REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts, presents David Rosenboom and Lewis Klahr on Saturday April 21, 2018 at 8:30 pm.
This assemblage of aesthetico-political music for contemplation and empowerment features post-genre sounds for vigilance against the commodification of ignorance and the barbarization of democracy. Rosenboom and his team perform with instruments, electronics, and voices and add prescient, prophetic lines by socio-political seers: Ferlinghetti, Foucault, Pythagoras via Ovid, Sun-tzu, Mark Twain, and others. Evocative, virtuosic music is interlaced with images by Lewis Klahr, whose uniquely idiosyncratic films use found images to explore the intersection of memory and history.
Performed by a virtuoso ensemble of collaborators: Matt Barbier, trombone; Nicolás Bejarano, trumpet; Swapan Chaudhuri, pakhawaja; Gene Coye, drums; Meltem Ege, speaker/vocalist; Allen Fogle, horn; Alphonso Johnson, electric bass; Miranda Kahn, actor; Molly Pease, singer; David Rosenboom, Yamaha Disklavier(™)/piano, algorithmic instruments, and electronics; Aaron Smith, trumpet; Luke Storm, tuba; Jake Vossler, electric guitar.
“With my burnt hand, I write on the nature of fire.” – Flaubert
“From time to time, an artist’s eternal aesthetic investigations into the evolution of humanity in the universe can encounter detours when it is necessary to search for light in times of great divisions. Far from obfuscating the ongoing aesthetic agenda, however, such detours can serve as key informants. The irresistible impulse is to not look away, and to reach for the values of equality, tolerance, and access, while simultaneously trying to avoid causing harm in reaching for the non-absolute of perfection in practice. From time to time, I have engaged in making “musical interventions”—exploring ways to confront the forces of division with music. Over time, a collection of pieces with socio-political content resulted. They emerged from contemplating the perplexing, pluri-perspective character of what could be a principled “aesthetic regime” of political order. How could such a regime arise and be nurtured from within the natural “flesh” of society and “the ungraspable identity of the people that makes democracy an enigma” (ref. M. Merleau-Ponty and M. Plot)?
In this performance a selection of these pieces, some very recent, some from the past, are knitted together in what is intended to be a seamless whole felt as a single gesture. The lucky emergence of Lewis Klahr as a collaborating ally and a brilliant Virtuoso Ensemble of Collaborators has fueled this endeavor.” —David Rosenboom, 2018
Musical Intervention (1979) reverses the totalitarian usurpation of a people’s music with electronics that strum the acoustic spectrum of the dark militarization of a previously lyrical Chilean national song following the tragic 1973 coup d’état. Hymn of Change (1978) is a slow, jazzy gospel waltz about the nature of change, here arranged for brass quintet with words of Pythagoras via Ovid delivered by an actor. The Right Measure of Opposites (1968 & 2017) is an algorithmic expansion of a movement from the twelve-movement work for piano Bell Solaris—the Sun rings like a bell emanating subtle portents of change—incorporating lines from Mark Twain’s “War Prayer” in a duet for Disklavier with electronics and actor. Lewis Klahr’s film Jesus Was Invitro incorporates Rosenboom’s early noise construction Music for Analog Computers (1968) and Musical Intervention (1982) a music box-electronic distortion of “The Internationale.” Earth Encomium (2017) is a solo for piano/Disklavier, electronics, and field recordings, with delicate natural sounds placed in 3D-spatialized, harmonic orbits for a stressed planet, emboldened with a few lines from Sun-tzu’s Art of War.
In Battle Hymn of Insurgent Arts (2018, world premiere) a brass quintet with electric rhythm section and electrified singer deliver a new setting of Mark Twain’s little-known rewrite (ca. 1900) of lyrics for the Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought Down to Date). Lewis Klahr has made a new silent film for this collaboration, Out of Truth (Don’t Motto), to be premiered with a composition performed by a piano/pakhawaja (Indian drum)/guitar trio. The event will conclude with the rousing wake-up call, Fanfare for (R)Evolution Arts (2017). The entire Virtuoso Ensemble of Collaborators, with sizzling vocalist, will deliver a rousing, enabling call-to-action, quoting prescient lines from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Poetry as Insurgent Art.
