The Cedar Commissions 2015-16

The 2015-16 Commissions featured Emily Lynch Victory, Fletcher Barnhill, Tara Loeper, Michael Flora, Casey Deming and deVon Gray.

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 25 2016
Emily Lynch Victory – 3P3

Composer, Zach Zubow, and painter, Emily Lynch Victory, collaborated to produce a new, three-movement work for piano, with three accompanying paintings, called 3P3.  Each movement of 3P3 features a different style of composition and follows a specific mathematical base counting system. Every aspect of the music is dictated by the numbers, similar to the total serialism movement and is reiterated in the paintings by Victory. Not only are pitches, rhythms, dynamics, articulations, colors, shapes, and patterns controlled by the counting systems, but also the performance techniques, form, and range of the piano as well.
Fletcher Barnhill – Over Vanishing Aftermaths

A collection of duets reflecting on the intensity of drought conditions in California’s Central Valley & the impact that scarcity has on us here in Minnesota. Inspired by a four-year tour cycle from Minneapolis to California, the piece meditates in appreciation of the accessibility we have here in the Midwest to clean sources of water. Combining chord structures & instrumentation of traditional surf music with more processed electronic voices & vocals, Fletcher worked with collaborators; Markus Lunkenheimer (Skoal Kodiak, Soaking Rasps), Sophie Weil (Syko Friend, Joint Custody), Adam Werven (Larry Wish & his Guys), Nona Marie Invie (RONiiA,  Dark Dark Dark, Anonymous Choir), & Mark McGee (RONiiA, MDS) to debut a bleak, slow-moving score– setting a backdrop to a harsh reality we all share. The piece is set to visuals produced by Fletcher & Issac Gale

Tuesday, January 26 2016
Tara Loeper – Aurelia

A collection of works based on the music, philosophy and visions of the 11th century Catholic mystic, St. Hildegard of Bingen. It explores the relationship between the universe and the body, ritual and performance, power and love. The performance includes elements of speech, singing, and noise.  It features the voices and words of St. Hildegard of Bingen, Tara Loeper, Virginia Woolf, Mina Loy, bell hooks, Nekima Levy-Pounds, Elizabeth Windnagel, Bethany Battafarano, Elizabeth Roddy, Tessa Silbernagel, Mandy Goldberg and more. 30-45 minute composition for female choir and electronics inspired by musical and theological work of Hildegard von Bingen.
Michael Flora – Nothing

Nothing is a new work for sound and movement by composer Michael Flora and Butoh artist Gadu Doushin. As with previous music projects Flora employ a variety of digital synthesis methods and processing of acoustic sounds to create a piece that explores a play of colors, textures, and overarching shape. Nothing is not anything; something that does not exist; someone or something of no value or size; nothingness; nonexistence; absence of quantity; void; zero. In the instance of this performance, “nothing” could refer to an absence of suggested meaning.

Wednesday, January 27 2016
Casey Deming

An exploration of the rhetorical and authoritative modes of music as played out through sampling. Archaic tape loops of the collaborative process are featured alongside the live performance of the source material. The piece will engage and deconstruct the application and appropriation of sound to create meaning and emotion in our lives. Casey will perform with Davu Seru, Jonathan Kaiser and John Jerry. Works for percussion, cello and tape loops.
deVon Gray

A new opus that bridges the gap between the string quartets of Ravel, Kernis, & Barber and elements of hip hop. In 1959 James Baldwin stated, “The American way of life has failed—to make people happier or to make them better. We do not want to admit this, and we do not admit it.” But art often exposes insults and injustices in a community. The art of composer dVRG reflects our present collectivity, these dark and disturbing times nationally and abroad. With pencil in hand and manuscript paper piled on the desk, his work integrates part soundtrack and part underscore. Soundtracks infuse energy or set the mood whereas scores heighten emotional scenarios or reel the mind. Classically trained and hip hop schooled, dVRG is a composer with attitude, discontent, soul, and raucous intentions to make people happier and better. The musical language comforts you and draws you in with familiar sonic ingenuity, only to expose your heart/core to the harshness of reality through the harshness of distortions and other techniques specific to stringed instruments. Will this new piece of music fix any of our problems? Absolutely not, but the dialog now has both a soundtrack and an underscore with teeth. The piece is purely instrumental, but there are many literary pieces and excerpts that helped to shape the concept of the work and to focus the Composer’s voice. There’s a timelessness that can exist within any piece of music if the character is just right. Much the same way Baldwin’s words still resonate today, they find an ally in the music of dVRG and the common thread—is soul.