Portato Portato (Jacob Lane, keyboard instruments, Michelle Lee, flutes, and Jon Myers, percussion) is an Oakland / Santa Cruz based performance trio, playing original works and select compositions from the 20th and 21st centuries. They are committed to presenting experimental, boundary-expanding, and otherwise unheard music. This performance at Wind River is part of their first series of programs, encompassing work by the ensemble members as well as repertoire from the middle of the 20th century by Morton Feldman and Louis Andriessen. Selections explore perceptions of timbral and temporal spaciousness, permutation and pattern, and the long-form.
The detuned and ornamented unison flute and piano lines of Louis Andriessen’s Melodie (1972/1974), and the mystifying overlay of near-repetitions in Morton Feldman’s classic trio Why Patterns? (1978) speak to a rupture in the 1970s, when academic modernism and atonality gave way to new conceptions of musical space and time, accompanied by meditative modes of listening. This abstract kind of music isn’t “about” anything. Instead, it plunges audiences into states of inner contemplation, allowing them to construct their own meanings. Andriessen and Feldman were contemporaries, unpopular in both academic and mainstream classical music worlds in their earlier years, but their work has since inspired international scenes and stylistic innovations ongoing since the 1980s. These works are complemented by Lane’s Diaphane I and Myers’ Daniel in Chicago, both of which inspire pensive listening through their unique evolutions of minimal materials.
Note: Because of extremely limited parking and capacity at Wind River studios, we highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance, and carpooling whenever possible. Advance tickets are discounted to account for the online service charge.
Indexical’s concerts in Santa Cruz are supported in part by the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County.
Dutch composer Louis Andriessen (b.1939)‘s Melodie (1972-4) for flute or recorder and piano is a result of Andriessen’s philosophy of self-imposed limitations. Working with extremely restricted melodic material, he explores and subverts the limits of melodic repetition and development through perpetual unison of the instruments unfolding over an extended form. This unison, while persistent, is constantly challenged by timbral fluctuations of minor seconds and microtones, as well as rhythmic variations, creating an austere and nebulous space: an exercise in expectation and endurance for both performers and audience. (Note by Portato Portato)
Diaphane I (2017) is a study in focus. Diverse ideas shift in prevalence and dynamic to alter what material is highlighted. Dense registers are thinned to reveal patterns, and roles shift, as background becomes foreground and vice versa. The term diaphanous is used to describe a material that is almost transparent.
Jacob Lane is a composer, pianist, and educator who lives in Oakland, California. He is the pianist for the chamber groups Sl(e)ight Ensemble and Portato Portato. A member of The Music Teachers’ Association of California, Jacob teaches piano performance and music theory at The Alameda School of Music and New World Music Academy. Jacob holds degrees in music performance from Mills College in Oakland, CA (MFA), and Northern Vermont State University in Johnson, VT (BA). He has studied piano with Diane Huling and Robert Schwartz, and composition with Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, Zeena Parkins, and James Fei. In addition to his own ensembles, Jacob's works have been performed by Colorado College's Tenebrae Ensemble (2018), and were featured in the 2017 Atlantic Music Festival.
Rhythmic, durational, and textural development are the base of Jacob’s compositions. His music often features a limited number of themes which are continuously developed throughout a work to create a diverse yet cohesive piece. His upcoming project, Scordatura Piano (2019), explores an alternate tuning he derived from the superimposition of two scales in just intonation. jacoblanemusic.com
Daniel in Chicago
Daniel in Chicago (2017) was written for a friend, the documentarian Daniel Hymanson, whose single-minded, near-pious commitment over the last six years to his practice has manifested in an isolated and simple life. I have found great beauty in his reverence, and hoped to find something of this spirit by combining limited materials in canon in this piece.
Morton Feldman’s (1926-1987) Why Patterns? (1978) is written as an uncoordinated score, a technique typical for Feldman’s early music, especially from the 1950s. Musicians start together, but proceed independently, each focusing on repetition and permutations of pattern material, both intervallic and durational, reconvening again at the end of the piece. Rhythms are meticulously notated in complex and ever-changing time signatures, ascribing durations and silences over the piece’s long form. Working in such a way allowed Feldman to construct a sound-world which focuses the attention on the shape of musical events, on their density, and on the spacing of tones therein, rather than on their harmonic functionality. The result is a glacial and free-floating temporal space that creates a contemplative atmosphere for the listener, giving time to ask the question: Why Patterns? (Note by Portato Portato)
*Portato Portato* is an Oakland / Santa Cruz based performance trio, playing original works and select compositions from the 20th and 21st centuries. They are committed to presenting experimental and otherwise unheard music, as well as highlighting the processes of the composer-performer relationship in new music creation.
**Jacob Lane** is a composer, pianist, and teacher who lives in Oakland, California. He works with Sleight Ensemble and Portato Portato. Jacob is a member of the Music Teachers Association of California, and teaches piano performance and music theory at The Alameda School of Music and New World Music Academy.
In 2011, Jacob received his BA in Music Performance from Johnson State College, in Johnson, Vermont where he studied composition with Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, and piano performance with Diane Huling. In 2015, he received his MFA in Chamber Music Performance from Mills College in Oakland, California, where he studied composition with Zeena Parkins and Roscoe Mitchell, and piano performance with Robert Schwartz. Jacob was a composer in the 2017 Atlantic Music Festival.
**Jon Myers** (b. 1988 in Boston, MA) is a composer and percussionist based in Santa Cruz, CA. He creates music for a variety of settings, from fully notated acoustic pieces to live electronic feedback music. Much of his output has been rigorously process-based and statistically controlled, often involving repetition and cycles to shape the flow of time via mnemonic markers and temporal shifting. Lately, he has been working on quarter-tone Disklavier studies and just-intoned fanfares for arbitrarily tuned choirs of bamboo flutes.
Myers’ compositions have been performed by Orkest de Ereprijs (Netherlands), S.E.M. Ensemble (New York), Wild Rumpus (San Francisco), Now Hear Ensemble (Santa Barbara), and the Lightbulb Ensemble (Santa Cruz).
Myers is a doctoral student in Algorithmic Music Composition at UCSC, working primarily with Larry Polanksy. In 2014, Myers completed a Master of Arts in Music Composition from Mills College in Oakland, CA, where he studied with James Fei, Zeena Parkins, and Chris Brown. Previously, he studied with Anthony Braxton and Alvin Lucier as an undergraduate at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where he was awarded the Gwen Livingston Pokora Prize for music composition.
Bay Area flautist **Michelle Lee** is a classically trained performer, new music enthusiast, improviser, and composer of electronic and electro-acoustic music currently living in Oakland, CA. Lee has attended the Conservatory of Music at University of the Pacific, and holds a degree in flute performance from Mills College. Her teachers and mentors include Michelle Caimotto, Matt Krejci, Bonnie Lockett, Maggi Payne, and James Fei. Her works and practice draw from extended techniques, natural and scientific worlds, and mysticism, as well as explore the ambiguity of reconciling the disparate: her artistic and cultural influences, the seen and unseen, texture and feeling. Current works investigate the body, ritual, intuition, and text through both traditional and experimental notation, multimedia, and performance art.