About Notes on Fiction
With a thoughtfully curated, fiction-inspired program, each Notes on Fiction concert captures the spirit of a book in sound and features short readings of passages that inspired the musical program. Performances are followed by a wine reception, where the audience can mingle with the musicians.
Notes on Fiction: Orfeo by Richard Powers
Friday November 21, 2014
Photo credit: Kholood Eid
MacArthur Fellow and author Richard Powers joined The Nouveau Classical Project, a hybrid music ensemble and creative production hub that is putting “a new face on classical music” (NPR Deceptive Cadence) and the newly formed Kamea String Quartet. Part reading, part concert, this event took the audience through the adventure of Peter Els, a composer turned scientist whose attempts to find musical patterns in living cells arouses the suspicions of Homeland Security. The Nouveau Classical Project and Kamea performed a wide range of music, such as classics by Barber & Messiaen as well as music by contemporary composers Philip Glass and Stephen Taylor. Orfeo was longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker prize.
This event took place at The DiMenna Center, 450 West 37th St.
About Orfeo (W.W. Norton & Company)
In Orfeo, Powers tells the story of a man journeying into his past as he desperately flees the present. Composer Peter Els opens the door one evening to find the police on his doorstep. His home microbiology lab—the latest experiment in his lifelong attempt to find music in surprising patterns—has aroused the suspicions of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid, Els turns fugitive. As an Internet-fueled hysteria erupts, Els—the "Bioterrorist Bach"—pays a final visit to the people he loves, those who shaped his musical journey. Through the help of his ex-wife, his daughter, and his longtime collaborator, Els hatches a plan to turn this disastrous collision with the security state into a work of art that will reawaken its audience to the sounds all around them. The result is a novel that soars in spirit and language by a writer who “may be America’s most ambitious novelist” (Kevin Berger, San Francisco Chronicle).
About The Nouveau Classical Project
The Nouveau Classical Project (NCP) is a hybrid music ensemble and creative production hub that is putting “a new face on classical music” (NPR Deceptive Cadence) and “leading [the] unlikely intersection of classical music and fashion” (The New York Times). Spearheaded by Artistic Director and Pianist Sugar Vendil, NCP’s mission is to re-imagine the concert experience in modern and dynamic ways through adventurous projects, new repertoire, and collaborations with fashion designers, dancers, composers, and more. NCP began by collaborating with fashion designers to create music-inspired looks to be worn by musicians and has since expanded to creating imaginative projects that go beyond the traditional concert format.
Their unique fashion partnerships have garnered interest from new listeners as well as exposed emerging composers to new audiences. Through modern and innovative ways of presenting new music, NCP hopes to reach diverse audiences that will become enthusiastic supporters of new music.
They have performed at many exciting venues, including (le) poisson rouge, Galapagos Art Space, Korea Gallery, Symphony Space, The Center for Fiction, Issue Project Room as part of MATA’s Interval series, as well as the fashion shows of CFDA winner Pamela Love, Project Runway winner Gretchen Jones, Tanya Taylor, and more. Performances for Spring 2014 included a concert at SubCulture in New York, a performance at the fashion show of 2014 Ecco Domani award-winning designer Novis, the Kempner Collection launch party, and the sold-out premiere of Potential Energies at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Fishman Space.
The new and enchanting string quartet Kamea offers programs rich in diversity, presenting multicultural works in addition to the traditional classical repertoire. The group engages audiences with its unique charisma and verve and inspires listeners to expand their musical tastes. The members of Kamea began playing together during their graduate studies at Stony Brook University, where they discovered a shared love of eclecticism and stylistic eccentricity. They now play a range of music that includes original arrangements of ethnic folk music, reinterpretations of the western canon, and creative approaches towards contemporary works. Currently living in the New York City area, the group’s members originate from Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Sofia, Bulgaria.
Susanna Mendlow, cello