DALLAS, Texas (December 13, 2021)—The Nasher Sculpture Center announces ‘SCULPTING SOUND: Twelve Musicians Encounter Bertoia’, a series of six historic concerts, from February 22–27, 2022, bringing together twelve master musicians to explore the expressive range of Harry Bertoia’s sounding sculptures, in complement to the exhibition Harry Bertoia: Sculpting Mid-Century Modern Life on view at the Nasher January 29 – April 23, 2022.
“‘SCULPTING SOUND’ is one of the most exciting and generous extensions to an exhibition that we have ever offered the public,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “Alongside their own instruments, this extraordinary group of musicians will bring Bertoia’s sounding sculptures into their full aural potential within the museum, unifying the disciplines of sculpture and music, as Bertoia intended. The results of this exceptional occasion will certainly astound, marking a historic moment within both fields.”
Harry Bertoia created hundreds of sounding sculptures—comprised of metal rods in various metals anchored to bases, as well as gongs and “singing bars”—that could be touched, struck, and strummed to create a range of tonal sounds. Bertoia recorded eleven albums using this work, and although nearly unknown to the public at large, these records proved deeply influential in the world of leading-edge music and sound design and garnered a growing list of admirers among some of the most celebrated musicians in the world.
Extending and enriching this musical legacy, ‘SCULPTING SOUND,’ conceived and curated by poet and record producer David Breskin, will pair twelve critically acclaimed, award-winning musicians over six nights, each night dedicated to a particular instrument that will be played with the Bertoia sounding sculptures.
Exploring new realms of the Sonambient, the term that Bertoia coined to express the physical sensation of being immersed in the vibrations of the sounding sculptures, the concert series will include electric guitarists Nels Cline & Ben Monder, trumpeters Ambrose Akinmusire & Nate Wooley, saxophonists Ingrid Laubrock & JD Allen, Brandon Seabrook & Jen Shyu on acoustic strings, drummers Marcus Gilmore & Dan Weiss, and pianists Kris Davis & Craig Taborn.
‘SCULPTING SOUND’ Concert Schedule
7 p.m. each night at the Nasher Sculpture Center
February 22: Electric Guitar Night: Nels Cline & Ben Monder
February 23: Trumpet Night: Ambrose Akinmusire & Nate Wooley
February 24: Saxophone Night: Ingrid Laubrock & JD Allen
February 25: Acoustic Strings Night: Jen Shyu & Brandon Seabrook
February 26: Drums / Percussion Night: Marcus Gilmore & Dan Weiss
February 27: Piano Night: Kris Davis & Craig Taborn
Individual tickets are $30 and ticket packages for all six nights are available for purchase here.
Concerts will be recorded live.
ABOUT THE ‘SCULPTING SOUND’ MUSICIANS
February 22 | Electric Guitar Night
A true guitar polymath, Nels Cline’s recording and performing career spans jazz, rock, punk and experimental music with over 200 recordings, including 30 as a leader, to his credit. His many accolades include being anointed by Rolling Stone as both one of 20 New Guitar Gods and one of the top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Cline’s first recording was Elegies with composer Eric Von Essen, who played duets with Cline. There followed a series of recordings with New York avant-garde alto saxophonist Tim Berne and with Berne’s mentor Julius Hemphill before Cline hit a prolific streak in the ‘90s with a string of releases by the Nels Cline Trio. The guitarist’s 1999 release, Interstellar Space Revisited (The Music of John Coltrane), was an explosive duet with drummer Gregg Bendian. He followed with a string of eight uncompromising releases through the 2000s for the Cryptogramophone label, including 2002’s debut by the Nels Cline Singers, Instrumentals, and their 2004 follow-up, The Giant Pin, that put him on the avant-garde map. Cline’s profile was elevated to a whole other level after joining Wilco in 2004. For his ambitious 2016 Blue Note debut, Lovers, Nels defied all expectations by delivering a sumptuous chamber- orchestra feast of mood music that was an unapologetically romantic paean to the Great American Songbook. For his 2018 follow-up on Blue Note, Currents, Constellations, he pared it down to a quartet, dubbed The Nels Cline 4, and showcased a tight two-guitar interplay with his six-string partner Julian. His 2016 double album debut on Blue Note, Lovers, was called “quietly ravishing” by The New York Times, while his 2018 follow-up, Currents, Constellations, was called “vibrant, adventurous” by Stereogum.
