George Lewis: Soundlines: A Dreaming Track
George Lewis: P. Multitudinis
International Contemporary Ensemble returns to NYU Skirball following its critically acclaimed, sold-out run of the whisper opera in 2018 with Soundlines, a program featuring two premieres by composer and MacArthur Fellow George Lewis. The program, performed on both October 18th and October 19th at 7:30pm, will feature the NYC premiere of Lewis’ Soundlines: A Dreaming Track and the U.S. premiere of P. Multitudinis.
Building on a decade of collaborative work, the International Contemporary Ensemble, George Lewis, Steven Schick, and Jim Findlay present Soundlines, a monodrama in the style of a radio play that explores and confronts the relationships between self, identity, and personal journeys within complex social constructs. As a musical interpretation of percussionist Steven Schick’s journal documenting his 700-mile walk from the US-Mexico border to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, the work traverses space in order to transmit an introspective narrative. Soundlines: A Dreaming Track features a chamber ensemble of seven instruments and an array of digitally spatialized multichannel electronics.
P. Multitudinis, a musical epic that relies on intricate and wordless forms of group communication will, alternately, subsume and reveal the personal within the power of the collective. The work's title, text, ethics, movement trajectories, and musical methodologies all derive from Spinoza’s notion of potentia multitudinis, presented in his 1677 Tractatus Politicus, published posthumously and later banned: “The right of a commonwealth is determined by the power of a people that is guided as though by a single mind. But this union of minds could in no way be conceived unless the chief aim of the commonwealth is identical with that which sound reason teaches us is for the good of all men.”
Joining the International Contemporary Contemporary Ensemble will be a group of alumni from the Ensemble Evolution Program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity where P. Multitudinis was premiered in 2018. Under the theatrical direction of Jim Findlay and musical direction of Vimbayi Kaziboni, George Lewis, and Steven Schick, the hybrid ensemble will bring P. Multitudinis to the NYU Skirball audience for its NY premiere.
Soundlines was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association; the International Contemporary Ensemble, with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation; and in honor of the Taylor Family through ICE’s First Page, with lead support from Billie and Tim Taylor.
Performances and commissioning activities during the 2019-20 concert season are made possible by the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Family Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music Inc., Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, Amphion Foundation, Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Pacific Harmony Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, mediaThe foundation inc., The Casement Fund, BMI Foundation, as well as public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The International Contemporary Ensemble is the Ensemble in Residence of the Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE.