Berlin Prize in Music Composition Fellow - Class of Spring 2012
Composer Annie Gosfield works on the boundaries between notated and improvised music, electronic and acoustic sounds, writing music for others and playing in her own group. Dedicated to working closely with performers, she has created new works in close collaboration with musicians including ex-Kronos cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, pianist Lisa Moore, cellist Felix Fan, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and the Athelas Sinfonietta. Gosfield’s music is often inspired by the inherent beauty of non-musical sounds, such as machines, destroyed pianos, warped 78rpm records, and detuned radios. Large-scale compositions include EWA7, a site-specific piece created during a residency in the industrial environments of Nuremberg, Germany; Floating Messages and Fading Frequencies, a new work premiering at the Huddersfield Festival that couples her electric trio with the Athelas Sinfonietta; and Daughters of the Industrial Revolution, a concert-length piece commissioned by The Kitchen (NYC) inspired by her grandparents’ immigrant experiences in New York City during the industrial revolution. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times series "The Score," and her recent fellowships include the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, McKnight Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Siemens Foundation. Gosfield was the Milhaud Professor of composition at Mills College in 2003 and 2005, a visiting lecturer at Princeton University in 2007, and a visiting artist at Cal Arts in 1999.
American Academy Project
A Luminous Reflection of Metallic Direction
While at the American Academy in Berlin, Gosfield will compose "A Luminous Reflection of Metallic Direction" for cello and electronics in close collaboration with cellist Frances-Marie Uitti. The new work will premiere at Gosfield’s portrait concert at MärzMuzik, at Berlin’s infamous Berghain club, in partnership with the American Academy in Berlin. During her fellowship she will also research the odd sound world of radio jamming and encrypted messages in WWII and the cold war in preparation for a piece for violin and electronics that will premiere in the Netherlands in August 2012. Her intensive research will also play a prominent role in an upcoming large piece that will incorporate these otherworldly, beautiful, and surreal sounds. These sounds and processes will be a point of reference for notated parts, which will echo the constant transformation of musical materials and the dynamic tension between noise, interference, and pure signal. The radio broadcasts come from very different sources, including resistance groups, Allied forces, and German transmissions, and the piece will reflect the multiple contexts, conflicts, and similarities inherent in the diverse origins of the material.
Later into the chilled evening of March 21, Berlin's cult club Berghain -- located in the Friedrichshain district of Berlin and often dubbed the world capital of techno music -- was the scene for composer Annie Gosfield's sound-breaking Academy concert, which saw roughly 300 guests packed into a room which usually seats 200 (the club itself holds 1500), surrounded by a state-of-the-art audio system. They were there for a concert that was afterwards described as alternately "chest-poundingly powerful" and "otherworldly," and not without ear-to-ear grins. »