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Yacht Rock

  • Constellation 3111 North Western Avenue Chicago, IL, 60618 United States (map)

Tickets: $15 general admission, $10 students with ID 

We wrap our 2015/16 Chicago season in characteristically effusive and boisterous fashion with YACHT ROCK. Dispatched at new-music incubator Constellation, the program celebrates three new and recent works by composers Mikel Kuehn, Sam Pluta (world premiere), and Tomás Gueglio-Saccone and offers a sonic birthday cake for minimalist founding-father Steve Reich, who turned 80 this year, with his “Triple Quartet.”

Written for the Kronos Quartet in 1999, the “Triple Quartet” comprises live string quartet performing with two pre-recorded quartets and lives in a mysterious, if animated, landscape. The angsty first movement, languid second movement, and tonally temperamental third movement were inspired by the fervor of Bartók’s fourth quartet, amplified here by the multiplication of voices and the delirious counterpoint made possible as a result of it.

The hocketing of voices is also at the center of Gueglio-Saccone’s “Decals II,” but in very different territory than the Reich. Scrapes and plunks of extended techniques provide an ornamentation from which a lullaby emerges, with each note of the melody passed gracefully throughout the ensemble. 

Bowling Green State University professor of composition Mikel Kuehn found himself captivated by Italo Calvino’s beautifully disorienting novel “If on a winter’s night, a traveler” when writing his first string quartet, a Spektral Quartet commission. A work of patient beauty, this mesmeric score traces the ten stories-within-the-story that frame Cavalo’s literary experiment. 

NYC-based Sam Pluta is perhaps best known for his use of electronics in his instrumental music, but for his commission for us, “binary/momentary logics: flow state/joy state,” the composer goes acoustic while preserving elements of technologically-modified sounds. A perfect send-off for the close of the season, Pluta refers to this super-charged work as “pretty much full-on the whole time,” and you all are in for one wild romp.

This event is 18+