Music Preview: WILD UP (Los Angeles New Music)

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by Connor McCormick on May 4, 2022

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles

PLAYS MAY 15 – JULY 10, 2022

For a decade, we’ve been exporting LA culture.
Now, we’re beginning a home series here in LA.”
– Christopher Rountree, Artistic Director of Wild Up 

Wild Up, LA’s ruling new music collective, greets the season of renewal with Los Angeles New Music, a new home series comprising five adventurous programs, May 15 – July 10. They include an Anime-inspired performance in chainmail, a trombonist in a forest of cardboard speaker tubes, a dawn-to-dusk rendition of a rare Julius Eastman score, modernist workouts for virtuoso brass, and a commissioning project that began with a wad of cash received in a parking lot and evolved into an evening of piano works by Devonté HynesLaurie AndersonPamela ZTed HearneMissy MazzoliAngélica Negrón, and other luminaries.

The first four concerts, originally slated for January as part of Wild Up’s Darkness Sounding series, were postponed due to the pandemic. All performances will now take place at 2220 Arts + Archives in Historic Filipinotown, except for the May 22 event at FRANKIE in East LA.

Says Christopher Rountree, Artistic Director of Wild Up, “For years before the pandemic we played more on the road than we did at home. A big realization during the pandemic is that for a decade we’ve been exporting LA culture, but without making near enough in LA. We love it here more than anywhere else – LA’s the place we met, and the city that shaped our creativity. As our second decade starts we’re beginning a series, a home series, here in LA. We’ll be expanding our winter festival Darkness Sounding into this ongoing series and partnering with organizations all over the city to bring people together around new music. We’re thrilled to share this first group of concerts, and we’ll be announcing a whole lot more soon.

“This first round includes LA composers and performers M.A. TiesengaRohan ChanderDavið Brynjar FranzsonJonah Levy, and mattie barbier, in addition to pieces by Sarah DavachiGeorge LewisRaven ChaconBecca Schack, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. All that plus a weekend of the music of Julius Eastman: a dawn-to-dusk show of his open score Buddha with Wild Up alongside some of the greatest improvisers in the city.” 

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Sunday, May 15 (7:30 pm)
M. A. Tiesenga + AIYYER2220 Arts + Archives
(2220 Beverly Boulevard, LA)


A double bill: composer/interdisciplinary artist Marta Tiesenga and composer/pianist/tabla player Rohan Chander, a.k.a. AIYYER. Tiesenga’s Aquarius & Aquila, scored for hurdy-gurdy and electronics, is a microtonal homage to the ascension/abduction of Ganymede (“the loveliest born of the race of mortals,” according to Homer) by the Aetos Dios, the eagle of Zeus.

Chander will perform an excerpt from FINAL/FANTASY, his debut album as AIYYER, on Cantaloupe Music, in a full suit of chain mail (with Anime-style glowing red eyes) on multiple keyboards situated around the space. Chander describes FINAL/FANTASY as “the story of the mutability of the body and the six digital inhabitants that wield [an] ancient weapon.”

Sunday, May 22 (4 – 8 pm)
Davíð Brynjar Franzson:
An Urban Archive as an English Garden,
with mattie barbier, trombone

FRANKIE (300 S. Mission Road, LA)

Davíð Brynjar Franzson’s sound installation An Urban Archive as an English Garden comprises a grid of dozens of free-standing cardboard tubes topped with loudspeakers that emanate field recordings from the immediate surroundings of the performer and slow-moving instrumental timbres. Drawing on the ideology of the 18th century English garden, these sounds as landscaped features that guide the visitor along on their exploration of the urban soundscape, forming a sonic landscape that acts as a garden in both time and space. During the four-hour event, trombonist mattie barbier will periodically wander among the tubes and improvise.

