ICElab brings the unexpected to Atlas
Through its new music series, the Atlas Performing Arts Center already welcomes resident companies from all over the country. If you've ever had the priviledge to go, you know that we've been exposed to the sounds of the Capital City Symphony, the Congressional Chorus, the Library of Congress, and the Washington Chorus (to name a few locals) and afforded every type of musical genre from jazz to funk and classical to contemporary. It’s one series that has kept the Atlas and the entire H Street corridor constantly alive with indelible music.
This Thursday, the Atlas is offering up something completely different: the International Contemporary Ensemble, better known as ICE.
With a flexible roster of 33 premier instrumentalists, ICE is a renowned musician collective dedicated to advancing the music of our time through the creation of innovative new works and the generation of new methods of audience engagement. In other words, get ready to hear something completely new in a totally unfamiliar way.
Since its founding in 2001, ICE has premiered over 500 compositions, the bulk of them by emerging composers. With its newest initiative, entitled ICElab, ICE musicians work in close collaboration with six emerging composers per year. Meant to push the boundaries of musical exploration, ICElab is also a welcome forum for launching the careers of the most promising young artists out there.
It’s these types of composers that you can expect to hear on Thursday. Featuring works by Phyllis Chen, Nathan Davis, and Mario Diaz de Leon, as well as classic works by Steve Reich, and John Cage, the show is anything but expected.
The program begins before you take your seat with a piece called H Street Bells, which will be performed in the lobby. Originally written and premiered in New York's Alice Tully Hall, H Street Bells has since been specifically changed to reflect the Atlas and the entire H Street corridor. It also begs for interactivity by incorporating the use of the audience's cell phones. Audience members will be asked to call a number in their programs; the “bell” sounds generated by the phones will then be incorporated into the piece through what can only be described as a lot of improvisation and creativity.
Only then, after the entire audience is asked to contribute to the creation of the repertoire, will everyone take their seats inside the Lang Theatre for the remainder of the performance. I say: what better way to start it off but with a little bit of crowd-sourced fun?
Contemporary, Innovative, Modular, Artist-Driven – ICE is a performance ensemble that will challenge you to experience music outside of the carefully-curated box. It’s a show I really hope you don’t miss.
For tickets, visit the Atlas website.
ICElab will present the following works during its Thursday performance:
Nathan Davis: H Street Bells, for winds, many bells and audiences' cell phones.
John Cage: Telephones and Birds
Cage: 6'23" (arr. ICE from 45" for a speaker, Variations II, Atlas Eclipticalis)
Steve Reich: Vermont Counterpoint (1982)
Mario Diaz de Leon: Altar of Two Serpents (2010)
Nathan Davis: On Speaking One Hundred Names (2011)
Phyllis Chen: Mobius (2011)
John Cage: Credo in US (1942)
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