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Codex I: International Contemporary Ensemble

Americas Society

April 07, 2013
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Image from Trujillo del Peru, Vol. 2

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- PROGRAM -

DuYun Your eyes are not your eyes
Aurelio Tello Cachua El buen querer, Dennos licencia, La despedida
Alvin Lucier Codex
Paulo Rios Filho TransColonização

Tony Arnold, voice
James Austin Smith, oboe
Campbell MacDonald, clarinet
Nuiko Wadden, harp
Daniel Lippel, guitar
Jennifer Curtis, violin
Ross Karre, percussion

This is the first concert dedicated to the music contained in Baltasar Martínez Compañón’s Trujillo del Perú en el siglo XVIII. Born in Navarre in 1738, Martínez Compañón was appointed bishop of Trujillo, in northern Peru, in 1779. From 1782 to 1785, he traveled around his bishopric and compiled this remarkable nine-volume work, in which he presents geographical, ethnographical, natural, and historical data about his bishopric, lavishly illustrated with pictures showing its people, places, animals, plants, and buildings. The collection is unique because it contains musical scores of 20 pieces of vocal and instrumental music the bishop heard during his travels.

Americas Society commissioned an international and intergenerational group of composers to write pieces inspired by the music in the codex. The International Contemporary Ensemble will perform the premiere of these pieces for voice, oboe, clarinet, violin, guitar, harp, and percussion by Du Yun (China/United States), Alvin Lucier (United States), Paulo Rios Filho (Brazil), and Aurelio Tello (Peru/Mexico).

The collection, now in the library of the Palacio Real in Madrid, is one of the earliest documents on popular music in the continent. The music shows a mixture of European, Amerindian, and African influences and comes from every corner of the region. Among the pieces are Christmas songs such as Cachua al Nacimiento de Christo Nuestro Señor, the Tonada El Congo, with its critique of slavery, and the Bayle del Chimo, which appears to be the sole written testimony of the language of the long extinct Chimu culture. Most of the pieces were intended to be sung and danced; 17 out of the 20 have lyrics and 3 are purely instrumental.

The second concert dedicated to this collection will take place on April 20 at the Hispanic Society of America, on Audubon Terrace. Presented in collaboration with GEMS, this concert will feature the Bishop’s Band, directed by multi-instrumentalist and early music specialist Tom Zajac and featuring soprano Nell Snaidas, as well as an all-star cast of singers, instrumentalists, and dancers. The cast will perform a selection of songs and dances from the Codex.

International Contemporary Ensemble

With a flexible roster of 33 leading instrumentalists performing in forces ranging from solos to large ensembles, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) functions as performer, presenter, and educator, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and pursuing groundbreaking strategies for audience engagement. In an era of radical change, ICE redefines concert music as it brings together new work and new listeners.

Since its founding in 2001, ICE has premiered over 500 compositions, the bulk of them by emerging composers, in venues ranging from New York’s Lincoln Center and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to galleries, bars, clubs, and schools around the world. The ensemble has released acclaimed albums on the Bridge, Naxos, Tzadik, and New Focus labels, with forthcoming releases on Nonesuch, Kairos, and Mode.

Event Information: Kris Simmons | ksimmons@as-coa.org | 1-212-277-8379
Membership Information: Valeria Catan | vcatan@as-coa.org | 1-212-277-8342
Press Inquiries: Adriana La Rotta | alarotta@as-coa.org | 1-212-277-8384