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New Sounds Live


October 6, 2017 - October 13, 2017

Installation: Oct. 6-13, Performances: Oct. 11-13

Brookfield Place New York (BFPL)
Winter Garden
230 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10821

This New Sounds Live series offers a captivating installation, the world premiere of The Phonemophonic Alphabet Brass Band by sculptor and multimedia artist, Carol Szymanski, in addition to an eclectic range of musical performances from artists, composers, and traditional musicians.

Presented in totality for the first time, The Phonemophonic Alphabet Brass Band consists of 26 brass sculptures forming a three-dimensional font, which have also been crafted to function as musical instruments. Each horn sculpture (or “phonemophone,” as Szymanski calls them) produces a unique range of tones generated by its particular letter shape. Since each horn represents a letter, they can “spell out” written texts by the order in which they are sounded—translating linguistic messages into musical terms. By the same token, they allow for something conceived of as a purely musical sequence to be thought of instead as a sequence of letters, perhaps a code. The result is an abstraction of language that opens a new genre, exploring sound, language, and visual elements in a striking new synthesis.

Ben Neill, a popular composer and trumpeter, will perform MANITOGA, featuring eight of Szymanski’s horns as well as Neill’s own electroacoustic mutantrumpet, and STEAK abc, which features all of the Szymanski horns on Wednesday, October 11. A Tribute to Pauline Oliveros performed by the Darmstadt Ensemble and led by Ben Neill and Zach Layton on October 12 will pay homage to the experimental composer who passed away last year and was central to the development of electronic art music, as well as the theory of Deep Listening. The instruments in Szymanski’s installation will be played throughout the performances on October 11 and 12, creating an immersive surround sound experience. The series will conclude on October 13 with Colin Stetson’s enchanting performance of Sorrow: A re-imagining of Górecki’s Third Symphony.



October 6 – October 11
The Phonemophonic Alphabet Brass Band by Carol Szymanski
Hours vary, check back for updates.


PERFORMANCES (All start at 7:30 PM):

Wednesday, October 11
MANITOGA (New York Premiere)
STEAK abc (World Premiere)
Ben Neill and Carol Szymanski

Thursday, October 12
A Tribute to Pauline Oliveros
Darmstadt Ensemble led by Ben Neill and Zach Layton

Friday, October 13
Sorrow: A re-imagining of Górecki’s Third Symphony
Colin Stetson



Carol Szymanski was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, studied at San Francisco Art Institute and the Whitney Museum Studio Program, and lives and works in New York. Her work has been exhibited internationally. Recent solo and collaborative exhibitions include “Emergency Eyewash” (with Barry Schwabsky), Tanja Grunert Gallery, New York, 2017; “A Distance as Close as It Can Be,” Elga Wimmer PCC, New York 2016; “My Life is an Index,” Tanja Grunert Gallery, New York, 2015; and “Pissing Against the Wind, or Sketches on the Mental Drain on the Dead Banker,” Guided by Invoices, New York, 2012, which have received press attention in Artcritical, Art Press, Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, and Time Out New York. Between 2004 and 2014 she produced an email project, cockshut dummy, combining writing and images, excerpts from which have been republished in the art and literary periodicals including Atlantica and Vanitas. She has been a recipient of numerous awards including the Rome Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. In addition to her ongoing collaboration with Ben Neill, she has also worked in musicians and performers including the Ekmeles Ensemble. Betsy McClelland, Dewey Redman, and Wadada Leo Smith.



Composer/performer Ben Neill is the inventor of the mutantrumpet, a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument, and is widely recognized as a musical innovator through his recordings, performances and installations. He has been called “a creative composer and genius performer” (Time Out NY), “the mad scientist of dancefloor jazz” (CMJ), and “a musical powerhouse, a serious and individual talent” (Time Out London). Neill’s music blends influences from electronic, jazz, and contemporary classical music in a minimalist framework, blurring the lines between digital media and acoustic instrument performance.

Neill began developing the mutantrumpet in the early 1980s with synthesizer inventor Robert Moog. In 1992, while in residency at the STEIM research and development lab for new instruments in Amsterdam, Neill made the mutantrumpet fully computer interactive. In 2008 he created a new version of his instrument at STEIM, and returned there in 2016-17 to design yet another version which will be completed in 2018.

Neill has worked closely with many musical innovators including John Cage, La Monte Young, John Cale, Pauline Oliveros, Rhys Chatham, DJ Spooky, David Berhman, Mimi Goese, Page Hamilton, Nicolas Collins, and David Rothenberg. ITSOFOMO, his major collaborative piece with the late visual artist David Wojnarowicz, has been presented widely in venues such as The Tate Modern London, The Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, The New Museum and PPOW Gallery. Neill is currently leading performances of La Monte Young’s The Second Dream with an international ensemble of 8 trumpet players, which has been presented in New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Huddersfield, Oslo, Krems, and Warsaw.



Colin Stetson was born and raised in Ann Arbor, spent a decade in San Francisco and Brooklyn honing his formidable talents as a horn player, eventually settling in Montreal in 2007. Over the years he has worked extensively live and in studio with a wide range of bands and musicians including Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, TV On The Radio, Feist, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Bill Laswell, Evan Parker, The Chemical Brothers, Animal Collective, Hamid Drake, LCD Soundsystem, The National, Angelique Kidjo, Fink, and David Gilmore.

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  1. Pingback: Gig Alert: New Sounds Live Presents Colin Stetson's "Sorrow" at Brookfield Place | NYC Informer

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