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Selfie of the Ancients – NMNC in Feb.

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Selfie of the Ancients: Eliza Ladd and New College Students,  Feb 11 – 14   New Music New College


At once visual, aural and physical, this performance — combining the sounds of objects and human movement with layers of primitive voice and song — reflects our primordial musicality.

Fundamentally concerned with the act of making sound, the relationship between sound and movement, and the ways in which sound articulates visible and invisible space, Eliza composes music rooted in the forms of sculpture and percussion.

In January and February, Eliza will work with New College students to create a score of “Live Sound Action” (her theatrical approach to composition and performance). Selfie of the Ancients will be the result of this score, combined with her own performance of primitive voice and song.

Reviving the original function of performance as a way in which to find ourselves, and to experience our birthright as creators


Aspects of some earlier works: Elephants and Gold – a contemporary musical; Cosmological Composition – a workshop on composing with object, sound, body, and space; Bucket and Stick – a sound dance with buckets and sticks and humans; and, Tribal Epic – improvisational practice with live band and dance scores, will inform Selfie of the Ancients — a new work curated to be a part of the New Music New College series at New College in Sarasota 2015 – 16 season.

I will be working with New College students in Live Sound Action to devise the piece. I will also be performing a vocal score devised from somatic experience of the fluid systems of the body – sounds wild right? Sourcing from the body, trusting the unknown, belonging to a tribe, working with beginners – these things are part of our birthright. The title ‘Selfie of the Ancients‘– its about witnessing who are we really – In these precarious times? I mean, if we really want to look at ourselves, what if we went way back — to animal, to tribe, to underbelly function of the species, back to when we used sound and vibration to locate ourselves (like the Dolphins and echolocation).

The piece will be part liturgy, part search, part celebration, and it will include visual, physical, and aural composition — part of what ‘new music’ is. I compose with the dualities:  light / dark, sound / silence, movement / stillness. Without the two, we cannot perceive or grasp change or meaning — if there is no silence between the sounds, I don’t get the contour or transformation of the song. Similarly, if there is no stillness, it is hard for me to receive the movement. My composition is a process of articulating the dualities through what I call the 4 R’s: Rhythm, Repetition, Responsivity and Relationship.

In Buddhism the dualities would be called Absolute / Relative or Non-Ordinary / Ordinary — and the thing is — how do we not to careen to one side or the other? how can we actually be in the ‘all at once’. How can I circle a stone on the ground, an ordinary act, and yet, the Absolute arises. This is my goal in creation. To somehow be and express something that is Absolute and Relative – dissolving the division between the two and making something that exists as a unity. And, this unity is also our birthright, Ahh, and it is challenging.  More to come soon as the creation process unfolds. Who was it who talks about music being a unity?