Different avant-garde disciplines vibrate sympathetically at the Frequency Festival | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Different avant-garde disciplines vibrate sympathetically at the Frequency Festival



When former Reader staff writer Peter Margasak began programming the Frequency Series in 2013, he envisioned concerts that would expose audiences of different avant-garde musical disciplines to artists from other genres that they had not heard before but might well appreciate. Margasak left the Reader and Chicago in order to move to Rome in 2018, but he’s continued to program the series, (which usually takes place on Sunday nights at Constellation) as well as a semiannual festival. During the fourth Frequency Series Festival, several new-music and experimental performers will premiere compositions or collaborations, starting with a free Wednesday concert by Aperiodic at the  Logan Center on the University of Chicago campus. The group, which specializes in deep dives into the material of contemporary composers, will perform a program of music by Berlin-based, American-born violist and composer Catherine Lamb. Lamb’s music uses alternate tuning systems and a deliberately restrained attack to attune listeners’ hearing to subtle tonal changes. Her recent recordings for the Another Timbre and Black Pollen labels adapt the voluptuous melodic contours of Indian dhrupad music, but Aperiodic will perform earlier, unrecorded pieces that Lamb composed in 2010 and 2011. On Thursday the festival moves to Constellation. First on the bill is a song cycle of mortality-minded pieces by female writers performed by clarinetist Jennifer Woodrum and piano-voice combo Albatross Duo. Then Mabel Kwan will celebrate the release of her recent CD, G.F. Haas: Trois Hommages (New Focus). This marvelous album contains three pieces for two pianos, which are tuned a quarter tone apart—an arrangement that creates a halo of bright overtones around the insistent rhythms of a pair of pieces dedicated to György Ligeti and Steve Reich. Another composition, dedicated to Josef Matthias Hauer drifts sublimely into increasingly disorienting sonorities. On Friday local experimental musician Kevin Drumm, who hasn’t played in Chicago since 2017, will collaborate with trombone duo Rage Thormbones. And in a free concert on Saturday, International Contemporary Ensemble, a tireless proselytizer for new music, will present works that involve the deconstruction and reconstruction of woodwind instruments. The festival concludes on Sunday night with a concert by Ensemble dal Niente that will include a performance of Viola Yip’s “Vibrations Vibrantes VI,” which uses lights, quiet sounds, and the dimensions of whichever space it’s played in to explore mutual influences of auditory and visual materials.   v

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