CONTACTS Bent Frequency Celebrates 20 Years

With special guests:

Rebekah Alexander, Stephen Drury, and the Petrasek Duo

Monday, 9/25, 7:00 pm

Florence Kopleff Recital Hall

Alone, Except for all the Ghosts (2023)*

Dante De Silva (b. 1978)

Jan Berry Baker–saxophone

About the Piece

Alone, Except for All the Ghosts, written for Jan Berry Baker, is directly inspired by the coming-of-age story from the game Monument Valley 2. In the game, the mother character teaches her daughter life skills as the child grows up until the young daughter eventually becomes an independent person. The piece tells the story from the mother’s perspective.

The story starts with the mother trying to get the child to learn different skills by copying her mother, just as the saxophone’s first section is immediately repeated in the next section. As the child continues to copy her mother, mistakes are naturally made, and the electronics reflect those mistakes through manipulation of the original saxophone sound through different distortion, pitch-shifting, and modulation effects. When the child grows up and moves away, the mother realizes she is alone again, and the loneliness is only accompanied by occasional memories and samples from the past. The mother soon learns to become independent again herself, and in the final joyous reunion of mother and child, both learn that they (and their respective themes) can both be independent and effortlessly harmonize together.

– Dante De Silva

En Piste (2022)

Jeffrey Earl Young (b. 1950)

I. Foil

II. Epee

III. Interlude

IV. Saber

The Petrasek Duo

Jessica Petrasek–flute and Joseph Petrasek–percussion

About the Piece

This piece was inspired by the art of fencing. En Piste is French for “on the strip,” an elongate mat on which a fencing competition occurs. Movements 1, 2, and 4 of this piece correspond to the three weapons with which fencers compete: Foil, Epee, and Sabre. Each of these movements is divided into miniature sections each representing a point in a competition between two swordspersons. These points typically are short-lived, and have differing characteristics from weapon to weapon. Each section begins with a few moments of calm as the competitors focus their strategy of attack, until the referee calls out “en garde,” then “allez” to begin the point. Sensors worn by the competitors register touches, sounding a high-pitched tone to end the point. The third movement is an interlude.

– Jeffery Earl Young

Origin of Human Love

Marti Epstein (b. 1959)

Jan Berry Baker–saxophone and Rebekah Alexander–soprano

About the Piece

Origin of Human Love was written for Aliana de la Guardia and Kent Doherty. With text by Sarah Manguso, it is a retelling of the story of how humans were once paired spheres that angered the god Zeus, causing him to split each sphere in half. The god Apollo took pity on our split selves and twisted our heads around to the front so that we could see each other. But, still, we could not find and unite with our original other halves. Finally, in another act of grace, the gods placed our genitals on the front of our body, allowing us to fuse with one another once our other half was found. This, according to the Greeks, is the origin of human love.

– Marti Epstein

À intervalles fixes (2023)

A World Premiere by Robert Lemay (b.1960)

The Bent Frequency Duo Project

Jan Berry Baker–saxophone and Stuart Gerber–percussion

About the Piece

The expression "À intervalles fixes" could be translated as "At fixed intervals" or "at regular intervals". It could be a distance of greater or lesser length between two things, between one point and another, or the space of time between two instants.

In music, the notion of interval refers to the notion of pitches, not distance or time-lapse as in the expression. But I've taken the notion of time from the expression and transposed it into rhythm. You'll hear a regular pulse (regular time intervals), mainly at the Hi-hat, which gradually accelerates from section to section. I superimpose an irregularity on this regularity, with off-beat or contrasting rhythms either on the other percussion instruments or at the saxophone.

I'm particularly thrilled that this piece will be premiered by the Bent Frequency Duo tonight in Atlanta.

The composition of this work was made possible thanks to the financial assistance of the Ontario Arts Council (francophone music program).

Robert Lemay's presence at tonight's concert is made possible thanks to funding from the SOCAN Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts.

– Robert Lemay

Kontakte (1959-60)

Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007)

Stephen Drury–piano and Stuart Gerber–percussion

About the Piece

Originally composed for four-channel electronic tape, Kontakte (Contacts) represents one of the seminal works in the genre known as Elektronische Musik—music composed entirely of electronically produced sounds. Shortly after the completion of the tape piece, Stockhausen created a second version of the work which blends the electronic sounds of the four-channel tape with the acoustic sounds of the piano and percussion instruments of wood, metal, and skin. Original sketches were for three percussionists with piano, but he soon realized that if the pianist were to play some of the percussion instruments, he could compose the work for a duo; this is the final version of the work.

The work is in Moment Form in which a moment of sound is dissected and expanded to create the next sound. This type of composition creates a work that is entirely through composed (i.e. no recurring motives or melodies) but retains a sense of organic motion. Each moment connects to the next in a very organic way. This is in sharp contrast to the numerical relation of notes and sounds of the totally serialized music Stockhausen had been writing earlier in his career. In Moment Form the sounds are connected via transformation and expansion, not through pre-determined mathematical relationships; however, Kontakte’s overall structure was determined by a pre-compositional formal design.

