Theo Bleckmann, American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Phil Kline, BAM
Thursday, October 25 through Saturday, October 27 at 7:30 PM, vocalist Theo Bleckmann and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) will perform OUT COLD/ZIPPO SONGS- a double-bill of dramatic song cycles with music and lyrics by Phil Kline (Unsilent Night, John the Revelator) - presented as part of BAM (Brooklyn Academy Of Music)'s 30th Next Wave Festival, in a co-production with American Opera Projects (AOP).
Out Cold is an all-new song cycle written by Kline for his frequent collaborators Theo Bleckmann and ACME. Kline was inspired by the idea of the great romantic song cycle Winterreise (winter journey) - Schubert's long walk out into the cold - fused with the ethos of Frank Sinatra's "suicide song" LP's with Nelson Riddle from the 1950's. The winter landscape is replaced by a continuum of blue, a mythical bar at 2:45am, with a man haunted by the past and searching for something, singing sad and beautiful songs with a ten-piece band.
The show also features the premiere of the chamber ensemble version of Kline's much-lauded Zippo Songs, written in 2003 for Bleckmann and recorded on Cantaloupe Music. Zippo Songs originated when Kline discovered the practice of scratching poems onto the sides of Zippo lighters by American GIs in Vietnam. These inscriptions contain a world of emotion that speak purely and without political commentary. Included in the cycle are the three notorious Rumsfeld Songs, crafted from the ravings of the former Secretary of Defense.
A Grammy-nominated performer, Theo Bleckmann has been praised as 'a vocalist of inventive instinct and assiduous musicality' (New York Times), 'one of the most flexible and un-categorizeable figures on the New York scene' (Chicago Reader), and a 'vocal acrobat' (Keys, Germany). His appearance at BAM follows a European tour that includes 'Song for voice, loops and toys' as well as a unique reinterpretation of the music of British singer-songwriter, Kate Bush, through voice and live electronic processing.
Joining Bleckmann on the BAM stage is the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) whose musical capabilities traverse the contemporary classical and rock worlds. ACME players for Out Cold / Zippo Songs are Keats Dieffenbach, Ben Russell, and Caleb Burhans, violins; Nadia Sirota, viola; Clarice Jensen, cello; Logan Coale, bass; Alex Sopp, flute; Michelle Farah, oboe; Timothy Andres, piano; and Chris Thompson, percussion.
The production team comprises stage director Emma Griffin (Opera Company of Philadelphia, Juilliard Opera, Williamstown Theater Festival); production and costume designer Andrea Lauer (B'way, Off-B'way, El Paso Opera, Trey McIntyre Dance); Mike Inwood (lighting designer); and Todd Eskridge (sound engineer).
OUT COLD/ZIPPO SONGS will be among the first performances in BAM's new Richard B. Fisher Building (321 Ashland Place), a state-of-the-art black box theater recently profiled by the New York Times.
Tickets are $20 and available at www.bam.org. An artist panel discussion will follow the Friday, October 26 performance.
A fixture of New York's downtown scene, Phil Kline stands out for his range and unpredictability. He makes music in many genres and contexts, from experimental electronics and sound installations to songs, choral, theater, chamber and orchestral works. Early in his career he cofounded the rock band the Del-Byzanteens with Jim Jarmusch and James Nares, collaborated with Nan Goldin on the soundtrack to The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, and played guitar in the notorious Glenn Branca Ensemble. Some of his early work evolved from performance art and used large numbers of boom boxes, such as the Christmas cult classic Unsilent Night. Other diverse works include John the Revelator, a setting of the Latin mass written for early music specialists Lionheart, and dreamcitynine, which mixed 60 percussionists with hundreds of iphones around the plaza of Lincoln Center. Kline is currently working with Jarmusch on an opera, Tesla in New York. www.philkline.com
Theo Bleckmann is a Grammy-nominated and ECHO award-winning vocalist and composer whose work spans concerts, installations, theater, cabaret, and performance art. He currently tours with his acclaimed Kate Bush song project, Hello Earth! as well as with drummer-composer John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet and Large Ensemble. For over a decade he has performed with guitarist Ben Monder and in Meredith Monk's ensemble, and is a longtime student and mentee of vocalist and NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan. He has collaborated with artists such as Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Uri Caine, Julia Wolfe, John Zorn, and the Bang on a Can All-stars, among others. Bleckmann has garnered praise from The New York Times, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine and the Village Voice. http://theobleckmann.com
Led by artistic director and cellist Clarice Jensen, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. The ensemble presents cutting-edge literature by living composers alongside the "classics" of the contemporary. Known for their work with the Wordless Music Series as well as indie music icons such as Grizzly Bear, ACME's dedication to new music extends across genres, and has earned them a reputation among both classical and rock crowds. ACME has performed at (Le) Poisson Rouge, Carnegie Hall, All Tomorrow's Parties in England, The Kitchen, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim, and Stanford Lively Arts in California, among others. ACME's instrumentation is flexible, and includes some of New York's most sought-after, engaging musicians. Since its first New York concert season in 2004, the ensemble has performed works by Louis Andriessen, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen, Nico Muhly, Steve Reich, Arnold Schoenberg, Charles Wuorinen, Iannis Xenakis, and many more. For more information, www.acmemusic.org.