Ghost Ensemble

Sat., May 19, 2018
Doors at 7:30pm | Show at 8pm
Wind River
Add to Calendar
$10 - 20
Buy Tickets

Ghost Ensemble, permutations, and Indexical celebrate the release of Ghost Ensemble’s debut LP, We Who Walk Again, arriving May 18 on Indexical. This evening features the album’s recorded works alongside the world premiere of Liisa Hirsch’s new work Imprint, as well as Teodora Stepancic’s Harp N Ropes No. 4 and Andrew Christopher Smith’s we remember not the word, but the sound of the word, both commissioned by the ensemble in 2016.

Ghost Ensemble’s May 2018 California concert series is presented by permutations and Indexical and supported by an FCA Emergency Grant and generous contributions from Dr. Ruth Martin, Karen Panth, Caroline Mallonee Huebner, Kevin Kay, Sky Macklay, Seth Brenzel, John Suskind, Eoin Callery, Laurie Furdyna, Ian Schulz, Robert Strizich, Stefanie Ilgenfritz, Heide Ilgenfritz, Charles Underriner, Hannah Salomons, Laura Cocks, Ted Moore, Hannah Wertheim, Thomas Buckner, Lanier Sammons, Kristen Reed, White Wave, Miya Masaoka, Andrew Smith, Helena Martin, Raymond Martin, Teodora Stepancic, and fourteen anonymous donors.

Ghost Ensemble dedicates itself to experimental music with a focus on new perceptual perspectives that explore the experience of listening. Ghost’s music realizes a wide spectrum of sonic spaces, with the common thread an aim to shift our attention, perception, or experience of time. Many of these works share a meditative practice or an inclination toward altered consciousness or metaphysical exploration, through intuitive processes, fragile and liminal sounds, fluctuating pitch relationships, and the physicality of sonic phenomena. By encouraging immersive experience and expanding our horizons and perceptions, this music demonstrates its potential as a real healing force.

We Who Walk Again introduces the core of Ghost Ensemble’s repertoire and the diverse practices our approach hopes to unite. The title invokes the Icelandic legend of the draugr, or aptrgangr, a ghostly being with the power to morph into many shapes, gaze into the future, and enter dreams to bestow gifts on the living — something like a collection of the magical properties, perhaps, of music.

Teodora Stepančić

Teodora Stepančić is composer, pianist and curator. In recent years, Teodora has been collecting works for the piano and different ensemble formations that speak in the voice of the outsider, a hushed voice, that does not try to draw attention to itself, that stresses generosity, attentiveness, intimacy, spirit and focus. She is interested finding different ways of presenting, performing and creating music and tries to create an atmosphere that invites for intimate listening and experience, a space for sharing sounds, ideas and music. Teodora curates, organizes and performs concerts in Europe, USA, Middle East and Argentina. She is currently presenting second season of Piano+ concert series at Spectrum, Brooklyn. In her compositions Teodora explores different ways of incorporating theatrical and visual elements into music performance, cyclical and game-based musical forms, and developing works in close collaboration with individual performers.

Andrew C. Smith

Language is an activity where we repeat ourselves and others — a negotiation of similarity and difference of sounds, giving us similarity and difference of meaning. It is the network of repetition among voices that allows us to communicate. This piece is a repetitive text which I wrote, recorded, and transcribed using custom software to translate each vowel and consonant into musical notation. Closing each section is the phrase “we remember not the word, but the sound of the word.” The similarity is in the gesture, but the difference is in the sound. — ACS

Andrew C. Smith is a composer and keyboardist living in Santa Cruz, California. His music often involves just intonation tunings, repetition, and language at the threshold of making sense. In addition to his work with language, he uses computers in his everyday artistic practice, often using electronic means to manipulate sound and text, using the results of these manipulations in his work.

He has been producing concerts and recordings since 2011, and is currently the Executive Director of Indexical, a nonprofit organization based in Santa Cruz, California. He has previously produced events at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center (Alice Tully Hall), Bohemian National Hall, and other venues as Managing Director of the S.E.M. Ensemble (Brooklyn, NY), and has worked for the Seattle Symphony (Seattle, WA) and Issue Project Room (Brooklyn, NY).

His music has been performed by sfSound, String Noise, Guidonian Hand Trombone Quartet, Séverine Ballon, Ostravaská banda, and S.E.M. Ensemble. He studied English and music composition at Willamette University and Trinity College Dublin.

A kaleidoscope contains five mirrors angled sixty degrees from one another. The reflections create subtly shifting repetitive-yet-distinct geometric-mosaic patterns, multiplying and beautifying whatever objects (beads, jewels, pebbles, glass shards) live within the kaleidoscope.

My piece 60 Degree Mirrors uses a series of oboe and flute multiphonics as the sonic “objects” within the kaleidoscope. I manipulate them into geometric patterns and dense textures. Oboe and flute objects are multiplied, expanded, and fractured by the other instruments to create a saturating web of sound.

– Sky Macklay

Estonian composer Liisa Hirsch takes microscopic sounds and amplifies the little moment-to-moment differences. Her new work Imprint requires the full ensemble to coordinate their playing through breathing and listening — with no conductor, and no central authority — which centers the experience of listening in the moment and reacting to fellow musicians. — ACS

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. 

What else seems as free as the wind? As powerful, as gentle? As transient, as eternal? If we listen to the wind, as to the unheard corners of the world, and beyond it — oceans, volcanoes, plate tectonics, planetary magnetic fields — the sound-world that emerges shows the cosmic beauty of flux: every phenomenon, from the movement of the wind to that of continents, is constantly changing, flowing, blending together, whether visible or invisible to our current perception of time.

Through Wind People I hope to draw a sense of peace and comfort from our smallness, transience, and fragility in the face of an overwhelming immensity, the music mirroring the constant ebb and flow visible when zooming in or out to quantum or geological time. — B.R.

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.”