Ben Monder has performed with a wide variety of artists, including Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, Billy Childs, Andrew Cyrille, Paul Motian, Maria Schneider, Louis Cole, Marshall Crenshaw and Jandek. He also contributed guitar parts to the last David Bowie album, Blackstar. He is a current member of the celebrated group The Bad Plus and continues to perform original music internationally in both solo and trio settings. Ben has appeared on over 200 CDs as a sideman and has released seven as a leader: Day After Day (Sunnyside, 2019) Amorphae (ECM, 2015), Hydra (Sunnyside, 2013), Oceana (Sunnyside, 2005), Excavation (Arabesque, 2000), Dust (Arabesque, 1997), and Flux (Songlines, 1995).
February 23 | Trumpet Night
Described by NPR Music as “one of the most acclaimed jazz artists of his generation, a trumpeter of deep expressive resources and a composer of kaleidoscopic vision,” Ambrose Akinmusire has made a home at the crossroads of different musical forms and languages, from post-bop and avant-garde jazz to contemporary chamber music and hip-hop to singer-songwriter aesthetics. His 2018 release Origami Harvest features rapper Kool A.D. with the Mivos String Quartet and was named a top album of 2018 by The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times and more. In addition to winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2007 and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition the same year, Akinmusire has frequently topped the JazzTimes and Downbeat annual critics polls. He has received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2014); Le Grand Prix de l’Académie du Jazz (2014); Germany’s ECHO Jazz Award (Instrumentalist of the Year/Brass); and The Netherlands’ Paul Acket Award.
Nate Wooley is considered one of the leading lights of the American movement, redefining the physical boundaries of the horn, and has gathered international acclaim for his idiosyncratic trumpet language. Since moving to New York in 2001, he has become one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise, and new music scenes. He has performed regularly with John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Eliane Radigue, Annea Lockwood, Ken Vandermark, Evan Parker, and Yoshi Wada. He has premiered works for trumpet by Christian Wolff, Michael Pisaro, Annea Lockwood, Ash Fure, Wadada Leo Smith, Sarah Hennies and Eva-Maria Houben. In recent years, he has built a reputation as a composer of music epic in scope and social in design. His series of solo works based on the International Phonetic Alphabet, The Complete Syllables Music, was compared to the literary work of Georges Perec and hailed as “revolutionary solo repertoire” by All About Jazz.
February 24 | Saxophone Night
Hailed by the New York Times as “a tenor saxophonist with an enigmatic, elegant and hard-driving style,” JD Allen is a bright light on today’s international jazz scene, with 14 albums as a leader to his credit. His unique and compelling voice on the instrument has earned Allen years of critical attention signaling his ascension to the upper ranks of the contemporary jazz world. Originally from Detroit, Allen’s apprenticeship, anchored by his lengthy tenure with Betty Carter, occurred largely in New York, where he worked with legends Lester Bowie, George Cables, Ron Carter, Louis Hayes, Frank Foster Big Band, Winard Harper, Dave Douglas, Butch Morris, David Murray, Wallace Roney, Rufus Reid and Geri Allen. Allen’s last trio album, Toys / Die Dreaming, extends his singular and well-honed approach to the trio. His solo saxophone debut, Queen City was released to great critical acclaim and a standout offering that took the listener directly into Allen's world of isolation during the Covid-19 lockdown. Off the bandstand, Allen is a compelling educator and activist. He is a founder of We Insist!, a nonprofit jazz and Black arts action community and co-founder along with Nasheet Waits and Eric Revis of We Insist! sister organization We up - Re up, a collective of jazz musicians whose primary goal is to foster jazz performance curating opportunities within non-traditional inner city and rural performance settings.
