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420 Funk Mob at City Winery

Darmstadt Essential Repertoire at Issue Project Room

Boulez-maderna-stockhausen-darmstadt-1955
The Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music - held each summer during the 50's and 60's (and every other year since then) - was one of the great incubators for new musical ideas in the last century. The institute attracted a who's who of the musical avant-garde: everyone from European stalwarts like Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, to American mavericks such as John Cage and Morton Feldman. The influence of what took place at Darmstadt became so pervasive, it even lent it's name to an entire mode of serial-based composition: the "Darmstadt School."

Forty years hence, composer/performers Nick Hallett and Zach Layton have appropriated the Darmstadt name for their own Brooklyn-based new music series, known as the Darmstadt Institute: a month-long series of workshops, lectures and performances held each June at Issue Project Room.

But, each December, they also host a week-long series called Darmstadt Essential Repertoire, dedicated to presenting "classics of the avant-garde." Which only sounds like an oxymoron until you realize that some of these pieces are more than half-a-century old. (Last year, I saw their presentation of early Stockhausen pieces for tape and live percussion ensemble.) 

Darmstadt Essential Repertoire returns to Issue this week with three concerts, starting tomorrow night with a marathon performance of Morton Feldman's "For Christian Wolff", and ending on Saturday with the 7th annual performance of Terry Riley's In C. For me, though, the unmissable concert is Friday night, when Joe Drew of Analog Arts will present an all-Stockhausen program, including the NY premiere of Cosmic Pulses (2007), which I witnessed in its 2007 world premiere. If you want to have your mind blown, get yourself there. Tickets available at the door.

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