Tag: performance

Lecture on Markers for Performed Silence (in Beethoven)

Amsterdam Conservatory, March 2, 2024

These images illustrate embodiments of silence in Beethoven’s opus 111 piano sonata (first four bars):

References

Barthes, R. (2005). The Neutral: Lecture Course at the College de France (1977-1978) (R. Krauss & D. Hollier, Trans.). Columbia University Press.

Brooks, W., Hornby, E., & Doctor, J. (2017). Silence, Music, Silent Music (N. Losseff, Ed.). Routledge.

Cage, J. (1961). Silence: Lectures and Writings. Wesleyan University Press.

Hodkinson, J. (2007). Presenting Absence: Constitutive Silences in Music and Sound Art since the 1950’s. Københavns Universitet-Institut for kunst.

Jankélévitch, V. (1961). La musique et l’ineffable. Librairie Armand Colin.

Kahn, D. (2015). Noise, Water, Meat History of Voice, Sound, and Aurality in the Arts. MIT Press.

Margulis, E. H. (2007). Moved by Nothing: Listening to Musical Silence. Journal of Music Theory, 51(2), 245–276. https://doi.org/10.1215/00222909-2009-003

Schafer, R. M. (1977). The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. Simon & Schuster.

Voegelin, S. (2010). Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art. Continuum. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781501382901

Video: Dead Territory performs 4’33” on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voqCQSDAcn8

Guy Livingston performs with the Zürich Ballet

https://www.opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/timekeepers/

Under the choreographic direction of Meryl Tankard, the Zurich Ballet presents a new version of Ballet mécanique, entitled “For Hedy.” The performance is scored to music by George Antheil, arranged for piano and 64-channel electronics by Paul Lehrman and Guy Livingston; and performed by Guy Livingston at the piano.

Nine performances of “Timekeepers” at the Zurich Opera House as follows:
20, 21, 26 January
2, 4, 9, 17, 18, 23 February
programme: For Hedy, Les Noces, Rhapsody in Blue

Timekeepers
The «golden» 1920s have gone down in history as a time of ecstatic cultural and technological advancements. This production, entitled Timekeepers, brings three works from that decade that prominently feature piano, all premiered a century ago. The evening will also see three female choreographers from three different generations. The world premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Les Noces, which took place in 1923 with the Ballets Russes in Paris, rewrote music and ballet history. Stravinsky paired a mixed choir with a lineup of four pianos and a percussion ensemble for this dance cantata, which retraces the course of a traditional wedding ceremony. Choreographer Bronislava Nijinska, the sister of Vaslav Nijinsky, accentuated the neoclassical angularity of Stravinsky’s music with constructivist groupings of dancers, pyramid-like setups, and hard, angular, stomping movements. With Nijinska’s legendary Les Noces choreography, the Ballett Zürich dances a key work of the 20th century.

In the audience of Les Noces in Paris was a young American, whose extravagant lifestyle and rhythmically driven, mechanically-controlled music soon earned him the title of a «Bad Boy of Music»: George Antheil. His most famous work is the Ballet mécanique, which he revised several times. Its first version was intended to be music for a surrealist-Dadaist film by Fernand Léger. Meryl Tankard makes her debut with the Ballett Zürich. Australia’s best-known choreographer will bring the piece to the stage in a version for piano and loudspeakers under the title For Hedy. Meryl Tankard began her career dancing with the Australian Ballet and with the im Tanztheater Wuppertal under Pina Bausch. She has since made an international name for herself between the worlds of classic and modern dance.

When he premiered Rhapsody in Blue in 1924, George Gershwin wanted to give Americans their own musical identity and, with the help of music, overcome ethnic and cultural barriers. One hundred years later, the young South African choreographer Mthuthuzeli November explores Gershwin’s «musical kaleidoscope of America» in Rhapsodies. Mthuthuzeli November currently lives in London, and is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including the Lawrence Olivier Award, for his creations. Mthuthuzeli November has long been more than an insider tip in Great Britain, and this marks his first collaboration with the Ballett Zürich

The Speed of Silence

The Speed of Silence (english below)

Ned McGowan (fluitist en componist) en Guy Livingston (pianist en radiomaker) brengen hun artistieke interesses samen in een innovatieve, interactieve voorstelling die livemuziek combineert met een dia- en filmvoorstelling, lezing en interactie met het publiek.

