Join Aby Wolf and Eric Mayson for the Twin Cities premiere of Champagne Confetti, an evening of new works for strings, voices, percussion and electronics performed by a cast of renowned musicians and friends. Through a creative process based in improvisation resulting in atypical song structures, Champagne Confetti is a practice in embracing uncertainty. It blurs the lines between ambient neo-minimalism, chamber music, and electro-R&B. It is inspired by the imminent universal need to find footing in an unstable world, and on both a personal and global scale, these new compositions explore that uncertainty.
Vocals - Aby Wolf, Cameron Kinghorn (Nooky Jones), Amy Hager & Jacob Mullis (Fort Wilson Riot)
Violin - Sara Pajunen (AALLOTAR, Rachael Kilgour)
Viola - Erica Burton (Laurels String Quartet)
Cello - Jonathan Kaiser (Dark Dark Dark)
Bass - Ted Olsen
Piano/Vocals - Eric Mayson (Lizzo, Caroline Smith, Dancebums)
Percussion - Joey Van Phillips (Dessa, POS, Sims), Heather Barringer (Zeitgeist)
The program will also feature NOW Ensemble, a dynamic group of performers and composers dedicated to making new chamber music for the 21st century. With a unique instrumentation of flute, clarinet, electric guitar, double bass, and piano, the ensemble brings a fresh sound and a new perspective to the classical tradition, infused with the musical influences that reflect the diverse backgrounds of its members. Having recently celebrated ten years together as an ensemble, they have brought some of the most exciting composers of their generation to national and international recognition. In recent seasons, NOW has performed at Lincoln Center, the Apples and Olives Festival in Zurich, Switzerland, Town Hall Seattle, Da Camera Houston, and in Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert Series. From 2016-2018 they were the inaugural ensemble in residence at San Diego’s Art of Élan. Highlights of the 2018-19 season include a major collaboration with Sarasota Contemporary Dance, premieres of new works by composers Sean Friar and Michi Wiancko, and the recording of NOW Ensemble's sixth album, due out by New Amsterdam Records in 2020.
Champagne Confetti is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage foundation and the support of 89.3 The Current and The Parkway Theater.
Aby Wolf is a vocalist and composer. She frequently collaborates with professional artists across the genres of hip hop, R&B, electronic, rock, folk, jazz, and experimental music. She has worked and collaborated with a diverse range of artists from Dessa and Doomtree to The New Standards, Chastity Brown and JT Bates Grain Trio to the MN Orchestra, and released 4 stylistically diverse solo albums to critical acclaim. As a solo artist she has extensively toured throughout the US, as well as in the U.K, Ireland, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany and performs at some of the Twin Cities finest venues (Walker Art Center, Fitzgerald Theater, Orchestra Hall, First Ave). She was named “Best Female Vocalist” and “Artist of the Year” by City Pages.
Additionally, she has served as Vocal Director for many productions, most recently, “Dessa with the Minnesota Orchestra." She has been awarded Artist Initiative, Arts Learning and Arts on Tour grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and she has been recognized for excellence by the American Composers Forum, and received commissions from the Cedar Cultural Center as well as the Prairie Fire Lady Choir.
Eric Mayson is a Minneapolis based composer and performer. He has worked with some of Minnesota's best, including Lizzo, Caroline Smith, Dessa, POS, Big Cats, Toki Wright, Aby Wolf, Mina Moore, Atmosphere and many others. He spends most of his time composing for Mixed Blood Theatre, teaching kids at Children’s Theatre Company, and playing with his own solo project, as well as Minneapolis band-of-dancers DaNCEBUMS! He is releasing his second solo record in March called Ōp-Nope. He loves art and music, and would probably enjoy hanging out and chatting with you, you know, if you want.
"...the formal elegance of chamber music with a pop-honed concision and rhythmic vitality" - Time Out New York
"NOW... imports a catchy inflection to classical forms... Striking a balance between the old and the new has rarely sounded this good." - Newsweek
NOW Ensemble is Patrick Burke, Lizzie Burns, Mark Dancigers, Judd Greenstein, Alicia Lee, Michael Mizrahi, and Alex Sopp.
Collaborations and partnerships in 2018-19 include residencies at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge, Lawrence University, Ripon College, and Antenna Cloud Farm.
One of NOW Ensemble's main goals has been to create a musical paradigm in which continuous collaboration between composers and the performers is taken as a given. This philosophy has been put into practice in residencies at numerous institutions including Yale, Princeton, University of Virginia, and the New College of Florida. NOW Ensemble's performances have been featured on NPR's “All Things Considered” and live on WNYC, and its sophomore album “Awake” charted at #1 in Amazon's Classical Chamber Music Charts. “Plan of the City,” NOW's collaboration with film maker Joshua Frankel, was praised in the Washington Post as “one of the best matches of visuals to music I’ve seen.” Since 2004, NOW has worked with over 60 of today's most exciting composers, including Nico Muhly, Timothy Andres, Missy Mazzoli, Judd Greenstein, Kathryn Alexander, Jason Treuting, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Sean Friar. NOW has performed at such venues as Miller Theater, Merkin Hall, the Bang on a Can Marathon, The Kitchen NYC, The Stone, the Carlsbad Festival, the Festival International Chihuahua, the Look and Listen Festival, The Music Gallery Toronto, Sarasota's New Music New College, the Southern Exposure Series, Pittsburgh's Music on the Edge, Cal Arts, MIT, and Juilliard.
"The vibrant sound of NOW Ensemble... does something more than offer composers an alternative to the ubiquitous 'Pierrot ensembles plus singer or percussion.' It breathes the air of this planet: the musical air of indie rock, rap, jazz, pop, and minimalism variously synthesized by classically-trained composers and instrumentalists. Three of NOW's founding members are composers, and a community of 35 like-minded others have responded to the opportunities NOW embodies: to defy specialization, reject alienation, and inspire deft musicians to convey a sense of private amusement that enlivens the music they perform." - Jeffrey Edelstein, International Concert Review