The LOOK + LISTEN concert series celebrates its 20th anniversary with three bold shows on May 3, 5 and 6

Look + Listen’s annual free spring festival marks its 20th anniversary with a trio of bold and imaginative programs at venues around New York City on May 3, 5 and 6.

Over the past two decades, Look + Listen has established itself as a preeminent broadcaster of new music, known for its high-quality performances, breadth and variety of repertoire, and unique concert settings. Since 2010, L+L has commissioned new works every year; from the 2016 festival, all performances are free.

This season’s concerts celebrate Look + Listen’s founding mission – to integrate visual and musical experiences – while expanding on that idea in new and exciting ways. Look + Listen 2022 is produced by executive director Grace Parisi and festival producer Julia Bumke, who also curated the first two concerts. The third concert is organized by the staff of American Composers Forum (ACF)which is partnering with Look + Listen for this anniversary year.

Each evening will open with the world premiere of an ambient work or installation commissioned by Look + Listen from former artistic directors John Glover, Paul Pinto and Phyllis Chen. While all events are free, the public is encouraged to reserve seats through Eventbrite, links below.

Tuesday May 3 (7 p.m.): Retrospective

Gallery of Apocalypse, 224 Waverly Place, NYC

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The opening night program celebrates the first 20 years of Look + Listen with a lineup of longtime collaborators, hosted by composer and former artistic director John Glover.

The visual component is a gallery installation of works by Lucas Goossens, whose faux-naive, neon-bright paintings are inspired by jungle, psychedelics, and other artists past and present.

The evening opens with an ambient electronic piece by former L+L Artistic Director Phyllis Chen, known for her use of toy and miniature instruments. JACK Quartet, who recently explored Elliott Carter’s groundbreaking string quartets, will perform the composer’s Virtuoso String Quartet No. 2, in which each player’s part has a very distinct musical profile and emotional character.

Jason Treuting and Eric Cha-Beach of Sō Percussion perform a pair of text instruction scores by the late Pauline Oliveros: Tuning Meditation, a participatory work for voice; and Rolling Meditation, which is built on the rumbling swell of percussion “rolls”.

Singer/multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu performs excerpts from her suite Zero Grasses, which explores the fractured relationship between humanity and nature. Pianist Mikael Darmanie, a student of longtime Look + Listen collaborator Gil Kalish, performs George Crumb’s spellbinding Processional (written for Kalish) in memory of the recently deceased composer.

Flutist Patricia Spencer performs Noel Da Costa’s Blue-Tune Verses, the first piece L+L commissioned for its inaugural festival in 2002, as well as Chen Yi’s Three Bagatelles from China West and Joan Tower’s For Marianne, making a wink look at the Tower music concert that inspired the creation of Look + Listen.

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Thursday, May 5 (7 p.m.): Looking to the future

Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY

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The second night’s program looks to the future, bringing artists new to Look + Listen whose work resonates with the festival’s expansive aesthetic. Hosted by pianist/multimedia artist Tristan McKay, a contributing writer for ACF’s I BE CAREFUL IF YOU LISTEN.

For this concert, the former artistic director of L+L, Paul Pinto, has created a series of sound and sculptural installations to be exhibited in the gallery of Invisible Dog. Titled Help!, these works stem from Pinto’s ongoing obsession with boxing and masculinity.

Eclectic singer/percussionist Anaïs Maviel performs her own compositions with Rashaan Carter (bass) and Rema Hasumi (synth and vocals). His work “focuses on the function of music as central to establishing common ground, addressing relationship, and creating a utopian future”.

Avant-garde composer/bassoonist Joy Guidry teams up with fearless percussionist Jessie Cox in selections from Guidry’s new album, Radical Acceptance, which Bandcamp Daily’s Peter Margasak has cited for its “disquieting grace”.

Chromic Duo, comprised of keyboardists Lucy Yao and Dorothy Chen, perform Phong Tran’s electroacoustic work Have Fun Instead of Worry, and their own co-composed piece Homecoming: love you allways, a celebration of the resilience of Asian American communities in the face of uncertainty and adversity.

The viola/cello duo with folk influences Ayane & Paul (Ayane Kozasa of the Aizuri Quartet and Paul Wianco of the Owls), play Wianco’s American Haiku, a reflection on the composer’s American-Japanese identity as well as an ode to conciseness evocative of haiku, and Judd Greenstein’s K’Zohar Harakia, inspired by the birth of the composer’s second daughter, Zohara.

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Friday, May 6 (7 p.m.): Dream big

BRIC, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY

TICKET LINK

The final program, comprised of large-scale, theater-focused pieces, is hosted by the American Composers Forum (ACF) and features recent ACF award winners. Hosted by composer Gemma Peacocke, contributing writer for I BE CAREFUL IF YOU LISTEN.

Visuals include the world premiere of hand-drawn stop-motion animation created by Dana Lyn for her work Mountain Climbing; an original film by Jih-E Peng, May We Know Our Strength, with music by Sugar Vendil; and costumes by fashion designer Jasmine Chong for the Vendil set.

An ambient electronic work by John Glover opens the evening. Violinist/pianist/composer Dana Lyn performs excerpts from her nine-movement symphonic poem A Point on a Slow Curve, backed by clarinet, bassoon, vibraphone, bass and drums. The first movement, Mountain Climbing, will be accompanied by its original hand-drawn stop-motion animation for the play. Although this method of animation is “terribly long and repetitive”, Lyn finds the process “strangely meditative and grounded”.

Soprano/singer/composer/bandleader Alicia Waller and her richly textured jazz fusion ensemble The Excursion perform selections from her albums Some Hidden Treasure and Louder, Then. Waller was praised by All About Jazz for a “rich synthesis between her splendid, luminous voice and soulful expressiveness”.

Pianist/composer Sugar Vendil performs solo works for piano and electronics from her forthcoming album Late Bloomer, paired with her piece ooh wo aa oo wa o for The Nouveau Classical Project with costumes by Jasmine Chong. Vendil’s work asks the ensemble to vocalize while playing, with striking dramatic effect.

NOTE: Look + Listen 2022 COVID-19 Policy: All attendees must show proof of full vaccination and photo ID to access each performance. Masks are mandatory for all Look + Listen performances. If you have any questions regarding this protocol, please email Festival Producer Julia Bumke at [email protected].

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