DISPATCH - APRIL 1, 2013 (9:30 a.m.)


Symphony Space is the place to be tonight if experiencing new musical compositions and hearing about the piece and creative process from the composer holds appeal. Tonight's concert holds a triple draw: it's the launch of the latest Cutting Edge Concert New Music Festival (CEC), the program contains three US premieres, and one of the pieces was written by composer Victoria Bond, CEC creative director and founder of the new music festival.

Symphony Space is the host for the festival--a series of three concerts of original compositions performed by celebrated ensembles. Each concert will present US premieres with the composers on hand to reveal their creative process and ways to increase enjoyment of the new works. They all take place in April.

Bond launched the festival of original music in 1998 to showcase new music and provide the opportunity for contemporary audiences to engage with living and working composers. The composer is present when their piece is performed and engages with a talk back with Bond.

Victoria Bond, Composer.

"Having the composers at the concert presents a unique opportunity to share their inspiration and creative process as a prelude to the performance of their music," said Bond.

There are three concerts in the 16th season. The series launches tonight with additional concerts on April 8 and 29 at Symphony Space. All feature premieres of original compositions.

This evening's concert features the multi-media composition Cyclops by Bond. Inspired by an episode from James Joyce's masterwork Ulysses, the piece presents a "musical re-imagining of a barroom scene," according to Bond.  Part of the fun will be trying to imagine Joyce's reaction to the reimagining of his stream-of-consciousness narrative.

Cyclops is the US premiere of the original composition and multi-media work by Bond. It will be performed by the Pulse Chamber Ensemble and the Manhattan Choral Ensemble. The work also features live theater and projections of original artwork by Timothy Decker.

This evening's program also includes the US premieres by ulsearrythmis by Charles Mason (recipient of the Prix de Rome) and Semi-Suite by Thomas Sleeper. Both will be performed by the Pulse Chamber Ensemble. The concert is rounded out by Unisono by Jesse (Prix de Rome winner).

Pulse is a virtuoso trio known for their imaginative and exciting programs. Their performances explore works utilizing clarinet, violin, viola, piano, recorders, baroque violin and harpsichord. Members are pianist Marina Radiushina, clarinetist Donaghue Flavin and violinist Scott Flavin.

Manhattan Choral Ensemble (MCE) is one of the premier choirs in New York City, performing a historically varied repertoire for mixed a cappella choir and choir with orchestra, according to Bond. This includes works commissioned and world premiered by MCE. MCE is directed by Thomas Cunningham.

Cyclops is based on Episode 12 of James Joyce’s Ulysses.  In the Episode, there are four men talking in a bar in Ireland. The first is the Citizen (Joyce’s equivalent of the Cyclops), the second is Leopold Bloom (the hero of Ulysses), the third is the narrator and the fourth is a  man identified as Joe.

Joyce spins elaborate parodies around each of each of the topics discussed, imitating various literary styles.  The musical score mirrors this through fanciful “riffs” including a 19th century dance hall tune, Baroque oratorio, silent-film era soundtrack, a quote from Tristan and Isolde, the William Tell overture and other familiar and not-so-familiar melodies.

Cyclops  is a parody within a parody, states Bond.  The parody is that of classical literature, as Ulysses parallels Homer’s Odyssey. The second parody is a series of smaller parodies within this overarching one. Musically, this mirrors a riff, a technique favored by jazz musicians who leap from standard tune into his or her own interpretive commentary, states Bond.

Cyclops operates conceptually on two levels. It portrays a conversation in a bar, performed by a cast of four actors. The conversations are then parodied by the music (performed by The Manhattan Choral Ensemble and the PULSE Chamber Ensemble).

Artist Timothy Decker created drawings illustrating the various sections. These will be projected during the performance. Following is just a few of them:


"Elijah" by Timothy Decker.


"Son of Rory" by Timothy Decker.


"Marion" by Timothy Decker.

"Inishfall" by Timothy Decker.

"Citizen" by Timothy Decker.


The second concert in the series continues on Monday, April 8, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. The program features Loadbang and pianist Kathleen Supove performing new works. Premiering is Hannah Lash's Eight Songs for a Stoned Prince and Douglas Gibson's Fanfare for the Common Audience.

The third and final concert in the series takes place on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. The program features Cygnus Ensemble, who will premiere two works, Estat ai en greu cossirer by Frank Brickle (winner of a 2010 NEA Artistic Excellence award) and Homage to Havel by Laura Kaminsky, Artistic Director of Symphony Space.

BASIC FACTS: The Cutting Edge Concerts in the New Music Festival takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY 10025-6990. Tickets are $20 or $15 for seniors. The first concert is tonight.

For tickets and concert details, visit www.symphonyspace.org.

HAMPTONS INSIDER: Victoria Bond is based in New York City and East Hampton, NY. Her compositions have been performed at the Hamptons Music Festival and at the annual Composer's Concert held at  Southampton Cultural Center.


© 2013 Hamptons Art Hub LLC. All rights reserved.

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