An interactive blog, curated by composers and performers, tracing the ideas and process behind the music.

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June 6, 2016


by Jacob Greenberg, Director of Recordings and Digital Outreach

A group of eleven musicians from ICE sat cross-legged in the Abrons Underground Theatre, as Pauline Oliveros guided us through a warm-up for a meditation.  Our leader helped us to awaken our senses, instructing us to vigorously rub our faces, our throats, our ears.  And then we sat, becoming intensely aware of our environment, its unique energy, and our place in it.

This was a rare session with the master herself, the composer of so many staples of ICE’s concert repertoire, to prepare for two "Morning Meditation" sessions this week at the Ojai Festival in California, structured around Pauline’s music.  Founder and Director of the Deep Listening Institute, Pauline’s work has informed ICE’s programming and the group dynamic of ICE’s entire history.  Pauline couldn't join us for the trip out west, but we are all here now in Ojai, soaking up this magically scented town, and becoming aware of its energy as we did last Saturday at the Abrons Underground. 

Back to that meditation at Abrons: as we all sat there, each of us heard the building’s quiet ventilation system, but each of us, it became clear later, heard something different in it; as I listened closely, I was aware of a central pitch, but also a spectrum of pitches around it.  This in turn was in dialogue with a soft hum of overhead lights, and shifts and creaks from the participants.  Listening for a character in every sound I perceived, I was truly able to hear a subtle interaction between the objects in our environment. 

The first piece that we practiced built on this experience: called Environmental Dialogue, we used our instruments and voices to pick up on sounds that we heard, and to continue those sounds, approximating their pitch and general affect.  This achieved what Pauline had in mind, namely a subtle amplification of our atmosphere, using our powers of listening and musicianship to magnify everything sounding around us. 

Next was The Well and the Gentle, another classic Oliveros piece, which was featured in our very first concerts at the Abrons Arts Center.  Each performer draws from a “well” of concentration for inspiration to action.  Using a fixed set of available pitches, the players choose from gestures that one associates with any kind of performance—accompanying, merging, soaring above, matching sound, supporting an idea or texture—with the option also of just listening.  It was wonderful to have to the opportunity to ask Pauline about this piece, after many ICE performances and teaching workshops with student groups, to learn how we can perform the work most sensitively.  Many times, she told us, “Don’t be timid!”  While we were all aware of the overall atmosphere that we were creating, no one wanted to rock the boat, and Pauline gave us license to be daring and use the maximum dynamic range. “It’s okay to add some drone notes,” she also said of the second part of the piece, which is more rhythmic; we worked to find just the right tempo so that one could perceive waves of rhythmic counterpoint moving across the group.

One thing that is especially difficult to explain to students about Pauline’s pieces, and pieces that involve improvisation generally, is how they end.  How do we know when the piece is over?  The answer, always, is that one just knows—by intuitively feeling the closure of a piece’s structure, and knowing when everyone has contributed something essential.  Remarkably, ICE never has a problem with this—but each performance setting is necessarily different, and we can’t force an ending on a piece that wants to keep spinning out.

More complicated pieces were discussed, in detail: Out of the Dark, a process piece centering around one pitch—a concert D.  The players slide to specified pitches above and below the D, explore its overtone spectrum, and time their gestures to a partner positioned across the performing circle.  It’s a challenging one, and Carla Kihlstedt, another amazing improviser and composer, had many questions about when to move from one part of the piece to the next.  Pauline not only knew her own piece intimately but was able to discern when we performed it exactly when one part of the group moved between sections—no small feat of listening.  A key moment in the rehearsal was when the players practiced making single sounds with our instruments, separated by silences, that were completely unlike each other in every way.  It took a couple of tries, but we got better; it was a real challenge to not imitate our colleagues, and to contribute best, by actually acting against our instincts as chamber musicians.  

