Maryanne Amacher – GLIA

Maryanne Amacher – <i>GLIA</i>
Åsane kulturhus


NOK 125/175/200
Norwegian Premiere

Ensemble Contrechamps & Ensemble Zwischentöne
Susanne Peters – flute
Dorothee Sporbeck – flute
Maximilian Haft – violin
Akiko Ahrendt – violin
Lucy Railton – cello
Volker Schindel – accordion
Helles Weber – accordion
Bill Dietz – artistic director, conductor & electronics

Photo: Peggy Weil

A rare chance to hear a ground-breaking work by Maryanne Amacher, an idiosyncratic pioneer of sound and music.

“How sounds are perceived – what perceptual modes they trigger, where and how they exist for the listener – becomes as important in shaping an aural architecture as the sonic information: frequencies, tone colors, and rhythms.” Maryanne Amacher

A monumental, brilliant figure of the American avant-garde, in the 1970s Amacher was a co-conspirator of Anthony Braxton and the group Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV), often accompanied on stage by a pile of reel to reel tape machines. Through her work with electronics, sustained tones and high volumes she discovered that in certain circumstances the inner ear could produce and amplify tones of its own. These “otoacoustic” emissions which are now used in hearing tests for babies, added a visceral, ghostly extra layer to her performances, almost impossible to capture on recordings.

“Malnourished bundle of genius and bone, thin, taut drinker’s muscle and brains that literally burst in waves of successive icti, the strongest and most fragile woman I have ever known, unequivocally one of the greatest music-makers of the 20th century” Alvin Curran in the New York Times, in tribute to composer Maryanne Amacher upon her death in 2009.

Deeply involved in research as well as performance and creation, and simultaneously celebrated and misunderstood whilst she was alive, in 2005 Amacher wrote GLIA for the Berlin-based Ensemble Zwischentöne. For seven instruments and electronics, the piece is named after the brain cells which assist in neurotransmission between synapses. With the performers sat on a pyramid structure in the middle of the concert space, and loudspeakers circling the edges, Amacher imagined the listener as a sort of ‘glial’ interface between the electronic and acoustic elements of the work.

Only performed once during her liftetime, GLIA was reconstructed for performance by her previous collaborator Bill Dietz, who leads tonight’s Norwegian premiere, with Swiss based Ensemble Contrechamps and original performers from Ensemble Zwischentöne.

Supported by Pro Helvetia