Le Noir de l’Étoile

Gérard Grisey

Saturday, February 26, 2011
February 26, 2011

Radio signals emitted by two pulsars from a distant place in the universe become part of a work played on six percussion stations that surround the audience. This piece was commissioned from Gérard Grisey by the French ensemble Les Percussions de Strasbourg, which will perform at EMPAC. Grisey has been called one of the founders of so-called spectral music (a label he later disowned). In this piece, the evolution of timbres played by instruments, and of sound colors as they expand, explore the great complexities of what our ears can hear, and take the audience on a journey inside the sound of music. Not only is the space "out there" brought into the Concert Hall, the hall itself is made part of the experience by placing the performers, instruments, and loudspeakers around the audience.

Jean-Pierre Luminet: The Harmony of the Spheres, from Antiquity to Contemporary Music

Jean-Pierre Luminet is a French astrophysicist. He is the research director for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and is a member of the Laboratoire Univers et Théories (LUTH) of the observatory of Paris-Meudon. He was awarded the 2006 Great Prize of the French Academy of Sciences for science communication, and the 1999 International Georges Lemaitre Prize for his original contributions to cosmology and astrophysics. He has published in journals such as Nature, Astrophysical Journal, and Astronomy and Astrophysics, among others. He has also published three acclaimed novels and several poetry books.

Curator:: 
Micah Silver

In 1962, six classically trained musicians founded the ensemble Les Percussions de Strasbourg to explore the wide range of percussion instruments available in Western, Asian, and African traditions, and their rich possibilities for use in contemporary music. Works were soon being dedicated to them by Messiaen, Serocki, Kabeláč, Xenakis, Mâche, Dufourt, and other leading composers. Nearly 50 years later, the group has changed personnel, but Jean-Paul Bernard (artistic director), Claude Ferrier, Bernard Lesage, Keiko Nakamura, François Papirer, and Olaf Tzschoppe remain committed to creating exciting performances of contemporary masterworks, especially through long-term, interactive partnerships with young composers, the exploration of theatrical and dance collaborations, and through residencies and master classes. Les Percussions de Strasbourg performs worldwide.

Born in 1946, Gérard Grisey studied at the Trossingen School of Music in Germany and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, where he took lessons in composition with Olivier Messiaen. He also studied with Henri Dutilleux and took classes with Karlheinz Stockhausen, György Ligeti and Iannis Xenakis.

Grisey spent much of his career exploring the spectrum of tone color (timbre) between harmonic overtones and noise. He also was fascinated by musical processes, which unfold slowly, and he made musical time a major element of many of his pieces. He was a professor of theory and composition at the University of California, Berkeley (1982-1986). From 1986 until his death in 1998, he was a professor at the Conservatoire Supérieur in Paris.

Jean-Pierre Luminet is a French astrophysicist. He is the research director for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and is a member of the Laboratoire Univers et Théories (LUTH) of the observatory of Paris-Meudon. He was awarded the 2006 Great Prize of the French Academy of Sciences for science communication, and the 1999 International Georges Lemaitre Prize for his original contributions to cosmology and astrophysics. He has published in journals such as Nature, Astrophysical Journal, and Astronomy and Astrophysics, among others. He has also published three acclaimed novels and several poetry books.

Dates: 
Talk
Jean-Pierre Luminet
Theater
February 26, 2011, 6:30PM
Performance
Les Percussions de Strasbourg: Le Noir de l’Étoile
Concert Hall
February 26, 2011, 8PM
TICKETS

"Grisey's music: a mysterious lever—without secrets—inviting one on luminous voyages of listening towards a metamorphosis. Voluptuous irritation of the experience of sound and time—in perpetual transformation, decomposing and crystallizing: Phoenix and ashes at the same time. Grisey's music always astonishes the senses and mind differently and surprises itself at the same time."
— Helmut Lachenmann

EMPAC 2010-2011 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust), and the New York State Council for the Arts. Special thanks to the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts for support of artist commissions.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
NEFA - New England Foundation for the Arts
State of the Arts - NYSCA