Live Stage: Performance of Cage Song Books [NYC, NY]

cage.jpgThere will be a performance of John Cage’s Song Books, a non-foreseeable music theatre, with Kara Feely, Jessica Feldman, Gisburg, Beth Griffith, Travis Just, Christian Kesten, Dafna Naphtali, Craig Shepard, Harris Wulfson on Tuesday May 1st 2007 at 8:30 pm. at Medicine Show Theatre, 549 West 52nd, 3rd Floor, New York. Admission: $10.

John Cage’s “Song Books”, which he wrote in 1970, consist of 90 solos. Cage uses a wide variety of vocal styles: Imitations of classical opera arias by Mozart, Satie-like chansons, folk singing, pop singing, Indian raga style, breath sounds, cheerleader shouting, Cage’s special technique of “falsetto and grunts”, or Cage’s own type of Aria or Arioso: a virtuoso performance will include a wide variety of styles of singing and vocal production.

A performance may be done by any number of singers/performers, each of them making an independent program filling an agreed-upon time length. Any superimposition or silence may occur by chance. The texts which are used are by two of John Cage’s favorites: French composer Erik Satie and the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, both known for their anarchic spirit. Cage’s notion of “theatre” does not imply expressive, psychological acting, but merely an impassive performance of simple actions. The order of actions is determined by means of chance operations. The outcome is an exuberant potpourri of vocal production, superimposed by a theatre of absurd actions, a partly non-foreseeable music theatre, entertaining in its anarchic spirit, opening ears and eyes!

Kara Feely is a director/writer/designer for experimental theater and co-founder of Object Collection. Her upcoming project, FAMOUS ACTORS, will premiere at the Ontological Theater in June.

Jessica Feldman is a New York-based intermedia artist working with sound, sculpture, installation, interactivity and technology. Pieces often occur in extremely public or extremely private spaces and have been performed, installed and exhibited internationally at art galleries, concert halls, public parks, city streets, tiny closets and the internet. Her work has received grants/awards from the LMCC, the Max Kade Foundation and Columbia University, among others.

Gisburg is a singer and composer who composes cinematographic music and melody minimalism. She performed and toured Classical New Music extensively with Dieter Schnebel’s “maulwerker” ensemble from Berlin. She recorded several CDs for Tzadik and an experimental trip-hop soundtrack for “High Life”. She sings chinese Pop Music of the 30’s and 50’s and is a member of the Hai-Tien Choir with Mrs. Pi-Chu Hsiao. As a sound and music editor for film she has worked with Abigail Child, Ethan Coen, Robert Duvall and Rob Marshall (a.m.o.). Currently she is working on the film music for Hounddog by Debra Kampmeier.

Since her European debut 25 years ago with Mauricio Kagel’s solo theater piece Phonophonie, Beth Griffith has performed at festivals across Europe and America (Warsaw Autumn, Cologne Triennale, Wien Modern, Numus Festival, RIAC, Donaueschingen Musiktage, Darmstadt Summer Courses ,Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik , ISCM and New Music America a.o.) Recent New York performances: “Rhythm inthe Kitchen” festival, the Stone, Roulette, Medicine Show Theatre, PS 122.

Travis Just is a composer and performer of experimental music and co-founder of the New York-based performance group Object Collection. His work has recently been seen at the Ontological Incubator, Experimental Intermedia, Chez Bushwick/AMBUSH, Brooklyn College, Columbia University, Merce Cunningham Studio, CalArts, Kenyon College, TESLA/Podewil (Berlin), Galerie Mark Müller (Zürich), Kunst-Station Sankt Peter (Cologne), and Kunstraum (Düsseldorf).

Christian Kesten lives in Berlin, Germany and works as composer, stage director, performance artist and vocalist; performances worldwide. He is member of the ensemble “Maulwerker” and has been performing Cage’s Song Books throughout Europe for the past 17 years; he co-directed and performed in a complete version at Theater Bielefeld in 2001. Recently composers like Chico Mello, Iris ter Schiphorst, Alessandro Bosetti and Makiko Nishikaze wrote operas, music theatre pieces or vocal solos for him.

Dafna Naphtali is a sound-artist and improviser-composer from an eclectic background of music-making, including rock, folk/gospel, contemporary classical. A singer/guitarist/electronic-musician, she performs and composes using custom computer programs she has been writing since 1992. Besides composing and improvised projects, she co-leads the digital chamber punk ensemble, What is it Like to be a Bat? with Kitty Brazelton (Tzadik) and has collaborated / performed with many fine musicians and travels widely to perform. She’s received commissions and awards from NY Foundation for the Arts, NY State Council on the Arts, Brecht Forum, Meet the Composer, Experimental TV Center, American Composers Forum, and a residency at STEIM (Holland).

Craig Shepard is a member of the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble. His compositions have been performed at the Akademie der Künste Berlin, Moments Musicaux Aarau, Real Art Ways in Hartford and throughout Europe and the United States. One of his most successful projects was On Foot, a 350 mile trek across Switzerland in which he composed a piece every day, wrote it down, and performed it in a public space. Mr. Shepard was awarded a Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude, from Northwestern University, where he studied trombone with Frank Crisafulli and composition with Michael Pisaro. He received a Master’s in Music Education from the Hochschule Musik und Theater Zürich, where he served as a Lecturer and Researcher. His research into listening has been published in the Schweizerische Muzikzeitung .

Harris Wulfson is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from New York City.He is currently pursuing a PhD in composition at the City University of New York Graduate Center and studying with Morton Subotnick.

Apr 30, 2007
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