I/O New Music

Sunday, March 6, 2011, at 7:30 pm
Club Helsinki Hudson

…click here for PROGRAM

I/O New Music, co-directed by Steven Bodner and Matthew Gold, is the house band for the Williams College Music Department’s BOX series and curator of the annual I/O FEST.  Composed primarily of Williams College music faculty and guests, I/O performs cutting-edge new music that explores the wide spectrum of today’s most vital compositional trends.  The ensemble is especially interested in music that defies category, crosses musical and conceptual boundaries, and that challenges performers and audiences alike.  With its flexible roster, I/O is able to perform electro-acoustic music, theatrical works, and compositions that re-imagine the capabilities of conventional instruments.  I/O believes that music exists in space as well as time, and seeks to present programs that make full use of the physical environment in which it is performed.  I/O New Music invites audiences to fully experience music that is not merely contemporary, but that, in advancing the musical language and perhaps altering the way we hear, is essential.

I/O New Music was founded in 2008 with a mandate to bring new and living music to the Williams College campus and to present it in nonconventional ways, making full use of performance spaces beyond the concert hall.  After a successful first performance in January 2009, I/O expanded its concert activities and inaugurated I/O Fest, an annual festival of new and experimental music housed in the Williams College ‘62 Center, with performances in spaces including the glass walled dance studio, art museums, and open public spaces.  These programs have brought a huge range of music to diverse and enthusiastic audiences, often placing the listener in the center of the action or bringing the music directly to the public.

Since its inception, I/O has been dedicated to presenting music, both contemporary and past, that crosses or rejects boundaries.  While the term new music may primarily refer to recently composed works, I/O looks for music from any period that still has something new, fresh, unexpected, and illuminating to say.  In its concert programs and festivals I/O has presented numerous new works and premieres, music by some of the most original and exhilarating young composers working today, and major works by European composers who are rarely performed in the U.S.  The members of I/O are primarily Williams College faculty who also perform regularly in New York City, Boston, and internationally, as well as guests from New York and Boston.  The name of the ensemble, I/O, doesn’t necessarily stand for any single thing.  But if pressed we will say that it refers to Input/Output, and that this is in fact the essential mission of the performing musician; we feed the music in and send it back out to the audience.

I/O Bios

Described as “the kind of vocal velvet you don’t often hear in contemporary music” displaying “rock solid technique” (Boston Phoenix), Jennifer Ashe, soprano, has been hailed by the Boston Globe as giving a performance that was “pure bravura…riveting the audience with a radiant and opulent voice.”  A strong advocate for new music, Jennifer has participated in countless premieres and recordings for composers active in the Boston area and beyond. At New England Conservatory she studied with Mark St Laurent and Lucy Shelton, receiving the Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance in May 2006.

Thomas Bergeron is an active jazz and classical musician and currently holds a teaching position at Williams College. Thomas’ debut album, which features interpretations of Debussy’s Piano Preludes arranged for a contemporary jazz chamber group will be released in early 2011.  Thomas is a founding member of the Reveille Trumpet Collective (www.reveilletrumpet.org), which explores new relationships between composers and performers, and new ways of conceiving, performing, and presenting contemporary music.

Steven Bodner is Artist-in-Residence at Williams College where he directs the Symphonic Winds and Opus Zero Band, co-directs I/O New Music, and teaches saxophone and music theory. He has degrees in philosophy and saxophone performance from Miami (OH) University, conducting from New England Conservatory, and he is a candidate for a Ph.D. in Music Education at UMass-Amherst. He has commissioned and premiered numerous works for wind ensemble and saxophone, and he is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician. As a saxophonist, Steven has performed with the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, Williams Chamber Players, the Manchester Music Festival, and the microtonal ensemble NotaRiotous.

Matthew Gold is a member of Sequitur and a co-director of TimeTable Percussion.  An advocate of new music, he has commissioned and premiered numerous new works, performing regularly with the Da Capo Chamber Players, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, the Orchestra of the League of Composers/ISCM, and Washington Square Ensemble.  Mr. Gold is an instructor of percussion at Williams College where he directs the Williams Percussion Ensemble and co-directs the I/O New Music Ensemble and the annual I/O Fest.  He performs frequently with the New York City Ballet and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and serves as an artist-faculty member for the Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance at Mannes College.

Brian Simalchik is primarily a composer with roots in minimalism, rock n’ roll and the American experimental tradition. He received the 2010 Hubbard Hutchinson Memorial Fellowship in Music from Williams College, where he studied with David Kechley and Ileana Perez-Velazquez. He’s currently pursuing a Master’s degree in composition at The Hartt School, where he co-directs the Composers Ensemble and studies composition with Robert Carl. As a pianist, he gave the American premiere of Kyle Gann’s Sunken City: Concerto for Piano and Winds in 2008.

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