When listening to this piece one should keep the title “Contacts” in mind. This title refers to many aspects of the work. First, notice the contact made between sounds on the tape. Each sound is directly related to the sound that follows. Second, notice the contact made between each of the performers and the tape. There are often exact, synchronous moments and then there are moments in which the performers react to, and comment on, the sounds on the tape. Third, notice the contact made between the two performers. Often the performers are with the tape, and sometimes they are completely separate. And lastly, notice the combination of sounds both live and on the tape, particularly in the percussion instruments. Very often Stockhausen experiments with the different timbres of the percussion instruments and uses the sounds as a transformational process. One might hear the sound of wood transforming into metal, or a similar transformation on the tape. The extension and transformation of the sounds, both live and electronic, are of utmost importance in Kontakte.


Bent Frequency

Founded in 2003, Bent Frequency brings the avant-garde to life through adventurous programming, the promotion of New Music, and a creative synthesis of music and media. Hailed as “one of the brightest new music ensembles on the scene today” by Gramophone magazine, Bent Frequency engages an eclectic mix of the most adventurous and impassioned players in Atlanta. Bent Frequency presents innovative programs of cutting-edge works and re-contextualizes classic works of the twentieth century, embracing adventurous and socially conscious programming, cross-disciplinary collaborations, community engagement, experimentation, and activism. A champion of historically underrecognized composers, BF’s events aim to be inclusive of their diverse and dynamic community, ushering the contemporary music experience from the strict formality of the concert hall into the fresh air of artistic expression and experimentation. Bent Frequency is an ensemble in residence at Georgia State University and is run by Co-Artistic Directors Jan Berry Baker and Stuart Gerber.

BF has partnered with internationally acclaimed ensembles, dance groups, and visual artists in creating unique productions ranging from traditional concerts to fully staged operatic works, to concerts on the ATL streetcar, to a band of 111 bicycle-mounted, community performers. BF’s programming, educational outreach, and community events aim to be inclusive of the diverse and dynamic communities they are a part of.

As Co-Artistic Directors of Bent Frequency, percussionist Stuart Gerber and saxophonist Jan Berry Baker are The BF Duo Project. Stuart and Jan have commissioned over 50 new works for their duo since 2013 and have given countless performances across the United States, Mexico, and Europe. They have been guest ensemble in residence at the MATA Festival in Oaxaca, Mexico, Sam Houston State University in Texas, Tage aktueller musik festival in Nuremberg, Germany, Charlotte New Music Festival, The University of Georgia, and New Music on the Point. Their debut CD, Diamorpha, is available on the Centaur Label.

If you’d like to support BF’s mission to bring groundbreaking contemporary music to Atlanta, please consider making a tax-free donation here!

Rebekah Alexander

Lauded as “one of the highlights of the Nashville contemporary music scene,” soprano Rebekah Alexander is a multi-faceted performance artist and collaborator with local and national ensembles including Chatterbird, Intersection, Lorelei, Boston Modern Opera Project, Guerilla Opera, and the Studio for New Music Ensemble, presenting modern vocal repertoire and new commissions. Recent commission premieres include Leila Adu's "Mahakala Oratorio" (2020), Mark Volker's "Body and Soul, After the Plague" (2021), Ingrid Stoelzel's "Silent Music of Infinity" (2021) and more. She produced, directed, and performed in an avant-garde film adaptation of Kurt Weill's "Seven Deadly Sins" which was presented internationally in August 2021 at the Minnesota Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In April 2022, Rebekah premiered "New Soil", written specifically for her by Timbre Cierpke as part of a project funded by the NEA to elevate the voices of female and nonbinary composers. Making her stage directorial debut, Rebekah led a production of "Bluebeard's Castle" by Bela Bartok at Opera Huntsville in October 2022. Most recently, she performed the quintessential postmodern tour de force piece for soprano and electronics, "Philomel" by Milton Babbitt, at the 2023 Memphis Concréte festival. Rebekah is thrilled to collaborate once again with Bent Frequency after performing works by George Lewis, John Cage, Michael Pisaro, and Anahita Abbasi in previous seasons.

Jan Berry Baker

Canadian American saxophonist, Jan Berry Baker, has performed as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician on many of the world’s great stages. An advocate of cross-disciplinary collaborations, socially conscious programming, and community engagement, she is Co-Artistic Director of contemporary chamber ensemble, Bent Frequency. She and percussionist Stuart Gerber are The BF Project and together have commissioned over 50 new works for saxophone and percussion. They have given countless performances of these newsworks at artist residencies, international festivals, and schools of music across the US, Mexico, Germany and France.

