II.4: Ghost Ensemble

Sat., Mar. 23, 2013
Doors at 7:30pm | Show at 8pm
Willow Place Auditorium
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Ghost Ensemble presents an evening of music that reaches toward sensual experience and the possibility of transcendence. The ensemble is guided by a philosophy of intuition and experiential wholeness, focusing on music that excites imagination and inspiration. Ghost Ensemble’s inaugural event will feature chamber and solo works by Pauline Oliveros, Giacinto Scelsi, Gerard Grisey, and David Bird, alongside works by Ghost musicians Joshua Morris and Somna M Bulist and a world premiere for the full ensemble by ensemble director Ben Richter.

Pauline Oliveros The Extreme Slow Song
Giacinto Scelsi Hyxos (1955)
Gerard Grisey Prologue (1976)
David Bird Squeem (2011)
Somna M Bulist I Lay My Heart Open To The Benign Indifference Of The Universe (2012)
Joshua Morris Duet for Doublebass and Doublebassist
Ben Richter Healing Ghost (2012)

Pauline Oliveros
Pauline Oliveros’s life as a composer, performer, and humanitarian was about opening her own and others’ sensibilities to the universe and facets of sounds. Her career spanned fifty years of boundary-dissolving music making. Among her many recent awards were the William Schuman Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Giga-Hertz-Award for Lifetime Achievement in Electronic Music, and the John Cage Award from from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts. Oliveros was Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Darius Milhaud Artist-in-Residence at Mills College. She founded Deep Listening, which came from her childhood fascination with sounds and from her works in concert music with composition, improvisation, and electro-acoustics. She described Deep Listening as a way of listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing. Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, of one's own thoughts as well as musical sounds. “Deep Listening is my life practice,” Oliveros explained, simply. She founded the Deep Listening Institute, formerly Pauline Oliveros Foundation, now the Center For Deep Listening at Rensselaer. Her creative work is disseminated through The Pauline Oliveros Trust and the Ministry of Maåt, Inc. 

Ben Richter is a composer, accordionist, and director of Ghost Ensemble. In his music, sound worlds of constant transformation emerge from shifting timbre gradients and microtonal fluctuations, exploring alternative modes of time perception. Wind People, “a massive drone of lapidary detail” that “thrums, throbs, and glides with surging and ebbing density” (Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily), was featured on Ghost Ensemble’s LP We Who Walk Again (2018, Indexical). As an accordionist, Ben has explored the microtonal potential of the instrument through collaborations with Pauline Oliveros and Phill Niblock; his immersive just-intonation accordion album Panthalassa: Dream Music of the Once and Future Ocean (2017, Infrequent Seams) was hailed by Stephen Smoliar as “likely to offer a profound impact on the very nature of listening.”

Since its founding in 2012, Ghost Ensemble has dedicated itself to long-term study of experimental music with a focus on new perceptual perspectives that explore the experience of listening. The group has extensively explored the Deep Listening philosophy of Pauline Oliveros, collaborating with the composer to inaugurate the release of her Anthology of Text Scores at Eyebeam in 2013, and has previously premiered new works written for the ensemble by John Rot, Leonie Roessler, Kyle Gann, Lucie Vítkova, Sky Macklay, and Somna M Bulist. Ghost Ensemble’s performance techniques realize fragile, liminal sounds, produced by virtuosic performers who are experts on their instruments. These practices can only be realized through long-term collaborations between composers and performers. Tax-deductible donations to Ghost Ensemble’s commissioning project support a crucial stage of this long-term relationship between composers and performers, and help to shape its future.