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Electric Earth Concerts: Project Orfeo

August 27, 2016 @ 7:30 pm

Novelist Richard Powers’ 2013 novel Orfeo contains a deeply informed portrayal of both the contemporary American music scene and of 20th century music generally. Electric Earth Concerts’ interdisciplinary project takes inspiration from Orfeo’s central theme: the search for a revelatory new musical language that has engaged composers for the past century. Along the way Powers discourses eloquently on 20th century masterpieces, while he imagines a yet-to-be-written music for the 21st century that might be derived from existing natural and scientific phenomena.

The project’s several layers will include a new work by composer Scott Lindroth, whose recent incorporating of biological ‘data’ into his music resonates strikingly with the protagonist Peter Els’ imaginings. The Lindroth premiere will be embedded in a concert shaped by Orfeo’s themes: the audacious musical environment of the mid 20th century that fostered Peter Els, and Els’ search to express those values in a revolutionary new music. One of its remarkable passages is a description of how Olivier Messiaen’s 1941 Quartet for the End of Time came to life in a concentration camp- a legendary act of creative will. Richard Powers will read excerpts alongside a performance of the Quartet’s eight movements, placing Messiaen’s work in a dramatic literary context. Scott Lindroth’s new composition will be the program’s second half, also accompanied by passages from Orfeo that relate to Lindroth’s 21st century compositional journey.

Project Orfeo Participants are: Richard Powers, author; Scott Lindroth, composer; Jesse Mills, violin; Jonathan Bagg, viola; Raman Ramakrishnan, cello; Laura Gilbert, flute; Benjamin Fingland, clarinet; Rieko Aizawa, piano

Admission is $25. For tickets, please visit the Electric Earth website

A second performance is scheduled at Duke University (Sept 25, 2016).  Rehearsals will take place over five days (Aug 22-27) at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute in Boscawen, New Hampshire.


August 27, 2016
7:30 pm
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Electric Earth Concerts


Bass Hall: Monadnock Center for History and Culture
19 Grove St
Peterborough, NH 03458 United States
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