In The Witness, another complicated piece in multiple stages, each player moves from an egocentric focus to a more empathic performing mode: first playing original gestures, ignoring the group; then continuing a sound heard around us; and then merging with the gestures we heard, dissolving the sense of self.  This third state, called The Witness, Pauline explained, was “a special state of consciousness,” empowering one to listen and contribute in equal measure, feeling oneness with the whole of the group.  The question arose in this challenging work: within any “rules” of performance and any restrictions, how can one add to to the experience most fully, and most originally, by listening deeply and therefore giving the best of oneself?  In the space of a few hours, Pauline started to show us how.  All of us felt how lucky we were to give witness to the spiritual teaching of our trusted musical guardian and closest of friends.

April 5, 2016

Francesca Verunelli: Invoking Kafka’s Sirens

Francesca Verunelli opens up about the origin of her premiere piece for ICE on April 21's Miller Theatre Composer Portrait, Five Songs: Kafka's Sirens.

On her inspiration:

"There are many elements that converge into a piece and I couldn't say one thing as being the inspiration of a piece.  There are problems that interest me for a long time before becoming more or less concrete for the writing of a specific piece.  The parenthetical part of the title is an allusion – though there is no question of a literal reference – to Franz Kafka’s story 'The Silence of the Sirens.'  This story of Kafka’s is not so much an alternative narrative (in which the sirens do not sing) as a hint at a paradox, opening a perspective of doubt.  It is to this, to the possibility of a paradoxical perspective, that the title alludes.  The piece is articulated in five instrumental “songs.” What remains of song, and of the substance and expression of the human voice, when nobody is singing?  There is something of this in the paradox explored here.  On the formal plane, I am continuing my work on articulation in moments that are not exactly 'movements'--thus, an elliptical but unified form that engages memory and expectation to create permanence
despite discontinuity."

On the instrumentation:

"The instrumentation of the piece (bass clarinet, trumpet, sax, accordion, percussion, guitar, mandoline, harp, cello, double-bass) is quite atypical and generates a very specific sound-world, and unfortunately I couldn't work with ICE while writing it...but I wrote the piece considering that an ensemble of virtuosos would play it."

On her extended instrumental techniques and electronics:

"There are several extended instrumental techniques, and I'm eager to work on them with ICE musicians during these few days in NYC.  In the flute piece I wrote for Claire [The Famous Box Trick]; I did work previously with her on all extended techniques... The use of the electronics for this program is focused on amplification and over-amplification effects, the fact that the mic is not a neutral tool, and the specificities of the 'electrified' ensemble.  The relationships between the instrumental sound and the underworld of microscopic or collateral sounds that are somehow overwhelmed in the acoustic rendition are subverted. This contributes to still another 'paradoxical perspective.'"

ICE's Composer Portrait of Francesca Verunelli at Miller Theatre is on Thursday, April 21, at 8:00 PM.  Buy tickets here.  

January 29, 2016

Ashley Fure in Word and Action

by Jacob Greenberg

On a residency visit last October to Dartmouth College, three ICE players attended a course for undergraduates called “Introduction to Sonic Arts,” led by new professor Ashley Fure.  The class began with a student-led meditation, after which the students were invited to speak about what they heard.  Though early in the semester, Ashley’s teaching fingerprint was all over the class; these students had their ears to unusual definitions of music, and they were eager to be amazed by what they discovered.  As ICE taught the class a favorite piece by Pauline Oliveros, the students picked it up with startling speed; they were clearly conditioned to immediately grasp the performative energy of a new piece, and embrace their role as participants.

JG: What are some things that you usually find yourself saying to performers of your music, especially chamber groups?  Do you think that knowing the performers of ICE will influence your "directorial" choices?

Ashley Fure: The techniques I ask of players often demand a certain abandon to produce - a wildness in terms of limb movement or breath control, for example.  Getting folks to break away from the static, notated symbol and invite just the right type of chaos into their sounds is often the biggest challenge in rehearsal.

