Posted in music on February 21, 2013

photos by David Andrako

Deerhoof @ Ecstatic Music Festival, 2/20/2013
Deerhoof

The Ecstatic Music Festival, which has been happening at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center, continued last night (2/22) with one of the more anticipated of this year's season: Deerhoof with Chicago ensemble Dal Niente, including new work by Brazilian-born composer Marcos Balter. This was the first time in NYC for this pairing that  made it's debut last summer as part of Chicago's Wordless Music series. You can check out more photos and the program from the concert below.

Next up at the Ecstatic Music Fest on Saturday (2/23): Laurel Halo, Julia Holter and Daniel Wohl combine forces with Wohl's TRANSIT ensemble, performing commissioned works as well as their previous works performed in new configurations. Tickets are still available.

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Merkin Concert Hall
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Kaufman Music Center
presents
Ecstatic Music Festival®

Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente with Marcos Balter

MARCOS BALTER
Wicker Park (2009) for solo soprano saxophone

MARCOS BALTER
Ear, Skin, and Bone Riddles (2010)
Lyrics: Michael Walsh for soprano, violin and cello

GREG SAUNIER
Deerhoof Chamber Variations (2013)

Intermission

Deerhoof

MARCOS BALTER
Meltdown Upshot (2013) World Premiere
Written for Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente

About the Ecstatic Music Festival®
The Ecstatic Music Festival was inaugurated in 2011 by Kaufman Music Center. Deeply committed to music education and performance that incorporate the ideas and trends of the 21st century, the Center seeks to put truly modern music on its stage--redefining music for the post-classical generation, and serving it up to new audiences. Under the inspired direction of curator Judd Greenstein, co-director of New Amsterdam Records, the Festival brings together innovative artists for adventurous collaborations between musicians from the indie/pop/and classical realms. At the nexus of New York City's vibrant "indie classical" scene, the festival shines a bright light on one of the most intriguing areas of contemporary music, in which lines between genres are blurred and the concert environment combines the elegance of a traditional concert hall setting with the energy of a nightclub. The Ecstatic Music Festival's programs give true meaning to the notion of "Ecstatic Music" as a joyful and adventurous collaboration between composers and performers from the indie/pop and classical realms.

This year's Ecstatic Music includes three New Sounds Live concerts hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer, which are webcast live on Q2 Music and taped for future broadcast on WNYC. Q2 Music is the festival's digital venue and the center for on-demand artist interviews and concert audio. The festival is presented in association with New Amsterdam Presents.

About the Artists

The backgrounds of Deerhoof members Satomi Matsuzaki, John Dieterich, Ed Rodriguez and Greg Saunier range from self-taught to classically trained. Since 1994 the acclaimed and at times controversial band has brought their DIY philosophy, wild improvisational energy and artistic freedom to venues across America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Their wide range of projects includes 12 self-produced albums, film scores, remixes and collaborations with artists including Konono No. 1, ?uestlove, The Flaming Lips, and, at last year's Ecstatic Music Festival, Jherek Bischoff.

Ensemble Dal Niente is a 21st-century artist-driven ensemble dedicated to interpreting and promoting contemporary music through public performances, collaborative projects, recordings and outreach. Its programming challenges convention to re-define the listening experience. By bringing new music to new audiences in new venues through fearless, engaging and imaginative concerts, Dal Niente pushes the limits of its performers and broadens the perspective of its listeners.

With a roster of 21 young virtuosos, its flexible instrumentation makes possible limitless sonic combinations; the ensemble presents music for solo instrument, for small ensemble, for chamber orchestra, for electronic media and everything in between. The ensemble seeks to foster a sustainable, productive environment that puts musicians and composers in an optimal position to further the progress of music today.

Its annual Chicago concert series is a staple of the local scene. Ensemble Dal Niente performs a wide variety of contemporary music to packed houses in diverse venues that range from traditional concert halls, to pop and jazz clubs, to art galleries and to public spaces. The ensemble plays a vast and comprehensive spectrum of technically demanding 20th- and 21st-century masterpieces. Including canonic works of the last 40 years as well as overlooked, rarely-performed gems, its repertoire requires a special commitment to musicianship, detail, and precision.

