Photo by Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung

In March 2014, the Talea Ensemble brings Italian-born and Vienna-based composer Pierluigi Billone to New York for its second American Immersion project. The series allows American audiences to gain exposure to a new composer and allow the composer an opportunity to work in depth with the ensemble’s musicians by continually developing a dialog and exploring his or her musical language. Talea will be presenting the US Premiere of Billone’s magnum opus, Mani. Long for large ensemble along with a concert of smaller chamber works, performance practice classes, open-rehearsals, and lectures. The project’s New York chapter culminates with a performance of Mani.Long as a part of Carnegie Hall’s Vienna: City of Dreams festival, co-presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum. The program also features recent works by other important Austrian composers, Olga Neuwirth and Bernhard Gander. Mani.Long will be later presented at East Carolina University and Brandeis University.

Mani. Long (2001) is the first of many pieces with the prefix “mani” or Italian for “hand” and was commissioned by the Austrian ensemble, Klangforum Wien. All of these pieces exploit texture and timbre, revealing more and more subtle sounds organized in a way that diverts expectation. Their durations may seem extreme, but are necessary, as each soundworld is explored for the first time, the hands and body need time to register, search and move. Billone’s proportions and soundworld are constantly thwarting expectations, asking the audience to examine his works with a careful ear.

In a sense, Billone seeks to excavate sound, not in a motion to reduce it to physical properties of amplitude or wave form, or even to distinguish music from sound and sound from noise. Rather, he is tracing the culturally received and historically learned perspectives of -what is sound- and -what can be sound- and how they become defined as noise or music down towards the earth; digging for roots that enable him to ground his work deeply in a place that is revelatory rather than superficial. He begins from a place of inquiry and provocation. He believes that just as an automobile, a violin or even a computer has sound, they “cannot think a sound,” meaning that there needs to be an intention for it to be sound. In other words, sound is not an object, but a relationship. He values all of the sounds of everyday as it integrates life, for him, creating “a tension and distance” that is revealing and precious. To him, it is curious that many people are “not interested in active listening to music” but are …”constantly surrounded by sound, in the sound.” And for him, this becomes a kind of new culture: “the post modern rootless technological human being.”

Billone finds it imperative to look at the social, historical, and cultural conditions that limit sound from moving beyond these boundaries. He believes that once sound can be liberated from these ties, it will find once again its ability to energize and resonate from a more visceral and phenomenal non-discursive place that is actually about grabbing presence. He wants us to become resonant bodies; the source from which the sound emanates itself. He explores the delicate spaces between what is known and unknown; hanging in the moments before language can speak it and fully formed thoughts can define it. The audience itself becomes part of the exploration in this non-dialectical space so that openings are found, experience is singular, something has moved.

For Billone, listening is an act of seeking presence that is singular and enigmatic; seeking the unknown. He calls it “communion.”

NYC Concerts
iNSIDE Out Chamber Music
March 4, 7:30 PM
Austrian Cultural Forum
11 East 52nd St.
New York, NY
Reserve Tickets Here!

Bernhard Gander: Die Orpheus Akte II (2008)
Pierluigi Billone: Mani.Matta (2008)
Olga Neuwirth: In Nacht und Eis (2006)
*In-concert discussion with Pierluigi Billone and Olga Neuwirth

Vienna Reinvented
March 7, 8 PM
Bohemian National Hall
321 East 73rd St.
New York, NY
Reserve Tickets Here!

Olga Neuwirth: un posto nell’acqua (Herman Melville-Skizze) (2009) *US Premiere
Bernhard Gander: Take Nine for Twelve (2011) *US Premiere
Pierluigi Billone: Mani.Long (2001) *US Premiere

James Baker, conductor

Presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum and Carnegie Hall’s Vienna: City of Dreams festival. All events are free admission, ticket reservations required for some performances.

Composition Masterclass
February 28, 3 PM
Manhattan School of Music
120 Claremont Ave
New York, NY

Instrumental Performance Class
March 1, 3-6 PM
Talea Rehearsal Studio
37-18 Northern Blvd., Suite 208
Long Island City, NY
E-mail for Seat Reservations:

Pierluigi Billone: Legno. Edre V. Metrio (2004)
for solo bassoon
Pierluigi Billone: ITI KE MI (1995)
for solo viola

Mani.Long Open Rehearsal
March 6, 11 AM-1 PM
Bohemian National Hall
321 East 73rd St.
New York, NY
E-mail for Seat Reservations:

Mani.Long Tour

East Carolina University New Music Festival, March 21
Greenville, NC

Brandeis University, March 29
Slosberg Hall
Waltham, MA

With the friendly support of: