1. ICE is back! – following their critically-acclaimed, sold-out run of the whisper opera at NYU Skirball in February 2018.
2. George Lewis is a genius! – according to the MacArthur Foundation.
3. This rich array of collaborators will bring you the varied textures and altitudes of Steven Schick’s pilgrimage up the California coast, in a musical palimpsest that evokes the landscapes and communities he traversed in his 700 mile walk. Consider this Wild for the orchestral sect.


Soundlines: A Dreaming Track is MacArthur Fellow George Lewis’s musical interpretation of percussionist and composer Steven Schick’s journal documenting his 700-mile walk from the US-Mexico border to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006. Directed by Jim Findlay, Schick performs as speaker and percussionist, joined by a chamber ensemble featuring eight musicians from the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and electronics.

Reminiscent of Alexis de Tocqueville, and Henry David Thoreau, and the Great Migration, the Lewis’s libretto describes Schick’s inner moods, doubts, meditations, aesthetics, his personal musical practice, and social commentary, in a fashion that recalls the Australian aboriginal notion of the songline, or “dreaming track,” where repeating a song while navigating a landscape gains access to ancient stories related to the land. A surround-sound space will be created electronically, enabling text, music and field recordings related to the piece to be experienced more intensively.

P. Multitudinis (2018) is a situational-form work for seven ensembles: a trio with piano, percussion, and electronics; a string quartet; a woodwind quintet; a “mobile trio” of voice, saxophone, and trumpet that can play from any position in the performance space; one or more “mobile percussionists” who can play with any of the ensembles; a “mobile conductor” who can conduct any of the ensembles; and “The Multitude,” an open-instrumentation ensemble for any number of players. Performers are given both precisely notated passages and tasks laid out on a grid that suggest ways of relating to the sonic environment.

The work’s title, text, ethics, movement trajectories, and musical methodologies all derive from Spinoza’s notion of potential multitudinis, presented in his 1677 Tractatus Politicus, published posthumously and later banned: “The right of a commonwealth is determined by the power of a people that is guided as though by a single mind. But this union of minds could in no way be conceived unless the chief aim of the commonwealth is identical with that which sound reason teaches us is for the good of all men.”

“[ICE is] the new gold standard for new music.” — The New Yorker

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George Lewis, Professor of American Music at Columbia University and Area Chair in Composition, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. Lewis’s other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis’s work in experimental music and interactive media is documented on more than 150 recordings, and his AACM opera Afterword (2015) has been performed internationally. His 2008 book, A Power Stronger Than Itself:  The AACM and American Experimental Music, received the American Book Award. George Lewis/macfound.org

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced. ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The Ensemble’s 36 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Works by emerging composers have anchored the Ensemble’s programming since its founding in 2001, and the group’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present. iceorg.org

Soundlines was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association; the International Contemporary Ensemble, with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation; and in honor of the Taylor Family through ICE’s First Page, with lead support from Billie and Tim Taylor.

NYU Skirball’s educational and enrichment programming is made possible in part with generous support from Con Edison.

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