Sunday, May 29 (7:30 pm)
fanfares against an early sunset
2220 Arts + Archives (2220 Beverly Boulevard, LA)

An evening of visionary new works for brass, with a couple of 20th-century favorites mixed in. Played by Jonah Levy and Ryan Darke (trumpets), Allen Fogle (French horn), mattie barbier (trombone), and others. The program includes:

            Sarah Davachi: Long Gradus

            Becca Schack: world premiere

            Olivier Messiaen: Interstellar Call

            George Lewis: Artificial Life

            mattie barbier: untitled i

            Raven Chacon: Tááʼtsʼáadah

            Karlheinz Stockhausen: Michael’s Abschied

Sunday, June 19 (5:34 am – 8:08 pm)
Julius Eastman: Buddha
2220 Arts + Archives (2220 Beverly Boulevard, LA)


Wild Up earned widespread praise in 2021 for its New Amsterdam recording Julius Eastman: Vol. 1. This dawn to dusk performance celebrates the release of Vol. 2: Joy Boy. The entire ensemble will perform Eastman’s Buddha, a hand-drawn one-page score that the composer left behind without performance instructions. In his elegant manuscript, a hand-drawn oval encloses twenty staves of stemless pitches, with rippling lines emanating outward from the center. Over the course of this 14.5-hour event, Wild Up will perform original short- and long-form realizations of the work simultaneously.

Sunday, July 10 (7:30 pm)
Adam Tendler, piano: INHERITANCES
Presented by Wild Up in partnership with
 Liquid Music
2220 Arts + Archives (2220 Beverly Boulevard, LA)

New pieces by Devonté HynesNico MuhlyLaurie Andersoninti figgis-vizuetaPamela ZTed HearneAngélica NegrónChristopher CerroneMarcos BalterMissy MazzoliDarian Donovan ThomasSarah Kirkland SniderScott WollschlegerMary PrescottTimo Andres and John Glover.

Pianist Tendler is known as “a remarkable and insightful musician” (Los Angeles Times). After his father’s unexpected death, Tendler used his inheritance – a wad of cash received in a parking lot – to begin a commissioning project inviting sound artists and composers to create new piano works exploring ‘inheritance’ itself. Woven into one intimate program, Inheritances tells a universal story of lineage, loss, and place through sixteen new works: a meditation on confronting our past while moving into the future.

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Called “a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant … fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times, Wild Up has been lauded as one of classical music’s most exciting groups by virtually every significant institution and critic within earshot. Artistic Director Christopher Rountree started the group in 2010 with a vision of a group of young musicians that rejected outdated traditions and threw classical repertoire into the context of pop culture, new music, and performance art.

Over the past decade the, now Grammy-nominated group: accompanied Björk at Goldenvoice’s FYF Fest; brought a Julius Eastman portrait to the National Gallery; premiered David Lang and Mark Dion’s “anatomy theater” at LA Opera; gave the west coast premiere of Ragnar Kjartansson’s twelve hour Mozartian epic “Bliss;” played the scores to “Under the Skin” by Mica Levi and “Punch Drunk Love” by Jon Brion live with the films at L.A.’s Regent Theater and Ace Hotel; premiered a new opera by Julia Holter at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust; premiered a new work of avant-pop icon Scott Walker and celestial loop-maker Juliana Barwick at Walt Disney Concert Hall; played a noise concert-fanfare for the groundbreaking of Frank Gehry’s new building on Grand Avenue and First Street in downtown L.A.; premiered hundreds of other works; held performance and educational residencies at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Colburn School, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, National Sawdust, the Hammer Museum, the Getty, and dozens of educational institutions across the U.S.; and started an annual winter festival in LA celebrating ecstatic music making and mindfulness practice called Darkness Sounding.

The first record in their Eastman anthology Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine has been lauded as “A masterpiece.” (New York Times) “instantly recognizable” (Vogue) and “singularly jubilant..a bit in your face, sometimes capricious, and always surprising.” (NPR). NPR named the record among the top ten records of 2021 in all genres. Website:

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