Percussionist Susie Ibarra to perform alongside fellow Asian American musicians on Oct 1
The three women transcend musical and cultural boundaries, blending traditional forms with jazz and other contemporary elements. At “Encounters: A Music Exploration,” each performer will present a 20-minute musical performance, then participate in a conversation about how explorations—of identity, gender, and the Asian American experience—can lead to new aesthetics.
Each of these artists has a background in several music forms: from jazz and new music to deep roots in traditional Asian forms such as Korean pansori, Hindustani vocal and Filipino ‘kulintang.’ All three artists work in deeply personal ways, exploring issues and ideas which are central to their own interpretation of the world around them.
In a percussion piece, Ibarra will explore the ideas, rhythmic equations, and expressions of fragility. This word, increasingly used to describe the current social climate, also refers to an equation in glass physics to measure time and temperature from its transition of liquid and solid states. Using an hourglass harp created by artist David Horwitz as well as trap drum set, cymbals and gongs, Ibarra will incorporate specific rhythms to equations to create melody, harmony and polyrhythms for percussion influenced by the concept of fragility.
“Expansive soundscapes, funky/jazz rhythms and exquisite melodies for the new millennium…affirm why (Ibarra) is regarded as a top drummer and artist,” says a review in All About Jazz.
Ibarra is a faculty member at Bennington College teaching Percussion, Performance. At the Center for Advancement in Public Action her focused advocacy is on Human Rights extended equally to women and girls and Rebuilding Cities with the Arts. She has recorded over 40 recordings as a leader, collaborator and soloist. She has performed with many artists including Wadada Leo Smith, John Zorn, Pauline Oliveros, and Sean Lennon.
Sinha, in turn, will present an excerpt of a new work she is currently creating, joined by composer and electronic musician Cenk Ergun who will perform real-time modifications of pitch, speed, and time on selected vocalizations to create a dynamic, cinematic soundscape.
Through both narrative and abstract, integrative music-movement methodologies via the voice, Taiwanese moon lute, gayageum, piano, and electronics, Shyu will offer an excerpt from her new work Nine, in which she portrays four characters (from Taiwan, Korea, Java, and Timor). The characters interact as a microcosm of the parallels that exist in the universe and the great necessity for empathy among cultures and genders, thereby defying certain assumptions that currently divide humanity.
The performance is held in conjunction with the exhibition “No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki,” the first U.S. retrospective of the work of Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki, whose experiences encountering other artists and cultures shaped his unique aesthetic sensibilities. In Zao’s hands, abstraction reflected the encounter between two worlds and embraced both European modernism and Chinese metaphysical principles. The exhibition is on view at Asia Society Museum through January 8, 2017. — Asia Society