Open your ears and your mind at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP). It's a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in hearing where new music has been going, and to understand where it might be going next.
Legendary artists are in residence for this week of intensive musical study and performance, alongside seminar participants who are here for the sheer thrill of the avant garde. NEC's Stephen Drury is artistic director for this institute, and guest artists this year include composer Rand Steiger and pianist Winston Choi.
In tonight's concert, Stephen Drury kicks things off with music for solo piano by Charles Ives, the grandfather of the American avant garde.
Soprano Elizabeth Keusch '98 M.M., '01 A.D. returns to her alma mater to join Drury in a set of songs by Helmut Lachenmann, Got Lost, which she has performed repeatedly in Germany in recent years. Keusch's affiliation with this composer began a decade ago, when she performed and recorded the title role in the premiere of Lachenmann's opera based on Hans Christian Anderson's fable The Little Match Girl.
Got Lost (Sarah’s Song) sets three apparently unrelated texts [from Friedrich Nietzsche, Fernando Pessoa, and an anonymous notice in an elevator], stripped of the pathos, poetry and profanity of their diction and emanating from a single musical source: the soprano voice, which presents them in an almost casual traversal of constantly shifting fields of sound and movement, by turns playfully trilling, lamenting, calling, each replacing and interrupting the other, finally giving way to a kind of disorienting space in which the music itself binds the texts through a deadpan, transcendent declaration of self-conscious, self-reflective hilarity.
Charles Ives's Piano Sonata No. 2: "Concord, Mass, 1840–1860," written a century ago, is one of the pivotal modernist works for piano, and a signature piece in Stephen Drury's concert repertoire. Drury published an updated edition of the work last year.
In addition to SICPP's evening concerts, SICPP participants perform solo repertoire at 11:30am on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway. Museum admission fee is waived if you tell them at the door that you are attending the SICPP concert in Calderwood Hall.