by Steven Pisano
Now its in sixth year at Wild Project, the Avant Music Festival, curated by Randy Gibson and Megan Schubert, provides contemporary composers an opportunity to present their work in an evening-long concert. Last Friday's event explored the music of Paula Matthusen, 2014 winner of the prestigious Rome Prize. Matthusen's work explores bold sonic possibilities, incorporating field recordings and having performers of her pieces communicate with each other via smart phones.
In “protected by a world of dry leaves and furtive paths,” which derives its title from a short story by Julio Cortazar about illicit lovers plotting to murder the woman’s husband, Eleonore Oppenheim stood in a spotlight at the front of the stage and variously plucked and bowed the strings, accompanied by electronic background sounds. For “eden’s arch of promise bending, movement I,” Matthusen used field recordings of the Old Croton Aqueduct to explore the sonic possibilities of water and stone. Matthusen has a longstanding interest in how the infrastructure of cities throughout history influences contemporary life.