- Anna Þorvaldsdóttir (b. 1977):
Info zu AEQUA
AEQUA presents a varied constellation of recent chamber pieces for smaller forces by composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir, orbiting the large ensemble work Aequilibria. The album takes the listener on a journey through Thorvaldsdottir's soundworld, where sounds and nuances are as much part of the meticulously structured tapestry of the music as harmonies and lyrical material. The works are performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, with two works conducted by Steven Schick and a work for solo piano performed by Cory Smythe. Internally, I hear sounds and nuances as musical melodies and in my music I weave various textures of sounds together with harmonies and pitched lyrical material. The music is written as an ecosystem of sounds and materials that are carried from one performer or performers to the next throughout a progress of a work. As a performer plays a phrase, harmony, texture or a lyrical line it is being delivered to another performer as it transforms and develops, passed on to be carried through until it is passed on again to yet another. All materials continuously grow in and out of each other, growing and transforming throughout the piece. My music is often inspired in an important way by nature and its many qualities, but I do not strive to describe or literally incorporate elements from nature in my music. To me, the qualities of the music are first and foremost musical so when I am inspired by a particular element that I perceive in nature, it is because I perceive it as musically interesting. The qualities I tend to be inspired by are often structural, like proportion and flow, as well as relationships of balance between details within a larger structure, and how to move in perspective between the two the details and the unity of the whole. The pieces for smaller forces on AEQUA orbit the largest work Aequilibria, which is written for a chamber ensemble of 12 performers. Aequilibria was inspired by various states of balancing forces by the natural breath between expansion and contraction, and the perspectives of translucence and opacity. This inspiration can be applied to the whole collection of pieces on AEQUA the works breathe in and out of focus, expand and contract within their individual characters but reflect on each other through their various internal connections from beginning to end. Warmest thanks for listening. (Anna Thorvaldsdottir)
International Contemporary Ensemble
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
is an artist collective that is transforming the way music is created and experienced. As performer, curator, and educator, ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The ensemble’s 35 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Works by emerging composers have anchored ICE’s programming since its founding in 2001, and the group’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present.
A recipient of the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as artists-in-residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ICE was featured at the Ojai Music Festival from 2015 to 2017, and at recent festivals abroad such as gmem-CNCM-marseille and Vértice at Cultura UNAM, Mexico City. Other performance stages have included the Park Avenue Armory, The Stone, ice floes at Greenland’s Diskotek Sessions, and boats on the Amazon River.
New initiatives include OpenICE, made possible with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which offers free concerts and related programming wherever ICE performs, and enables a working process with composers to unfold in public settings. DigitICE, a free online library of over 350 streaming videos, catalogues the ensemble’s performances. ICE's First Page program is a commissioning consortium that fosters close collaborations between performers, composers, and listeners as new music is developed. EntICE, a side-by-side education program, places ICE musicians within youth orchestras as they premiere new commissioned works together; inaugural EntICE partners include Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and The People's Music School in Chicago. Summer activities include Ensemble Evolution at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in which young professionals perform with ICE and attend workshops on topics from interpretation to concert production. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE.
Hailed as “the world’s finest and most daring percussionist” (Spectator), Colin Currie is a solo and chamber artist at the peak of his powers. Championing new music at the highest level, Currie is the soloist of choice for many of today’s foremost composers and he performs regularly with the leading orchestras and conductors.
A dynamic and adventurous soloist, Currie’s unrivalled commitment to commissioning and creating new music was recognised in 2015 by the Royal Philharmonic Society who awarded him the Instrumentalist Award for his achievements in 2014. From his earliest years Currie forged a pioneering path in creating new music for percussion, winning the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2000 and receiving a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2005. Currie has premiered works by composers such as Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, HK Gruber, James MacMillan, Anna Clyne, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Jennifer Higdon, Kalevi Aho, Rolf Wallin, Kurt Schwertsik, Simon Holt, Alexander Goehr, Dave Maric, Julia Wolfe and Nico Muhly. Looking ahead, in the coming seasons Currie will premiere new works by Andrew Norman, Ross Edwards and Mark-Anthony Turnage.
Currie is Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre where he was the focus of a major percussion festival Metal Wood Skin in autumn 2014, featuring world premieres of Steve Reich’s Quartet with the Colin Currie Group, Anna Clyne’s Secret Garden and the UK premieres of James MacMillan’s Percussion Concerto No.2 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Louis Andriessen’s Tapdance with Asko-Schoenberg Ensemble. Other highlights included a solo percussion recital for school children, The Big Percussion Workshop Day, and foyer performances with percussion students from London conservatoires.
The Colin Currie Group
is one of the world’s leading percussion ensembles, specialising in the music of Steve Reich. Led by Currie, whom Reich himself has described as “one of the greatest musicians in the world today” (Herald Scotland, March 2013), the Colin Currie Group is a vibrant, dynamic and virtuosic ensemble comprising the UK’s eminent young percussionists.
Colin Currie assembled the group for the first time in 2006 when the BBC asked him to curate a late-night event to celebrate Reich's music. Following its five-star debut at the BBC Proms, the group went on to perform a sell-out event at London’s Southbank Centre. That concert was attended by the composer, who afterwards commented: “I think this man has taken this piece into another generation, yes, but beyond that into a finer level of performance and has opened it up to me as a kind of revelation.”
Since then, and with Reich’s personal endorsement, Currie and his ensemble have taken on the role of ambassadors for Drumming. The group has performed the work to great acclaim at many major UK venues and festivals, and more recently at international venues including Tokyo Opera City and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
In November 2013 the group gave its first performance of Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians in a sold-out Royal Festival Hall, in the presence of the composer; the performance was described as “technically impeccable and musically overwhelming” (Guardian) and “simultaneously static and bursting with event: a joyful conundrum” (Independent).
Looking ahead to the 2014/15 season, the Colin Currie Group returns to Southbank Centre to premiere a new work by Steve Reich, Quartet, for two pianos and two vibraphones, before touring to the Cologne Philharmonie, Cité de la Musique Paris, Prague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Cardiff and Glasgow.