Sunday 20 January 07:00pm

Aaron Siegel, Mantra Percussion, and Christa Van Alstine

"A Great Many" record release

6pm doors • 7pm show


Inspired by massive flocks of starlings flying in uncannily precise murmurations, A Great Many celebrates the emergence of order out of chaos and the power of the natural world. A collaboration between composer Aaron Siegel, clarinetist Christa Van Alstine, and Mantra Percussion, A Great Many is being released on the venerable New Amsterdam Records, and will be performed on this concert next to Siegel’s first work for Mantra Percussion, Science is Only a Sometimes Friend, a piece whose debut recording was hailed as one of the Ten Best Classical Albums of 2011 by Time Out New York.

Notes from composer Aaron Siegel:

The original idea for A Great Many came from videos of starlings moving together in a murmuration. I am interested in large groups of organisms and the way they operate with each other in highly choreographed ways. A Great Many is a dense piece with layers of sound stacked on top of one another.  In concert, the vibrations from the percussion and clarinet should feel like the air sweeping by. Music like this gives listeners a chance to feel the vibrations of the sound and to live with them as part of their lives for the duration of the performance. At the same time that the piece is the physical feeling a great many sounds together, it is also a series of states that together (I have learned) constitute something like a cycle of agitation and introspection. In a way, the form of the piece may, in the end, suggest the kind of narrative arc that I have explored in my works for theatre over the last several years. In this case, though, the sounds represent a character who is at times clearly defined and at other times conflicted and confused. A Great Many is a collaborative performance project between Mantra Percussion and Christa Van Alstine and really could not exist without them.