* * * *

Later in the Dartmouth residency, the morning after an amazing evening meal cooked by Ashley, ICE played some student works.  Ashley sat in on the session, and was patient and sparing with her comments about the compositions.  As we played the works, ICE spoke mostly about the practicalities of some extended instrumental techniques.  Though an expert in this area, which has shaped her aesthetic and defined her exploratory method of work, she wanted to hear every piece of advice ICE gave to the students.

ICE percussionist Ross Karre has known Ashley since high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy.  They collaborate again for this week’s Miller Composer Portrait, building toward a larger piece for the Darmstadt Summer Courses.  Their sessions, which also include collaboration from Ashley’s brother, architect Adam Fure, are labor-intensive, actually spent creating the percussion and string instruments that will be used in the performance.  But the time is also open-ended, as they investigate these new instruments’ fields of resonance. 

JG: What is the idea in grouping these particular pieces together on a program?  Is there a sequence from the earliest-composed pieces to the world premiere, Etudes from the Anthropocene?

AF: The work I've made over the past 8 years ranges from purely instrumental to purely electronic, from music with dancers to immersive, interactive installations. I'm excited to say in this portrait concert we've found a way to adapt that diverse range to the proscenium constraints of Miller Theater.  Albatross explores physical movement in the same spirit as Ply, an electroacoustic ballet I made with choreographer Yuval Pick. Though purely instrumental, Something to Hunt and Soma treat many of the same kinetic ideas that undergird installations like Tripwire and Veer.  Etudes from the Anthropocene offers a window into the charged, saturated intermedia work I have been making. I hope people will leave this concert with a rich sense of who I am and what I care about as an artist.

* * * *

Join Ashley and ICE for her Miller Theatre Portrait Concert on Thursday, February 4 at 8 PM.  It’s a highlight of ICE's season, and is not to be missed.

December 18, 2015

Suzanne Farrin: Humanist Attractions and La Dolce Morte

Visitors to ICEhaus this week will have seen composer Suzanne Farrin working intensely with six ICE musicians--strings, harp, and winds--and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo.  The work being rehearsed, La Dolce Morte, was seen partly in an early version at Mostly Mozart in 2012, at the Park Avenue Armory, and will have its premiere with ICE in April at the Metropolitan Museum's Spanish Courtyard.  Anthony's otherworldly voice intones love poems by Michelangelo while surrounded by delicate, visceral instrumental timbres.  Jacob Greenberg spoke with Suzanne before the rehearsals began about the work's inspirations, what she hoped to accomplish in this workshop period, and what audiences can expect from the piece.

Jacob Greenberg:  What was the primary inspiration for the piece?  

Suzanne Farrin:  It started to form around the discovery of the texts.  I found a book of Michelangelo's poems wandering around the Strand Bookstore, and what I felt when reading them was this very operatic sensibility, even though they were written before the advent of what we consider to be opera.  Other people tell me that visual artists look to the future better than we do as a musicians, so it's not out of the realm of possibility to imagine Michelangelo in a sound world beyond his actual years.   

JG:  What about instrumentation?  

SF:  I thought a lot about how to create a sensibility of the Baroque moment, of this early operatic moment, so I looked for instruments that I thought could capture that, but not period instruments, obviously.  

JG:  Did your extended instrumental techniques follow from that?

SF:  I wonder!  The energy definitely does, and the text setting is a primary part of this whole motivation, so I would think so.

JG:  Any moments we should listen for in the text, or any musical moments we should listen for specifically?

SF:  I feel like each of the poems draws on a very independent world, so each of the ones I'm setting takes us to different part of a humanist experience--Michangelo being such a wonderful example of humanist thinking.  They're all through the lens of a visual artist, and it's a very corporeal language--I can't imagine all visual artists would have the same corporeal way of speaking about human experience--and of course they're love poems, but it's love as a vehicle for all kinds of other things.  It's love as a lens for living, for theology--he has a large world that he sees through his physical attraction to another person.  Some of the poems are a little creepy--there's one where he writes about wanting to be the skin around his lover, or wanting to be the boots that he wears.  If we received a poem like that, it might give us pause!  [Laughs.]  It's fascinating and wonderful that it's so sincere.  And some of the poems show beautifully the transcendental experience of being in love, bringing it into the world of making art with your hands.  He tries to understand what the human experience brings him as an artist.  And there's one poem which is very painful, one where he actually regrets the vulnerability of being in love, and he says that he wants his tears back, he wants his footsteps back.  There will be moments when you hear love's sadness.    

