In conjunction with the Institute of Contemporary Art’s exhibition “The Freedom Principle,” the ICA and Ars Nova Workshop are pleased to present George Lewis’ “A Recital for Terry Adkins,” performed by the composer and pioneering electronic musician along with composer/performer collective Ensemble Pamplemousse.
Commissioned for the exhibition “Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey,” a project conceived and directed by Robert G. O’Meally of The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, “A Recital for Terry Adkins” is Lewis’ homage to the artist, performer, and multi-instrumentalist Terry Adkins, who passed away in 2014. Adkins was celebrated for his Recitals, which began as live performances scheduled as part of the run of his gallery installations. A major component of these works was Adkins’ longtime ensemble, the Lone Wolf Recital Corps, frequent members of which included Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Bill Cole, Arthur Flowers, and Robert Wisdom. Recitals were often dedicated to historical figures with resonance in American culture, so Lewis’ piece in part imagines a Recital based on Bearden, the African-American artist who was a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance.
Lewis describes his Recital as, “a large-scale open-form ritual with live interaction between instruments, electronic sounds, and digitized still and moving images drawn from the work of Adkins, and one of his signal influences, Romare Bearden.” It will be performed by the composer in conjunction with Ensemble Pamplemousse, a New York-based composer/performer collective founded in 2003 to provide a focal point for like-minded creators with a thirst for sonic exploration. The ensemble is a close-knit group of divergent artistic personalities, emergent from training in disparate musical fields. Their collective love for the exquisite in all sonic realms leads the ensemble to persistently discover new vistas of sound at the frayed edges of dissective instrumental performance technique.
Writing about Ensemble Pamplemousse for the Chicago Reader, Peter Margasak said, “Hearing this New York composers' collective perform its own works this summer brought its experimental aesthetic to life for me—in its music, the absurd dances with the sublime, and playfulness collides with rigor.”
Trombonist, composer and pioneer of electronic and computer music, George E. Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music and went on to become the influential organization’s chronicler with his widely acclaimed book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, which received the American Book Award. His ground-breaking work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, and notated and improvisative forms is documented on more than 140 recordings, while his creative work has been presented by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Ensemble Dal Niente, International Contemporary Ensemble, and others. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academy, Lewis’s other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship (2002) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015).