McGowan en Livingston doen – naast hun bestaan als kunstenaars – artistiek onderzoek (PhD) aan de Universiteit Leiden. Ned McGowan onderzoekt het fenomeen snelheid in muziek, vanuit een uitvoerende en compositorische invalshoek. Guy Livingston onderzoekt stilte en de vele aspecten ervan, vooral in hedendaagse muziek en architectuur, en maakt daarnaast een serie podcasts over dit onderwerp.

reserve your tickets for our upcoming concerts!

Den Haag 11 December | Amsterdam 13 December | POSTPONED: Schagen 20 December | POSTPONED: Amsterdam 7 February


performing at Studio “The Bug”, in the former US embassy of The Hague. photo by Matilda Arvidsson

Een recent concert, februari jl., tijdens het Leidse festival, Peel Slowly and See, werd enthousiast ontvangen door het publiek:

“De enigszins academische multimediale lezing is een lichtvoetige en boeiende presentatie met publieksparticipatie waarin het aspect tijd, en dan vooral de door de luisteraar waargenomen gevoel van tijdsduur, het uitgangspunt vormt. […] Gecomponeerde muziek en improvisaties op de dwarsfluit en keyboards maken duidelijk dat complexiteit van invloed is op tijdservaring…muzikaal is het optreden een verhelderende ervaring.”

—Ken Vos, recensie [Leidse Dagblad, 24 februari 2020]

Corona invloed en nieuwe werkenOnder constant ontwikkeling, The Speed of Silence voorstelling heeft nieuwe werken die hun inspiratie uit de quarantaineperiode nemen. Zoals ervaren door menigten de afgelopen paar maanden, heeft een toename in stilte en een langzamer tempo van activiteiten zich op vele manieren in onze samenleving gemanifesteerd: van stillere stadsgeluiden, tot het annuleren van reizen en inperking van onze dagelijkse activiteiten. Onze perceptie van tijd, snelheid en inhoud is daardoor radicaal veranderd.

supported by a Cultuurmakers grant
These concerts are supported by a grant from the Cultuurmakers Fund

Het kunstwerk van Livingston richt zich op het effect van rust en stilte op de samenleving gedurende de corona crisis: “Eerst was er ongeloof, shock. Toen kwam er een periode van verwondering: de stad was stil. Opgesloten leek ons leven eenvoudiger: meer tijd met de kinderen doorbrengen, gitaar leren spelen of schaken. Maar het is niet de wereld die we in maart hebben verlaten.”

De nieuwe compositie van McGowan is voor beide muzikanten (die ook spreken), met nieuw gecomponeerde muziek gecombineerd met teksten over snelheidsveranderingen vanuit verschillende perspectieven, gedurende de tijd van corona. De relatie tussen het ontplooien van informatie en de rijkdom aan ideeën is een specifiek experimenteergebied.

“Vreemde maar interessante eenden in de bijt zijn Ned McGowan & Guy Livingston , twee Amerikanen met een modern klassieke achtergrond die de hele wereld afreizen, maar ook verbonden zijn aan de Leidse Universiteit. Het eerste deel van het optreden bestaat uit 1 minuut improvisaties op (bas)fluit, piano en metronoom. Waarbij het publiek mag raden of het langer of korter was dan 1 minuut. Het tweede deel van het optreden bestaat uit langere uitvoeringen van Winter Music (John Cage) en Gymnopédie (Erik Satie). Een boeiend, muzikaal omlijst, hoorcollege dat geen moment gaat vervelen.”

“Het CV van Guy Livingston (piano) en Ned McGowan (fluit) is onuitputtelijk; het conservatorium,  Yale, optredens in het Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, meerdere albums én ze zijn alle twee verbonden aan de Universiteit Leiden. Als programmaonderdeel van de universiteit spelen de mannen deze avond hedendaagse jazzcomposities die zoeken naar vorm en melodie en de grenzen van een compositie, die liggen ver weg.”

De Speed of Silence voorstellingNaast de twee premières zal het resulterende concert een wereldwijde mix van ideeën zijn, van de Zuid-Afrikaanse animatiefilms van William Kentridge tot de omgevingsgeluiden van Erik Satie en Niels Frahm (een eeuw uit elkaar), van het repetitieve en humoristisch gesproken interactieve -wordteksten van Tom Johnson tot de Indiase Karnatische-muziek beïnvloedde ritmes van McGowan’s duet met iPad (“Cycle Games”). Elk stuk belicht een facet van de thema’s stilte en snelheid.

Deze epidemie heeft veel verandering teweeg gebracht. Het publiek is op zoek naar nieuwe ideeën en probeert te rouwen, te verwerken en zich aan te passen aan deze nieuwe wereld. McGowan en Livingston bied een nieuwe soort concert, waar ze abstracte filosofische ideeën samenbrengen in zeer praktische, humoristische implementaties. Corona heeft mensen op nieuwe manieren aan het denken gezet over stilte en snelheid. Dit is een unieke kans voor ons om deze thema’s verder te ontwikkelen en naar het publiek te brengen. Een optreden van onze tijd, voor onze tijd.