Ingrid Laubrock is a prolific composer and was named a “true visionary” by pianist and The Kennedy Center's artistic director Jason Moran, and a “fully committed saxophonist and visionary" by The New Yorker. Laubrock has performed with Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jason Moran, Kris Davis, Nels Cline, Tyshawn Sorey, Mary Halvorson, Zeena Parkins, Tom Rainey, Tim Berne, Dave Douglas, Wet Ink and many others. She has composed for ensembles ranging from solo to chamber orchestra. Awards include Fellowship in Jazz Composition by the Arts Foundation, BBC Jazz Prize for Innovation, SWR German Radio Jazz Prize and German Record Critics Quarterly Award. She won best Rising Star Soprano Saxophonist in the Downbeat Annual Critics Poll in 2015 and best Tenor Saxophonist in 2018. Ingrid Laubrock has received composing commissions by BBC Glasgow Symphony orchestra, Bang on The Can, Grossman Ensemble, The Shifting Foundation, The Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, The Jerwood Foundation, American Composers Orchestra, Tricentric Foundation, SWR New Jazz Meeting, The Jazz Gallery Commissioning Series, NYSCA, Wet Ink, John Zorn's Stone Commissioning Series and the EOS Orchestra. She is a recipient of the 2019 Herb Alpert Ragdale Prize in Music Composition and the 2021 Berklee Institute of Gender Justice Women Composers Collection Grant.
February 25 | Acoustic Strings Night
Brandon Seabrook is a guitarist, banjoist, and composer living in New York City where he has established himself as one of the most potent musicians of his generation. He has released seven albums as a leader covering everything from pulverizing art-metal to chamber music, bridging the realms of extreme rock and the classical avant-garde. He has been called upon by Anthony Braxton, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Ben Allison, Gerald Cleaver, So Percussion, Frank London, Bill Laswell, Ingrid Laubrock, and Joey Arias for his idiosyncratic physical performance style, hyperreal technique, and impeccable articulation. He has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Premier Guitar, Downbeat Magazine, Rolling Stone, NPR, The Chicago Reader, and The Wire. Brandon is an accomplished solo artist, named Best Guitarist in New York City by The Village Voice 2012. In 2014, New Atlantis Records released his first solo album titled Sylphid Vitalizers. Brandon has presented his solo work at Pioneer Works, Sonic Transmissions Festival, Secret Project Robot, NK Berlin, Lima Jazz Festival, Dither Extravaganza, The Smell, and Laurence University.
Guggenheim Fellow, USA Fellow, Doris Duke Artist, multilingual vocalist-composer-multi-instrumentalist-dancer Jen Shyu is “one of the most creative vocalists in contemporary improvised music” (The Nation). Born in Peoria, Illinois to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrants and having produced eight albums, Shyu has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Theater of Korea, Salihara Theater, Rubin Museum and other venues and festivals around the world and is a Fulbright scholar speaking 10 languages. She has performed with Nicole Mitchell, Kris Davis, Val Jeanty, Wadada Leo Smith, Vijay Iyer, Chris Potter, among many others, and sang in two operas of Anthony Braxton (Trillium E and Trillium J). Her album Song of Silver Geese was among The New York Times’ Best Albums of 2017 and her recent album Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses has received rave reviews by Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Grammys.com, and more. She’s currently touring her solo theatrical work Zero Grasses (commissioned by John Zorn) nationally and internationally. During the pandemic, she launched her Patreon page and co-founded Mutual Mentorship for Musicians with Sara Serpa. She is also a Paul Simon Music Fellows Guest Artist and a Steinway Artist.
February 26 | Drums / Percussion Night
Marcus Gilmore is a multi-Grammy Award-winning drummer/composer. While Marcus has frequently been seen performing and recording with a diverse array of the finest musicians in the world such as Chick Corea, Pharoah Sanders, Savion Glover & Pat Metheny, he has also demonstrated his multifaceted musical talents and personality through long-term solo projects with his own groups Actions Speak and Silouhwav. In 2020, he performed his first orchestral composition titled “Pulse” with members of the Cape Town Philharmonic and the 22nd Poet Laureate Tracy K Smith as part of the 2018 – 2019 Annual Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. He is also on the cusp of releasing his first solo recording. He has performed/recorded extensively with Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Mulatu Astatke, Ravi Coltrane, Roscoe Mitchell, Common, Thundercat, Vijay Iyer, Wadada Leo Smith, Flying Lotus, Cassandra Wilson, Bilal, Talib Kweli, Queen Latifah, Black Thought, Zakir Hussain, Esperanza Spalding, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, and Taylor Mcferrin.