Crucial to Dal Niente's vision is working with young and emerging compositional talent. The ensemble has commissioned or premiered hundreds of works and has collaborated with visual artists and playwrights to create rich new experiences for audiences and people of diverse creative disciplines. Equally at home working with major international figures as with younger composers, recent collaborators include Brian Ferneyhough, Chaya Czernowin, Augusta Read Thomas, Marino Formenti, Kaija Saariaho, Bernard Rands, Hans Thomalla, Lee Hyla, Mark Andre and Jay Alan Yim. Vital to the organization's mission is the education of the next generations of composers and new music performers. Through residencies and workshops at local and regional high schools and colleges, the ensemble and its musicians guide the development of the future of the art form.

In July 2012, Ensemble Dal Niente became the first-ever ensemble and the first-ever Americans to win the coveted Kranichstein Music Prize, the top award for music interpretation at the acclaimed Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music in Germany, cementing its place as one of the world's foremost new music organizations.

The ensemble's name, Dal Niente ("from nothing" in Italian), is a tribute to Helmut Lachen-mann's work for clarinet Dal niente (Interieur III), the courageously revolutionary style of which serves as an inspiration for its musicians. The ensemble's name also references its humble beginnings -- founded in 2004 by a group of music students at various Chicago schools, the ensemble has risen from obscurity to a position as one North America's most prominent new music groups.

Praised by the Chicago Tribune as "minutely crafted" and "utterly lovely" and The New York Times as "whimsical" and "surreal," the music of composer Marcos Balter (b.1974, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) has been featured at Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW, Köln Philharmonie, the French Academy at Villa Medici, New World Symphony Center, E-Werk Freiburg, Teatro de Madrid, Tokyo Bunka Kaykan, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Teatro Amazonas, Morgan Library, Le Poison Rouge and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago. Recent festival appearances include those at Acht Brücken, Aldeburgh Music Festival, Lockenhaus Kammermusikfestival, Aspen, ACO's SONiC Festival, Frankfurter Gesellschaft für Neue Musik, Darmstadt Ferienkurse, Color Field, Musica Nova and MATA's Interval Series. Past honors include commissions from Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, The Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, The Holland/America Music Society, The MacArthur Foundation and the Art Institute of Chicago, fellowships from the Tanglewood Music Center/Leonard Bernstein Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation (USA/Italy) as well as first prizes in several national and international composition competitions. For more information, please visit the composer's official website at www.marcosbalter.com.

Deerhoof
Satomi Matsuzaki, bass and vocals
John Dieterich, guitar and bass
Ed Rodriguez, guitar
Greg Saunier, drums

Ensemble Dal Niente
Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, voice
Carrie Henneman Shaw, voice
Ryan Muncy, saxophone
Matthew Oliphant, horn
Ben Melsky, harp
Mabel Kwan, piano
J. Austin Wulliman, violin
Mariel Roberts, cello
Mark Buchner, double bass
Michael Lewanski, conductor

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Comments (5)

It was fun hearing the chamber arrangements of Deerhoof songs, but the space was WAY too boomy for the band and made for very muddy sound. A shame, since they are usually clean and clear.

Posted by Anonymous | February 21, 2013 9:21 PM

Chicago's Wordless Music series?

Posted by Anonymous | February 21, 2013 11:27 PM

^ Merkin Hall is on W 67th, not in Chicago. Thanks for playing along.

Posted by Anonymous | February 22, 2013 12:48 PM

space was kind of boomy yes (classical music halls tend to be) but the deerhoof set still rocked. they can make it work anywhere. and the new piece at the end was surprisingly awesome.

Posted by Anonymous | February 22, 2013 6:11 PM

Great music.

Posted by Jamie | March 9, 2014 6:18 PM

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