THE NYX FESTIVAL OF EXPERIMENTAL & PROG MUSIC
AUGUST 10-12 at SPECTRUM, 121 LUDLOW STREET, NEW YORK CITY
A festival that celebrates the historical interaction between the genres of classical Experimental Music and Progressive Rock since their beginning and into the 21st century.
Spectrum, a recently-opened new-music performance venue in NYC's Lower East Side, presents the NYX Festival: Three days of music where Experimentalism and Prog Rock merge. Since the last century, these two genres have shared a number of key features: the free use of emerging technologies by way of synthesizers & electronics, ambitious musical structures, asymmetric time signatures and, notably, virtuosic performance involving "traditionally-amplified" electric guitars and their kin as well as traditionally-acoustic instruments such as piano. The NYX Festival has a line-up of highly-talented and exciting musicians from NYC and elsewhere. This will be an enjoyable, envelope-expanding experience for participants, both audience and performers alike.
Tickets are now on sale HERE
Tickets for individual acts on Saturday & Sunday can be purchased at the door the day of the event.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10 from 7:30 PM until midnight, doors open at 7:00 PM, tickets $15
Chapman Stick Night hosted by Greg Howard
Chapman Stick* players work in all genres of music: rock, jazz, classical, folk world and experimental. This concert features six top players, from around the East Coast, for five hours of rock, progressive rock, jazz fusion and free improvization. Greg Howard will host the concert and perform throughout the evening.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11 from 2:00 PM until midnight, doors open at 1:30 PM, tickets $10 for individual acts or $25 for an All Day Pass
2:00 PM: ensemble et al.
5:00 PM: Erbium
6:30 PM: break
8:00 PM: Little Worlds - Bartok's Mikrokosmos Re-imagined
SUNDAY, AUGUST 12 from 2:00 PM until 10:30 PM, doors open at 1:30 PM, tickets $10 for individual acts or $25 for an All Day Pass
3:30 PM: Brad & Doug Balliett
5:00 PM: Prog Gnosis: Patrick Grant
7:30 PM: MoeTar (from CA)
9:00 PM: miRthkon (from CA)
Three Day Festival Passes are $45
Tickets are now on sale HERE
Tickets for individual acts on Saturday & Sunday can be purchased at the door the day of the event.
* The Stick and Chapman Stick are Federally registered trademarks of Stick Enterprises, Inc.
About The NYX Festival
The NYX Festival of Experimental and Prog Music is a three-day celebration of the interplay of classical (traditionally acoustic) and rock (traditionally amplified) music. The festival brings under one roof virtuoso performers from both fields, many of the being active in both as classical and rock musicians. NYX is taking place at Spectrum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and is sponsored by the New Spectrum Foundation. The festivals Co-Directors are composer/performer Patrick Grant and biotechnology entrepreneur Glenn Cornett.
Spectrum is a new venue optimized for the presentation of innovative music and multimedia. It combines state-of-the-art acoustics with the first audio system dedicated to natural presentation of electro-acoustic ensembles and unbalanced acoustic orchestrations. The site is equipped with a Steinway Model D but remains intimate with comfortable seating and variable acoustic treatment. The audio system is a unique convergence of acoustic music, audiophile recording technique and live sound amplification enabled by proprietary loudspeaker technology. This enables electronic music to compete on a equal basis with traditional instruments for quality of sound, and facile incorporation of micro-sounds. Multimedia facilities include two HD projectors.
Spectrum was opened in 2012 in part to compensate for the former Manhattan venues that had either moved to Brooklyn or disappeared. Spectrum is supported by the generosity of members of the audience and the arts community as well as by the ongoing efforts of the New Spectrum Foundation.
About the New Spectrum Foundation
The New Spectrum Foundation was established in 2009 for the support of innovation in the arts. It is run by biotechnology entrepreneur Glenn Cornett, MD, PhD. Dr. Cornett also operates as a composer and performer but considers the funding of other peoples music to be a better investment. New Spectrum has a presence both in Northern California and in Manhattan.
Steve Adelson may be the definitive New York Jazz Stickist, having played with Ben Lacey, Chieli Minucci, Dean Brown, and even Les Paul, but he also weaves in classic rock tunes by Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Stevei Wonder into his dynamic and entertaining solo performances. His latest CD, "Adventures in Stickology", features guest performer Tony Levin. He's performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival and runs his own Long Beach (NY) Jazz Festival each September.
