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DUALITIES: Reimagining a Classic Combination

  • Constellation Chicago 3111 North Western Avenue Chicago, IL, 60618 United States (map)

CHICAGO (December 19, 2016) – DUALITIES explores the rich relationships sounds possess as they interact between two instruments, with electronic versions of themselves, within one instrument, or with the space itself. The program has been carefully sculpted to challenge the classic view of pairing a flute and piano, presenting them both as equal partners which fluidly dance, lead, follow, and intertwine with each other’s sounds in unpredictable and unusual ways. 

Carolyn O’Brien’s Kinetic Suite is like a mechanized sound sculpture, creating new sonic juxtapositions full of whimsy with hand-punched music boxes, a gong tree, toy piano, all the flutes, and reference to Celtic jigs. This performance marks the completion of a long-time collaboration of the performers and composer for this new work and a world premiere of the entire suite. Cursive script represents the essence of Chinese calligraphy as an art and it’s expressiveness relies on the spontaneous but controlled flow of ink and brush strokes that project density, texture, and poise in addition to fluid lines. Chou-Wen Chung’s work Cursive uses the instruments in this fashion with indefinite rhythms and pitches, variable tempo, dynamics and timbres to create a spontaneous but controlled flow of sound, calligraphy on the ear’s canvas. The cornerstone of the program is the Chicago premiere of Neuwirth’s monumental work for flute, piano and 6-channel electronics. The diffusion of the six channels creates a sonic space surrounding the audience, and produces a virtual reverberant space in which the actual instrumental sound is transformed by way of electronic manipulation, finally leading the solo instruments to a confrontation with themselves as mass duplicates: sonic distortion reaches the point of self-alienation. 

January 15, 2017, 8:30pm
Frequency Series
Constellation Chicago
3111 N. Western Ave. 

Shanna Gutierrez, flute
Mabel Kwan, piano

*Carolyn O’Brien: Kinetic Suite (2016) duo for flutes, toy piano, toy percussion, music box & gong tree
Chou Wen-Chung: Cursive (1965) for flute and piano
Alex Temple: Inland (2007) for melodica + piano
Elisabeth Lutyens: 5 Bagatelles (1962) for piano solo
Fredrick Gifford: Shadow Play (2016) for bass flute and electronics
+Olga Neuwirth: Verfremdung/Entfremdung (2002) for flute, piano, 6-channel electronics

*world premiere
+Chicago premiere

Video/Sound Samples:

Chicago-based, Austin-born pianist Mabel Kwan has been praised by the Chicago Classical Review for “stunning virtuosity, musicality and resourcefulness that was almost as enjoyable to watch as to hear." She is a pianist for Ensemble Dal Niente and the trio Pesedjet. Her recent solo albums, one poetic switch and Inventions feature new works written for her on clavichord and piano. She presents new solo piano and chamber music programs that deviate ever so slightly from the traditional concert experience.

As a specialist in contemporary performance practice and techniques, flutist Shanna Gutierrez is dedicated to promoting and advancing contemporary music in cultural life today through innovative performances and educational projects. She appears throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist with her Bass Flute Unleashed project, in various international chamber collaborations, including Collect/Project and Sonic Hedgehog, and was a founding member of Ensemble Dal Niente. Upcoming releases include the complete flute works of Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf and a debut solo album of works for bass flute and electronics, both on NEOS.


Earlier Event: January 12
Tim Parkinson: British composer-pianist
Later Event: January 16
Mocrep at The Arts Club