For immediate release:
NINTH PLANET- formerly Wild Rumpus and Composers, Inc - announces its 2020 December Concert: ON BEING curated by flutist Jessie Nucho featuring works by Angelica Negrón, Jessie Cox, inti figgis-vizueta and Darian Donovan Thomas
“On Being is an exploration of the nature of our existence, from the intersection of the physical and spiritual to existence in the present moment” says Jessie Nucho, flutist and core ensemble member, who will be hosting the concert. Echoing the struggle that many performers feel when faced with the current virtual reality, Nucho’s vision for this program is to create a space in which the audience is invited to breathe, be present, and “find release for the tension we’ve all been holding in our bodies.”
The works that bookend the program are extraordinarily beautiful pieces of music, each composed for a string instrument and pre-recorded electronics: Angelica Negrón’s La Isla Mágica for double bass & electronics played by Eugene Theriault, and Darian Donovan Thomas’ Fluid Suite, Mvt 1 (2016) for violin & electronics played by Mia Nardi-Huffman. Coincidentally, both composers perform together in the Brooklyn-based indie electroacoustic pop band Balún: Angelica plays accordion and sings, Darian plays the violin.
The opening work on the program, La Isla Mágica, blends the acoustic double bass with sparkling electronic arpeggios, plucked melodies and delightfully quirky Múm-like glitchy rhythms. According to the composer, the piece explores the possible connections between the islands of Puerto Rico and Bali, focusing on “the joy of exploration and discovery with the intent of transporting the listener to an exotic location… where the present moment is the only thing that’s significant.”
The closing work on the program, the first movement of Darian Donovan Thomas’s Fluid Suite, is equally gorgeous – and also inspired by an escapist paradise. According to the composer, the work was inspired by meditating on the sounds of waters and rivers, focusing on the San Antonio river Yanaguana which translates to “refreshing waters.” The piece begins with acoustic violin arpeggios and opens up into a sparkling and joyful sound world in which the acoustic and electronic elements blend seamlessly.
Jessie Cox’s Spiritus (2016) is a contemplation on the word spiritus (Latin for “breath”): thinking about breathing while also thinking about the spirituality in the act of breathing itself. Throughout the piece, the flutist vocalizes while playing, producing an unearthly sound which is half human and half instrumental. The shape of the music follows the rhythm of breathing, interrupted by more agile microtonal passages.
The largest ensemble work on the program is a recent work by inti figgis-vizueta called Form the Fabric (2020) featuring Jessie Nucho (flute), Sophie Huet (clarinet), Mia Nardi-Huffman (violin), Brendan Lai-Tong (trombone), Mckenzie Langefeld (percussion), Margaret Halbig (piano) and Giacomo Fiore (electric guitar). The phrase “Form the Fabric” is derived from an archaeology phrase describing the cosmological understandings of the Incan and Andean peoples in which it is believed that threads are interwoven to form the fabric of the physical and spiritual world.
While Form the Fabric was not intended for an online context, the socially distanced setup allowed for extensive collaboration between the ensemble and the composer. “It has been invaluable to have inti [figgis-vizueta] join us,” says Nucho. “Her insights encouraged us to greater freedom and creativity in this remote collaboration.” It’s possible that the group will revisit these works in-person after the pandemic is over.
“The pandemic has posed many hurdles for performing arts organizations” said Andrew Lu, Ninth Planet’s Board President who has been instrumental in technical logistics for the concert. Social distancing, along with the fickle nature of internet connection, have been among the most challenging hurdles to clear. For this reason, the concert will be presented as a mix of live performance and pre-recorded videos made specially for the concert. “While I’m disappointed we can’t be making and sharing music together in the same space, I’m very proud of our musicians, their enthusiasm and resilience, and their sense of community in putting this concert together, and I couldn't be more excited to share our music with the world.”
WHERE: Online on YouTube
WHEN: Saturday, December 12 at 7:00pm PST
TICKETS: Free for all
A Ninth Planet press kit can be accessed here.