BRAD & DOUG BALLIETT
Brad and Doug Balliett have been performing together for over twenty years. Instrumentalists, composers, speakers, and improvisers, the Balliett brothers cover a wide range of music-making, from historical performance to brand-new hip-hoperas. They have been members of numerous musical groups, including the San Antonio, Houston, and Hartford Symphony Orchestras, new music groups like Metropolis, Signal, Alarm Will Sound, and Argento, and perform as the band Oracle Hysterical with long-time collaborator Elliot Cole. With Oracle Hysterical, they were artists-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival, for whom they produced two programs of all-new music.
NY Multi-instrumentalist Michael Bernier began playing drums at the tender age of 14 in his hometown of Huntington, Long Island, before eventually adding in guitar, Chapman Stick, bass, cello and tablas. Most recently, Michael toured Europe, South America, Japan and the United States with STICK MEN, a project with King Crimson alums Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto. He's also played with such luminaries as Eddie Jobson, Marco Minneman, Trey Gunn, Simon Phillips and Greg Howe. Currently Michael is planning a tour of the material from his newest solo release "Leviathan".
From North Haven, Connecticut, Brett Bottomley plays jazz and progressive rock as a soloist and with his band Toy Masheen. His solo CD, Journeys, released in 2008 echoes jazz pianists Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett.
Brooklyn-based Bright Brown is sonic cinema. Bittersweet layers and textures abound, and beautifully crafted songs exist at the core. Alex Nahas' songwriting boldly chooses to sit between the meager and the mundane, elevating the everyday. Along with Nick Smeraski on drums, they've wowed audiences with their explosive duo performances and have just released their second critically acclaimed record, "Oceans".
ensemble et al.
ensemble, et al. is a pseudo-classical percussion ensemble that combines elements of classicism and modernism while taking a garage approach to its material. The group's repertoire, containing mostly original works composed by Ron Tucker and collaborations between the ensemble's players, springs from an almost punk-rock desire to chart unknown territories from musicians who have tired of inhabiting all-too familiar states. Atypical for some percussion groups, ensemble, et al. prefers a simple, intimate, dynamic and delicately beautiful aesthetic.
Erbium was started by composers Dan Cooper and Daniel Palkowski, who met as an undergrad and a prof at Columbia. The instrumentation features 7-string bass guitar, flute, keyboard, and gesture-controlled electronics. The repertoire includes original compositions as well as arrangements of Liszt, Satie, and Prokofiev, among others. Venues have included The Annex, Caf Brama, Drom, Fat Baby, Galapagos, Parkside Lounge, Solas, Temple M, and The Stone - as part of the 2011 American Composers Orchestra SoNiC Festival. This NYX festival appearance features Cesare Papetti on percussion. This season, Erbium will be recording a new CD on Composers Concordance Records, distributed by Naxos.
Melody Fader - soloist, collaborator, creative artist. Miss Fader performs with New Chamber Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Melody has been a prizewinner at the Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition and the Aspen Concerto Competition, and has performed nationally and internationally. Miss Fader holds a BM from Eastman, and an MM from Juilliard. Her latest CD, Music of Chopin was released by Centaur Records on February 1, 2012. You can find it on itunes, Amazon, etc.
PROG GNOSIS: Patrick Grant
Patrick Grant is a composer, performer, and producer based in NYC. His music is informed by his experience and work with contemporary-classical and popular music (John Cage, Philip Glass, Quincy Jones, Kid Creole), the communal music of the Balinese Gamelan, and recently with his incipient work in the Guitar Circles of Robert Fripp. He has written scores for theatrical visionaries Robert Wilson (of Einstein on the Beach), The Living Theatre, and companies in Brazil, London, and Dublin (2013). He is a recent recipient of Con Edisons Exploring the Metropolis Composer Residency for the creation of a new work for large multiple guitar ensemble, Circle-Lines.
Photo credit: Irene Young
Since first taking up The Stick in 1985, Greg Howard has released nine CDs on his own Espresso record label of progressive rock, jazz and free improvisation. His solo performances blend originals and familiar tunes by artists like Hendrix, Beatles, Coltrane and Mingus with spontaneous sonic excursions. He's opened tours for Porcupine Tree and Michael Manring and performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, The Knitting Factory, Lincoln Center's Summer Festival and the New Jersey Proghouse.