David Rosenboom (b. 1947) is a composer, performer, interdisciplinary artist, author and educator known as a pioneer in American experimental music. During his long career, he has explored ideas about the spontaneous evolution of musical forms, languages for improvisation, new techniques in scoring for ensembles, multi-disciplinary composition and performance, cross-cultural collaborations, performance art and literature, interactive multi-media and new instrument technologies, generative algorithmic systems, art-science research and philosophy, and extended musical interface with the human nervous system. He holds the Richard Seaver Distinguished Chair in Music at California Institute of the Arts, where he has been Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music since 1990 and serves as a board member of the Center for New Performance. He taught at Mills College from 1979 to 1990, where he held the Darius Milhaud Chair and was Professor of Music, Head of the Music Department, and Director of the Center for Contemporary Music. In the 1970s he was founding faculty and a professor in the Music Department at York University in Toronto. He studied at the University of Illinois in the 1960s with Salvatore Martirano, Lejaren Hiller, Kenneth Gaburo, Gordon Binkerd, Paul Rolland, Jack McKenzie, Soulima Stravinsky and others and was later awarded the George A. Miller Professorship as a visiting artist there. He has also taught or held positions in the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo, at Bard College, Simon Fraser University, San Francisco Art Institute, California College of Arts and Crafts, Center for Advanced Musical Studies at Chosen Vale and Ionian University in Greece. His work is widely presented around the world. Recent highlights have included a fifty-year retrospective of his music presented in a series of performances at the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2015), a six-month exhibition of his work with brainwave music at Centre Pompidou-Metz in France (2015–2016), a four-month exhibition of his work in computer music at Whitechapel Gallery in London (2015–2016), a retrospective of his music for piano(s) at Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall (2016), the premiere of his Nothingness is Unstable, a work for electronics, acoustic sources and 3-dimensional sound diffusion at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn (2017), and numerous publications, recordings, festival performances and keynote speeches at international conferences. Following his retrospective at the Whitney Museum, he was lauded in The New York Times as an “avatar of experimental music.” Rosenboom is a Yamaha Artist. Website: http://www.davidrosenboom.com
Lewis Klahr is a Los Angeles-based collage artist who uses found images and sound to explore the intersection of memory and history and create uniquely idiosyncratic films. Klahr’s films have screened extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia—in venues such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, The Tate Modern, the Pompidou Center, REDCAT and the LA County Museum of Art.
In May of 2010 The Wexner Center for the Arts presented a 5-program retrospective of Klahr’s films. In March 2013 his digital films received a weekend retrospective at the Museum of the Moving Image that was accompanied by an 8-page profile/interview in Artforum. His film “Wednesday Morning Two A.M.” was awarded a Tiger Award for Best Short Film at the 2010 International Film Festival at Rotterdam. His epic cutout animation “The Pharaoh’s Belt” received a special citation for experimental work from the National Society of Film Critics in 1994. Klahr’s feature-length film “The Pettifogger” was selected as one of the best films of 2012 by Artforum magazine. He has also received commissions from European arts organizations such as the Gronnegard Theater in Copenhagen (“Lulu”) and the Rotterdam International Film Festival (“Two Minutes to Zero”). Klahr’s work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Collecion Inelcom as well as various private collections.
Klahr’s feature-length series “Sixty Six” premiered in December 2015 at MoMA in a sold-out screening. It was included on the NY Times critic Manohla Dargis’ 10 Best Films of the year list. Throughout 2016 and 2017 it toured extensively in the U.S., Europe and Asia in film festivals, cinemas and museums.
Klahr was The Wexner Center for the Arts 2010 Media Arts Residency Award Winner, the 2013 Brakhage Vision Award winner, a 1992 Guggenheim Fellow and has also received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NY State Council of the Arts, Creative Artists Public service, the Jerome Foundation and Creative Capital.
“Above all, Klahr’s great subject is time, which certainly explains the exquisitely melancholy tone that pervades his work. He traffics in modes that are pitched just beyond the realm of reason. Somewhere between waking and sleeping, we can find that wavelength and achieve understanding—only to have it slip away as we enter one state or the other. Klahr’s films and videos provide a rare opportunity for us to engage with a liminal state of consciousness with our alert mind and to reach those “infrathin” moments that Proust describes as existing outside of time.” —Chris Stults, Assistant Curator Film/Video, Wexner Center for the Arts from “Collective Unconscious”, an article in Film Comment, May/June 20