MCA Stage is pleased to continue a deepening partnership with ICE in the 2013/14 season. ICE and MCA Stage share an entrepreneurial approach to music by originating work and devising rehearsal and concert performance in ways that actively engage composers and open the process to the public in myriad settings. The partnership is also distinguished by a commitment to develop special projects in nontraditional formats, intimate settings, and new technology.
In its second concert of the 2013/14 MCA season, ICE performs work by Alvin Lucier. A trailblazing force for over 50 years, Lucier opens our awareness of the nature of sound and language, using the simplest of means to create beautiful and ethereal aural phenomena. His work poetically examines the acoustics of space, psychoacoustics, resonance, and other qualities of sound. Lucier has pioneered in many areas of music composition and performance, including notating performers’ physical gestures, using brain waves in live performance, generating visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and evoking the acoustics of rooms for musical purposes.
Moving beyond the concert stage, ICE performs three distinct programs, with the composer present, amid gallery installations by Lucier in the MCA’s fourth floor atrium. Each of the concerts has limited attendance, due to the setting, although the sound installations will be on view for several weeks.
Fri, Mar 21, 7:30pm
Resonant Things: Music for people and objects
Develops from interactive dynamics, such as a flute with wind anemometer, and piano with amplified teapot.
Sat, Mar 22, 7:30pm
Directions of Sound: Chamber music
Highlights Lucier’s chamber music, including three works he composed specifically for ICE: a trio, a quartet, and a sextet.
Sun, Mar 23, 7:30pm
Still and moving lines: Music for people and electronics
Focuses on electronic music, using simple analog devices in creative ways to build sound fields that transform our experience.
About the Artists
Avant-garde composer and performer Alvin Lucier was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, in 1931. Lucier has a long history of compositions for electronics, voice, instruments, brain waves, echo-location devices, and more. His breakthrough composition Music for Solo Performer (1964–65) for Enormously Amplified Brain Waves and Percussion, was the first work to feature sounds generated by brain waves in live performance. Biological stimuli played an increasing role in Lucier’s subsequent work, most notably through his notation of performers’ physical movements. His work I am sitting in a room—using only a recording of the composer’s voice, the resonance of a room, and a simple repeated process to transform voice into shimmering tones of pure sound—is regularly hailed as a landmark in 20th-century experimental composition. In the 1980s, Music on a Long Thin Wire further extended Lucier’s fascination with the physics of sound. In this conceptual sculpture, a taut 50-foot wire passes through the poles of a large magnet; driven by an oscillator, the amplified vibrations yield extraordinary results. His later works include sound installations as well as works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra.
Learn more about Alvin Lucier.
ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) was founded in Chicago in 2001, and since that time has established itself as one of the leading musical ensembles of its generation, as well as one of the most innovative young arts organizations in the United States. Described by the New York Times as “one of the most adventurous and accomplished groups in new music,” ICE performs more than 50 concerts a year throughout the United States and abroad and has commercially released six acclaimed albums. A champion of music by young composers, ICE has also given more than 400 world premieres by composers under the age of 35. On October 2, 2012, ICE’s Artistic Director Claire Chase was named a MacArthur Fellow. The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.
Learn more about ICE.