|Open Music Ensemble
Hometown: New York City, New York
Web site: http://ww.myspace.com/openmusicensemble
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The Open Music Ensemble is a cooperative of versatile, improvising acoustic musicians and vocalists, a pioneer in the development and performance of "Open Music", and the performance arm of the Open Music Circle (see www.myspace.com/openmusiccircle), a twice-monthly gathering of acoustic instrument players, vocalists and dancers.
The Ensemble musicians allow the music they create to come through them rather than try to create the music they play. With few exceptions, the notes, rhythms, and sounds in an Ensemble performance are intuitively created by the Ensemble members during the performance as they listen to each other and permit themselves to respond spontaneously to what they hear. By listening and standing out of the way, the Ensemble's sounds and rhythms move to a deeper level and offer the audience a more profound musical experience. We call this way of performing "Open Music". The Pulitzer prize-winning composer Charles Wuorinen articulated this concept recently at the Guggenheim Museum when he stated that he does not create music, but rather lets it pass through him. Some listeners have called our music Open Free-Jazz.
Improv Plus: An Open Music Ensemble performance is not only improvised but it is often structured in advance specifically for the occasion or location. For example, when performing for a celebration of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, the Ensemble created and performed a piece inspired by three Tibetan melodies recorded in 1921 on the first Mount Everest expedition. And at the Bowery Poetry Club we created and performed an improvised composition honoring and inspired by the musical history of the Bowery. We call this form of performance a "structured improv".
New Music: The Ensemble offers its members the opportunity to serve as the musical director of the Ensemble for a particular performance and in that capacity to create a composition for the Ensemble to perform. This has resulted in Tom Zlabinger's "Liberated Harmony", a musical deconstruction of Western harmonic patterns, and Dawoud Kringle's "Free Blues", a raga-based sequence with Blues phrasing and rhythm, two notably innovative compositions. The Ensemble is most interested in fostering such works.