The Avant Music Festival, started in 2010 by Randy Gibson and Megan Schubert, is a platform for contemporary American composers to experiment with long-form concerts and the full programmatic experience of their work. The festival offers featured composers the freedom to program a full night of their own music unfettered by concerns of duration, scope, or aesthetics.
In the seventh Avant Music Festival on February 20 through March 5, they’re breaking new ground, with installations, major collaborations, and three weeks of music. Highlights include a new opera commissioned from John King, the introduction of our Tuesday Night Tangents, a collaborative performance between percussion powerhouse TIGUE and Adrian Knight, and the purest distillation yet of Gibson’s ongoing Apparitions project.
Avant Music Festival 2016 opens on February 20 with Day Trip, a ten-hour performance/installation by Swedish composer Adrian Knight and the percussion trio TIGUE. Day Trip is a series of extended-duration musical pieces – five (plus an installation) by Knight and three by TIGUE – stitched together into a continuous production. The works include live performances, pre-recorded compositions and sine-tone installations. Please note, entry for this event is tiered. Enter before 4 p.m. and your entry is free, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., $10. Entry after 7 p.m. tickets are full price. Each entry level allows two exits.
On February 27, three 20-minute “micro-operas” by John King will be sung by his longtime collaborators Joan La Barbara and Gelsey Bell, with the composer on viola and electronics. The program features the world premiere of What Is The Word, based on Samuel Beckett’s last work and commissioned by Avant Media with a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. It also includes Ping (2014), also on a Beckett text, and A-R-S (2015), setting a Latin quote frequently cited by John Cage, an important influence: “ars imitatur naturam in sua operatione” (“art imitates nature in her manner of operation”).
In conjunction with AMF 2016, an exhibition of works by Kathleen White, created in dialog with the tradition of musical notation, will be on view in Wild Project’s gallery space February 20 through March 5. The presentation includes a selection of White’s Sound Text drawings alongside a collaborative sound piece created with her partner Rafael Sánchez. This exhibition is curated by Conrad Ventur in conversation with the Estate of Kathleen White. Public viewing hours are Saturdays from noon to 6 pm and before each concert, or by appointment. An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, February 16 (6 – 8 p.m.).
Avant Media was founded in 2003 by composer Randy Gibson and filmmaker Ana Baer with the goal of building a community of artists interested in cross-discipline collaboration and providing these artists with a platform to present their work in a focused environment. Since its founding, Avant Media has been dedicated to high production values and creating a total experience for the audience. From immersive multimedia experiences like 2007’s Anger to collaborative performances like Aqua Madora, to short multi-disciplinary films like Mujeres de Juárez or Shiver, they originate wide-ranging works built from the ground up by artists collaborating on a singular vision.