Ghost Ensemble + Tasting Menu at Wind River
Ghost Ensemble performs Sky Macklay & Ben Richter
Sky Macklay is Ghost Ensemble’s founding oboist, a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, and serves on the composition faculty of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Ben Richter’s Rewild is inspired by the perspectives and timescales of nonhuman beings, the manifold periodicities of deep time, and distant orders of magnitude in the universe of life. Its musical parameters seek new strata in the uncanny zones at which pitch becomes rhythm, harmonic interval becomes beating rate, and timbres morph over time, following the fractal symmetry by which each order of magnitude in biology—organelle, cell, organism, ecosystem, biosphere—resembles and mirrors the others. By offering an aural metaphor for the interacting gradual processes of quantum and cosmic systems, Rewild aims to orient listening toward the vast and infinitesimal timescales we do not experience in everyday life. Perhaps the more we are able to listen as plants, mushrooms, rhizospheres, ecosystems, the more we can see ourselves not just as individuals or as a species but as blood cells in the higher-level organism of the biosphere.
Ghost Ensemble’s founding director and accordionist, Ben Richter creates immersive, gradually evolving compositions that have been hailed as “likely to offer a profound impact on the very nature of listening” (Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio).
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.