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International Contemporary Ensemble Performs World Premiere of Yvette Janine Jackson’s T-Minus: A Radio Opera at Roulette on January 19

December 6, 2023 | By Morahan Arts & Media

For Immediate Release
Contact: Leah Rankin | Morahan Arts & Media
leah@morahanartsandmedia.com | 646-378-9386

International Contemporary Ensemble Performs World
Premiere of Yvette Janine Jackson’s
T-Minus: A Radio Opera 
at Roulette on January 19


New York, NY (December 5, 2023)International Contemporary Ensemble gives the world premiere performance of Yvette Janine Jackson’s T-Minus: A Radio Opera on Friday, January 19, 2024 at 8:00 p.m. at Roulette. The new work, commissioned by International Contemporary Ensemble and funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, is themed around the environmental and socioeconomic impact of space tourism on local communities near launch sites.  

The idea was prompted by the livestream of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 in May 2020, which took place at a time when people around the world were taking to the streets in protests against police brutality and systemic racism. The juxtaposition of events evoked a 1970’s Gil Scott-Heron poem come to fruition. T-Minus builds on Left Behind, which was premiered by Jackson’s Radio Opera Workshop ensemble at the Venice Music Biennale, and The Coding, a video concréte influenced by Samuel Delany’s Babel-17 novel that examines the power of language.

Radio opera is a term Jackson first used to describe her narrative electroacoustic compositions, such as the Invisible People series, that frequently forefront historical events and social issues. The term continues to take on new meaning for the composer as she expands these ideas to include live performance, visuals, lighting, and interactivity. Influenced by productions from the Golden Age of Radio Drama, Jackson’s radio operas leave room for the listener’s experiences to give meaning to the music.

Also on the program is Jackson’s Swan. Swan is a musical journey that follows the tall ship Swan as it transports Africans along the Middle Passage to the Americas, but gradually morphs into a spacecraft headed to freedom. Swan is a radio opera without words; the fixed media performance allows the audience to be at the center of the narrative and experience the journey. The work is composed from original foley, analog synthesis, and recordings from studio sessions by Jackson’s Invisible People Ensemble (Yvette Janine Jackson, piano; Kjell Nordeson, vibraphone; Shayla James, viola; Judith Hamann, cello; Sam Dunscombe, bass clarinet) interpreting her traditionally notated and graphic scores, as well as guided improvisations.

Concert Information
International Contemporary Ensemble Presents Yvette Janine Jackson’s T-Minus: A Radio Opera
International Contemporary Ensemble
Friday, January 19, 2024 at 8:00 p.m.
Roulette Intermedium | 509 Atlantic Avenue | Brooklyn, NY 11217
Tickets: $30 in advance, $35 at doors, $25 Student/Senior (w/ ID, Senior 65 )
Link: https://roulette.org/event/ice-yvette-janine-jackson/ 

Yvette Janine Jackson - Swan 
Yvette Janine Jackson - T-Minus (World Premiere) 

International Contemporary Ensemble
          Vimbayi Kaziboni, conductor
          Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, flute
          Joshua Rubin, bass clarinet
          Kristina Teuschler, bass clarinet
          Gareth Flowers, trumpet
          Sam Jones, trumpet
          Michael Lormand, bass trombone
          Ben Stapp, tuba
          Levy Lorenzo, percussion
          Nathan Davis, percussion
          Lester St. Louis, cello
          Clare Monfredo, cello
          Randall Zigler, double bass
          Ross Karre, electronics

About Yvette Janine Jackson
Yvette Janine Jackson is a composer and installation artist who brings attention to historical events and social issues through her radio operas and narrative soundscape compositions. Her album Freedom, released by the Fridman Gallery, debuted as Contemporary Album of the Month in The Guardian, and The Wire described it as “one of the most unique releases to chronicle the Black American experience.”  She has composed for a variety of projects, including The Cassandra Project film trilogy; Extant, an interactive composition for bass clarinet, cello, and game engine at ZKM Center for Art and Media; Hello, Tomorrow! for orchestra and electronics co-commissioned by American Composers Orchestra and Carnegie Hall; sound and light composition, RETURN, for the James Turrell, "Twilight Epiphany" Skyspace at Rice University; and her Radio Opera Workshop ensemble.  Jackson’s permanent installations Underground (Codes) and Destination Freedom can be experienced at Wave Farm in Acra, New York, and the International African American Museum in Charleston, respectively.

About International Contemporary Ensemble
Now in its third decade, the International Contemporary Ensemble is a multidisciplinary collective of musicians, digital media artists, producers, and educators committed to building and innovating collaborative environments in order to inspire audiences to reimagine how they experience contemporary music and sound. Under the leadership of composer and Artistic Director George Lewis, the Ensemble creates a mosaic musical ecosystem as “America’s foremost new-music group” (The New Yorker), honoring the diversity of human experience and expression by commissioning, developing, recording, and performing the works of living artists in “a mission worth following” (I Care If You Listen). 

Co-founded in 2001 by flutist and MacArthur “genius” Fellow Claire Chase, the Ensemble has premiered over 1,000 works and is the recipient of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, as well as Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year Award. Past artistic leadership includes co-founder Claire Chase and Ensemble members Joshua Rubin, Rebekah Heller, and Ross Karre. Notable presenting partners have included Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, TIME:SPANS Festival, Roulette, and Miller Theatre. The Ensemble has given performances at Warsaw Autumn, Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music, Cité de la Musique (Paris), Park Avenue Armory, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ojai Music Festival, and Big Ears Festival as well as in venues such as the Dutch National Opera, Carnegie Hall, and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Through trailblazing initiatives such as the Call for ____ Commission Program and Ensemble Evolution (in partnership with The New School’s College of Performing Arts), the Ensemble has had a major impact on the contemporary performance ecosystem in New York City, nationally, and internationally, by supporting the creativity of their composer-collaborators, as well as presenting workshops and performances for hundreds of student composers. Many of the Ensemble’s composer-collaborators have developed highly influential careers, such as Du Yun, who won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for the opera Angel’s Bone, which the Ensemble developed and premiered, and MacArthur Fellows Tyshawn Sorey and Courtney Bryan. 

The Ensemble’s Digitice platform provides high-quality video documentation for artist-collaborators, as well as public access to an archive of composers’ workshops and performances. In addition, the Ensemble continues to build space for dialogue on equity, and has facilitated New Music Virtual Town Hall meetings for peer organizations and individual musicians to share resources, processes, and initiatives around equity and inclusion.

Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for the Ensemble. Read more at www.iceorg.org 

The International Contemporary Ensemble’s performances and commissioning activities during the 2023-24 concert season are made possible by the generous support of the Ensemble’s board, many individuals, as well as the Mellon Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music Inc., Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, The Cheswatyr Foundation, Amphion Foundation, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, New Music USA’s Organizational Development Fund, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, BMI Foundation, as well as public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The International Contemporary Ensemble was the Ensemble in Residence of the Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology from 2018-2021. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Photo of Yvette Janine Jackson by Catherine Koch 




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