Fear No Music presents concerts honoring migration
To kick off its 2018-19 season "Worldwide Welcome," a celebration of diversity and inclusivity through music, Fear No Music presents two concerts honoring migration, specifically timed to coincide with the Vaux's swifts' presence in Portland. These events are presented in partnership with the Audubon Society of Portland.
In these special events, guest pianist (and Portland native) Kathleen Supové guides the audience on a musical exploration of the natural phenomenon centered around the yearly Vaux's swift migration. Touching on themes of immigration and open borders, these performances serve to remind audiences of the close, harmonic company we keep with other species.
Sunday, Sept. 23, 4 p.m. at the Steel Door Gallery hear "Song of the Swifts." This mini pop-up concert takes place just a few blocks from the Chapman School. Visual artist Kris Jones' beautiful rusted steel artwork depicting the swifts around the Chapman School chimney will be on display. This performance includes three world premieres newly composed for the occasion:
n Jay Derderian's "The People They Think We Are" (for piano, fixed media and video)
n Randall Woolf's "A Face In The Crowd" (for piano)
n Paula Matthusen's " ...by the inexplicabilities we call coincidence" (for piano with high- and low-tech sounds)
Jay Derderian's work is fueled by the harrowing migrations of his immediate ancestors, the Armenian people; U.S. government practices regarding the separation of family members today trigger the pain associated with the multi-year forced estrangement of generations past. Epic, angry, bleak, yet hopeful, Derderian utilizes field recordings and video imagery of the swifts flying into the Chapman chimney. Brooklyn-based composer Randall Woolf offers a romantic song about one bird, with abrupt intrusions swooping and rushing. With special attention to the visual notation of the piece, the look of the pages "sounds" like the music with gestures suggesting the patterns of the birds as they fly into their lodging for the night. Paula Matthusen is a low- and high-tech wizard, and is fascinated by things that happen in specific places. Her piece is about the repurposing of spaces — a chimney becomes a temporary home, the inside of a piano becomes a welcoming cave.
All ticket holders to this concert receive 10 percent off Steel Door Gallery artwork purchased that evening and a percentage of proceeds benefit Fear No Music.
Monday, Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m. at The Old Church hear "Shared Paths: The Music of Migration." This thoughtful program embraces the context of bird migration to showcase humanity's own experience with migration as an instinct for self-preservation. Guest pianist Kathleen Supové offers the official premiere of the newly commissioned pieces mentioned above in addition to Fear No Music musicians and guest clarinetist James Shields performing:
n Michi Wiancko's "Lullaby for the Transient" for string quartet and clarinet
n Kaija Saariaho's "Laconisme de L'aile" (The Essence of the Wing) for flute and electronics
n Katie Palka's "Stolen Flight" for string quartet
n Takashi Yoshimatsu's "Fuzzy Bird Sonata" for clarinet and piano
Purchase season or individual concert tickets and learn more about Fear No Music's "Worldwide Welcome" at fearnomusic.org. Check the website throughout the season for information about additional regional performances.