The Lab presents a program of new and recent works by composer Tashi Wada performed by cellist Charles Curtis, bassoonist Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, and Wada with special guest Julia Holter.
The program collects three, new and recent, long-form works by composer Tashi Wada that explore different and diverging aspects of tuning and tonality. Valence (2016), written for cellist Charles Curtis, isolates and reharmonizes the natural overtones of a single string, destabilizing and fusing tone and timbre through a delicate alchemy. Witness (2017), written for bassoonist Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, draws out the relationship between an array of scales and tetrachords (four-note segments of scales) found traditionally in Greek, Persian, and Arabic musics, in combination with hybrid and invented scales, through repetition, variation, and improvisation. Wada’s performance for keyboard, voice, and sirens with guest musician Julia Holter focuses on the outer edges of historical, non-equal temperaments, eliciting a more distant, uneven sense of tonality.
Cellist Charles Curtis has created a new body of work for solo cello through his collaborations with composers La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, Alvin Lucier, Éliane Radigue, Christian Wolff, Alison Knowles and Tashi Wada, and filmmakers Raha Raissnia and Jeff Perkins. Rarely-heard works of Terry Jennings, Morton Feldman and Richard Maxfield have also been signposts in Curtis's performing life. Trained at Juilliard with Leonard Rose and Harvey Shapiro, Curtis received the Piatigorsky Prize of the New York Cello Society. Since 2000 Curtis has been Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego. He is a former member of King Missile.
In recent seasons Curtis has presented solo works of Alvin Lucier at the Auditorium du Louvre and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and premiered new works of Éliane Radigue at the College des Bernardins in Paris; premiered Tashi Wada's Landslide for solo cello and modified tape deck at Issue Project Room; and given performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Angelica Festival in Bologna, the Ostrava New Music Days, and in Brussels, Metz, Paris, Mexico City, Miami Beach, Athens and Los Angeles. Last summer Curtis led four performances of the music of La Monte Young in honor of Young's 80th birthday at the Dia Art Foundation's Dia:Chelsea space, including the premiere of the three-hour-long original version of Trio for Strings from 1958. In December 2015 he gave the New York premiere of Alvin Lucier's Orpheus Variations for cello and seven winds with Petr Kotik and the SEM Ensemble at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. In Spring 2016 Curtis performed Éliane Radigue's Naldjorlak at The Kitchen in New York, and presented a series of four concerts with Alvin Lucier in various venues in Marfa, Texas.
Julia Holter is a composer, performer, and recording artist based in Los Angeles. Her interest in the mysteries of the sonic atmosphere has compelled her to record in various settings--in her home, outside with a field recorder, and in professional studios—as well as to perform live, often with a focus on the voice. She has studied music composition at Cal Arts and University of Michigan and has performed at various venues and festivals around the world. She frequently collaborates in group projects as well, with artist and musician friends Rick Bahto, Ramona Gonzalez, Tashi Wada, Yelena Zhelezov, Laurel Halo, Mark So, Cat Lamb, Laura Steenberge, and more.
Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, born in Paris in 1979, is a bassoon player who explores sound through improvisation, contemporary music performance and sound installations. Her instrumental approach is centered on the fragility of sound and its emergence and development within a given space. In a concert situation, she seeks to create a paradoxical presence of vulnerability and strength by testing the limits of control and instability. A key aspect in her work is the deconstruction of her instrument. She amplifies fragments through miniature microphones mounted inside the instrument. This exploded version of her sound sometimes meets more conventional bassoon playing to generate aural discontinuities between the exterior and the interior, the whole and the parts, wood and electricity – a “reverse-engineered emergence”. Dafne Vicente-Sandoval currently lives in Paris and works mainly everywhere else. She favors long-term face-to-face collaborations within which her work keeps an integrity while engaging in a dialogue with that of others. Current projects with Klaus Filip, Bonnie Jones, Pascal Battus, Jakob Ullmann, Éliane Radigue and Klaus Lang. Her work has been presented at contemporary music festivals (Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, England; Blurred Edges, Hamburg; Visiones Sonoras, Mexico), festivals of improvised music (Konfrontationen, Austria; No Idea, Texas) and sound art festivals (Tsonami, Chile).
Tashi Wada grew up in New York City and lives in Los Angeles. He studied composition at CalArts with composer James Tenney. Grounded in a belief that “music should be as direct as possible,” Wada’s compositions use apparently simple structures to generate rich and unanticipated perceptual effects. His works—both composed and improvised—explore harmonic overtones, resonance, and dissonance through precise tuning and gradual change in pitch. Working in relation to American experimental music, microtonal music, and so-called drone music, his practice is also informed by interdisciplinary performance and artists affiliated with Fluxus. Wada’s work has been performed throughout the US and Europe, often in close collaboration with other artists, and for many years he has performed alongside his father, composer Yoshi Wada. Wada runs Saltern, an imprint of Important Records, which he started in 2014.