At once sweeping in scope and finespun in its intricacies, this ambitious new work by Indian-German-Canadian composer Sandeep Bhagwati was a full-evening structured improvisation that brought together an array of music practices from different parts of the world—all working to conjure a new and unabashedly polyglot musical culture.
Led by renowned new music trombonist Mike Svoboda, a 30-piece configuration of the CalArts New Century Players fanned out across the theater in small groups and performed the piece on conventional Western instruments, shakuhachi, sarode, tabla, jal tarang, gamelan metallophones and Ewe drums.
The performance was configured in the round, with Svoboda standing in the center of the REDCAT theater and conducting in a 360 degree rotation. He was surrounded by the audience – who were, in turn, surrounded by the musicians. Svoboda interpreted the score, which included music, text, and electronic processing, and led the interactions among the ensembles, which varied on a nightly basis.
Vineland Stelae was made possible in part by the Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Fund of the Creative Capital Foundation; Goethe-Institut Los Angeles; and Villa Aurora.
Photos: Steven Gunther