JG:  You've chosen a voice type which is great at expressing fragility.  When did Anthony come in to the project?

SF:  I don't know when it happened that I imagined including a countertenor--there are so many people writing for countertenor now that it's having a renaissance.  I must have been part of that collective consciousness.  But I think it speaks to us on a lot of levels.  There's a certain strength, especially with Anthony, who has an incredibly soaring quality to his voice, with many colors, so there isn't one trick--there are a lot of gestures, and a lot of ways even of coloring a vowel.  Also the genderless quality of the voice--a familiar unfamiliarity.  You know it, but you can't quite place it--it's an amazing sound, and you wonder, who can do that?

JG:  Anything you'd like to say about the spatialization of the work at the Met?

SF:  It's a challenging and exciting space to write for!  I decided to go in with some engineers to get a scientific perspective.  I got a chance to learn what frequencies are excited in that space, and also try out some things in the space with James Austin Smith, the oboist, to find out how the oboe would react to different surfaces.  That was really interesting because things I thought would be really powerful actually had no timbral effect at all.  The space is so live and present that you can be everywhere and still feel that you're very close to the sound.  The challenge will be to gauge how the sounds of the instruments travel at such different rates to the ear, and to try to keep the amount of sound information at a level that we can appreciate...I think the visuals will really help because they'll help the listener focus in different ways.  Seeing the musician move with the instrument is really important in such a reverberant space--it's like electronics you can never turn off!  You need to see bows move and people breathe. 

*  *  *

Suzanne Farrin's La Dolce Morte has had an unusually fruitful and eventful gestation with the players of ICE.  It will have its Metropolitan Museum premiere on April 1 and 2.  Seating is limited!  Buy your tickets soon.

November 16, 2015

Inventing New Dialogues

ICE co-artistic directors Claire Chase and Joshua Rubin offer these musings, adapted from the Boulez at 90 book for our four programs this week at National Sawdust.  ICE is thrilled to present these programs, in turn retrospective, celebratory, and ground-breaking, which reflect on the legacy of ICE’s most respected antecedents, role models, and inspirations.


When ICE was just an embryo at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1999 - not yet hatched and not yet named - we often mused on what it would be like to create an American improvisation on Ensemble InterContemporain, our musical heroes, whose rigorous and inspired performances of the works of Pierre Boulez and other mid-20th century masters we studied with fascination and a healthy dose of the kind of fear that is born of pure awe and admiration. How might the music of our time metamorphose if such an ensemble were formed to pioneer works of our generation of composers from all over the world, with a particular emphasis on artists from the Americas? And what would happen if such an organization made a commitment, like Boulez had, not just to the artistic excellence of performances of this new repertory, but a commitment to organizational sustainability – to the audacious notion that a group dedicated to experimental music could somehow, someday, make a living doing this?

Six years later, when ICE was a burgeoning collective based in Chicago and operating on a shoestring budget, we were invited to play at our first international festival in the beautiful city of Morelia, Mexico (significantly, the butterfly capital of the world). On our first night there, following a 12-hour journey, we attended an astounding solo concert of Pascal Gallois which included Luciano Berio's Sequenza XII--a piece written for Pascal and inspired by his limitless technique and imagination. We had never seen a wind soloist play with this butterfly-like combination of bravery and fragility, command and nuance, poetry and ferocity. Too shy to speak with him after the performance, we let that opportunity slip by us, and we simply admired him and his work from a distance for the next six years.

