Coming to Philadelphia

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell


Friday, March 16th
Wild Combination
A portrait of Arthur Russell
Bowerbird is excited to present a screening of “Wild Combination”, director Matt Wolf’s visually absorbing portrait of the seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer Arthur Russell. Before his untimely death from AIDS in 1992, Arthur prolifically created music that spanned both pop and the transcendent possibilities of abstract art. Now, over fifteen years since his passing, Arthur’s work is finally finding its audience. Wolf incorporates rare archival footage and commentary from Arthur’s family, friends, and closest collaborators – including Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg – to tell this poignant and important story.
Venue: The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street

Saturday, March 17th
Tom Johnson: Rational Melodies
with Arcana New Music Ensemble
The American composer Tom Johnson (b. 1939) has made a career of quite literally composing by numbers. Motivated by mathematical concepts such as self-similarity, transformations, and tiling patterns, Johnson’s compositions are rigorously formalistic, but his use of repetition and familiar musical materials makes the underlying processes recognizable and (usually) enjoyable. The centerpiece of this concert is Johnson’s 1982 work Rational Melodies, a set of 21 short pieces each consisting of a single melodic part generated by more or less complicated mathematical procedures, creating perceptual patterns that both challenge and enchant the ears.
Johnson: Counting Keys (1982-89)
David Hughes, piano
Johnson: Rational Melodies (1982)
Tessa Ellis, trumpet
Joe Dvorak, clarinet
RJ McGhee, trombone
David Middleton, bass guitar
Dominic Panunto, bassoon
Johnson: Block Design for Piano (2005)
David Hughes, piano
Venue: Fleisher Art Memorial
719 Catherine Street

Thursday, March 22nd
Friction Quartet performs Rosie Langabeer
plus Murmuration
Bowerbird is pleased to welcome San Francisco’s Friction Quartet to their premiere Philadelphia performance. The program will feature the world premiere of a new string quartet by New Zealander composer (and Philadelphia based) Rosie Langabeer. Opening the evening will be Murmuration celebrating the debut album, “Revised Notes”
Ludwig van Beethoven: Grosse Fuge
Rosie Langabeer: Occulmente (World Premiere)
Piers Hellawell: The Still Dancers
Venue: University Lutheran
3637 Chestnut Street

Saturday, March 24nd
Morton Feldman‘s “Three Voices
with the Quince Vocal Ensemble
Bowerbird is excited to present the Philadelphia premiere of the Quince Vocal Ensemble performing Morton Feldman’s “Three Voices” with all three parts performed live.
Feldman’s “Three Voices” was written for the experimental vocalist and composer Joan LaBarbara in 1982. The original concept involved the live performer singing along with two pre-recorded parts projected through on-stage amplifiers, creating an effect of three individual “voices”, all with the same origin (Ms. LaBarbara). Three Voices is indeed a challenging and ground-breaking work, and has very rarely been performed live with three singers due to its nearly impossible demands on the human voice and psyche – impeccable rhythmic concentration, shrewd attention to tuning, and the ability to sound as one voice in three parts. The text is based on Frank O’Hara’s poem, Wind, and shapes, twists, and morphs short phrases from the poem into an hour-long musical experience.
Venue: University Lutheran (UniLu)
3637 Chestnut Street