Jan regularly performs with the LA Philharmonic and was the principal saxophonist for almost two decades with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Festival Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, Atlanta Ballet, and Atlanta Opera. She has also performed with the Chicago and Atlanta Symphony Orchestras. Jan’s recording projects include chamber music albums on the Centaur and Albany labels, as well as American Orchestral Works with the Grant Park Orchestra and Atlanta Opera’s world premiere recording of The Golden Ticket.

As an educator, Jan is Professor of Saxophone, Woodwind Area Head, and Vice Chair of the Department of Music at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. Highly sought after as a masterclass teacher and speaker, she has given presentations on contemporary music, nonprofits and grant writing, community engagement, socially conscious programming, career development and mentoring. Jan is a founding member of the Committee on the Status of Gender Equity in the North American Saxophone Alliance and the CGE Mentoring Program. She earned a Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University and is a Selmer Paris, Vandoren, and Key Leaves performing artist.

Stephen Drury

Pianist and conductor Stephen Drury has performed throughout the world with a repertoire that stretches from Bach to Liszt to the music of today. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Barbican Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus. A champion of contemporary music, he has taken the sound of dissonance into remote corners of Pakistan, Greenland and Montana. Drury has performed or recorded with the American Composers Orchestra, the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Radio Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the BBC Scottish Symphony, and the Romanian National Symphony. He has appeared at the MusikTriennale Koln in Germany and the North American New Music Festival in Buffalo as well as at Roulette, the Knitting Factory, and The Stone in New York City. He performed as both conductor and pianist at the Angelica Festival in Bologna and Spoleto USA. He has conducted the Britten Sinfonia and the Santa Cruz New Music Works Ensemble.

Drury's performances of music written in the last hundred years, from the sonatas of Charles Ives to works by Ligeti, Rzewski and Cage have received the highest critical acclaim. He has worked closely with many of the leading composers of our time, including Cage, Ligeti, Rzewski, Reich, Messiaen, Zorn, Berio, Lachenmann, Christian Wolff, Michael Finnissy, and Lee Hyla. He has recorded the music of Cage, Carter, Ives, Stockhausen, Zorn, and Rzewski, as well as works of Liszt and Beethoven. He teaches at New England Conservatory.

Stuart Gerber

Lauded as having “consummate virtuosity” by The New York Times, percussionist Stuart Gerber has performed extensively throughout the North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. Recent engagements include: The Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video, and Music Festival, the Montreal New Music Festival, Electronic Music Malta Festival, The Eduardo MATA Festival in Oaxaca, Mexico, the KLANG Festival at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Cervantino Festival in Gunajuato, Mexico, the Now Festival in Tallinn, Estonia, the Chihuahua International Music Festival in Mexico, the Gulbenkian Center in Lisbon, Portugal, the South Bank Centre in London, the Ultraschall Festival in Berlin, Germany, the Melbourne Recital Centre, Australia, the Spoleto Festival, and the Savannah Music Festival.

As an active performer of new works, Stuart has recorded for Centaur, Innova, UR-text, Aucourant, Bridge, Capstone, Code Blue, Mode, Albany, Telarc and Vienna Modern Masters labels. He is currently an artist-faculty at the Summer Institute of Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP) held annually at the New England Conservatory, and has taught at New Music on the Point, the Charlotte New Music Festival, and the Stockhausen-Kurse in Germany, and has given masterclasses at many esteemed institutions in the US and abroad (including the Curtis Institute, Manhattan School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, and The Southbank Center).

Stuart studied at the Oberlin College Conservatory, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Hochshule für Musik in Hannover, Germany. He is Professor of Music at Georgia State University and co-artistic director of the Atlanta-based contemporary music ensemble Bent Frequency.

Jessica Petrasek

Jessica Petrasek is an Atlanta-based flutist originally from San Antonio, TX. She is the Artist Affiliate in Flute at Georgia State University. Jessica has held the positions of Piccolo and Section Flute of the Central City Opera Orchestra, Piccolo and Section Flute of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, Assistant Principal Flute and Piccolo of the Colorado Music Festival, Principal Flute of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Principal Flute of the Breckenridge Music Festival, and Principal Flute of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. She performs regularly with major orchestras across the U.S. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University and a Master of Music from Rice University. She and her husband Joe comprise the flute and percussion duo The Petrasek Duo.

Joseph Petrasek

Joseph Petrasek was appointed Principal Percussionist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2017, and Principal Percussionist of the Colorado Music Festival in 2019. Previously, he served as Associate Principal Percussionist of the Kansas City Symphony for 8 seasons, and as a percussion fellow in the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. Joseph has appeared as Guest Principal with the San Francisco Symphony, and has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Petrasek is also on the percussion faculty at the University of Miami Frost School of Music.

Originally from Southern California, Joseph earned his bachelor's degree at UCLA studying under Mitchell Peters, former Timpanist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He went on to receive a master's degree at Temple University, studying with Philadelphia Orchestra percussionists Alan Abel and Angela Zator-Nelson.

Mr. Petrasek lives in Atlanta with his wife, Jessica, and their daughter, Sophia. He enjoys cooking and learning about wine.