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Argento champions groundbreaking composers through innovative performance.

Fallen Angels

April 11, 2022 8:00 PM

National Opera Center

330 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Suggested donation: $20 general, $10 students/seniors

Tania León (USA/Cuba) Parajota delaté (1988)

for flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello 


   Michel Galante (USA) Camouflage (2017, revised 2021) 

for 2 percussion, piano, and harpsichord


Brian Ferneyhough (UK) La Chute d’Icare (1988)

for solo clarinet, fl (+ picc/alto), ob (+ E horn), perc, pno, vln, vla, vcl, cb 




Alvin Lucier (USA) In Memoriam Jon Higgins (1987)

                                         for solo clarinet and Pure Wave Oscillator 


Yotam Haber (USA/Israel) Bloodsnow – (WORLD PREMIERE)

for flute, clarinet, piano, violin, viola, and cello 

Program Details


Alternative Endings


April 20, 2022 7:30 PM

Dimenna Center

330 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Tickets required (link forthcoming)

Suggested donation: $20 general, $10 students/seniors


Patricia Alessandrini - Canto d’Alma (2018/2020)

for soprano, chamber ensemble, and electronics

(inspired by Alma Mahler’s fünf Lieder)

Gustav Mahler - Purgatorio and Scherzo: Nicht zu schnell from Symphony no. 10 (1964)

Draft short scores completed for chamber ensemble by Michel Galante (2022)

World Premiere

to live for you, to die for you

Arranged for narrator, voice and piano by Michel Galante from letters written by Gustav Mahler and songs composed by Alma Mahler:

Laue Sommernacht


Ich wandle unter Blumen


Sang Song - Gretel (2021) for soprano and chamber ensemble

I. To the Little House - New York premiere
II. Vein of Shame - World premiere
III. Kindertotenmusik - New York premiere

(inspired by Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder)

Composer Patricia Alessandrini writes: “After writing some very successful pieces as a promising young student of Zemlinsky, Alma Mahler was obliged to stop composing by Gustav as a condition of their marriage. Once he discovered her affair with Walter Gropius, he regretted this decision, and encouraged Alma to compose; but she found it difficult to pick up her musical life where she had left off. My idea is to bring this story to life using Artificial Intelligence techniques to represent notions of the "inner ear" and how one may (re-)learn to compose. Just as Alma sat down at the piano and played her previous compositions, I use the automata to “recall” her early compositions through the filter of memory. I hope in Canto d’Alma to demystify the compositional process by bringing the listener inside of it, at the level of memory and intuition. As a female-identifying composer/sound artist, I feel that aspects of this story of obstructed ambition and attempted redemption are particularly relevant in the wake of the #metoo movement, and resonate with efforts towards improved inclusivity and gender balance.”


Argento juxtaposes four songs by Alma Mahler with readings from the relationship-defining correspondences between her and Gustav Mahler, including letters that outline Gustav’s obstruction of Alma’s composing (described above by Patricia Alessandrini). 


Composer Sang Song writes: Gretel, my new work for ensemble, explores frequently overlooked aspects of Hansel and Gretel. The movement entitled “To the Little House,” is a quasi-passacaglia. The movement, entitled “Kindertotenmusik,” includes quotations from the last song of Kindertotenlieder , “In diesem Wetter!” The quotes are limited to the music roughly corresponding to Mahler’s setting of the following line: Sie ruh’n als wie in der Mutter Haus  (They’re at peace as if in their mother’s house)

Finally, Argento premieres two new movements from completion and orchestration of Mahler’s 10th Symphony by Michel Galante: the third movement Purgatorio and fourth movement Scherzo.


After the performance, there will be a post-concert discussion with Patricia Alessandrini and Sang Song.

This concert and discussion will be performed live with an in-person audience and a web livestream.


Argento's 2021-22 season programming is made possible by the Reed Foundation, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, the Fritz Teiner Fund, the BMI Foundation, and the generosity of individual supporters. Additional support is provided in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.







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.

Feuilles a travers les cloches - Tristan Murail
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