7 to 8 pm ET
Fonema Consort: Her Words
The new music ensemble is back live with new music by Latin American composers.
On March 19 at 5 p.m. we will host this concert in-person, and tickets are free.
Online ticket reservations are closed for this event but walk-ins are welcome with proof of vaccination and a mask.
In compliance with New York City’s Emergency Executive Order 239, Americas Society will require proof of Covid-19 vaccination for anyone entering our building. All guests will be required to wear masks.
On April 22 at 7 p.m. ET we will publish the video on this page.
Fonema Consort was co-founded by Pablo Chin with singer Nina Dante and composer Edward Hamel in 2011. The group, having their in-person Music of the Americas debut, is known for their “enthusiastic embrace of daring new music” (Chicago Reader) and is driven by a fascination with pieces that foster rich interplay of voices and instruments. The ensemble is committed to presenting works by Latin American composers to U.S. audiences and encouraging musical exchange between these regions.
This program, "Her Words," presents new works by three Latin American composers based in the United States. Each work explores the writings of female thinkers of historic significance in the region, including Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector and the Mexican folk singer of Costa Rican birth Chavela Vargas. The program also includes a work by visionary Argentine composer and activist Graciela Paraskevaídis.
- Sin ir más lejos, by Graciela Paraskevaídis, for alto flute, piano, and percussion
- Parentheses ⊓ Em Dash ⊓ Parentheses, by D MR, for soprano, flute, piano, percussion, and electronics
- The flaw that bears the entire building, by Fernanda Aoki Navarro, for soprano, piano, percussion, and electronics
- When Shirley Speaks, by Sterling Gray, for soprano, piano, percussion, and electronics
- Si Chavela met Matta, by Pablo Chin, for soprano, piano, percussion, Aztec whistles, and electronics
Nina Dante, soprano
Laura Cocks, flute
Julia Den Boer, piano
Ryan Packard, percussion
Sin ir más lejos
for alto flute, piano, and percussion
One of the most influential Argentine composers of the past few decades, Paraskevaídis was also a prolific thinker and pedagogue in the South American new music scene. Her 2013 work Sin ir más lejos was one of the last works in a career that began in the late 1960s. The title literally means "Without going any further," but may more closely translate as "A case in point," continuing a practice of naming pieces after incomplete phrases (Cada cual, Soy de un país donde, Un par, Es hora - "Each one," "I’m from a country where," "A pair," "It’s time"). Then it may be the audience’s task to fill in the gap between the music and these cryptic messages.
Parentheses ⊓ Em Dash ⊓ Parentheses, for soprano, flute, piano, percussion, and electronics
The flaw that bears the entire building
for soprano, piano, percussion, and electronics
Composer Fernanda Aoki Navarro Soprano writes: "It feels wrong to try explaining who Clarice Lispector was. So... I won’t try. In case you don’t know her yet, go find her, you won’t regret it. She wrote: 'Even eliminating our own flaws can be dangerous. We never know which flaw bears the entire building.' The text I used in this piece is drawn from this quotation, which is a fragment of a letter she wrote to her friend and secretary in the 1960s. I initially thought about creating a piece of music that could sound like the type of music that Lispector describes in her novels: made of geometric lines, floating in the air, in beautiful disharmony, music that cannot be listened to, only felt. I wanted to create a piece that combines language, geometry and the persistence of our flaws, exploring their repetitive patterns, concealing and revealing their nature.
When Shirley Speaks
for soprano, piano, percussion, and electronics
Composer Sterling Gray borrows inspiration from jazz singer Shirley Horn, particularly from the way she delivered her vocals and performed the piano in her ballads, sparse and faint; often at the edge of whisper.
Si Chavela met Matta II
for soprano, piano, percussion, Aztec whistles, and electronics
Pablo Santiago Chin writes: "The source material [for this work is] mainly the iconic and unique voice of Mexican folk artist Chavela Vargas [...] The performer isn’t meant to imitate Chavela or to be overshadowed by her figure, but rather, to find in her art a point of departure to discover new alternatives in the performer's own performance practice. [To compose this piece, I posed a] fictional meeting of Chavela and Roberto Matta. I used a recording of Vargas singing a capella 'Las simples cosas' in an interview conducted shortly before she died. I loaded the recording in a granular synthesis application, which I used to speed up, slow down, freeze, play forwards and in reverse, and change the pitch of the recording, all 'drawing' on the touchpad of my laptop. Then I superimposed the audio file over a painting of Matta, Le coeur de l’oeil, and recorded many sound files distorting Chavela's recording by 'drawing' over the contours of the painting. The results are alternations between unintelligible language and snippets of Spanish text, and between a computerized sounding voice and the warmth of Chavela's voice. [...] The instrumental parts were composed using the same process, but instead of "drawing" over Chavela's voice I used a series of chord progressions that were similarly distorted. I imagined a couple of bongos and a guitar accompanying Chavela, hence the percussion and piano parts."
The MetLife Foundation Music of the Americas concert series is made possible by the generous support of Presenting Sponsor MetLife Foundation. The Spring 2022 Music program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and by the Howard Gilman Foundation.
Additional support for this concert comes from the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and The Amphion Foundation, Inc.