Take a Chance: A Tribute to Morton Feldman

By Microscope Gallery (other events)

Monday, November 20 2017 7:30 PM 9:30 PM

With: Matteo Ramon Arevalos, Tom Chiu, Zach Layton, Laura Ortman, Sandra Sprecher, Ray Sweeten, Adam Tendler


“If a man teaches composition in a university, how can he not be a composer? He has worked hard, learned his craft. Ergo, he is a composer. A professional. Like a doctor. But there is that doctor who opens you up, does exactly the right thing, closes you up—and you die. He failed to take the chance that might have saved you. Art is a crucial, dangerous operation we perform on ourselves. Unless we take a chance, we die in art.” - Morton Feldman


Microscope Gallery is pleased to present Take a Chance, an evening of live sound performed by Matteo Ramon Arevalos, Sandra Sprecher, Tom Chiu, Zach Layton, Laura Ortman, Ray Sweeten, and Adam Tendler, to pay homage to American composer Morton Feldman 30 years after his death in 1987 at the age of 61.

The program features the artists performing short compositions of their choice by Feldman in solo or group configurations as well as original works inspired by the New York born composer who is known for his minimalist compositions, with hushed, yet expansive sounds.

Feldman’s work challenge concepts of structure through the use of unpredictable patterns and repetition, silence and duration, and unconventional forms of musical notation. He along with John Cage, Earle Brown and Christian Wolff are referred to as the "New York School" of musicians, influenced by the New York abstract expressionist painters. His body of work includes nearly 200 compositions ranging from just minutes to those extending up to 6 hours made from the early 1950s to the mid-1980s.

Matteo Ramon Arevalos began playing drums at the age of six, but soon switched to piano, then took up composition. During his studies it was fundamental the opportunity to learn with the pianist Fiorenza Ferroni, Rudolf Kehrer and Oxana Yablonskaya. In 1996 he won first prize at the National Piano Competition Agorà in Rome. He published two compositions for piano of his own for the music publishing house College Music: Vivo Marcia Fantasia (2002) and Nocturne 1996 (2006). From 2003 to 2006 he was the pianist for the show Ada, a family chronicle by the theatre company Fanny & Alexander, performing music by O. Messiaen, G. Ligeti and M. Feldman, and recording the DVD Rebus per Ada (Luca Sossella Editore, 2006). In 2008 he performed Feldman’s Rothko Chapel with the Ensemble Giacinto Scelsi, directed by Roberto Gabbiani, and with ondist Nadia Ratsimandresy produced Messiaen et autour de Messiaen for the centenary of Messiaen's birth. From 2009 to 2011 he collaborated with the electronic composer Paolo F. Bragaglia in the group Synusonde, publishing a CD Yug for Minus Habens Records (2011). He worked with film director Elisabetta Sgarbi composing and performing original soundtracks for Raffaello - La Stanza della Segnatura (2009) and Sono rimasto senza parole (2011). In 2011 he participated in the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale with the artist Vanni Cuoghi.  In 2013 he released his second project for ondes martenot and piano entitled Sérimpie with the ondist Bruno Perrault and a subsequent concert tour with stage designed by artist  Roberto Pagnani. He recently collaborated with the theatre company Masque Teatro in the shows The Decision and Marmo, with the theatre company Drammatico Vegetale in the show Pin'Occhio - Attraverso lo specchio, and with film director Hanspeter Ammann for the soundtrack of Late Afternoon Penang coming out in 2017. Arevalos is currently involved in a project for piano solo PER PIANO with works by Fausto Razzi, and in a project with his own compositions for prepared piano and video of title METAMORPHOSIS.

Tom Chiu is a violinist/composer  and recent recipient of the CMA Commissioning Grant that has premiered over 200 new works worldwide by and with musical pioneers including Muhal Richard Abrams, Virko Baley, David Chesky, Ornette Coleman, David First, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, Alvin Lucier, Michael Schumacher, Henry Threadgill, and more. His extensive discography includes recordings on the Cambria, Chesky, Innova, Koch, Mode, Passin Thru, and Tzadik labels. His original compositions, dedicated to artists such as Joan La Barbara, Bobby Few, Max Mandel, SLAVE PIANOS and the OpenEnded Group, have been premiered at innovative venues such as Mount Tremper Arts, EMPAC, Roulette, STEIM Amsterdam, Experimental Intermedia, Walker Art Center, Museum of Moving Image, and Anthology Film Archives. In a mixed-media context, Chiu has created new works with choreographers Pam Tanowitz and Shen Wei, sound/video artist Phill Niblock, filmmaker Ken Jacobs, conceptual balloonist Judy Dunaway, and director Lee Breuer from avant theater troupe Mabou Mines. As founder of the influential FLUX Quartet, Chiu has helped bring a "renaissance to string quartet music” (Village Voice). Chiu holds degrees in music and chemistry from Yale, as well as a doctorate from Juilliard.