You can imagine our surprise when Pascal popped up on ICE’s Facebook page a few years ago, commenting on ICE performances he’d seen on DigitICE, our streaming video archive, offering encouraging remarks before concerts, expressing his heartfelt enthusiasm for the group’s efforts to advocate for new music on and off the stage. You can imagine our sheer delight when he suggested a few years later that we work together on a project centering on the work of Boulez during his 90th birthday year, and on the concept of the “dialogues” between cultures, generations and aesthetic viewpoints that have emerged from this iconic, at times incendiary, but inarguably visionary figure in music history.

We have taken this opportunity, first in France and now in New York at National Sawdust - our proud new Brooklyn home for contemporary music - to craft programs that capture the power and beauty of Boulez's music through a series of New Dialogues. Using Boulez's playful masterpiece with electronics, Dialogue de l'ombre double, as a springboard, these programs introduce new works by Olga Neuwirth, George Lewis, Sabrina Schroeder, and Franck Bedrossian that inflect the impossibly vibrant landscape of voices in the golden era of new music today that Boulez set in motion a half-century ago. And in the closing concert of the week, we put Boulez “en dialogue” with his closest musical compatriots from both sides of the Atlantic (Luigi Nono, Elliott Carter, and Karlheinz Stockhausen) at the height of their creative powers.

None of the preposterous dreams we indulged as adolescents at Oberlin would have even entered our collective consciousness without the intrepidity and the audacity of Pierre Boulez. Was it a coincidence that ICE is an anagram of EIC? In the words of Mr. Boulez himself, “Music is a labyrinth with no beginning and no end, full of new paths to discover, where mystery remains eternal.”

We are grateful to JazzBank, the French-American Cultural Exchange, The National Sawdust Factory, and most of all to Pascal for bringing this pulsating dialogue to life.

--Claire Chase and Joshua Rubin

November 13, 2015

Pascal Gallois speaks with Rebekah Heller about ICE, Boulez, and new works for National Sawdust

Rebekah Heller: Pascal, we are SO excited to have you joining us for our first concerts at National Sawdust (NS) this month! I can't wait to play Olga Neuwirth's bassoon duo with you on the first 3 concerts! (11/17, 11/18, 11/19)

Pascal Gallois: I am very happy and proud to share these first concerts at National Sawdust with you and the entire ICE team. Doubly happy to do this in homage to Pierre Boulez. You are so committed to the contemporary bassoon repertoire, working with composers and sharing it with the audience in the US - I find your work remarkable.

RH: Throughout your career, you have commissioned an enormous amount of solo repertoire for the bassoon, and have been a huge inspiration to me and to other young wind players to go out and do the same. How does a new piece come about for you? In what ways have these collaborations with composers influenced your playing and music-making? Have you noticed a development in your interactions with composers over the years?

PG: A new piece is the story of a three-way encounter: the composer, the instrumentalist and the audience. I have always approached composers after having studied their other works: their solo pieces for other instruments as well as for the bassoon and also their chamber and orchestral music. Above all, I needed to be able to imagine what such and such composer could bring to the bassoon. Exchanges and conversations are very important between the performer and the composer. Luciano Berio summed it up very well: “You have to explain to bassoonists that a piece doesn’t get ‘ordered’ from a composer the way a Saint-Saëns Sonata does from a music store!” This also influences my interpretations of the works, since I strive to recreate for the audience that miraculous moment - that spark - when the idea of a piece appears in the composer’s mind… Often, it’s not until after many long conversations that the flash materializes in their eyes. The bassoon and the bassoonist are a source of inspiration. This has always existed, but many times the instrument’s technical aspects have thwarted collaborations. It’s up to us to rationalize technique on the bassoon, to “simplify” it in some ways, to help the composer transcend it. Over the years, composers have opened new horizons for the bassoon, as fears of receiving poor performances from bassoonists have dissipated. And you count for a lot in that regard, Rebekah, since it’s important that composers feel understood by bassoonists on all continents. In short, it is essential to collectively share and feed into new repertoire!

