Alarm Will Sound, “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene,” according to the New York Times, continues its “Video Chat Variations” series of remote performances on Oct. 30, with visionary, multi-faceted artist and MacArthur “Genius” Award winner Tyshawn Sorey’s “Autoschediasms.”
This premiere follows a “stunning first presentation” of Meredith Monk’s “Anthem,” which launched “Video Chat Variations” in August, according to Alarm Will Sound.
It said the Sorey premiere will have a unique set-up: Alarm Will Sound’s players will be split into “pods,” gathering in different studio locations around the country for a real-time remote performance.
The musicians will all be led by Sorey (from a studio in Philadelphia) in a live composition, where he will be able to organically interact with the different groups of players on multiple screens around him — and allow the audience to see these interactions.
Alarm Will Sound said Sorey has been widely celebrated for his “incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores.
“His ‘Autoschediasms’ are works composed in the moment, challenging the distinction between improvised and composed music,” it said.
In this video-chat “Autoschediasms,” Alarm Will Sound said Sorey uses his unique language of visual gestures, text directives and autonomous prompts to collaboratively create a piece in real time.
“I always think compositionally,” Sorey said. “Much of what I do is craft even when I spontaneously create something.
“The performers must do the same, and they’re equally responsible for the result,” he added. “At no point can one performer take this process of making music for granted.”
Alarm Will Sound said it intends to commission more composers to partake in “Video Chat Variations” as time progresses.
Following Meredith Monk and Sorey will be David Lang, as well as emerging voices in experimental classical music.
Alarm Will Sound said composer and multi-instrumentalist Sorey is celebrated for his “incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores, and an extraordinary ability to blend composition and improvisation in his work.
“He has performed widely with his own ensembles as well as other internationally renowned artist,” it said.
Named a 2017 MacArthur fellow, Sorey has received commissions from numerous artists, orchestras and ensembles, including JACK Quartet, Ojai Music Festival, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Opera Philadelphia, McGill-McHale trio, International Contemporary Ensemble, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and Alarm Will Sound, among many others.
Sorey has taught and lectured on composition and improvisation at Wesleyan University, New England Conservatory, The University of Michigan, Columbia University, The Banff Centre, Hochschule für Musik Köln, University of California in Berkeley, Harvard University and The Danish Rhythmic Conservatory.
He has been recently appointed the presidential assistant professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania.
Led by artistic director and conductor Alan Pierson, Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music.
The band has established a reputation for performing demanding music with “equal parts exuberance, nonchalance and virtuosity,” according to the Financial Times.
With classical skill and unlimited curiosity, Alarm Will Sound takes on music from a wide variety of styles.
“Stylistically omnivorous and physically versatile” (The Log Journal), its repertoire comes from around the world, and ranges from the arch-modernist to the pop-influenced.
Since its inception, Alarm Will Sound said it has been associated with composers at the forefront of contemporary music.
The group itself includes many composer-performers, which allows for an unusual degree of insight into the creation and performance of new work.
Alarm Will Sound is the resident ensemble at the Mizzou International Composers Festival.
Held each July at the University of Missouri in Columbia, the festival features eight world premieres by early-career composers.
In 2013-14, Alarm Will Sound served as artists-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Alarm Will Sound may be heard on 14 recordings, including its most recent, “The Hunger,” and the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s “Radio Rewrite.”
“Acoustica,” the band’s genre-bending, critically-acclaimed album, features live-performance arrangements of music by electronica guru Aphex Twin.