Gene Coleman | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Gene Coleman 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Composer Gene Coleman works without the academic infrastructure that traditionally supports innovative classical music. On his own steam, he organizes a monthly program of new sounds at HotHouse called "Face the Music," mixing a range of neglected musics--from free-improvisers and emergent performers and composers such as Erik Lund, Jim O'Rourke, and the Vision Sax Quartet to rarely heard chamber works and solo pieces by postserialists like Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Franco Donatoni, and Salvatore Sciarrino. Donatoni and Sciarrino--barely known in America, highly acclaimed in Europe--are two of Coleman's personal faves. He'll feature work by them on the bill this Sunday, as well as a piece by Chicagoan O'Rourke. But the bulk of the evening will consist of Coleman's own works, culled from an impressive, growing oeuvre. His music uses the far reaches of instruments' vocabularies, his often graphically notated scores calling for extended techniques and improvisational creativity. The results are subtle, colorful, sometimes abrasive patchworks, loaded with variety and detail. Coleman's personal approach to bass clarinet has flourished of late as well; in the last year he's improvised with Evan Parker, Roscoe Mitchell, and Derek Bailey and contributed unreal reed sounds to Gastr del Sol's new EP, Mirror Repair (Drag City). In this retrospective of two seasons' worth of composing, he'll be joined by the mutable chamber group he calls Ensemble Noamnesia, with flutists Janet McKay and Lisa Goethe, violinist David Wolf, bassist Collins Trier, cellist Diana Parameter, percussionist Steve Butters, accordionist Mark Konewko, and guitarists O'Rourke and Paul Bowman. The five works on the program are "Ivesy," a playful composition full of sly genre references; "Sordino" and the brand-new "Minutes," both commissioned by choreographer Winifred Haun; "Ensemble," which highlights three of the ensemble's improvisers; and his most extreme, quiet, textural piece, "Lacunae (With Distant Sounds)." Sunday, 7:30 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Yael Routtenberg.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Corbett

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Communion Den Theatre
September 20
Performing Arts
BigMouth Chicago Shakespeare Theater
September 18

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories