Galapagos Art Space
16 Main Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
O Shut Your Eyes Against the Wind (2010) Bryce Dessner (b. 1976)
from Passenger Fish: Scene 3 (2008) Wil Smith (b. 1980)
Big Dig (2006) Ryan Brown (b. 1979)
…and then it rained (2011) David Moore (b. 1984)
Lucy Dhegrae, soprano
Brad Cherwin, clarinet
David Bloom, clarinet, keyboard, and djembe
Matt Evans, percussion
Colin Davin, electric guitar
Karl Larson, piano and keyboards
Finnegan Shanahan, violin and electronics
Meaghan Burke, cello
Pat Swoboda, contrabass and electric bass
Contemporaneous is a New York-based ensemble of nineteen musicians dedicated to performing and promoting the most exciting music of today. Founded in 2010 at Bard College, Contemporaneous has performed more than sixty concerts at venues such as Merkin Concert Hall, Roulette, Galapagos Art Space, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and The Stone. Contemporaneous has been featured as guest artists at the Tribeca New Music Festival, Dumbo Arts Festival, Neighborhood Classics, and California’s Berkeley Arts Festival, and the group’s recordings have been featured on many radio programs, including WNYC’s “New Sounds” and WRTI’s “Now is the Time.”
Contemporaneous presents the work of young and established composers, encouraging artists to take risks, challenge expectations, and defy constraints. To date, our programs have included more than thirty world premieres by composers from around the globe, including Jherek Bischoff, Conor Brown, Ryan Chase, Kyle Gann, Yotam Haber, and Molly Joyce. In April 2012, Innova Recordings released the ensemble’s debut album, Stream of Stars — Music of Dylan Mattingly, comprised of music written for the ensemble by its founding co-artistic director. www.contemporaneous.org
Bryce Dessner (b. 1976): O Shut Your Eyes Against the Wind (2010)
This work is written as a tribute to my friends and colleagues at Bang on a Can. For the better part of 15 years I have had so many incredible musical and personal experiences with the members of the All-Stars and the Bang on a Can community. Their generosity and the profound collective of musical inspiration and talent they represent has left an indelibly positive effect on my own life as a person and musician. O Shut Your Eyes Against the Wind is written for them.
The piece is based on a poem by the American poet Larry Eigner (1927-1996), who was a member of the Black Mountain School. “O shut your eyes against the wind” is the last line of his poem the wind like an ocean, which I used as creative inspiration for the music. I’d like to thank my sister Jessica Dessner for sharing Larry Eigner’s work with me. – Bryce Dessner
the wind like an ocean
the wind like an ocean
but sometimes the sun stills it
and the surface is solid
why shouldn’t life pass as in a dream
or a dream itself, there are different degrees
or different dreams reality
at one with a dream
the naked sea
o shut your eyes against the wind
Bryce Dessner is a composer/guitarist/curator based in New York City, best known as the guitarist for the acclaimed rock band The National. He has performed and/or recorded with some of the world’s most well-known musicians including Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, Kronos Quartet, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Dessner is also co-founder and owner of the Brassland record label, serves on the board of The Kitchen and is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Music. www.brycedessner.com
Wil Smith (b. 1980): from Passenger Fish: Scene 3 (2008)
Passenger Fish is an opera that was originally written for the band of the same name (James Moore, Erik km Clark, Eleonore Oppenheim, Pete Wise, Mellissa Hughes, and Wil Smith). The opera is a love story between Henry Fish, the downtrodden hero who cannot speak, and the disembodied voice of an airport announcer, whom Henry becomes convinced is speaking directly to him. Mediating the affair is a flight attendant, a woman searching herself, beneath a friendly and efficient outer shell. Scene 3 is a portrait of the flight attendant, who in this scene comforts a crying child. – Wil Smith
What’s the problem little one? What’s your awful mother done?
Show the crowd your toothless smile, take it easy, rest awhile.
Charming, aren’t you?: your expressions pose a million different questions.
But I’ve got orders for the crew, and flight fourteen is overdue.
And once again my back-up’s late and someone’s got to man the gate.
But tears are such a weak defense against the world’s incompetence.
Quiet down now, take a nap. Tuck your head inside your cap.
Don’t worry that the grown-ups here are lazy, dumb, and insincere.
Hold my finger, watch my face, learn to hold yourself with grace.
Wil Smith is a Brooklyn-based composer and performer whose work embraces a variety of traditional and popular styles, integrating classical techniques with cutting-edge technology, theatrics, and improvisation. He plays piano, keyboards, pipe organ, and Hammond B3 organ, and is a founding member of the experimental rock band Passenger Fish. Smith’s works have been performed by artists such as the electric guitar quartet Dither, MIVOS Quartet, Jody Redhage, and Mellissa Hughes. Smith is the founder and curator of the critically acclaimed Brooklyn-based new-music series, Music at First. www.wilsmithmusic.com
Ryan Brown (b. 1979): Big Dig (2006)
Big Dig was written while immersing myself in the mbira music of Central Africa. While I didn’t use any specific rhythms or melodies, I did try to put my mind in a place similar to that evoked by mbira music, filtered through my own love of rhythmic games and highly energetic textures. –Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown’s works have been called “nimble, expressive, ear-turning, and strange in an accessible way” (Washington City Paper). Performers of his work have included JACK Quartet, Lisa Moore, Newspeak, and the Paul Dresher Ensemble, among many others. In 2006 he co-founded San Francisco’s annual Switchboard Music Festival, an 8-hour music marathon bringing together composers and performers who challenge traditional genre boundaries. Brown is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory and California State University, Long Beach, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Princeton University. www.ryanbrownmusic.com
David Moore (b. 1984): …and then it rained (2011)
…and then it rained is a wistfully elegiac work for indeterminate ensemble originally written for Moore’s ensemble, Bing and Ruth. The score invites the performers to make many decisions of texture, instrumentation, and structure. For this reason, no two performances will be the same, but Moore’s heartfelt melody and arrestingly beautiful harmonies always come through. This piece can be found on Bing and Ruth’s most recent album City Lake. — David Bloom
David Moore is a 29-year-old composer and multi-instrumentalist who has spent his young career producing work of startling variety and unique vision. He has released eight records of his own music under various pseudonyms and works tirelessly as a composer for film, theater, dance, and installations. In 2006 he founded Bing & Ruth, a large chamber ensemble dedicated to performing his long-form ambient works orchestrated for acoustic instruments. Originally from Kansas, David has lived in New York City since 2004. www.imdavidmoore.com