 

tryout of some of our ideas at the Peel Slowly and See Festival in Leiden, February 2020

The Speed ​​of Silence Ned McGowan (flutist and composer) and Guy Livingston (pianist and podcaster) bring their artistic interests together in an innovative, interactive performance that combines live music with slides, films, small lectures and audience interactions.

watch clips from our recent show in The Hague

Next to performing and making, McGowan and Livingston are both pursuing artistic research PhDs at Leiden University. Ned McGowan is investigating the phenomenon of speed in music, from a performing and compositional perspective. Guy Livingston explores silence and its many aspects, especially in contemporary music and architecture.

A recent concert of the duo during the Leiden festival Peel Slowly and See, was enthusiastically received:

“The academic and multimedia lecture is a light-hearted fascinating presentation with audience participation in which the aspect of time, and in particular the sense of time perceived by the listener, forms the starting point. […] Composed music and improvisations on the flute and keyboards make it clear that complexity influences the experience of time … musically the performance is an enlightening experience. ”

—Ken Vos, review [Leidse Dagblad, February 24, 2020]

Corona influence and new works

Under continual development, The Speed ​​of Silence show features new works that take their inspiration from the recent quarantine period. The increase in silence and a slower pace of activities has manifested itself in our society in many ways: from quieter city noises, to cancellation of travel and curtailment of our daily activities. Our perception of time, speed and content has changed radically as a result.

Livingston’s new artwork focuses on the effect of peace and quiet on society during the corona crisis: “First there was disbelief, shock, fear. Then came a period of wonder: the city was beautiful – quiet – calm. So as we enter a new world haunted by threats, and those memories, I want to recreate our complex journey in live performances. ”

McGowan’s new composition is for both musicians (who also speak), with newly composed music combined with lyrics about changes in speed from different perspectives, during the time of corona. The relationship between the unfolding of information and the complexity of ideas is a specific area of ​​experimentation. 

The Speed of Silence showIn addition to the two premieres, the resulting concert will be a global mix of ideas, from the South African animated films of William Kentridge to the ambient sounds of Erik Satie and Niels Frahm (a century apart), from the repetitive and humorously spoken interactive text of Tom Johnson to Indian Carnatic music influenced rhythms from McGowan’s duet with iPad (“Cycle Games”). Each piece highlights a facet of the themes of silence and speed.

This epidemic has brought about a lot of change. The public is looking for new ideas and trying to mourn, process and adapt to this new world. McGowan and Livingston offer a new kind of concert, where they bring together abstract philosophical ideas in highly practical, humorous implementations. Corona has made people think about silence and speed in new ways. This is a unique opportunity for us to further develop these themes and bring them to the public…

…in a performance of our time, for our time.

 

duration: 1 hour

concert/talk/entertainment: for piano, flute, contrabass flute, electronics, iPad, and video

tour: we will be touring this concert (pandemic permitting) in the Netherlands from November 2020 to November 2021.
Please contact Guy Livingston or Ned McGowan for bookings.

Paris 1920s

Paris is a moveable feast

Ernest Hemingway

It is hard not to be intrigued by the period between the two wars, in which Paris flourished, and artists thrived. Montparnasse became legendary for its café life, as expats and locals fought their fights, argued over cubism, fashion, and politics, and lived their love affairs dramatically in the public eye. Key american figures were Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and George Antheil. From the French side, Kiki of Montparnasse, Erik Satie, and Jean Cocteau fueled the passions and artisitic explorations of a generation. Stravinsky, Picasso, and Diaghilev were their heros.
Guy Livingston lived in Paris for 25 years, and is creating this program (detais to be announced) based on artists and writers from the parisian avant-garde ‘entre les deux guerres’…

Designers, architects, poets, and musicians at a formal reception in Paris. George Antheil, known as the “Bad Boy of Music” is at the center.

“George Antheil certainly has genius. I do not believe that he has arrived at the definitive formulation of his art. What he is presently giving us are rather his studies, his researches, which are very close to those of Picasso: without concession, as far as he can in a domain that is often arid. However, I have already been permitted to enjoy the absolutely new pathos of it, the uprooting rhythm, a joyful drunkenness of contradiction, a private discovery such as children sing to themselves— it drives out demons and fixes gods without asking them for their opinion.”

