Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Aura of Anthony Braxton's Ouevre

There's much buzz around Anthony Braxton these days. The composer- conceptualist- reed player is to be feted with a 4-night event to be held at Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.  The "Festival", titled "Anthony Braxton: Energies, Ideas. Intuitions", will feature several world premieres and United States debut - the full schedule is below.

The 66-year old Braxton has been a force on the creative music scene since the 1968 release of his groundbreaking Delmark Records Lp, "For Alto."  He has written music for all sizes and shapes of ensembles, from duos, trios, quartets, orchestras, multiple orchestras to100 tubas!  He has recorded with drummer Max Roach, vocalist Jeanne Lee, synthesizer master Richard Teitelbaum, trombonist George Lewis, the Robert Schumann String Quartet, pianist Chick Corea (along with bassist Dave Holland and percussionist Barry Altschul in Circle), bassist Joe Fonda, guitarist Joe Morris, cornet player Taylor Ho Bynum and many. many others.

Speaking of Bynum (one of many former Braxton students who still record and tour with him), he is the President of the Tri-Centric Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to producing the major works of composer of Professor Braxton and preserving his artistic legacy. The Foundation is truly the on-line archive for his music and offers subscribers access to works (through its New Braxton House imprint) that were released on Lps and CDs that have gone out-of-print or never been released.  Anthony Braxton is nothing if not prolific and these new releases range from solo to septet to 3 Orchestras.  See them all at

As promised, here is the schedule for the Festival at Roulette to be held from October 5 - 8. 
Wednesday, Oct. 5

The world premiere of Pine Top Arial Music, a new interdisciplinary system combining dance and music; a set of Braxton’s through-composed solo piano music; and his Falling River Music Quartet, which interprets evocative graphic scores.
  • Pine Top Arial Music – Anthony Braxton (reeds), Taylor Ho Bynum (brass), Matt Bauder (reeds), Anne Rhodes (voice), Rachel Bernsen, Melanie Maar (movement)
  • Composition 30 – Cory Smythe (piano)
  • Falling River Music – Anthony Braxton (reeds), Ingrid Laubrock (saxophones), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Shelley Burgon (harp), Renee Baker (violin/viola)
Thursday, Oct. 6

The US debut of Braxton's Diamond Curtain Wall Trio, with interactive electronics. The Tri-Centric Orchestra will perform ensemble pieces with three simultaneous conductors and language music improvisations.

  • Diamond Curtain Wall Trio – Anthony Braxton (reeds, electronics), Taylor Ho Bynum (brass), Mary Halvorson (guitar)
  • Tri-Centric Orchestra – Jason Hwang, Mazz Swift (violins), Renee Baker (viola), Tomas Ulrich (cello); Nate Wooley, Chris DiMeglio (trumpets), Mark Taylor (French horn), Dan Blacksburg, Chris McIntyre (trombones), Anthony Braxton, Daniel Blake, Dan Voss, Matt Bauder, Salim Washington, Josh Sinton (reeds), Angelica Sanchez (piano), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Ken Filiano (bass), Tyshawn Sorey (percussion), Taylor Ho Bynum, Jessica Pavone, Aaron Siegel (conductors)
Friday, Oct. 7

Featuring the debut of a 13-member vocal choir, performing Braxton’s syntactical Ghost Trance Music. The composer’s 12+3tet plays Echo Echo Mirror House Music, where the musicians wield iPods in addition to their instruments, combining live performance and sampled sound from Braxton's extensive discography.  
  • Syntactical Ghost Trance Music ChoirAnne Rhodes, Kyoko Kitamura, Amy Crawford, Jean Carla Rodea, Fay Victor, Kamala Sankaram, Elizabeth Saunders, Nick Hallett, Vince Vincent, Wesley Chinn, Chris DiMeglio, Michael Douglas Jones, Adam Matlock (voices)
  • 12+3tet Echo Echo Mirror House – Anthony Braxton, Andrew Raffo Dewar, James Fei, Steve Lehman, Chris Jonas, Sara Schoenbeck (reeds), Taylor Ho Bynum, Reut Regev, Jay Rozen (brass), Renee Baker, Erica Dicker, Jessica Pavone (strings), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Carl Testa (bass), Aaron Siegel (percussion)
Saturday, Oct. 8

A world premiere concert reading of two acts of Braxton’s opera Trillium J, featuring a cast of twelve singers and 35-piece orchestra, with Braxton conducting.

  • Trillium J (Acts I and III) - Amy Crawford, Anne Rhodes, Kyoko Kitamura, Fay Victor, Kamala Sankaram, Elizabeth Saunders, Nick Hallett, Vince Vincent, Wesley Chinn, Chris DiMeglio, Michael Douglas Jones, Jeremiah Lockwood (voices)

    Erica Dicker, Jason Hwang, Sarah Bernstein, Olivia DePrato, Renee Baker, Skye Steele (violins), Jessica Pavone, Amy Cimini, Lilian Belknap (violas), Tomas Ulrich, Nathan Bontrager, Daniel Levin (cellos), Ken Filiano, Carl Testa (bass), Cory Smythe (piano), Chris Dingman (percussion), Michel Gentile, Yukari (flutes), Christa Robinson (oboe), Katie Scheele (english horn), Sara Schoenbeck, Brad  Balliett (bassoons), Mike McGinnis, Oscar Noriega, Jason Mears, Josh Sinton (clarinets), Nate Wooley, Gareth Flowers (trumpets) Mark Taylor (French horn), Reut Regev, Sam Kulick (trombones), Jay Rozen (tuba), Anthony Braxton (conductor)

 For more information, contact Doron Sadja,, or call (917) 267-0363.

On top of all that, on October 11, New Braxton House will release the 4-CD set of Professor Braxton's opera, "Trillium E."  Described thusly "Each of Trillium E’s four acts features a different episode: a genie in a bottle, the invention of human cloning, interplanetary space travel, and the exploration of a jungle pyramid."  The cast, as befitting the project, is quite large - 12 vocalists and 44 musicians -  many of whom have worked with the composer in the past and present. The sessions, produced by Bynum and engineered by Jon Rosenberg, took place over 5 days in March of 2010 at Systems Two in Brooklyn.  Professor Braxton and Nick Lloyd (of Firehouse 12 in New Haven) served as Executive Producers. To find out more, go to

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