composer Susie Ibarra joins forces with the experimental flautist and MacArthur “genius grant”-winner Claire Chase and SUNY-faculty member and pianist Alex Peh to premiere Ibarra’s newest work, Talking Gong for flute, percussion, and piano. A major figure in the New York City jazz and experimental music community, Ibarra is in some ways emblematic of the new kind of unifying figure in serious music. She has worked alongside such avant-garde and downtown jazz luminaries as Pauline Oliveros, John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, Craig Taborn and Mark Ribot, but she was also named “Best Percussionist” in the 2010 DownBeat magazine International Readers’ Poll and was a featured performer at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“I am excited to write this special composition for Alex Peh, inspired by the gong-chime culture of Southeast Asia and particularly the rhythms and language of the Philippine Maguindanaon talking gongs, the gandingan, which were originally used not only to play music, but also to speak language,” Ibarra said. “I am inspired by Susie’s deep cultural connection with her Filipina heritage and the ways in which this connection permeates her boundary-breaking work as a jazz percussionist, composer and improviser,” said Peh, a pianist and assistant professor in the Department of Music at SUNY-New Paltz.
Claire Chase is a renowned flautist, composer and advocate for new and experimental music. She is the founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble, an American Music Center Trailblazer Award-winning collective that has premiered more than 800 works since its inception in 2001. Chase will perform a portion of a newly commissioned piece by Marcos Balter, titled PAN, for solo flute and community participation.
This evening of new American music will take place on Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m. at the Studley Theatre on the SUNY-New Paltz campus. General admission tickets cost $8, with student and senior discounts available. For more information, visit www.newpaltz.edu/music.