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Robert Ashley

Sunday, June 9, 2013
Usine C

Robert Ashley

Robert Ashley by joanne savioRobert Ashley is known for his work in new forms of opera. In the 1960s, Ashley organized Ann Arbor’s legendary ONCE Festival and directed the ONCE Group. During the 1970s, he directed the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College, toured with the Sonic Arts Union, and produced and directed Music with Roots in the Aether, a 14-hour television opera/documentary about the work and ideas of seven American composers. Ashley wrote and produced Perfect Lives, an opera for television, widely considered the precursor of “music-television.”  Staged versions of Perfect Lives and Atalanta (Acts of God) and the monumental opera tetralogy, Now Eleanor’s Idea, have toured throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. He wrote and directed Balseros for Florida Grand Opera, Dust for premiere at the Kanagawa Arts Foundation in Yokohama, and Celestial Excursions for the Berlin Festival and Hebbel Theater Berlin. Made Out of Concrete was premiered at La MaMa E.T.C. in New York in 2009. Kyle Gann’s biography of Robert Ashley is forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press.

For over forty years, baritone Thomas Buckner has been active as a singer and producer of new and experimental composed and improvised music. He has performed throughout North America, Europe, Asia and in Africa. Long term collaborators include Roscoe Mitchell, Robert Ashley, Annea Lockwood, David Wessel, Tom Hamilton, Earl Howard, Joseph Kubera, Petr Kotik, Matthias Kaul, Bun-Ching Lam and Wadada Leo Smith. In the seventies he founded 1750 Arch Concerts in Berkeley, California where he produced over 100 concerts a year, the 23 piece Arch Ensemble for Experimental Music, and 1750 Arch Records. In the 1980s, he began touring with Roscoe Mitchell and Gerald Oshita in the group “Space”, performing in major festivals in Europe and the US. He returned to New York, where he became a member of Robert Ashley’s opera company, and founded the Interpretations concert series for new and experimental music and the Mutable Music record label. Throughout his career, he has commissioned, performed and recorded new works by emerging and established composers.

This unique evening, a presentation of both Infrarouge and the Suoni per il Popolo Festival, sees Thomas Buckner – alongside Charity Chan, Marie Brassard, and Alexis O’Hara – interpreting Robert Ashley’s The Producer Speaks, WW III Just the Highlights, and Tract, while Ashley himself tackles his infamous piece ‘Love is a Good Example’. Capacity is limited to 100 people.