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Fabien Lévy

Contour Lines mini-tour complete!

Last night I finished my Contour Lines mini-tour of the East Coast! It was an awesome experience booking, planning, and then finally performing this solo program over 3 days in 3 cities. My thanks goes out to everyone who came to the shows (NYC’s Gershwin Hotel, Boston’s Yes.Oui.Si, and Baltimore’s Red Room).

The concerts featured performances of Benjamin Taylor’s new piece Shipbreaking for alto sax and electronics (commissioned by an international consortium I organized). I was fortunate to have Ben fly out from Indiana to be my Boston and Baltimore shows. Ben did a pre-concert talk on his music, Shipbreaking, and using electronics for performance. Plus we had audience members, who had never seen or used anything like this before, come up and try out the equipment. Many thanks to New Music USA for a Metlife Creative Connections grant to support the project.

There’s a ton of video from the concerts, Ben’s talks, plus an interview I did with Ben before the Boston show that I plan to post online. I also have video of interviews with Victoria Cheah, Katarina Miljkovic, and Fabien Lévy that I need to get around the sharing. As soon I finish relaxing…

The photo above is from my sound check before the Yes.Oui.Si show.

Concert Prep

I’ve had a busy couple days preparing for next week’s Contour Lines concerts. Over the weekend I was in Massachusetts and was able to meet up with Katarina Miljkovic to work on her piece If in a winter… at New England Conservatory. We also had time to do an interview in her office. She is very focused on mathematical sources for her compositions, including research and tools created by Stephen Wolfram. Check out Wolfram Tones for a super basic idea of this.

Today I was back in NYC and headed over to Columbia University (photo above from today) to meet with Fabien Lévy. We worked on his piece L’air d’ailleurs – Bicinium and then did a quick interview before he had to go. Fabien talk about some great topics, including his interest in the idea of “je ne sais quoi”, cross-rhythm, and much more.

As soon as I get some free time I’ll work on sharing the interviews!

Contour Lines

I’m very excited to announce my latest project: Contour Lines!

Contour Lines is a program of contemporary electroacoustic and solo works for saxophone, featuring the newly commissioned piece, Shipbreaking. The project explores the landscape of contemporary saxophone, from avant-garde to classical to pop and jazz influences, with an emphasis on electroacoustic works. Concerts will showcase both established and young composers, including leading spectral composers Gérard Grisey and Fabien Lévy, Dutch composer and culture commentator JacobTV, current Meet The Composer Studio resident Kati Agócs, and past winner of the Look & Listen Festival competition Paul Leary.

Commissioned works by Victoria Cheah, Paul Leary, and Benjamin Taylor will represent the younger generation of composers. Cheah’s Strangeloop (solo bari sax) navigates the tangled hierarchical system of strange loops. Leary’s Number Stations (alto sax and audio playback) blends pop/rock influences with classical training. Taylor’s Shipbreaking (alto sax and processed sound) reflects on the wonderment of accomplishing monumental tasks through simple means. Shipbreaking was commissioned by an international consortium led by myself. Ben will be present at my Boston and Baltimore concerts to talk about his piece and give a hands-on demonstration of the technology used. The talk and performances will be shared on YouTube.

East Coast mini-tour:

April 18 @ 8:00pm – Gershwin Hotel, NYC
April 19 @ 8:00pm – Yes.Oui.Si, Boston (talk/tech demo by Benjamin Taylor at 8pm, concert at 8:30pm)
April 20 @ 9:00pm – Red Room, Baltimore (talk/tech demo by Benjamin Taylor at 9pm, concert at 9:30pm)
May 17 @ 9:30pm – On The Cusp, Jersey City

Fabien Lévy: L’air d’ailleurs-Bicinium
Benjamin Taylor: Shipbreaking – commissioned by international consortium
Gérard Grisey: Anubis-Nout
Victoria Cheah: Strangeloop – commissioned by Zach Herchen
Kati Agócs: As Biddeth Thy Tongue
Katarina Miljkovic: If in a winter…
JacobTV: Billie
Paul Leary: Number Stations – commissioned by Zach Herchen

Contour Lines logo designed by ycArt Design Studio.
This project is funded in part through New Music USA’s MetLife Creative Connections program.

Spectral Summer @ BU

Time for some long overdue posts! This summer has been jam packed with awesome projects and events, including my sister’s wedding last week (congratulations Annie and Drew!). Things are somewhat winding down and I plan to focus on completing the Emerging Voices CD project and getting back to some type of consistent blogging. Enough talk, here we go!

Last month I attended the The Callithumpian Consort’s Spectral Summer Professional Performance Workshop at Boston University. For 4 days I practiced, rehearse, and worked with Joshua Fineberg and Steve Drury (photo above) on spectral music. Todd Moellenberg and I prepared Tristan Murail’s Transsahara Express, which is for bassoon/piano but I created a transcription for bari saxophone and piano. I also worked on Fabien Lévy’s L’air d’ailleurs – Bicinium for alto sax, playback, and delay, and Gérard Grisey’s Anubis-Nout for solo bass or bari sax. Fellow SICPP alumni Danica Borisavljevic also participated in the workshop.

The workshop ended with a concert of music prepared by the participants and Callithumpian Consort. The program featured the world premiere of Joshua Fineberg’s Counterfactual: hommage à Scelsi (commissioned by Drury and Callithumpian), a reimagining of Giacinto Scelsi’s Okanagon extrapolated it to a different historical timeline. I only performed Nout from Anubis/Nout because I didn’t feel ready to run the whole piece, though I did play the full work a few weeks later at SICPP!

Tristan Murail: Transsahara Express
Fabien Levy: L’air d’ailleurs
Tristan Murail: Feuilles à travers les cloches
Gérard Grisey: Echanges
Gérard Grisey: Nout
Joshua Fineberg: Counterfactual: hommage à Scelsi