Iconoclastic composer Paul Dresher will join contemporary music ensemble Zeitgeist for Sound Stage, an extraordinarily original work of musical theater centered on a17-foot-tall, 14-foot-wide “musical jungle gym,” as part of Washington University’s Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series.
The special one-night-only performance begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31. Tickets are $28 for the general public; $23 for seniors and students; and $14 for Washington University students and children under 12. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. For more information, call (314) 935-6543.
With sly wit and considerable science, Sound Stage explores the means, meaning and physics of music-making literally from the ground up… way up. The set — every surface of which produces sound — is a giant rolling A-frame constructed entirely of invented musical instruments. Over the course of the evening, this massive “sonic sculpture” becomes many things — a drum kit, a metronome, harps plucked by enormous swinging pendulums — yet ultimately proves a place of collective musical discovery.
WHO: Paul Dresher and Zeitgeist
WHAT: 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31
WHEN: “Sound Stage”
WHERE: Edison Theatre, Washington University, Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
COST: $28, $23 for seniors and students; and $14 for Washington University students and children under 12. Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets
SPONSOR: Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series
Dresher’s score ranges from haunting emotion and jaunting lyricism to powerful passages of rhythmic intensity. The mischievous yet virtuosic musicians of Zeitgeist, directed by Dresher’s frequent collaborator Rinde Eckert, are at once skilled instrumentalists and consummate improvisers, inhabiting the stage with authority, economy and more than a touch of deadpan physical humor.
At the end of the 80-minute performance, the audience is welcomed on stage to explore this impromptu musical playground, either on their own or with the assistance of the designers and performers.
Dresher, born in Los Angeles in 1951, is among the foremost composers of his generation, renowned for integrating diverse musical media and influences into a unique personal style. Since forming the Paul Dresher Ensemble in 1985, he has guided the creation of the “American Trilogy,” a set of experimental operatic works comprised of Slow Fire (1985-88), Power Failure (1988-89), and Pioneer (1990). These works, also created in collaboration with Eckert, address different facets of American culture and have been performed hundreds of times in the United States and Europe.
Dresher has received commissions from the Library of Congress, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival USA, Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Symphony and Walker Arts Center, among others. In 1993, he premiered his “Electro-Acoustic Band,” which performs the works of contemporary composers on a hybrid of acoustic and electronic instruments.
Recordings of Dresher’s works are available on the Lovely Music, New World (with Ned Rothenberg), CRI, Music and Arts, O.O. Discs, BMG/Catalyst, MinMax, Starkland and New Albion labels. For more information, visit www.dresherensemble.org.
Since its founding in Minneapolis in 1977, Zeitgeist has commissioned more than 70 works by both emerging and established composers, including John Cage, Eric Stokes, La Monte Young, Randall Davidson, Mark Applebaum, Mary Ellen Childs and Janika Vandervelde. Their recordings include She’s a Phantom, music of Harold Budd (New Albion Records); Intuitive Leaps, music of Terry Riley (Work Music London and Sony Music Entertainment); and A Decade, music of Frederic Rzewski (O.O. Discs).
Edison Theatre’s OVATIONS! Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis. Focusing on presentations that are interdisciplinary, multicultural and/or experimental, Edison Theatre presents work intended to challenge, educate and inspire.
Edison Theatre programs are supported by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis.