Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Austrian Cultural Forum
Structured improvisation by Charmaine Lee (vocalist) and Carol McGonnell (clarinet)
Arnold Schoenberg Totel Winkel (1899)
Erin Gee Mouthpiece 29 (2016)
Arnold Schoenberg Verklarte Nacht (1899)
Erin Gee Mouthpiece 29b (2020) WORLD PREMIERE
Erin Gee, voice
Carol McGonnell, clarinet
Charmaine Lee, composer/vocalist
Michel Galante, conductor
Argento Chamber Ensemble
Vocalist/composer Charmaine Lee and clarinetist Carol McGonnell embody the theme of
the evening of duality by performing a structured improvisation resulting from
collaborating closely over time. Both performers are known for their intensity, and the
mix of voice, text, sound, and breath will form the basis of their performance.
Argento then performs Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht (translation: transfigured
night – 1899) and Erin Gee’s Mouthpiece 29 (2016) by juxtaposing and performing
several iterations of each piece.
Friday, April 17, 2020
Tenri Cultural Institute
Bethany Younge Bodyscape (2015)
for voice, video, audience, electronics and ensemble
Sang Song Gretel (2020) WORLD PREMIERE
Yotam Haber New Work (2020) WORLD PREMIERE
Alma Mahler Turning Point
Alma Mahler's Four Songs staged with (a narrative from) fragments of Gustav Mahler's letters
For voice, piano, narrator, and ensemble
Michel Galante, conductor
Argento New Music Project
The Argento New Music Project collaborates for the first time with composer/vocalist Bethany Young on her work for voice, ensemble, and audience participation called “Bodyscape,” followed by TWO world premieres. Argento will first premiere Sang Song’s Gretel, a work for ensemble based on the Brother Grimm fairy tale, and then perform a new work by Yotam Haber based on two disparate sources: an exploration into the Jewish community in Rome, and his adventures as part of a dog sled team in Alaska. Finally, Argento will present four of Alma Mahler’s songs, juxtaposed with excerpts from a historic letter that Gustav wrote to her in 1901. This juxtaposition, called Turning Point, is semi-staged.
Under the direction of Michel Galante, Argento has become an essential source of adventurous new music.
– Alex Ross, The New Yorker
The Argento New Music Project’s fierce emotional commitment onstage and relentless determination to master all technical aspects of its repertoire has inspired world renowned composers such as Tristan Murail, Beat Furrer, and Georg Friedrich Haas to regard them as the best interpreter of their music in the United States. Argento first gained prominence at New York’s “Sounds French Festival” in 2003 and were shortly thereafter invited to work closely with Elliott Carter and Pierre Boulez for the opening concert of the French American Cultural Exchange. From its inception, the group has dedicated itself to a thorough command of the microtonal challenges of contemporary Spectral composers, an effort that culminated in their first CD Winter Fragments, winner of the prestigious Record Geijutsu 2010 Record Academy Award for best recording.
Argento has presented world premiere performances of works by leading composers such as Tristan Murail, Helmut Lachenmann, Bernhard Lang, Sebastian Currier, Fred Lerdahl, and Philippe Hurel, as well as exciting emerging composers including Sabrina Schroeder, Murat Yakin, Erin Gee, Yoni Niv, Victor Ádan, Hila Tamir, Sang Song, Daniel Iglesias, and many others. Argento brought one of the most influential recent masterpieces of contemporary music, in vain, by Georg Friedrich Haas, to New York, at a time when the composer was unknown and unperformed in America. US premieres include works by Salvatore Sciarrino, Luca Francesconi, Michael Jarrell, Olga Neuwirth, Enno Poppe, Gérard Pesson, Mathias Spahlinger, Gérard Grisey, and Eva Reiter. Equally important, Argento introduced American composers to foreign audiences in its many performances at international festivals throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Argento has produced over thirty studio recordings, many of which have been professionally released on well-known labels such as Bridge, Aeon, and Harmonia Mundi. As a guest ensemble, it has worked closely to develop new works with graduate students from universities including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Columbia.
Argento is committed to expanding the reach of contemporary music to new audiences. From 2009-2015, Argento and the Austrian Cultural Forum co-produced the Moving Sounds Festival, merging contemporary concert music with other artistic worlds including dance, architecture, sound art, electronica, and turntablism. In recent concerts, the group has endeavored to expand its reach beyond contemporary music audiences by including works by 14th, 19th, and early 20th century composers in a musically driven, innovative, and non-conformist manner.
Recent highlights include a performance with legendary soprano Frederica von Stade at Weill Hall in Sonoma, California, and world premiere performances of the following works: Ann Cleare’s eyam ii, commissioned by the Arts Council of Ireland and premiered at the Library of Congress; Jérôme Combier’s Conditions de lumiere, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation and premiered in both New York and Paris; and Beat Furrer’s spazio immergente, commissioned by the Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg and premiered in its entirety at the composer’s first American portrait concert at Carnegie Hall.
Argento's reputation builds on its cohesion as a chamber ensemble, demanding technical preparation, and a probing interpretive commitment to the music. Independent of commercial endeavors, the Ensemble relies on the hard work of its musicians, volunteers, board members, and your generous support.