About this project
Amp New Music is engaged in our most ambitious project to date: a concert at the Italian Academy in New York City on Wednesday, May 9th, featuring the US premiere of a major work by Italian composer Luigi Nono.
This concert requires an elaborate technological setup and the dedication and work of many individuals. We will be joined on this concert by the Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble, a terrific group of singers who specialize in new and experimental music, as well as a team of sound technicians and several instrumentalists from New York and beyond.
We are delighted to be hosted by the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in their wonderful 'Teatro' Renaissance hall as part of their focus on masterpieces of the Italian avant-garde. Our concert will also feature the premiere of new composition for chamber ensemble and electronics by Gregory Cornelius and a vocal duet by Giacinto Scelsi.
We have a wonderful team in place and a beautiful venue for our concert, but we need your help to produce this event and bring these works to the US public.
The Teatro at the Italian Academy in New York
QUANDO STANNO MORENDO
About the featured piece:
- Quando stanno morendo: diario pollaco n. 2 is an impassioned composition. It is a work of both startling clarity as well as raw emotional intensity, a very personal response to a particular historical situation: the political crackdown and repression in Poland in December 1981. The title (When they are dying) to Nono's second "Polish Diary" comes from a poem by Russian futurist Velemir Chlebnikov, whose concluding phrase is offered in the final moments of the piece: ...gli uomini cantano (...men sing).
- Quando is a technologically elaborate work that juxtaposes traditional characters of classical music (four female vocalists, a flutist, and a cellist) with the devices of musical modernity (the microphone, loudspeakers and recording technology). The piece requires a large multi-channel audio setup and sound processing techniques developed at one of Europe's leading music-technology laboratories, the Experimentalstudio in Freiburg, Germany.
- Finally, Quando is an interactive work. It was composed through experimentation and improvisation with performers and sound technicians, and collaboration became the essence of the resulting composition. Each of the performers uses a microphone that is linked to the sound processing software to transform the sounds of the other performers. The result is an "enlarged" instrument in which the live acoustic voices confront their modulated after-images.
BUILDING A COLLABORATION
We have been delighted to be in contact with Luigi Nono's widow, Nuria Schoenberg Nono, founder of the Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono, an archive of her late husband's materials in his home town of Venice, Italy. Mrs. Nono and the Foundation have put us in contact with some of the original performers to help answer our interpretive and technological questions. The Foundation has also provided us scans of archival material related to the first performance that might be of assistance in our production.
We want to reproduce Nono's collaborative working environment in our rehearsals. To do so, the sound processing used by Nono and his engineers must be recreated using current software. At the same time, the singers and instrumentalists must learn their (difficult!) parts like a chamber ensemble. Finally, conductor, performers, and sound technicians will all come together and rehearse with the full electronic setup. The last week of rehearsals will take place in the actual Teatro space so that all the elements integrate together.
The idea for this project first came to mind several years ago, and we waited for the right convergence of collaborators and performance space. Luigi Nono's works are seldom performed in the US. The compositions from his final decade have been very influential on the current generation of European composers and they should be heard live in the US as well. There has been palpable excitement for this project by our collaborators, many of whom have committed to this concert even before it was funded.
We hope to share this excitement with you during our preparation over the coming months and then at the event -- in person, we hope! -- in May, in the Teatro.
Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
//Photos of Nono provided by Archivio Luigi Nono, Venice © Luigi Nono Heirs (upper) and © Graziano Arici (lower) //
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