Saturday May 26th 2012 @Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

Sonic Circuits Celebrates John Cage

In the 1957 lecture “Experimental Music,” John Cage described music as "a purposeless play" which is "an affirmation of life – not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we're living." Sonic Circuits -- which similarly seeks to expand the listening experiences of Washington D.C. audiences -- welcomes you to a special performance of classic John Cage compositions re-interpreted and performed by local artists. This is our own continuing affirmation of John Cage's life and influence.

Credo in Us (1942)

STYLUS JS Adams, artistic director; Jeff Bagato, Chester Hawkins, Janel Leppin, Anthony Piro,g Gary Rouzer, Keith Sinzinger

Instrumentation for the original performance of Credo in Us called for a pianist; two percussionists playing muted gongs, tin cans, electric buzzer and tom-toms; and a fourth performer operating a radio and a phonograph. For the phonograph selections, Cage suggested using something "classic" such as Dvorák, Beethoven, Sibelius or Shostakovich. STYLUS turntable ensemble has chosen to perform the piece using 'prepared' vinyl recordings of Credo in Us augmented by 1960s sound-effects albums, electronic buzzers and hand-held radios. These ‘prepared’ phonograph records are subjected to physical manipulations, machinations and coded inscriptions.

STYLUS performs with multiple vintage classroom turntables as their instruments, using locked-groove and prepared vinyl to create a sound that is minimalist, pulse-like and hypnotic yet also dynamic and punctuated. STYLUS performers to date include mainstays of the Washington, D.C. avant-guard, free improvisation, modern composition, noise and electronic music scene. STYLUS warmly embraces the modern compositional elements of turntablism and the contemporary sound-art of Christian Marclay, Leyland Kirby (The Caretaker) and Philip Jeck, while championing historic constructs such as the Futurist manifesto L'arte dei Rumori, Dadaism, Automatism, Milan Knížák's Broken Music, the graphic scores of Cornelius Cardew, Fluxus performance, and appropriately, the prepared instrumentation and happenstance of John Cage.

Living Room Music (1940)

Gary Rouzer, Rich O'Meara, Kevin O'Meara, Mike Wingo

Living Room Music is a four movement work scored for a four-person ensemble. The first two movements are to be played on any objects or architectural elements that can typically be found in a living room. The second movement, “Story,” is a vocal movement derived from Gertrude Stein’s poem “The World is Round.” The optional third movement, “Melody,” is a melody for solo performer that can be played on any instrument.

Sound artist/cellist Gary Rouzer and percussionists Rich O’Meara, Kevin O’Meara and Mike Wingo have long been involved in exploring experimental, classical and jazz sounds in the D.C. region.

Dream (1948)

Daniel Barbiero, double bass Ken Manheimer, dancer

An example of Cage's early tonal work, Dream was originally written for piano to accompany a solo by dancer Merce Cunningham. Here we present Cage's melody in an adaptation for double bass, in its original context of a solo dance. PHOTO

Daniel Barbiero and Ken Manheimer have been working together to combine sound and movement since 2009, most notably with Nancy Havlik’s Dance Performance Group. Daniel’s meeting John Cage in 1990 was a life- and wardrobe-changing experience.

Five (1988)

Anthony Pirog, guitar; Janel Leppin, cello; Erin Flynn, viola; Carrie Ferguson, accordio;n Joe Herrera, trumpet

Five is one of Cage’s first number pieces. Written for a quintet of unspecified instruments, the work structures its pitches within a system of time brackets. Tonight’s performance of Five features an eclectic group of D.C. area musicians in Anthony Pirog’s arrangement for guitar, cello, viola, accordion and trumpet.

Anthony Pirog, a graduate of New York University’s music school, is a jazz guitarist by training who has further honed his talents by delving into the realm of freely improvised music.

Solo for Cello (1957-1958)

Janel Leppin, cello

An indeterminate work, Solo for Cello derives from the cello part for Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra. The notation system shows notes in three different sizes, which the performer may interpret to pertain to duration or dynamics.

Janel Leppin has a music degree in cello performance, with a focus on classical and world music. For the last several years, she has been experimenting with free improvisation and the application of electronic effects pedals to her instrument.

Variations I (1958)

Anthony Pirog, guitar

The score for Variations I for unspecified instrument consists of a set of five transparencies containing randomly arranged sets of five lines, representing sound parameters, and one transparency containing twenty-seven points, representing sounds. By overlaying points and lines, the performer obtains a guide from which to derive pitches, durations and dynamics.

Suite for Toy Piano (1948)

Carrie Ferguson, toy piano

This whimsical work takes the limited set of tones available to the toy instrument and structures them according to the rhythmic pattern 7-7-6-6-4.

Multi-instrumentalist Carrie Ferguson can be found playing glockenspiel and accordion—in addition to toy piano—in the Washington D.C. area.

Saturday May 26th 2012 @ 6 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.


Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
2700 F Street, NW , Washington, DC