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Nasher’s New Music Series Gets A Move On

by Jerome Weeks 4 Jun 2015 8:09 PM

The innovative music series’ trip down to Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet High School for a world premiere will be just a jaunt compared to the ‘rapid deployment’ music venue that’ll pop up around town for insta-concerts.


1. Yellow Barn Music Haul

Yellow Barn Music Haul

Soundings, the Nasher Sculpture Center‘s new music series, has brought some truly innovative concerts to the museum before this: Peter Maxwell Davies’ monodrama, Eight Songs for a Mad King, for instance, and the avant-garde acoustic trio Tin Hat playing the music of composer Charles Ives.

But for its 2015-’16 season, Soundings actually exits the Nasher. It travels down Flora Street to Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet High School’s Montgomery Arts Theater. There, on Dec. 12, the ECCO (the East Coast Chamber Orchestra) will present the world premiere of A Thousand Cranes, composer Christopher Theofanidis’ Second Symphony for strings and harp.

But that’s nothing compared to what’ll open the series, Oct. 21-22: Yellow Barn’s Music Haul. Soundings curator Seth Knopp is also artistic director of Yellow Barn, the chamber music school and festival in Vermont. Yellow Barn has partnered with architect John Rossi and his team, Visible Good, which has pioneered the development of “rapid deployment” shelter for disaster relief and emergency military uses. They’ve create the “Music-Haul,’ a temporary concert venue that can pop up around town, with Yellow Barn providing the concert.

You can see it as a small musical equivalent to the Nasher XChange – the sculpture center’s 10th anniversary series that planted art projects around town. The Yellow Barn’s mobile barn and the ECCO world premiere are the two most unusual highlights, but there’s also music inspired by Allen Ginsburg’s Howl –– played by a tenor saxophone quartet.

The full release:

Nasher Sculpture Center Announces 2015-2016 Season of Soundings: New Music at the Nasher

DALLAS, Texas (May 21, 2015) – The Nasher Sculpture Center announces its 2015-2016 season of Soundings: New Music at the Nasher, the critically-acclaimed new music series featuring groundbreaking performances created under the direction of Seth Knopp, a founding member of the Peabody Trio and artistic director of Yellow Barn. The series will present five distinct concerts on Wednesday and Thursday, October 21 and 22; Saturday, December 12; Friday, February 19; and Friday, April 29.

“Over the last five seasons, under the direction of Seth Knopp, Soundings has consistently challenged and inspired through arrangements of music, performance, and visual elements that blur the line between various art forms. For this sixth season of Soundings, we are delighted to make even more discoveries through some of the series’ most progressive programming yet, including a roving concert which will bring music out into the city streets, as well as a dynamic production of Allen Ginsberg’s influential and contentious poem Howl,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “Soundings continues to offer rare and powerful opportunities for exposure to some of the most important musical and performative works of our time, presented in ways that are brilliantly fresh and innovative.”

Full season ticket packages go on sale June 9 and guarantee seating to all four performances at a discounted rate of $80 for Members, $99 for non-Members, and $35 for students and educators. To purchase season tickets, please visit

October 21 and 22, 2015
Yellow Barn’s Music-Haul
Coming to a Dallas neighborhood near you
Problem: People will not go to unfamiliar places to experience the unknown.
Solution: Yellow Barn’s Music-Haul, a traveling stage—made in partnership with architect John Rossi and Visible Good, Inc.—that instantly transforms a street corner into a music hall. In the moment unexpected, with the single drumbeat, the trumpet blast, or the sweet strain of a violin, our routine is interrupted, our curiosity is captured, and we want to know.

December 12, 2015
A Thousand Cranes
Christopher Theofanidis’ Second Symphony for strings and harp
(Presented in collaboration with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, with performance to be held at the Montgomery Arts Theater)

Inspired by the power of a child’s innocence to transcend human tragedy, Theofanidis’ A Thousand Cranes forms the cornerstone of a program that reflects both the human desire to harness unattainable power and the limitless power of human expression.

East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), brings this world premiere to Soundings along with Theofanidis’ Gently Flow My Tears, Jörg Widmann’s Ikarische Klage, and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chaconne.

February 19, 2016
Flutist Marina Piccinini and pianist Andreas Haefliger in Recital
Bringing to life fascinatingly different compositional perspectives, Piccinini and Haefliger explore classical form in Boulez’ Sonatine (1946) and Prokofiev’s Sonata opus 94 (1943), works as homage by Carter in Scrivo in vento (1991) and Adès’ in Darkness Visible (1992), and music written in celebration: Franck’s A Major Sonata written as a wedding present for the violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, and Dalbavie’s Nocturne, an anniversary gift for this evening’s artists.

April 29, 2016
Howl and Palace of Wind
In all of our memories no one had been so outspoken in poetry before—we had gone beyond a point of no return—and we were ready for it, for a point of no return…We wanted voice and we wanted vision….
—Michael McClure recounting Allen Ginsberg’s first reading of Howl in 1955

At once a painfully intimate poetic cry and anthem to the Beat Generation, Soundings presents Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in Lee Hyla’s setting for string quartet and narrator, with baritone William Sharp and the Brentano String Quartet. Ginsberg’s poem is in itself a “new kind of music…a portal of resonance where there is no separation between the listener and the sound,” words used to describe its companion work on this program, Travis Laplante’s Palace of Wind.

The poet James E. B. Breslin captures something essential in Palace of Wind when in his description of Howl he says, “Howl links the visionary and the concrete, the language of mystical illumination and the language of the street.” Battle Trance, the tenor saxophone quartet created specifically for Palace of Wind, brings us a work that defies genre, existing in the cracks between contemporary classical, avant-garde jazz, black metal, ambient, and world music.