Bla Bartk composed the 150-plus pieces known as Mikrokosmos as, essentially, piano lessons, tudes offering progressively more-daunting technical challenges. The six volumes have become a key part of the classical repertoire in classrooms and on stage, but Little Worlds has little interest in showing off its virtuosity. The trio of trombonist Rick Parker, guitarist Ryan Mackstaller and drummer Tim Kuhl came together from NYCs jazz, rock and experimental music scenes and have reimagined Bartks lessons as a knife-edged songbook. Precision is replaced by swells of electric sound, the maestros miniature melodies suddenly unraveling in wiry, jagged lines or drifting into dreamy airspace. Given his own penchant for appropriation and transformation, Bartk himself would no doubt have approved. - Shaun Brady, Philadelphia Citypaper
Photo credit: Brandon Wu
Drawing on a diverse range of influences like Jethro Tull, Rush and Marillion, Rob Martino's melodic and energetic compositions appeal to broad audiences. His dynamic solo performances have drawn over a million YouTube views, and he's been a featured performer on NPR's "Echoes" program, and at the New Jersey Proghouse, the Orlando TED Copnference and Orion Sound Studios showcase in Baltimore.
Blair McMillen has established himself as one of the most sought-after and versatile pianists today. His repertoire spans from late-medieval keyboard manuscripts to the 21st century. Recent solo appearances include the American Symphony Orchestra, the Albany Symphony, St. Lukes Chamber Ensemble, Columbias Miller Theatre, Caramoor, Monadnock Music, and the Institute for Advanced Study. Raised in San Francisco and Charlotte NC, Mr. McMillen is pianist for the Da Capo Chamber Players, the American Modern Ensemble, and the downtown NYC-based Avian Orchestra. An active educator, improviser, and self-taught jazz pianist, he serves on the faculty at Bard College and Conservatory.
miRthkon is an amplified chamber ensemble masquerading as a rock band. This illusion is well maintained by the fact that from time to time they do, indeed, rock. Consisting of a core rock instrumentation of 2 guitars, bass, and drums, their unique sound is enhanced by the inclusion of two adept woodwind players covering a wide array of instruments including: piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. Maintaining a passionate aesthetic stance that they are (quite happily) 'beneath everything', their music -- whether evoking the influence of progressive rock, contemporary classical abstraction, avant-garde jazz, catchy hook-laden pop, or thrash metal -- is held to a simple but firm standard: Does it sound good?
Bay Area-based progressive rock band, MoeTar, collects seemingly disparate and opposing sonic forces to create a coherent artistic statement for their Magna Carta Records debut, From These Small Seeds. MoeTar's two main protagonists, singer Moorea Dickason and bassist Tarik Ragab, along with a versatile crew of musicians who also play with a varied roster of artists including Secret Chiefs 3, Lauryn Hill, and Narada Michael Walden, create catchy, yet complex, music that attempts to make sense of our confusing world. MoeTar offers a fresh approach to rock, pop, electronica and experimental music that is the culmination of a collision of styles that seems to defy the odds -- and our ears.
DAMIEN OLSEN & ROBERT PEPPER
PAS (AKA Robert L. Pepper) started in middle 90s working in the mediums of sound and video. His work is not music making with any sense of or desire for commercial viability, but sonic sculptures in the mode of pure art." Damien Olsen (AKA Badmitten, The restrictor.) Is a Musician, Visual and Sound Artist educated in Brazil. The crafting of his peculiar music is strongly influenced by the legendary British Label em:t. Robert Pepper and Damien Olsen have been collaborating in studio works and live performances since 2008. Far from experimental cliches or mere noise the result of their association is a cluster of sonic stories of lyrical magnitude.
Heralded by The New York Times as a violinist of tireless energy and bright tone, Courtney Orlando specializes in the performance of contemporary and crossover music. She is a founding member of the acclaimed new music ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, which has premiered works by and collaborated with some of the foremost composers of our time, including John Adams, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, and Augusta Read Thomas. She is also a member of Ensemble Signal, the Deviant Septet, and the Praxis string quartet. Courtney is currently on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. Prior to her appointment at Peabody, she received her doctorate from and taught at the Eastman School of Music.
Photo of Ron Anderson and Tim Dahl by Peter Gannushin
Three internationally known band leaders, Ron Anderson, Tim Dahl, & Weasel Walter, each one a composer and improviser in their own right, have joined together in a powerful improvised free-rock trio. What is their common ground? The kind of music that has trouble built into it, noise, punk, no wave, free jazz, brutal prog, Just one rule prevails: The music has to be it direct, to the point, powerful, with no sentimental bullshit.
Composer David Smooke (b. 1969) currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland, where he teaches music theory, rock music history, and composition, and is the Chair of the Music Theory Department at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. The Washington Post claims that "Smooke has some of the most uninhibited brain cells around" and describes his music as "superb [...] a kaleidoscopic sonic universe where anything could happen"; the Baltimore Sun adds that it is a highly creative, absorbing experience. He improvises on toy piano and other instruments with the support of Schoenhut toy pianos.