July 24 2010 at 8pm
Tickets: $10 at the door
Location: The Ice Box
The adventurous London-based Nonclassical label presents an evening of music from its latest releases on Saturday, July 24 (8 pm) in the Ice Box space at Crane Arts, near Northern Liberties in Philadelphia. The acclaimed Russian-born pianist known as GéNIA (pron. GEN- ya, with a hard ‘g’) will perform selections from label founder Gabriel Prokofiev’s Piano Book No. 1, among other works; virtuoso percussionist/sampling wizard Joby Burgess will play works by Gabriel Prokofiev, Steve Reich, Graham Fitkin, and others. In between the live performances, Gabriel will be heard in DJ sets featuring remixes from various Nonclassical releases. Tickets are $10, available at the door.
Preceding their Crane Arts appearance, GéNIA, Burgess, and Prokofiev will perform in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge on July 21, and in Baltimore at the Contemporary Museum’s Mobtown Modern concert series on July 23. The tour is presented in conjunction with Nonclassical’s official launch through Naxos of America, the label’s exclusive North American distributor.
Described by The Times [UK] as “an outstanding musician,” and Gramophone as “a charismatic pianist,” GéNIA has received numerous accolades, including the Dame Myra Hess Award. Inspired by the tradition of Romantic and early 20th-century character pieces, the eleven brief, evocative works of G. Prokofiev’s Piano Book No. 1 bear affinities with 19th- and 20th-century styles while displaying the stamp of a highly distinctive musical personality:
idiomatic harmonies and textures are remodeled through subtle discords, pedal effects, rhythmic distortions, and even techniques reminiscent of electronic and urban music. All of these elements come vividly to life through GéNIA’s remarkable command of color and touch. Time Out Chicago recently described Piano Book No. 1 as “a compelling collaboration…a magnetic record.” Writes Textura, “The Russian virtuoso navigates the pieces’ delicate and aggressive passages with ease, not to mention the ample stylistic contrasts that characterize the composer’s material.” In addition to pieces from Piano Book No. 1, GéNIA will also perform excerpts from her first Nonclassical recording, John Richards’s Suite For Piano and Electronics.
Joby Burgess is one of Britain’s most adventurous young percussionists, heard in collaborations with Joanna MacGregor, Stewart Copeland, Michael Finnissy, and others, as well as being a member of leading percussion quartet ensemblebash. His multimedia collective PowerPlant is heard on Nonclassical’s latest release, Import/Export. Issued May 25, this suite of eight movements by Gabriel Prokofiev is paired with a set of remixes by sound designer Matthew Fairclough (also a member of PowerPlant), Murcoff, Martin Parker (aka tinpark), Medasyn, Richard Lannoy, G. Prokofiev, and Burgess himself.
Import/Export (subtitled Suite for Global Junk) is inspired by the pioneering composers and musicians whose use of unconventional objects has created a groundbreaking repertoire for percussion over the last century. These range from institutional greats such as Schaeffer, Stockhausen, Cage and Varese to the Zawose family in Africa, whose use of these instruments derives from a necessity to make music based on the recovery of the materials around them.
The July performances will be Nonclassical’s second visit to the US. In March 2009, Gabriel Prokofiev brought the London-based Elysian Quartet over for a joint showcase with New York’s New Amsterdam label. Greg Sandow described the evening in the Wall Street Journal: “Nonclassical is both a record label and a monthly club night, each featuring music that (to quote the group’s Web site) is ‘taking inspiration from baroque/techno/grime/classical/avant- garde.’ And co-sponsoring the night was New Amsterdam Records, a New York record company run by young composers with more or less the same agenda…
“Everything was strong and savvy, and much of it was purely classical, inhabiting indie pop territory in its DNA without showing any signs of that externally. A lot of it was gently dissonant, and sometimes roughly dissonant, often surprising, always cogent and thoughtful.”
Above: GéNIA performing in the Ice Box
With the exception of G. Prokofiev’s Piano Book No. 1, each Nonclassical release pairs an acoustic piece with a set of remixes. Artists such as Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Hot Chip, Simon Tong (The Good, The Bad and The Queen, Gorillaz & The Verve) John Maclean (The Beta Band & The Aliens), and Gabriel Prokofiev have remixed pieces for the label to stunning effect. For more information, visit http://www.nonclassical.co.uk.