Adrienne Monnier, poet and bookstore owner on the rue de l’Odéon, Paris, in the 1920’s

Performance Art

“the comic talent of a Buster Keaton” 
Het Parool, Netherlands

Ballet Mécanique SOLO

the acme of demented modernism!
—The New York Herald

Ballet mécanique SOLO is an extraordinary work by composer George Antheil, arranged for solo piano and electronics by Guy Livingston and Paul Lehrman. It was commissioned by the SinusTon Festival in Magdeburg, Germany, and premièred in 2016. Further performances have been in Montréal, and at Tufts University and Brown University.

World première of Ballet mécanique SOLO, at the SinusTON Festival in Germany.

Minimum technical requirements: 8 channels of sound with 8 loudspeakers; amplified grand piano; projector/beamer; screen; stage lights; mixing board. We bring laptops, MOTUs, and the newly restored film, which is 4K digital.

GUY LIVINGSTON performing Ballet mécanique at Tufts University

Music and Architecture

“A pianist with a flair for modernism”  

The New York Times 
Brunelleschi’s famous Duomo in Florence – full of musical proportions

Music and Architecture have been linked philosophically and physically since at least the time of the ancient Greeks. In today’s world, some of these connections have been forgotten, while others have only become possible with new technology. The world of virtual reality, digital audio, wifi, and miniaturized electronics are opening up a magnificent spectrum of options.

Guy Livingston studied music and architecture at Yale University. He is currently in residence at a former embassy in The Hague, designed by Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer. His studio is on the 3rd floor of this cold-war brutalist monument. He uses the space to record his weekly podcasts, and to host a concert series, both under the name: “The Bug,” an ironic nod to the spies who worked in the building.

Livingston is creating a new performance for piano, video, and electronics, which explores the links between space and music: an immersive program of piano, video, and electronics. Featuring Music for Airports (Brian Eno), Guy’s solo arrangement of Canto Ostinato (Simeon ten Holt); The Great Gate of Kiev by Mussorgsky (piano arrangament); Debussy’s Sunken Cathedral; a Talking Heads cover (Burning Down the House); an opportunity for the audience to “play the building” using an app on their smartphones. 

Guy Livingston in Marcel Breuer’s brilliant cold-war library – a concrete and mahagony cube from 1955.

Audible Architecture (for the Bauhaus Centennial)

In concert, Guy’s trademark relaxed style, honed through years of podcasting and radio work, is used as a narrative tool to bring us back to his freshman year in college, and his first architecture class at Yale, with the legendary art historian Vincent Scully. 

photos from classic and rediscovered Bauhaus films

Seated unconventionally, breaking the 4th wall, or even lying on the floor during Canto Ostinato, this concert is an experiential, immersive one for the audience; an eye and ear opener.

From there Livingston guides us through his summer measuring medieval temples in the Thar Desert, then to his years living on the left bank, overlooking Nôtre-Dame, and then on up to the Bauhaus and how it came to influence him personally.

with piano, video, and electronics (plus an interactive audience app)

An interactive, immersive experience for the audience…the format resembles a musical TedTalk: High energy, with unexpected insights presented in an entertaining manner.

in front of the ex-embassy

The visuals and the program sequence are being developed in conjunction with an architectural/acoustics firm TBA.


Dada at the Movies ii (new show for the centenary!)

What is Dada?

On July 8, 1923, the Parisian Dadaists organized the most famous Dada event ever. Everybody who was anybody was on the program that night: a play by Tristan Tzara, films by Man Ray and Hans Richter, live music by George Antheil, Erik Satie, and Darius Milhaud. During the show, a riot broke out amongst the rival Dada factions, and the poet Paul Eluard was thrown off the stage, breaking his arm. The gendarmes were summoned, and the Dada Soirée was memorialized as one of the great Parisian art scandals of all time. Inspired by the extraordinary artists who participated that night, pianist Guy Livingston has re-created the music and rediscovered the films, bringing us back to 1923 for his updated one-man show, Dada at the Movies.

Join audiences from all over Europe, Canada, and the US, who have delighted in Guy’s whirlwind, virtuoso, and comic performance.

DADA AT THE MOVIES: an introductory teaser


DADA AT THE MOVIES: Trailer by Torsten Porstmann.

The stage is dark, except for a spotlight illuminating a bicycle wheel from below (homage to Marcel Duchamp), which turns slowly, casting an ominous shadow onto the ceiling. The films are accompanied by live piano music, performed by Guy Livingston, who frequently interrupts with Dada manifesti, poetry, and even the sale of Dada ice-cream (it’s made of tissue paper), but only for those who have the special Dada-dollars.