The Cedar Commissions 2013-14

2013-14 CommissionsThe 2013-14 Commissions featured Kyle Sobczak, Greg Brosofske, Noah Keesecker, Nicolas Carter, Joe Horton, Sara Pajunen, and Jackie Beckey.
In 2010, The Cedar launched a new commissioning program built on the success of its 416 Club, a longstanding series featuring local musicians and collaborations at The Cedar. Now known as The Cedar Commissions, each year the program enables Minnesota-based artists to create and perform innovative new work. To date, the series has supported the creation of new music by more than 30 emerging artists. This program is made possible with support from the Jerome Foundation.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Kyle Sobczak

Kyle Sobczak’s proposal was inspired by John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America. Sobczak will travel throughout the Midwest and conduct interviews with local residents. These interviews will be the basis for his new compositions, “Talking to Strangers: A Travelogue of Minnesota”, giving musical voices to those who might not otherwise have them.

Monday, January 20
Greg Brosofske

Henry. . . Mr. Bones, In Memory of John Berryman is an expressionistic journey through the language, imagery, and rhythms of one of Minnesota’s most provocative poets. Using Berryman’s Dream Songs as his road map, electronic composer Greg Brosofske combines acoustic and electronic textures with Berryman’s poems and video footage, creating a landscape that is part dream, part hallucination.
Berryman once said of the Dream Songs “they are not meant to be understood. . . they are only meant to terrify & comfort.” Henry. . . Mr. Bones is created in this same spirit.
The performance will be followed by a reading and discussion of Berryman and his poems by several writers, including Minnesota Book Award winning poet, Michael Dennis Browne, and Berryman scholar and archivist, Richard Kelly.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Noah Keesecker

Inspired by Robert Rauschenberg’s experimental work, “Open Score,” Noah Keesecker will compose a piece to be performed by himself and one other through a game of ping pong. The piece will be entirely composed and choreographed in advance, and will not be improvised. The ping pong table will be adorned with contact mics and play will trigger audio samples as well as video and lighting. Audience participation will be encouraged after the piece is performed.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Nicolas Carter

Raised in Paraguay, Nicolas Carter learned to play the national folk instrument, the Paraguayan harp. He wishes to compose a collection of pieces titled, “Free the Zoo Animals” inspired by his recent stay in Montevideo, Uruguay. Accompanied by five other musicians, Carter will create unique sounds by blending Latin American rhythms with acoustic string instruments (including jarana and charango), and Andean woodwinds, and various percussive elements.

Monday, February 10, 2014
Joe Horton

Horton is the frontman of hip-hop group No Bird Sing, and an organizer for the improvisational jazz/rap ensemble, Coloring Time. No Bird Sing was recently signed to the Strange Famous record label run by Sage Francis. Horton wishes to compose a collaborative piece to be performed with emcee Kristoff Krane. The piece would also incorporate a dance performance by Taja Will and Blake Nellis. Inspiration for this piece will come from ancient rituals, yoga, and chanting. Complete line-up: Joe Horton (emcee), Kristoff Krane (emcee), Graham O’Brien (drums), Robert Mulrennan (guitar), Michelle Kinney (cello), Casey O’Brien (bass), John Keston (keys), Taja Will (dancer), Blake Nellis (dancer), Bob Schmitt (brush artist), with very special guest Chastity Brown.

Monday, February 17, 2014
Sara Pajunen

After a lifetime in a Finnish-American family, years living in Helsinki, and a recent career exploring Finnish folk music, Sara Pajunen has been asking herself questions such as ‘How many generations does change take?’ or ‘What happens in the space between leaving the familiar and finding the familiar?’ Everywhere there are boxes and boxes of forgotten stories that intensify these questions, a few of which Pajunen found at the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center. Drawing inspiration from the contents of the boxes, Pajunen will add new electronic components to her violin and voice in a way that explores sounds and image common to both past and present, generational change and individual change.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Jackie Beckey

Beckey is known as a member of nationally recognized group Brute Heart, as well as for her work as a composer and band leader for local theater productions and parades. For her 416 Club Commission project she wishes to create both a musical composition and an art installation in The Cedar’s hall. Inspiration for the music will be drawn from Ugandan and Argentinian percussive rhythms.
Jackie’s 416 commission pieces will be performed by musicians: Jonathan Kaiser (cello), Jackie Beckey (viola), Ryan Billig (percussion), Andie Mazorol (percussion), Andy McCormick (upright bass), Rocky Schulze (bass), Jason Misik (bass), collectively known as Rajjjar Septet.
To round out the evening, Mar Habrine, Dream Weapon, and Pittsburgh­-based brass band Lungs Face Feet will also be performing.
Natalie Mazorol has also been commissioned to build an interactive music dome as an art installation piece