The International Contemporary Ensemble’s UMS debut features mechanical instruments that have had a place in music history: organ (in this case, Hill Auditorium’s Frieze Memorial Organ), harmonium, harpsichord, music boxes, carillons, and electronic instruments. In Plain Air is a composition in four movements for organ, ensemble, electronics, and customized instruments designed to bring the sonic properties of a large organ into a contemporary concert context, with members providing sonic liaisons to the organ and its rich color combinations. The work also abstracts and layers a historical lineage of mechanical instruments inspired by the organ and its role in communal music-making. The result? A journey through a diverse landscape of timbres, instrumental scales, and sonic spaces both public and private.
Original support for In Plain Air was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia.
Performances and commissioning activities during the 2018-19 concert season are made possible by the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Family Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, Amphion Foundation, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Pacific Harmony Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, 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, a state agency. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE.