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Art Politic

On Sept 8 I had the pleasure of producing/performing in another fantastic Con Vivo Music concert: Art Politic. The concert was a program of modern chamber music composed in response to sociopolitical issues, including the Attica Prison rebellion, murder rates in Chicago, the Iraq War, a letter by J.S. Bach to his city council, and what it means to be an American. We had a unique 8-person ensemble of voice, violin, cello, saxophone, guitar, bass, keyboard, and percussion.

Staged in the Council Chambers of Jersey City’s City Hall, this concert featured Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together, a minimalist beat-driven composition that sets text from a letter by Sam Melville in May of 1971. Melville was a prisoner at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York. His letter talks of “the inevitable direction of [his] life”, hinting at things to come. In September of 1971, the Attica Prison rebellion took place, where 1,0000 prisoners took control of the prison, held staff hostage, and demanded better living conditions and political rights. After four days of negotiation (with some demands met), the state police took control of the prison, resulting in at least 43 deaths, including that of Sam Melville.

Paired alongside the Rzewski was the world premiere of Kevin Clark’s Census Americans, a new piece inspired by Coming Together. Census Americans has an ever-changing text, gathered live during the performance from the twitter bot Census Americans, which tweets descriptions of real Americans every hour using U.S. Census Bureau data. The musical material draws on protest songs written by labor activist Joe Hill, and the structure of Rzewski’s Coming Together. This combination of descriptions of modern Americans and protest song reminds us that a key part of what it means to be American is to constantly strive for positive change.

June 2 – Not Less Than the Good

On June 2 New Thread Quartet is premiering our next big project: Not Less Than the Good. This 60-minute piece is written by David Morneau for the bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau’s birth. Not Less Than the Good is an hour-long musical sunrise, simulated by combining the meditative playing of the saxophone quartet with ambient synthesizers, field recordings of early morning hours at Walden Pond, and excerpts from Walden – a secular prayer of hope for enlightenment – performed by poet J. D. McClatchy.

Not Less Than the Good
for saxophone quartet, synthesizer, recorded sounds, and narration
performed by New Thread Quartet, David Morneau (synthesizer), and J.D. McClatchy (pre-recorded narration)
June 2, 7:30pm at The Morgan Library in New York City

Elliott Sharp’s Vivarium


Elliott Sharp’s Vivarium is a program of new and recent works partially drawn from his new album, Tranzience, on New World Records. Drawing upon the talents of top new music ensembles JACK Quartet and New Thread Quartet, Vivarium places Sharpe’s works in new contexts.

Elliott Sharp’s Vivarium
Thursday, September 15 @ 8:00pm
Roulette – 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, NY
Tickets: $20/$15 online, $25/20 door
Roulette event page
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The program features “Tranzience” performed by JACK Quartet, “Approaching The Arches of Corti” performed by New Thread Quartet; “Homage Leroy Jenkins” performed by Jenny Lin, Rachel Golub, and Joshua Rubin; and “The Hidden Variable” for electro-acoustic guitar performed by Elliott Sharp. The evening will conclude with the the world premiere of “Vivarium,” a graphic score by Sharp that will be performed by all of the musicians taking part in the other pieces.

Eavesdropping on April 17


NTQ is pleased to perform on the season opening concert of Guy Barash’s Eavesdropping Series at Spectrum NYC. Our set features music for sax quartet and electronics including: the US premiere of Ophir Ilzetzki’s Ambience for sax quartet and live electronics, Monte Weber’s Lucidity for soprano, saxophone quartet, and pre-recorded electronics, featuring soprano Alize Rozsnyai; Erin RogersMother Earth for flute, saxophone quartet, and electronics, featuring Andrea Lee Smith on flute; and Matthew Burtner’s Incantation S4-X for saxophone quartet and computer generated sound.

Guy Barash presents: Eavesdropping
Spectrum NYC – 121 Ludlow St, New York, NY
Sunday, April 17 @ 7pm
$15 door / $10 student/seniors
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Ophir Ilzetzki – Ambience
Monte Weber – Lucidity (with soprano Alize Rozsnyai)
Erin Rogers – Mother Earth (with flutist Andrea Lee Smith)
Matthew Burtner – Incantation S4-X