Two-time Shifting Foundation Grantee Dan Weiss has been hailed as one of the top five jazz drummers by The New York Times and his large ensemble recording “Fourteen” made their top ten list of the best records of 2014. Weiss has been studying tabla under Samir Chatterjee for 25 years. He’s performed classical Indian music with the legendary Ashish Khan and Ramesh Misra, and recorded the tabla solo cd, “3dcd” (2007). Weiss also recorded two unprecedented CDs, “Teental Drumset Solo” (2005) and “Jhaptal Drumset Solo” (2011) where he performs classical Indian repertoire on drum set. With his trio, which includes Jacob Sacks and Thomas Morgan, he’s released three records which have been critically acclaimed for their unique approach to song structure and endless creative improvisation. Weiss also leads a unique 16-piece ensemble that features some of NYC’s most gifted musicians. The two albums Fourteen (2014) and Sixteen: Drummers Suite (2016) released on the Pi record label have made numerous critic polls. Weiss is currently working on a new trio project (new album in 2022) and a duo project with Miles Okazaki (double vinyl release scheduled for late 2021).
February 27: Piano Night
Kris Davis is a critically acclaimed pianist and composer who was described by The New York Times as a beacon for “deciding where to hear jazz on a given night.” Since 2003, Davis has released 23 recordings as a leader or co-leader and has collaborated with artists such as Terri Lyne Carrington, John Zorn, Craig Taborn, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Eric Revis, Johnathan Blake, Stephan Crump and Eric McPherson, among others. In 2019, her album Diatom Ribbons was named jazz album of the year by both The New York Times and the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll. She was also named 2020 Pianist of the Year, 2017 Rising Star Pianist and 2018 Rising Star Artist by DownBeat, and 2020 Pianist and Composer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. Davis was named a 2021 Doris Duke Artist along with Wayne Shorter and Danilo Perez, and she has also received multiple commissions for composing new works from The Shifting Foundation, The Jazz Gallery and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Craig Taborn has been performing piano and electronic music in the jazz, improvisational, and creative music scene for more than 25 years. He has experience composing for and performing in a wide variety of situations including jazz, new music, electronic, rock, noise and Avant Garde contexts. Taborn has played and recorded with many luminaries in the fields of jazz, improvised, new music and electronic music including Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Lester Bowie, Dave Holland, Tim Berne, John Zorn, Evan Parker, Steve Coleman, David Torn, Chris Potter, William Parker, Vijay Iyer, Kris Davis, Nicole Mitchell, Susie Ibarra, Ikue Mori, Carl Craig, Dave Douglas, Meat Beat Manifesto, Dan Weiss, Chris Lightcap, Gerald Cleaver, and Rudresh Manhathappa. Taborn is currently occupied creating and performing music for solo piano performance (Avenging Angel), piano trio (Craig Taborn Trio), an electronic project (Junk Magic), the Daylight Ghosts Quartet, a piano/drums/electronics duo with Dave King (Heroic Enthusiasts) and a new trio with Tomeka Reid and Ches Smith as well as piano duo collaborations with Vijay Iyer (The Transitory Poems), Kris Davis (Octopus) and Cory Smythe. He is also a member of the instrumental electronic art-pop group Golden Valley is Now and performs frequently on solo electronics.
‘SCULPTING SOUND: Twelve Musicians Encounter Bertoia’ is organized by David Breskin and made possible by leading support from The Shifting Foundation. Additional support for film documentation is provided by Allen and Kelli Questrom.
Harry Bertoia: Sculpting Mid-Century Modern Life is made possible by leading support from the Texas Commission on the Arts and Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger. Generous support is provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District (DTPID). Additional support is provided by Humanities Texas.