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Friday, August 2, 2019

Du Yun, Dinosaur Scar, International Contemporary Ensemble

Du Yun was born in Shanghai, grew up in China and currently makes her home in New York. She is a composer of some renown these days. The Pulitzer Prize was hers in 2017 for her opera  Angel's Bone. An album of select chamber works, Dinosaur Scar (Tundra New Focus  TUN011), came out last year and I am giving it my ears this summer. It is good.

The fabulous International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) performs the music throughout. MS. Yun and ICE have a symbiotic creative collaborative relationship, with mutually productive interchanges and friendships intersecting her and many of the individual members' lives going back now some 20 years. The closeness shows in the effective and knowing dedication ICE devote to the some ten works on the program at hand.

The music is varied, challenging and instrumentally diverse with a kind of unmistakable blend of ultra-contemporary High Modernist dynamics and space-pacing, Chinese roots deep down in its placing and dramatic impact, and a kind of brilliant torque in its presence and scoring. As you listen you hear Avant Jazz and Rock elements, a Chinese folk motif now and again and at times New Music-meets-Avant- Improv spontaneity. It is probably the case that everything ICE does is worth hearing but it is also true that Du Yun is one of our most satisfyingly adventurous voices composing today, an ultra-musicianly voice for our existence in time right now.

Happily recommended.

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