Nomi Epstein's "Human Sound Sculpture" at the Old Town School

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Nomi Epstein
  • Nomi Epstein
The Old Town School of Folk Music has been celebrating its recent expansion and its 55th anniversary with a ton of events, and on Friday it presents a commission a bit outside its comfort zone. Chicago composer Nomi Epstein, the driving force behind terrific experimental-music collective Aperiodic and the producer of an ambitious festival of John Cage music coming in April, created a piece called "A Human Sound Sculpture" that will be part of this Friday's open house.

From Epstein's description:

Taking the Old Town School's new logo as its starting point, the performers of A Human Sound Sculpture form a circle with three openings. The circle formation's long history in the folk tradition used for song, celebration, play-game, and dance, reflects a non-hierarchical sense of community.

And:

The three openings in the circle (similar to the two openings of the OTSFM logo) allow for new players to enter with their sound contribution while others leave, reforming and redeveloping the circle and sound world by its shifting personnel. The continuously changing personnel of the circle mirrors the continuously changing elements of a folk song passed down over time. Through these transformations, variation occurs, ultimately creating new versions of original initiatives.

Old Town School logo
  • Old Town School logo
Epstein has assembled a terrific ensemble for the performance, with figures from the local jazz, experimental, and new-music communities: herself and Kenn Kumpf on vocals, Nora Barton on violin, Eliza Bangert on flute, Noé Cuéllar on accordion, James Falzone on clarinet, Billie Howard on violin, Jonathon Kirk on trombone, Becca Laurito on percussion, and Matthew Oliphant on French horn. The performance/installation happens at 7:30 PM on Friday at the OTS's new Szold Hall, with a suggested five-dollar donation.

photo: Billie Howard

Today's playlist:

Ellery Eskelin & Gerry Hemingway, Inbetween Spaces (Auricle)
Michael Pisaro & Taku Sugimoto, 2 Seconds/B Minor/Wave (Erstwhile)
Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Per Zanussi, Morning Songs (MNJ)
Various artists, Thai Pop Spectacular 1960s-1980s (Sublime Frequencies)
Hank Locklin, RCA Country Legends (RCA/BMG Heritage)

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