Notes on Fiction: loadbang
Tuesday October 11, 2016
In 2012, The Center for Fiction launched a new cross-disciplinary concert series entitled Notes on Fiction. With a thoughtfully curated, fiction-inspired program, each concert captures the spirit of a book in sound, and features short readings of passages that inspired the musical program.
This event presented New York City-based new music chamber group loadbang, who performed a piece composed by David Smooke called ‘A Baby Bigger Grows Than Up Was.' Based on an alphabetized story by the Baltimore-based writer Michael Kimball (written under the pseudonym Andy Devine), the piece is inspired by the opposing processes inherent to the story.
Of the piece, Smooke says, “In order to highlight the musicality of the story and its inexorable organization, I utilized the inherent pitches from the sound formants of the vowels in order to generate the harmony. If one were to read the text aloud, the vowels themselves would create similar harmonic progressions as are found in this setting.”
loadbang has premiered more than 200 works by leading composers including Pulitzer Prize winners Charles Wuorinen and David Lang, Guggenheim Fellowship winner Alex Mincek, Eve Beglarian, Nick Didkovsky, Reiko Füting, Andy Akiho and Alexandre Lunsqui, who were both recently commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, and the individual members of the ensemble.
New York City-based new music chamber group loadbang is building a new kind of music for mixed ensemble. Since their founding in 2008, they have been praised as ‘cultivated’ by The New Yorker, ‘an extra-cool new music group’ and ‘exhilarating’ by the Baltimore Sun, ‘inventive’ by the New York Times and called a 'formidable new-music force' by TimeOutNY. Their unique lung-powered instrumentation (trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet and baritone voice) has provoked diverse responses from composers, resulting in a stylistic palette ranging from whistled Brazilian rhythms and microtonal jazz standards to the decoupled and deconstructed sounds of the second modernity. Symphony Space, Miller Theater, Da Camera of Houston, Rothko Chapel, MATA, the Festival of New American Music at Sacramento State University and the Avant Music Festival are some of their recent presenters. They are recipients of the CMA/ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award.
loadbang has premiered more than 200 works by leading composers including Pulitzer Prize winners Charles Wuorinen and David Lang, Guggenheim Fellowship winner Alex Mincek, Eve Beglarian, Nick Didkovsky, Reiko Füting, Andy Akiho and Alexandre Lunsqui, who were both recently commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, and the individual members of the ensemble. Not content to dwell solely in the realm of notated music, loadbang is known for its searing and unpredictable improvisations, exploring the edges of instrumental and vocal timbre and technique, and blurring the line between composed and extemporaneous music. To this end, they have embarked on a project to record improvisations and improvised works written by members of the ensemble. These recordings are designed, fabricated, and released in hand-made limited editions. loadbang can also be heard on a 2012 release of the music by John Cage on Avant Media Records, a 2013 release of the music of loadbang member Andy Kozar titled On the end... on ANALOG Arts Records which was called ‘virtuosic’ by The New Yorker, a 2014 release on ANALOG Arts Records titled Monodramas, and a 2015 release on New Focus Recordings titled Lungpowered.
loadbang is dedicated to education and cultivation of an enthusiasm for new music. They have worked with students ranging from elementary schoolers in the New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers program and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids Program to college aged student composers at institutions including Princeton University, Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, Yale University, Peabody Conservatory, University of Buffalo, and the Manhattan School of Music. They are in residence at the Greenwich House Music School in New York City and the Charlotte New Music Festival.