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08/08 New Albion at SummerScape: A Festival within a Festival

Voice of West Coast New Music Finds Home at Bard SummerScape’s Celebrated Spiegeltent from August 1–10

Mark Primoff


Programs Include Works by Preeminent New Music Composers


ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard SummerScape presents the New Albion Festival, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the record label known as the “voice of West Coast new music,” at the Spiegeltent from August 1–10.


New Albion Records was named for the idea of a new land, after Sir Francis Drake’s original name for California in the 1400s. It ranges from the arc of inventiveness introduced into American composition by Henry Cowell to the neglected 15th-century master Johannes Ciconia, to the minimalists, and then to the postmodern generation, commingling the medieval with the modern. It has created its own American aesthetic devoted to beauty, thoughtfulness, intensity of feeling, and wide open spaces.


The nine programs feature works by John Adams, John Cage, Henry Cowell, The Deep Listening Band, Paul Dresher, Morton Feldman, Miguel Frasconi, Ellen Fullman, Kyle Gann, Ge Gan-ru, Peter Garland, Erik Griswold, Lou Harrison, Erdem Helvacioglu, Daniel Lentz, Ingram Marshall, Jeffrey Roden, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Somei Satoh, Stefano Scodanibbio, Stephen Scott, Slow Six, Carl Stone, Richard Teitelbaum, Virgil Thomson, Stephen Vitiello, and Evan Ziporyn.


08/08 New Albion at SummerScape

For additional information, call 845-758-7900 or visit


08/08 New Albion at SummerScape Schedule of Events


Program One

August 1 at 8:30 p.m.

In the 1960s it started to become clear that the West Coast of America had developed its own laid-back, beauty-obsessed music world quite different from the angst-filled European/East Coast scene. This program features work by Lou Harrison, who wrote for Indonesian orchestras and collected scales from all over Asia, whose music was unfailingly melodic; Daniel Lentz, whose unapologetically pretty music is underscored by canons and counterpoint; and Morton Feldman, a quintessential New Yorker whose Rothko Chapel captures in a more poignant way the centered calm of West Coast influence.

General admission: $25


Program Two

August 2 at 3:30 p.m. (family matinee)

No composer more embodies the spirit of new music than John Cage, whose knack for finding music in everyday objects opened up a whole new world of sounds and performance modes. Miguel Frasconi, formerly a member of the Glass Orchestra, will improvise on pieces of glass and other ready-made detritus. Margaret Leng Tan, a pianist, toy instrumentalist, and vocalist, will perform Cage’s Suite for Toy Piano; two works by Somei Satoh that explore senses of time and eternity; and a work by Ge Gan-ru, which combines an Asian sensibility with a Cagean approach to toy instruments that even children can love. 

General Admission: $15 ($5 children)


Program Three

August 2 at 8:30 p.m.

For all its classical associations, piano music is at the heart of the new-music aesthetic New Albion represents. No one has been more devoted to the new, more accessible movement in piano music than Sarah Cahill, the pianist featured here. Pieces by Henry Cowell, Peter Garland, Kyle Gann, Ingram Marshall, Terry Riley, Virgil Thomson, and Evan Ziporyn—some of them Cahill commissions—demonstrate several streams that have evolved from minimalism.

General admission: $25


Program Four

August 3 at 8:30 p.m.

Ask any aficionado which piano work from the last third of the 20th century has indubitably entered the standard repertoire, and the obvious answer will have to be Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated. With that work Rzewski, himself an extraordinary keyboard virtuoso, raised the genre of political protest music to a far more visible level, reunited formal clarity and pianistic virtuosity, and proved that there was still spine-tingling music to be made outside the controversial minimalist movement.

General admission: $25


Program Five

August 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Electronic music is a term that still brings to mind a shudder of impersonal noises executed with machine-like precision. But the truth is that by 2008 electronics has pervaded every pore of music, and New Albion has long championed music that uses electronics in listener-friendly ways. These works by Turkish composer Erdem Helvacioglu, the Brooklyn-based group Slow Six, Carl Stone, Richard Teitelbaum, and Stephen Vitiello present new music based in electronics that is nevertheless sonically rich and soulful.

General admission: $25


Program Six

August 8 at 8:30 p.m.

Just as La Monte Young, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass established a minimalist movement centered in New York, Ingram Marshall, John Adams, and Paul Dresher represented a second-wave minimalism centered in the Bay Area. In Fog Tropes (the piece that put New Albion records on the map), Marshall pioneered a new, filmy kind of minimalism based more in texture and mood than in repetition or rhythm. His friend John Adams, though, became an overnight sensation with Shaker Loops, and became the more orchestrally accessible “fifth minimalist.” Meanwhile, Dresher stayed behind in San Francisco and devoted himself to theater music and chamber works of great melodic elegance. Included as well is an excerpt of Morton Feldman’s homage to Frank O’Hara—Three Voices, sung by soprano Joan La Barbara.

General admission: $25


Program Seven

August 9 at 8:30 p.m.

