ICE and guests perform George Lewis's Afterword: The AACM (as) Opera | Museum of Contemporary Art | Experimental | Chicago Reader
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ICE and guests perform George Lewis's Afterword: The AACM (as) Opera

ICE and guests perform George Lewis's Afterword: The AACM (as) Opera

Ross Karre

ICE and guests perform George Lewis's Afterword: The AACM (as) Opera 

When: Fri., Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m. 2015
Price: $30, $10 for students
Composer, trombonist, and scholar George Lewis literally wrote the book on Chicago’s hugely influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Published in 2008, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago) drew upon his broad erudition, sharp analysis, engaging storytelling, and unguarded access to the organization’s members and historical documents—he joined it himself in 1971, six years after its founding—to deliver an authoritative account that vividly detailed the organization’s genesis, aims, and importance. This weekend the International Contemporary Ensemble, joined by opera singers Julian Terrell Otis, Gwendolyn Brown, and Joelle Lamarre, will present the multimedia premiere of his new opera, Afterword: The AACM (as) Opera, which debuted in a concert version this past May in New York. The libretto, which uses text from the interviews Lewis conducted for the book, promises to frame the organization’s ups and downs within larger historical phenomena such as the Great Migration and the civil rights movement. A review of the concert performance in the New York Times noted the difficulty of having the singers represent an organization rather than flesh-and-blood characters, but those are the sorts of problems Lewis has spent his entire career solving. These performances, in conjunction with the museum’s ongoing exhibition “The Freedom Principle,” are a collaboration with director Sean Griffin and producer and visual artist Catherine Sullivan; joining ICE will be AACM musicians Douglas R. Ewart (woodwinds), Ann Ward (piano and voice), and Khari B. (spoken word).
— Peter Margasak

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