Our album with the Aizuri Quartet and Adrienne Kim was released today on the Innova label! This project has kept making me immensely inspired and grateful since the start, and not least today. My (and our) gratitude goes out also to MATA (Music at the Anthology) for marking the release date with this premiere performance video of Jouhet, from the MATA Continued composer portrait at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, in December 2018. This was a commission I wrote for the Aizuris, and they played the living hell out of it. (You can also check out a video of the title track released on Monday, The Bells Bow Down.)
Our album with the Aizuri Quartet and pianist Adrienne Kim is coming out on Innova Recordings this Friday, March 27! Here’s a music video of the title track to go with it, shot at the recordings session, back in December 2018, at the American Academy of Arts and letters in New York. What amazing players.
My essay marking the 40th anniversary year of Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter was published yesterday in Aeon Magazine (with the title Contrapuntal Consciousness). It’s an exploration of math, meaning, minds, and music, featuring ferns and fractals — in other words, lots of alliteration.
Back in New York to work on the postproduction of our upcoming album with the wondrous Aizuri Quartet and equally wondrous pianist Adrienne Kim — and for a few days’ stay at the Berkshire International Film Festival with Yasmin Rai. Here’s a little moment from our recording session back in December: with cellist Karen Ouzounian, violinists Miho Saegusa and Ariana Kim, violist Ayane Kozasa, and in the back, myself, Adrienne, and recording engineer/producer/wizard Silas Brown.
Sai Kung is my hometown here in Hong Kong, and my favorite neighborhood in the world. It has been great fun to be part of getting this new project, Sai Kung Sound Collective, or Sasco, off the ground as its first Composer-in-Residence, with Artistic Director, baritone Isaac Droscha, composer Galison Lau, the wonderful people at our partner institution, the Hong Kong Academy, and many others. I’ve had a chance to brush up on my continuo playing skills with flutist Tete Bae, and work on a performance of Hum and Drum with Richard Bamping, solo cellist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and pianist Natalia Tokar, one of Sasco’s founding members. At our first bigger event, last Saturday’s Opening Gala Concert, we also heard violist Born Lau and violinist Patrick Yim play KnickKnacks by our first featured guest composer, George Tsontakis, who introduced us to his work; as well as pianist Yoonie Han and soprano Rebekah AuYeung.
‘From its inception in 1996, MATA has helped launch the careers of dozens of promising young composers. Now the festival starts a new initiative, “MATA Continued,” offering return engagements by some of its brightest discoveries. The series starts with the Finnish composer Ilari Kaila, whose haunting lament “Kellojen Kumarrus” was presented by MATA in 2014; here, the award-winning Aizuri Quartet and the pianist Adrienne Kim reprise that piece along with further works by Kaila.’ — Steve Smith, The New Yorker, 10 Dec 2018
Very happy to share this announcement of a composer portrait concert presented by MATA (Music at the Anthology) on December 17 at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, New York:
M-Prize Winning Aizuri Quartet to Perform Evening of Works by Rising Star Ilari Kaila
New York’s acclaimed “leading showcase for vital new music by emerging composers” (The New Yorker), MATA is excited to announce the first concert of MATA Continued, a new alumni-focused project devoted to giving composers previously presented by MATA the opportunities and tools to make larger artistic statements through longer-form concerts and special projects. MATA Director Todd Tarantino explains, “MATA isn’t just a one-time thing. The third item of our mission statement is to ‘support’ early career composers. For our alumni, in particular, this takes many forms: revisiting their work for our MATA’s Greatest Hits program, fiscal sponsorship of their own projects, invitations to serve on juries and be mentors in our MATA Jr. program, and now, through events like this one.” The inaugural concert will feature the work of Finnish composer Ilari Kaila, whose Kellojen Kumarrus was featured on the 2014 MATA Festival. Through the artistry of the M-Prize winning Aizuri Quartet, alongside special guests flutist Isabel Gleicher and pianist Adrienne Kim, Kellojen Kumarrus will receive a second MATA performance on a program that will showcase the breadth of Kaila’s compositional voice.