The power of a single player performing before an audience is at the heart of musical experience. The soloist works on this program are in that tradition. Ge Gan-ru’s Yi Feng, for solo detuned cello, was written and first performed in 1982 and remains a work of incomparable beauty and invention – it is as though the sensibility of music is exploded across the social mind. Also included are the subtle and nuanced miniature works for electric bass by Jeffrey Roden; and the concert length Journey That Never Ends, by Stefano Scodanibbio, for solo bass.

General admission: $25


Program Eight

August 10 at 3:30 p.m. (family matinee)

Stephen Scott has built a career around one of the strangest media ever: the bowed piano, a normal grand piano played by ensemble bowing the strings. It’s an extremely labor-intensive form of performance: several people lean inside the piano, bowing strings with nylon fish line and popsicle sticks treated with rosined horsehair, carefully choreographed not to get in each other’s way. Scott’s melodious music for the device made a splash in the late ’70s, and he has continued to develop the idiom for three decades, in larger and ever more powerful works.

General admission: $15 ($5 children)


Program Nine

August 10

at 5:30 p.m.

In the lobby of LUMA Theater of the Fisher Center. Ellen Fullman’s performance combines sculpture, dance, composition, and improvisation as she activates a series of cables (long strings) to vibrate in a hauntingly beautiful manner. This part of the program is free and open to the public.

at 8:30 p.m.

The Deep Listening Band—David Gamper (keyboards and electronics), Stuart Dempster (trombone and didjeridu), and Pauline Oliveros (accordion and electronics)—celebrates its 20th anniversary by bringing its intensely liberated sounds to the Speigeltent. According to Dempster, the group “was formed by accident in October 1988, while recording the award-winning New Albion CD Deep Listening in a two-million gallon cistern with a reverberation time of 45 seconds.” Founder Pauline Oliveros, a renowned pioneer of new forms, says its mission is “to explore new listening strategies, unusual acoustic environments, expanded instrument technologies, and continuously new relationships with audiences.”

General admission: $25.00


08/08 New Albion at SummerScape Program


Friday, August 1


8:30 pm Performance: David Abel, violin; Marka Gustavsson, viola; Julie Steinberg, piano; Yukiko Tagaki, celeste; William Winant, percussion, and others


Lou Harrison

Varied Trio, Threnody for Carlos Chavez, Solo to Anthony Cirone

Daniel Lentz

O-Ke-Wa, North American Eclipse

Morton Feldman

Rothko Chapel


Saturday, August 2

PROGRAM TWO (Family Matinee)

3:30 pm Performance: Margaret Leng Tan, toy instruments and voice; Miguel Frasconi, glass and found instruments


John Cage

Suite for Toy Piano

Erik Griswold

From Old MacDonald’s Yellow Submarine, Chooks, Bicycle Lee Hooker

Ge Gan-ru

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Somei Satoh

Litania, A Gate into the Stars

Miguel Frasconi

Work for Glass and Found Instruments


Saturday, August 2


8:30 pm Performance: Sarah Cahill, piano; Joseph Kubera, piano; Rhys Tivey, trumpet


Kyle Gann

Private Dances

Ingram Marshall

Five Easy Pieces

Evan Ziporyn


Peter Garland

Walk in Beauty

Terry Riley

Etude from the Old Country

Virgil Thomson

At the Beach

Henry Cowell

High Color

Sunday, August 3


8:30 pm Performance: Stephen Drury, piano


Frederic Rzewski

The People United Will Never Be Defeated!


Thursday, August 7


5:30 pm Performance: Stephen Vitiello; Erdem Helvacioglu, guitar and electronics; Carl Stone, synthesizer and computer; Richard Teitelbaum, synthesizer, Slow Six


Stephen Vitiello

From Bright and Dusty Things

Erdem Helvacioglu

From Altered Realities

Carl Stone

From Dad’s

Richard Teitelbaum

From Blends

Slow Six

From Nor’easter


Friday, August 8


8:30 pm Performance: Ensemble ACJW; Joan La Barbara, voice; Owen Dalby; Paul Dresher


Ingram Marshall

Fog Tropes

Somei Satoh

Toward the Night

John Adams

Shaker Loops

Morton Feldman

From Three Voices

Paul Dresher

In the Nameless


Saturday, August 9


8:30 pm Performance: Madeline Shapiro, cello; Jeffrey Roden, electric bass; Stefano Scodanibbio, double bass


Ge Gan-ru

Yi Feng (Lost Style)

Jeffrey Roden

From Seeds of Happiness

Stefano Scodanibbio

Voyage that Never Ends


Sunday, August 10

PROGRAM EIGHT (Family Matinee)

3:30 pm Performance: Stephen Scott and the Colorado College Bowed Piano Ensemble, bowed piano


Stephen Scott

Bowed Piano


Sunday, August 10


5:30 pm Performance: Ellen Fullman, Long Stringed Instrument

Ellen Fullman (To be performed in the LUMA Theater Lobby)


8:30 pm Performance: David Gamper, keyboard and electronics; Stuart Dempster, trombone and didjeridu; Pauline Oliveros, accordion and electronics

Deep Listening Band


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This event was last updated on 05-05-2008