Matt Welch update: Radio Operas 2/28+3/1 plus Switzerland

Dear Friends:
It’s been a while since my last update so a few goodies to share.
I just returned from Bern, Switzerland where I premiered two pieces as part of the Jazzwerkstatt festival. I got to work with an awesome ensemble called Proton, augmented by some stellar brass improvising solosists and drummer. It’s been a busy winter composing, and I’m happy to say I’m stretching out a bit which always brings excitement to the composing process. My program in Switzerland wed classical and improvising musicians, and I ventured into twisting Duke Ellington’s harmonic world through my filter in one of the pieces. Called “We Love You Madly,” it uses Ellington harmonies stretched in time and tainted with gamelan sounding alterations, and such a large ensemble was perfect for a kind of Brandenberg like concerto grosso, with emphasis on the three brass, Marc Unternaehrer on tuba, Lukas Wyss on trombone and Martin Eberle on trumpet. I had an awesome time and the show went very well!
I went to Bern a little ahead of time, to enjoy a brief residency to complete my radio opera, The Mutt, about skateboarder Rodney Mullen. My radio opera is an imaginary interview as documentary on inventive and perseverant skateboarding master, Rodney Mullen. I wanted to translate the motions and sounds of skateboards into a musical idiom, and so I recorded my board in the field for sound design and composed sections with metaphorical figures of counterpoint describing the spins of the board, foot to board orientation and jumps with landings. Also the surrounding music is somewhat based on a Dead Kennedys song, Ill in the Head. It’ll be acted/”spoken worded” by me, and the text is a mish mash of Rodney’s speeches re-imagined and set in fairly precise rhythmic notation to capture Rodney’s character. Rodney’s thoughts on achievement, creativity and self-renewal portray a fascinating and sensitive thinker. Joining me will be James Moore and Taylor Levine from Dither on electric guitars. The Mutt is on Feb 28 and March 1 in NYC at Abrons Art Center, along side 5 other unique blends of radio genres and opera as part of Experiments in Opera’s Radio Operas.

Radio Operas – February 28 & March 1, 2014
Friday February 28 & Saturday March 1, 2014
8 pm
Experiments in Opera returns to the Abrons Arts Center Underground Theater to premiere Radio Operas – a collection of six 10-15 minute works that explore a wide range of stories highlighting the composers’ interests in Modern abstractionism, science fiction, melodrama, satire, hallucinatory experiences, scientific discoveries, and pop culture icons.
These are not nostalgic homages to the radio plays of yesteryear. EiO’s Radio Operas are daring new operatic works created by some of the premiere experimental composers of today and designed specifically with this format in mind. Rather than prioritizing stage design and visual storytelling, these opera vignettes feature sound effects performed live by a foley artist, spoken text, music and singing and will rely on the imagination of the listener to create the image of the stories.
Featured works: ‘Ping’ by John King, ‘The Mutt’ by Matthew Welch, ‘Thomas Paine in Violence’ by Paul Pinto, ‘The Collector’ by Aaron Siegel, ‘I Need Space’ by Jason Cady and Ann Heppermann, and ‘These Walls Can Talk’ by Jonathan Mitchell.
Featured performers: Joan LaBarbara, Vince B. Vincent, Erin Flannery, Jamie Jordan – vocals; John King – viola and electronics; James Moore, Taylor Levine and Mary Halvorson – guitar; Matt Evans – percussion; Matthew Welch, Aaron Siegel – spoken voice; Karl Larson – piano; Jason Cady – modular synthesizer; Ed Herbstman, Dennis Pacheco, Annemarie Cullen, Kevin Cragg and Rebecca Robles – actors, and featuring Foley artist Steve Brush.
This inversion of standard operatic presentation will be made complete when the six featured works are recorded at the studios of Q2 Music for world premiere webcasts and on-demand streaming. Q2 Music will share one opera on consecutive nights Monday through Saturday at 8 pm during a special week in March.
Additionally, in partnership with, composers and collaborators featured on Radio Operas will take part in a free public discussion – Opera in Dialogue #2 on Saturday, March 1 at 5pm in the Abrons Underground Theater – exploring the ideas behind this innovative program.
The final event of the Experiments in Opera 13-14 season is the premiere production of Aaron Siegel’s Brother Brother which is based on the untold story of Orville and Wilbur Wright.
We need your support to help raise the last batch of funds to make this project happen.  All of the money will go directly to the performing artists and there are some fun gifts for all levels of support, including a Wright Flyer tattoo for as little as $10.
BROTHER BROTHER on May 2 & 3, 2014
Thanks again for all of your support!
Aaron, Matt and Jason

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