Zach Layton is a guitarist, composer, curator, teacher, and media artist based in New York.  He has performed and exhibited at the ‪Guggenheim Museum‬, the Kitchen, and many other venues in New York and internationally.  Curator of ISSUE Project Room from 2008 - 2012, PS1 Warmup from 2005 - 2007, and the founder of the acclaimed Darmstadt "Classics of The Avant-Garde," festival, Zach has also received numerous awards including the Jerome Foundation emerging artist award and was selected as a 2015 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grants to artists award. Zach is currently assistant professor of music  production at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Laura Ortman is a Brooklyn composer, musician, and visual artist. She has recorded three solo albums playing violin, Apache violin, piano, electric guitar, samples, pedal steel guitar, megaphone, organ among other instruments. Ortman has also collaborated with artists, filmmakers, musicians and dancers from New York, New Mexico, Italy and Canada, including Jock Soto, Nanobah Becker, Raven Chacon, Martha Colburn, Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, Okkyung Lee, Alan Michelson, Lorenzo Clayton, and Pegi Vail. She has performed and recorded with New York bands Stars Like Fleas, The Dust Dive, Black Mirror Picnic, Raft's Assemble, and White Hills. In 2008, she founded the Coast Orchestra, an all-Native American orchestral ensemble performing and improvising to the 1914 original score to photographer Edward Curtis's only film "In the Land of the Head Hunters" to sold-out audiences at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  She is also a member of Optipus visual and sound collective which was featured this year as part of the Whitney Museum of Art's “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema & Art 1905-2016” and at the Parrish Museum of Art, Watermill, New York. Residencies and grants include: Jerome Foundation Fellowship (2017-18); Art Matters Grant Awardee (2016); Native Arts and Culture Foundation Fellowship (2016);  Rauschenberg Residency (2014); Social Engagement Residency at IAIA’s Museum of Contemporary Native Arts S ants Fe (2015), Artist­-in­-Residence, Issue Project Room NYC (2015), First Nations Composers Initiative Common Ground Grant (2008).

Sandra Sprecher is a composer,sound designer,pianist, videographer ad Artistic Director of The Firehouse Space, a popular venue in Williamsburg which just finished it's sixth season and featured cutting edge creative jazz, experimental and contemporary music as well as video/electro-acoustic multimedia. She has written an extensive variety of instrumental and vocal music and as pianist, has performed and recorded many works throughout Europe and the USA, She has had projects funded by the Fromm Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Meet the Composers, NYFA, and NYSCA. In addition, she has also worked on numerous projects as pianist, music director, composer, and sound designer for The Medicine Show Theater and has composed music for a variety of dancers and videographers. She received her DMA in Composition from Columbia University, MM in Composition from Indiana University School of Music and an Artist’s Diploma in piano performance from Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, France.

Ray Sweeten is an artist and composer living and working in Brooklyn NY. He has screened work and performed at The New Museum, The Kitchen, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Roulette. As one half of DataSpaceTime with Lisa Gwilliam, he has shown work at Microscope Gallery, Centre Pompidou, BAM Next Wave Festival, Parrish Art Museum in collaboration with City Center NYC ad Florida Atlantic University.

Adam Tendler is New York based pianist who has has been called “a virtuoso pianist” by The Village Voice, "an exuberantly expressive pianist" who "vividly displayed his enthusiasm for every phrase" by The Los Angeles Times, a “quietly charismatic...intrepid...outstanding...maverick pianist” by The New Yorker. Tendler has performed solo recitals in all fifty United States, including engagements at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kitchen, Symphony Space, National Sawdust, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Rothko Chapel, Joyce Theatre, The Maverick Concert Hall, Joe’s Pub, The Fisher Center at Bard College, The Rubin Museum, and James Turrell's Skypace in Sarasota Florida, and serves on the faculty of Third Street Music School Settlement, the country’s first community music school. Tendler’s own memoir, 88x50, about his grassroots fifty-state recital tour, was a 2014 Kirkus Indie Book of the Month and Lambda Literary Award Nominee. His premiere recording of Edward T. Cone’s 21 Little Preludes for piano was released in 2015 and he is currently recording an album of works by Robert Palmer.


With the support of the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation

Microscope Gallery

Mailing Address

1329 Willoughby Avenue, #2B Brooklyn, NY 11237