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Feb 28: Bearthoven Gives Four NY Premieres by Wollschleger, Washington, Wolfe, & Roberts at Roulette

January 8, 2018 | By Katy Salomon
Account Director, Morahan Arts and Media

Contact: Katy Salomon | Morahan Arts and Media | 863.660.2214


Bearthoven: New Works

Featuring Newly Commissioned Works by Scott Wollschleger, Shelley Washington, Kristina Wolfe, & Adam Roberts

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8pm
Roulette | 509 Atlantic Ave. | Brooklyn, NY
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door at?

“a consistent ensemble sound that is apparent even in the face of broad eclecticism” –Second Inversion


New York, New York (Jan 8, 2018— On Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8pm at Roulette in Brooklyn, Bearthoven (Karl Larson, piano; Pat Swoboda, bass; and Matt Evans, percussion) performs the New York premieres of four new, diverse works, written specifically for their 2017-2018 season. The program features Shelley Washington’s Silk (2017), Kristina Wolfe’s Near Sky (2017), Adam Roberts’ Happy/Angry Music (2017), and Scott Wollschleger’s American Dream (2017). These works received their world premieres in September 2017 at the Short North Stage in Columbus, OH.

Scott Wollschleger’s American Dream is a major addition to Bearthoven’s repertoire, a substantial work in the composer’s already impressive catalogue, and the focal point of this  program. The thirty-minute piece is an intricate quilt of delicate textures and sound objects composed for piano, double bass, and percussion. Throughout the work, Wollschleger pairs his signature pianistic style with ethereal bass harmonics, pitch pipes, and a variety of innovative percussive sounds to create a captivating mosaic of sound. After a soft premiere of a portion of American Dream at LPR in April, I Care if You Listen called the work “stunning, almost hypnotic.” Scott Wollschleger is a Brooklyn-based composer of solo, chamber, and dramatic music. His music, which explores themes of art in dystopia, the conceptualization of silence, synesthesia, and creative repetition in form, has been highly praised for its arresting timbres and conceptual originality. Wollschleger’s compositions have been described as “apocalyptic”, “distinctive and magnetic” and possessing a “hushed, cryptic beauty” (The New Yorker, Alex Ross) and as “evocative” and “kaleidoscopic” (The New York Times). His concert works can be heard across the US and the world, most recently featured at MATA Festival Interval Series, the International Music Institute at Darmstadt, and the Festival of New American Music in Sacramento.

Shelley Washington’s Silk is a dynamically subdued yet rhythmically complex work for piano, double bass, drum set, and vibraphone composed for Bearthoven during their spring 2017 NYU residency. The uneasy sense of time that permeates the piece is an elegant musical metaphor for the unsettling nature of transitions throughout life, such as leaving graduate school in Washington’s case. With an eclectic palette, Washington tells sonic stories with a range of direction and change. Bearthoven is excited to work with Shelley on a new work for the 2018/2019 concert season thanks to the generous support of the Jerome Fund for New Music.

Kristina Wolfe’s Near Sky is a deeply meditative, graphically notated work for piano, double bass, percussion, and electronics (MaxMSP). A former student of Pauline Oliveros, her music is rooted in a deep listening philosophy - it fills space with sound and invites the listener to contemplate the relationship between the space and sound they are occupying. In her program notes for Near Sky, Wolfe writes, “I have become very interested in subtlety and with the various strange acoustic spaces caused by the weather in high moorlands. I wanted to explore the sound of closeness, openness, rain, underground rivers resonating rocks and trees, falling rocks and stones, creaking, the wind in pine trees, and how the whole sense of space changes in moments of clear. I have been analyzing the sound of the rivers and wind and the resonances that come up from these constantly varying atmospheric conditions and it turns out that the driving wind will sometimes ‘sing’. I intended to make a piece that sounds like it is being played in an intermittent rain shower in a ruined cathedral.”

Adam Roberts’ Happy/Angry Music is a multifaceted work for piano, double bass, and percussion commissioned for Bearthoven by the Johnstone Fund for New Music. Over the course twelve minutes, Happy/Angry Music pulls the listener through a series of manic scene changes ranging from the disjointed, pseudo-rock opening to an extended bass/tam tam drone. Roberts’s piece is a gripping, genre-bending race through a kaleidoscopic landscape. Adam Roberts writes music that takes listeners on compelling journeys while drawing on a vivid array of sonic resources. Roberts’ music has been performed by ensembles such as the Arditti Quartet, the JACK Quartet, le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Callithumpian Consort, Earplay, andPlay duo, Transient Canvas, Ums ‘n Jip, fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, the Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble, the Association for the Promotion of New Music, violist Garth Knox, Guerilla Opera, and at festivals such as Wien Modern (Vienna), Tanglewood, the Biennale Musique en Scene (Lyons), and the 2009 ISCM World Music Days (Sweden).

About Bearthoven
Bearthoven [ \'bâr-toh-v?n\ ] is a piano trio creating a new repertoire for a familiar instrumentation by commissioning works from leading young composers. Karl Larson (piano), Pat Swoboda (bass), and Matt Evans (percussion) have combined their individual voices and diverse musical backgrounds, coming together to create a versatile trio focused on frequent and innovative commissioning of up-and-coming composers. Bearthoven is rapidly building a diverse repertoire by challenging composers to apply their own voice to an instrumentation that, while common amongst jazz and pop idioms, is currently foreign in the contemporary classical world.

Formed in 2013, Bearthoven has quickly established themselves as a forerunner in the New York City contemporary music scene. Commissioning over 20 new works in their first four seasons, the trio has created its own diverse repertoire ranging from the driving, post-minimal voices of Ken Thomson, Brooks Frederickson, and Shelley Washington to the atmospheric and abstracted offerings of Fjola Evans, Scott Wollschleger, and Anthony Vine. Bearthoven’s commitment to collaboration and innovation has garnered both critical and peer acclaim and has led to featured performances on notable stages including the MATA Festival, the Bang On a Can Marathon, and the Music/Sound Series at EMPAC.  The group's debut album Trios was released on Cantaloupe Music in May of 2017. Bearthoven was recently selected as one of 24 ensembles to be a part of the inaugural New Music USA Impact Fund cohort (along with So Percussion, JACK Quartet, and Talea Ensemble). Learn more at

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*Photo Credit: Colin Beattie





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