October 19-21: Sonata Series and Ars Subtilior Festival features André Cormier







Composer André Cormier

Join us for a weekend focused on Composer-in-Residence André Cormier as part of the Sonata Series and the Ars Subtilior Festival. Beginning on Thursday, the Sonata Series Event at RISD will feature a performance of Cormier’s Scattershot Beethoven, and events on Friday evening and an all-day event on Saturday will feature works by Cormier performed by the composer himself, special guests, the MusicWorks Collective and CMW students.

Strangely Beautiful and Slightly Twisted:
A Note from Ars Subtilior curator and CMW Resident Musician Laura Cetilia

An unprecedented event is upon us. On October 17, Acadian composer André Cormier will be arriving in Providence as composer-in-residence for the 2017 Ars Subtilior Festival at Community MusicWorks. For five days, CMW and its surroundings will be inundated with strangely beautiful and slightly twisted music from the Maritimes.

In the past, Ars Subtilior events were reserved for understated, small chamber music concerts that involved only a handful of CMW musicians with an occasional appearance by our Phase II students. This season, no holds barred.

Almost every person involved with CMW – from our Development Director to our youngest Daily Orchestra Program student – plus numerous guest performers coming all the way from California, Montreal and New York, will be included in this onslaught of experimental music.

The festival begins the day André arrives with a workshop/performance during All-Play at Calvary Baptist Church. Students of my SoundLab class will perform selections from the simple, but fruitful graphic score “Un ensemble d’actions possibles,” creating sounds on mini modular synthesizers that we’ve worked on in class in conjunction with some good old string playing. That day will also feature “25 Bars for Four Dollars” performed by Sarah Kim, Piero Guimaraes, Zan Berry, and myself on pennies.

That’s right, you heard me: pennies.

On Wednesday, Andre will visit with students of the Daily Orchestra Program, who will also be experimenting with pennies and playing through “Un ensemble d’actions possibles” while he offers composerly pointers.

On Thursday, Cormier’s “Scattershot Beethoven,” performed by Minna Choi and Sebastian Ruth, and “Marie-Pierre,” performed by Andrei Baumann can be heard at the Sonata Series at RISD Museum. There will be a pre-concert reception: come by and meet André and the performers before the start of the program!

Friday will feature three different configurations of André’s chamber music: his take on a string quartet “Plaie Mortelle” (Mortal Wound), his Candle Quartet featuring our administrative staff (Katie, Kelly, Liz) and newly appointed DOP string teacher, Tessa Sacramone, all lighting and blowing out candles over the course of an hour. “Fleurs d’équinoxe,” a light and sparse circular score, will include the talents of alumnus Andrew Oung, formally local composer/performer JPA Falzone , our own Piero Guimaraes, along with members of the MusicWorks Collective.

Saturday, the final day of the festival, culminates in an extravaganza at RISD museum featuring 3 out of 10 volumes of works André composed based on the epic poem “Conversations” by Acadian writer Herménégilde Chiasson. These are by far the lushest of Andre’s works and should not be missed. Guest artists Teodora Stepancic (pianist from New York), Andrea Young (soprano from Montreal) and Robin Streb (violist from Moncton) along with myself, will be bringing these works to life. That day will also include a performance of Libellules (Dragonflies) by Phase 2 students, trilling on their instruments like flying insects throughout the galleries. And finally, his string octet “Microbes” with quietly pulsating pizzicatos and meandering glissandi, played by the illustrious MusicWorks Collective.

Come. You’ll never hear anything like this ever again.

–Laura Cetilia

Festival Schedule:

Thursday, October 19 at 7pm
RISD Museum Grand Gallery
For this first event of the Sonata Series, Minna Choi and Sebastian Ruth perform Andre Cormier’s Scattershot Beethoven and cellist Adrienne Taylor performs Beethoven with guest pianist Andrei Baumann.
RISD Museum, Grand Gallery 
20 North Main Street, Providence
Concert and Museum Admission is free

Friday, October 20 at 8pm
Sutton Space Gallery
Community MusicWorks musicians and staff perform Cormier’s Candle Quartet, Fleurs d’équinoxe, and Plaie Mortelle.
159 Sutton Street, Providence
Suggested donation $20

Saturday, October 21 11am-5pm
RISD Museum-various galleries
Saturday’s day-long event features several performances: works based on the epic poem Conversations by Acadian writer Herménégilde Chiasson (with guest soprano Andrea Young), a performance of Libellules (Dragonflies) by CMW Phase II students and Microbes performed by the MusicWorks Collective.
RISD Museum
20 North Main Street, Providence
Concert is free with Museum admission

Saturday’s Schedule:
Conversations 1 in the Grand Gallery
Microbes in the Grand Gallery
Conversations 3 in the Grand Gallery
Libellules in Various Galleries
Conversations 5 in the Grand Gallery