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Notti Sylvane: Two evenings of music and film by composer Sylvano Bussotti

A screening of Bussotti’s film Rara (New York premiere), followed by a selection of the artist’s musical miniatures.
After an introduction by Luciano Chessa, Bussotti’s silent film Rara (1967-69) will be screened in a restored version. Experimental and without deliberate narrative, the work gathers ‘filmed portraits’ of the 1960s Italian avant-garde, including the circle around Pier Paolo Pasolini, famed comedian Franca Valeri, actress Daria Nicolodi (best known for her work in Dario Argento’s thrillers), writers Dario Bellezza and Dacia Maraini, singer Cathy Berberian, and actors from New York’s The Living Theater.
A selection from Bussotti’s collection of musical miniatures, Fogli d’album (1970-84) performed by Frances-Marie Uitti (cello), Nicholas Isherwood (Bass), and Luciano Chessa (Piano) concludes the event, and offers a preview of the following night’s concert.

Organized by Luciano Chessa and Nick Hallett. Co-produced by Darmstadt: Essential Repertoire and the Italian Cultural Institute of New York.

The oeuvre of composer Sylvano Bussotti (1931-) encompasses music, visual art, film, opera, theater, design, and the written word. His highly skilled graphic scores are noted for carrying out a conviction that “eroticism will enliven the sterility of contemporary music.” Emerging from the post-war European avant-garde of the 1950s, Bussotti quickly ingratiated himself within the circles of Pierre Boulez and John Cage, and struck up fertile collaborations with other prominent musical figures of the era, including David Tudor and Cathy Berberian. After moving to New York, where he found associations with Fluxus, and taught at the University at Buffalo. Bussotti has continued to thrive across disciplines, including film and television, as a director, choreographer, author, actor, and set/costume designer. He directed and designed at La Scala, and was artistic director of La Fenice in Venice from 1975 to 1983. In 1984, he founded BUSSOTTIOPERABALLET, to produce his own works of music, theater, and art. In the late 1980s, Bussotti was appointed music director of the Venice Biennale. Throughout all of Bussotti’s life and work, one identifies an unapologetic flamboyance and rebellious spirit.

Luciano Chessa is a composer, conductor, audiovisual and performance artist. His compositions include Cromlech, a large organ piece he premiered in Melbourne’s Town Hall in May 2018, the opera Cena oltranzista nel castelletto al lago—a work merging experimental theater with reality TV—and A Heavenly Act, an opera commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Chessa has been commissioned multiple times by the Performa Biennial, and in 2014 he presented three events at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as part of the exhibition “Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe”. He recently conducted the world premiere Julius Eastman’s Symphony No. II at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall with Mannes Orchestra. The New York Times has described Chessa’s rendition as a work that “radiates Cosmic Grandeur”.

Frances-Marie Uitti, composer and cellist is known for her performances of contemporary classical music. She is the dedicatee of close to 100 composers including Louis Andriessen, Giacinto Scelsi, and György Kurtág; and has collaborated closely and recorded with Scelsi, Nono, Xenakis, Cage. Uitti has invented a radically extended technique using two bows simultaneously in one hand—being the first to transform the cello into a four-part chordal instrument. She has invented resonators, and designed electric instruments including her stringless 12-string double bridged cello at CNMAT, University of California, Berkeley.

Nicholas Isherwood, bass, has an extensive repertory, ranging from the Middle Ages to world premieres. He has worked with composers Sylvano Bussotti, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, György Kurtág, Olivier Messiaen, Giacinto Scelsi, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis in prestigious venues around the world (La Scala, Covent Garden, the Théatre des Champs Elysées, Salzburg Festival, Concertgebouw, Berlin Staatsoper, Vienna Konzerthaus, Tanglewood).

To read the press release click here

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  • Organized by: Luiciano Chessa e Nick Hallet
  • In collaboration with: Darmstadt: Essential Repertoire e IIC