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Leila Bordreuil at The Kitchen, November 20-21
(Published: November 06, 2018)


Cellist and Composer Leila Bordreuil Amplifies and Distorts Acoustic Sound in a Raw, Disorienting Piece Laced with Anxiety and Violence

"Bordreuil plays steadily scathing music...favor[ing] long and corrosive atonalities, typically using extended technique. At moments she seems to be playing the entire [cello], not just the strings." - The New York Times

The Kitchen presents Leila Bordreuil's Piece for Cello and Double Bass Ensemble II, the newest in her series of compositions for amplified cello and six double-basses, which she began in 2015. This work will feature her largest and loudest ensemble yet, creating a violent wall of sound as she uses varied amps and microphones to give immense proportions and unrecognizable textures to acoustic instruments. The piece, with roots in musique concrète, contemporary noise, and even spectral music, features Zach Rowden, Sean Ali, Britton Powell, Greg Chudzik, Nick Dunston, and Vinicius Ciccone Cajado. The event will feature opening acts by improvisational vocalist Charmaine Lee on November 20 and Dylan Scheer (also known as Via App) on November 21. Organized by Tim Griffin.

"I've got one bass amp, two guitar amps, six speakers, three subs, a cello, and six double basses, so this particular piece really plays with the force of sound," says Bordreuil. "There's a power play here, and one of the things I'm focusing on in this experiment of sound is to have the cello completely take over six double basses. The bass is bigger in size and considered to some extent ‘athletic,' whereas the cello has a cliché of being soothing, emotional, and even sometimes feminine. In this piece I am really trying to warp those roles and not only challenge and reinvent classical cello ‘playing,' but also, through unusual instrumentation, challenge the expectations and clichés of classical composition."

In Piece for Cello and Double Bass Ensemble II, the "rising figure on New York's improvising scene [who] casually accesses concepts from jazz, contemporary classical, noise, and experimental traditions, but adheres to none of them" (Chicago Reader) evokes beauty and catharsis through darkness and palpable anger. A commission from The Kitchen, Piece for Cello and Double Bass Ensemble II takes advantage of the black box space, using it as a neutral frame for the complex textures created by varied amps and microphones (each bassist has a different kind of mic, while Bordreuil herself plays into four varieties), and the theatricality of the power dynamics suggested in the piece.

Leila Bordreiul: Piece for Cello and Double Bass Ensemble II will take place November 20-21 at 8pm at The Kitchen, 512 W 19th St, New York. Tickets ($15 General / $12 Members), are available online at thekitchen.org; by phone at 212.255.5793 x11; and in person at The Kitchen, Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2:00-6:00pm.

About Leila Bordreuil

Leila Bordreuil is a Brooklyn based cellist and composer from Aix-en-Provence, France. She works in the realm of Noise music, improvisation, New Music and sound-art. Her cello playing is often improvised, and mainly focuses on texture variations and a collage of phantom overtones and pitched utterances. Through an original vocabulary of extended techniques, preparations, and imaginative amplification methods, her instrument is used as an abstract resonant body to challenge conventional cello practice. Her composed works draw from a similar texture-based musical aesthetic, but also focus on the relationship between sound and space. In her site-specific electro-acoustic compositions, architecture is the foundation of the piece and musicality arises from an organized spacialization of sound.

As per the tradition of improvised music, Leila has maintained a very active concert schedule sharing the stage with a wide range of artists including Marina Rosenfeld, Eli Keszler, Tom Chiu (Flux quartet), Anthony Coleman, Peter Evans, Nate Wooley, SENYAWA, C. Spencer Yeh, Toshimaru Nakamura, Tetuzi Akiyama, Susan Alcorn, Ingrid Laubrock, Zeena Parkins, Bill Nace, Lee Ranaldo, Weasel Walter, Kim Gordon, Chris Corsano, and more. Notable venues where she has performed include The Whitney Museum, The Kitchen, MoMA PS1, Issue Project Room, the Stone, Roulette, Pioneer Works, Cafe Oto (London, UK), All Ears Festival (Oslo, NO), Ausland (Berlin, DE), Ftarri (Tokyo, JP), the Heresy Series for Women in Sound (Manila, PHL), and many basements across the U.S. Leila is a 2017 MacDowell Fellow in Composition, and was a 2016 artist-in-residence at Issue Project Room.

About Charmaine Lee

Charmaine Lee is a New York-based vocalist from Sydney, Australia. Her music is predominantly improvised, favoring a uniquely personal approach to vocal expression concerned with spontaneity, playfulness, and risk-taking. Beyond extended vocal technique, Charmaine uses amplification, electroacoustic feedback, and microphones to augment and distort the voice. She has performed with leading improvisers Nate Wooley, id m theft able, and Joe Morris, and maintains ongoing collaborations with contemporaries Lester St. Louis, Conrad Tao, Zach Rowden, and Leila Bordreuil. She has performed at venues such as the Met Breuer, Roulette, the Stone, and Experimental Sound Studios (Chicago). As a composer, Charmaine has been commissioned by the Wet Ink Ensemble (2018), and has a forthcoming commission with Spektral Quartet (2018).

Funding Credits

Leila Bordreuil: Piece for Cello and Double Bass Ensemble II is made possible with commissioning support from Jerome Foundation; endowment support from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust; annual grants from The Amphion Foundation, Inc., The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Howard Gilman Foundation, and The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

About The Kitchen

The Kitchen is one of New York City's most forward-looking nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines. Our programs range from dance, music, performance, and theater to video, film, and art, in addition to literary events, artists' talks, and lecture series. Since its inception in 1971, The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape of this country, and has helped launch the careers of many artists who have gone on to worldwide prominence.

More Information: http://thekitchen.org/event/leila-bordreuil

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