Zeitgeist Early Music Festival
Zeitgeist’s 10th Annual Early Music Festival explores the powerful contributions of our musical pioneers with a celebration of composer Frederic Rzewski. From the 1960s to today, Rzewski has influenced American music profoundly through his work with minimalism, improvisation, text notation, and politically charged music.
Zeitgeist frequently collaborated with Rzewski in the 1980s and he composed four new works for the ensemble, which were recorded for Zeitgeist's album A Decade. Performances at Zeitgeist's Early Music Festival will include works composed for Zeitgeist, other chamber works, and guest artist Allen Otte performing The Fall of the Empire for speaking percussionist, which was written for Otte in 2007.
Friday, Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Chamber Music of Frederic Rzewski
The Lost Melody (written for Zeitgeist)
Song and Dance (with guest artists Rolf Erdahl and James DeVoll)
Saturday, Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m.
The Fall of the Empire for speaking percussionist, featuring Al Otte
Plan for Spacecraft featuring Zeitgeist and guest improvisors
Guest improvisors on Plan for Spacecraft include: Ivan Cunningham, Dameun Strange, Douglas Ewart, Alyssa Anderson, Daisy Swimmer, Isaac Mayhew, George Cartwright, Alex Hecker, Eric M. C. Gonzalez
Watch the livestream
COVID 19 policy:
Seating is limited to allow for social distancing. Masks will be required and attendees must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from the previous 72 hours.
Frederic Rzewski (April 13, 1938 – June 26, 2021) was an American composer and pianist who is considered to be one of the most important American composer-pianists of his time. His major compositions, which often incorporate social and political themes, include the minimalist Coming Together and the variation set The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, which has become a modern classic.
Rzewski studied music privately with Charles Mackey in Springfield, Massachusetts as a child and studied composition with Walter Piston, counterpoint with Randall Thompson and orchestration with Claudio Spies at Harvard University from 1954–58. He studied composition with Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions and the music of Richard Wagner with Oliver Strunk at Princeton University from 1958–60, where he also studied literature and philosophy from Greece. In addition, he studied composition privately with Luigi Dallapiccola in Rome in 1960.
As a pianist, he frequently performed with the flautist Severino Gazzelloni in the 1960s. He then co-founded with Alvin Curran and Richard Teitelbaum the improvisational and live electronic ensemble Musica Elettronica Viva in Rome in 1966 and performed with it from 1966–71. He was thereafter active as a pianist, primarily in performances of his own pieces and music by other contemporary composers.
He taught at the Conservatoire royal de musique in Liège from 1977–2003, where he was Professeur de Composition from 1983–2003. He gave lectures in Germany, the Netherlands and the USA.
Allen Otte was a co-founder in 1972 of the historic Blackearth Percussion Group, and in 1979 of Percussion Group Cincinnati, having toured for decades throughout the world performing new and experimental music created for him and his colleagues. Otte regularly presents his own creative work—solo and collaborative performances (The Innocents Project, with John Lane; the improvisation trio Vaster Than Empires), often in residencies centered around the theme of performing social justice; he has appeared with the medieval music group Trobar since 2018. He is Professor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati, and in 2017 was inducted into the International Percussion Arts Society Hall of Fame.
The Fall of The Empire, a collection of solos for a speaking percussionist, was written for Allen Otte in 2007 and has been added to occasionally over the years. The entire collection is 12 pieces, each with a unique instrumental setting.
The empires and dynasties of human history have fallen, not so much by the hands of outside conquerors, but rather have crumbled from within. The collection of texts assembled by Rzewski into a kind of drama—-variously individual "snapshots" isolated in time and place, but connectable—are meant as yet another retelling of that familiar story.
Tickets can be securely purchased by credit card or through your PayPal account in advance, or by cash, check, or credit card at the door. Tickets purchased online will be held at the door.
Please consider adding a $5 donation to Studio Z with your ticket purchase. Your donation supports the operation of Studio Z and keeps it an affordable venue for artists and presenters in the Twin Cities. Studio Z is owned and operated by Zeitgeist, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the music of our time.