December 7, 2012

Marcos Balter on Passará | ICE at MOCP

From the composer

Program Notes for Passará | ICE at MOCP

I came back from ICE’s Brazilian tour this past summer feeling more patriotic than ever. Rio’s once timid new music scene has grown into an ebullient and eclectic collective of amazingly creative artists and new music groups. São Paulo’s current new music scene is hard to absorb at once given its size; I’ve met at least ten different contemporary ensembles while there, and saw beautiful performances of works by many Brazilian composers that I didn’t know before. Manaus was truly a spiritual journey, and I was completely overwhelmed by the affection and enthusiasm of so many young musicians, all thirsty for more new music.

But, the true magic was to witness how ICE connected with all these different scenes as if they’d been working with them forever. Every master class ended up with people telling me how life-changing it was, every concert left audiences searching for words and asking for more (ICE ran out of CDs before even reaching Manaus), and every informal interaction among ICE members and Brazilian artists felt like a viable seed had just been planted and a true friendship had just been ignited. The ICE model was an absolute hit in Brazil.

ICE is bringing to Chicago a small sample of all the fun we had in the tour. I am honored to serve as the MC of this event, and to share the bill with three amazing colleagues, two from Rio (Daniel Puig and Arthur Kampela) and one from São Paulo (Alexandre Lunsqui). Their sensibilities couldn’t be more contrasting. Daniel’s expansive and freeing music is built at around his love for improvisation and his electronic music expertise. Alex’s music is a seductive and delicate etching of carefully imagined timbres. Arthur’s music is muscular, energetic, and absolutely theatrical. The fact the four of us are so different from one another is what makes me so proud of this new Brazilian scene. There’s no “Brazilian sound”: we are proud of our “aesthetic miscegenation,” our lack of stylistic agenda, and our collective love of individualism.

As said, this concert is just a taste of what is going on in Brazil right now. You should also listen to the beautiful music of Felipe Lara, Roberto Toscano, Jocy de Oliveira, Vicente Alexim, Marisa Rezende, Marcos Vieira Lucas, Sergio Kafejian, and so many other remarkable contemporary Brazilian composers. Luckily, as ICE’s Brazilian ties grow stronger, I’m confident you will very soon.

I hope to see you all this Saturday, e viva a música brasileira!

-Marcos Balter

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