RH: Besides commissioning, you are also active in transcribing music for the bassoon - we will hear you play Boulez's 'Dialogue de l'ombre double' - originally for clarinet - at NS. The Neuwirth duo we will play together is originally for cello and bassoon. What is it in a piece that makes you want to transcribe it? What is your process? Were there extreme challenges in these two pieces in making them sound authentic, and also idiomatic for the bassoon?

PG: With regard to transcription, I want to underline that I think it’s important to have the composer’s agreement, and if possible, his/her involvement. The idea of transcribing ‘Dialogue de l’ombre double’ for the bassoon came to Pierre Boulez and me simultaneously after a concert at the Festival in Avignon, where Boulez had just heard me play Stockhausen’s ‘In Freundschaft’, which is also a piece originally written for the clarinet.

Historically, this has often happened: Mozart transcribed his oboe concerto for the flute, Weber transcribed his own ‘Hungarian Andante and Rondo’ for the bassoon, though it was originally composed for the viola. When this happens in the composer’s lifetime - and with him/her - the piece then becomes a new original work. Furthermore, the clarinet and the bassoon both have a large range and the piece remains in the same tessitura.

Luciano Berio knew of my work with Boulez, and followed it closely. When we were working together on the bassoon ‘Sequenza’ [written for Gallois], he liked to remind me that ‘Dialogue’ was a gift Boulez had composed for him, on the occasion of his 60th birthday in 1985. ‘Dialogue’ contains elements and winks to Stockhausen and Berio… While I retain the original tempo, there are certain particularities of ‘Dialogue’ that distinguish the bassoon version from the clarinet one: for example, Boulez and I worked to develop flexibility and diversity of timbres on the bassoon, while the clarinet version plays more on the dynamic range. In this piece the “live” instrumentalist plays, or dialogues, with his/her “shadow”, which is a recording of the same musician played through a number of speakers surrounding the audience.

RH:  It is such an honor for ICE to work with you - we have all grown up with the Ensemble InterContemporain (EIC)'s seminal recordings and your trend-setting work. This inter-generational and inter-continental collaboration feels energizing and generative - we are sharing "our" repertoire with "yours" with the hope that it might inspire even younger musicians to look outside of their immediate vicinities for new relationships and influences. I am curious to hear your thoughts about our work together and how you imagine this going forward - what brought you to ICE? What has been different about working with us from your work with the EIC? What words of wisdom do you have for us, and for the younger generation?

PG: The Ensemble Intercontemporain (EIC) was born from the “Domaine Musical” ensemble that Pierre Boulez formed in 1954 in Paris. Without Boulez, the EIC would never have been. I had the unique good fortune of having been hired by Boulez at age 22, and I learned contemporary music, like my colleagues, under his supervision. Boulez was committed to training his team of soloists himself. In 1981, when I joined the EIC, Boulez invited all the great composers I have since worked closely with on their approach to writing for the bassoon: Messiaen, Stockhausen, Berio, Xenakis, Ligeti, Kurtag etc… and also Elliott Carter who was a close friend of Boulez’s! Carter was the composer of friendship and Franco-American exchange! Berio was also well connected to the US. We have the responsibility of taking this torch, this time between instrumentalists on both sides of the Atlantic. With the advent of technologies, your generation has limitless possibilities; and NYC is, more than ever, the capital of artistic encounters. The difference between the EIC and ICE is that you are a collective of musicians and you formed on your own, while the EIC is the brainchild of Boulez. Working with you, I feel deeply your exceptional curiosity and enthusiasm!

To answer your first question, Rebekah, ICE gives me so much of its energy and responds whole-heartedly to the necessity of rethinking musical creation and presentation in the 21st century. The ICE initiatives online [] should be an example to all contemporary music ensembles. I learn a lot from you all, since, if one is truly interested in the creation of new things, the younger generation should be explored! I don’t feel in a position to give you any wisdom… In order to create, true wisdom would probably be not to have any. In the words of the philosopher Socrates: “Wisdom begins in wonder."

November 2, 2015

Hagoromo Tableaus

by Jacob Greenberg, ICE pianist, Director of Education

A fisherman dances a surreal pas de deux with a golden cape.  The cape is an angel’s garment, separated from the heavenly body which would give it shape.  The fisherman’s dance is full of wonder, as his imagination races—to whom does this luxurious fabric belong?  How is it that I can dance with it as with a real person?  The intimate scene is in complete silence, which signals a shocking loss, a detachment.  Planes of heavenly and earthly emotion cannot reconcile, and musical harmony cannot prosper.  The fisherman, bounding about with childlike energy, underscores the cruel, noiseless absurdity of the angel’s fractured spirit.

* * * *

A storm unfolds with the brutal inevitability of ritual.  A rope, whose end has a heavy knot, pounds and echoes against a stone.  The song of a bassoon embodies the reckless spirit of nature’s destruction: it wails, dances, and grunts, as its sound is broken, shattered and scattered.  Brittle percussion rattles and jolts.  Disembodied voices of girls trace the same rising scale again and again, building to delirium; they lament the waves’ ruthless thrashing, but also celebrate their epic force.

* * * *

The luminous angel confronts the earthbound fisherman and asks for her garment.  He stubbornly refuses.  They dance warily around each other, each searching for the key that will unlock the other.  This is Gagaku, stately Japanese court music; patient waves of sustained sounds are added and subtracted with measured precision from the taut musical fabric.  It is marked at the same time by a steady, seething pulse—sometimes from a plucked harmonic on guitar, an exclamation from a woodblock, or a chanted beating phrase in the chorus. 

* * * *

Phantasmal tones of a contrabass flute—shadowy sounds which exist between worlds, from a tall and imposing angled instrument—seek to bridge the earth with the beyond.  Amplified sounds of outward and ingressive breathing expand and contract a sense of psychological space.  A kaleidoscope of musical colors follows: dulcimer, gongs, multiphonic chords on bassoon.  A tremolo on electric guitar, and a high trill in the violin.  The dancers that tell the Hagoromo story respond to this music of constantly shifting perspective: it passes between exotic realities as they do, and it tries to find a place where souls can connect.


Hagoromo is presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music this week as part of the 2015 Next Wave Festival, at the BAM Harvey Theatre, in association with American Opera Projects.  Five members of ICE play Nathan Davis's transfixing music with the talented Brooklyn Youth Chorus.  ICE's amazing collaborators include dancers Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, and director and visual wizard David Michalek.

August 17, 2015

Launching ICEcommons

ICE is launching a new call for scores via our new emerging composer index: Fill in the submission form for each piece that you’d like us to consider performing in the coming season! Submission is free. Selected composers will be contacted for permission to program their work on the 15-16 season on or before December 1, 2016. We look forward to fostering many new collaborations with emerging composers from around the globe via this new, searchable library.

ICEcommons is a crowdsourced index of newly composed music. It is designed to be a searchable repository of the catalogues and works of emerging, established, published, and unpublished composers. By collecting the metadata (instrumentation, duration, composer name, title) of living composers’ works, coupled with the means of acquiring sheet music (links to score downloads, rental, and purchase sites), ICEcommons will aggregate and organize new scores into one place—an open, public library hosted by through which performers, scholars, composers, and listeners can discover and obtain new works. With the help of musicians and composers like you, ICEcommons will grow to become a vital programming resource for ensembles around the world.

ICEcommons launched its pilot season on August 15, 2015, at which point the submission process became open to any composer interested in adding their worklist or score information. On December 1, ICE will announce the selection of ten ICEcommons works which will be featured on OpenICE concerts during the 2015-16 season. ICE will contact each composer to secure the necessary rights to perform the piece. Performances will be documented through HD video and audio and made available through ICE’s online library, DigitICE (after review by the composer and performers). Through partnering with ensembles and organizations in future seasons, we will vastly expand the size and reach of ICEcommons, allowing ICE to continue being an advocate for emerging and lesser-known composers, as well as unheard works from deep within their catalogues. ICEcommons represents our continued commitment to performances of rare and underrepresented works by living composers.