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Wanted: 100 Twin Cities flutists

Flute Circle Wide

Photo: A past open rehearsal of Cutting the Circle of Sound at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (Photo by Meryl Friedman)

On Tuesday night, we were honored to be announced as one of the Knight Foundation’s Arts Challenge winners. With the foundation’s support, we’ll present a special performance featuring flutist and MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow Claire Chase, SPCO flutists Julia Bogorad-Kogan and Alicia McQuerrey, and 100 flutists from across the community.

That’s right: 104 flutists in all.

Interested in participating? Click here to fill out an interest form to receive more information as it’s available. We’ll have more details to share in the spring, but for now, here’s the official press release.

World-class musician Claire Chase combines talents with 100 community flutists for special SPCO performance

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra to receive $50,000 grant through Knight Arts Challenge St. Paul to support project

SAINT PAUL, MN, October 7, 2015 – The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) announces today that it will use a $50,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to stage a special performance of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Il Cerchio Tagliato dei Suoni (Cutting the Circle of Sound) in January 2017. The concert will feature a 100-member community-sourced flute chorus alongside MacArthur Fellow and world-class flutist Claire Chase, SPCO musicians Julia Bogorad-Kogan and Alicia McQuerrey and a to-be-named fourth soloist.

With Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiraling architecture as an inspiration for this piece, Sciarrino places the four soloists in a circle surrounding the seated audience, creating a blanket of often barely audible sounds, which will then be disrupted by processions of the other 100 migrating flutists. LED lights in the flutes and special lighting effects in the hall will further add to the encompassing atmosphere. The SPCO will recruit adult amateurs and flute students from among local universities, community colleges, and high school programs to fill the ranks of the migranti. Flutists will participate in a two day-long workshop prior to the concert to rehearse the piece, and will also take part in master classes with the four soloists.

SPCO Senior Director of Artistic Planning and Principal Second Violinist Kyu-Young Kim said, “We’re delighted about this multi-dimensional project with Claire Chase and the SPCO. There is no one more passionate and creative about advocating for classical music as a living, breathing contemporary art form that has burning relevance for the community, and that makes Claire a perfect match with the SPCO.  We are thrilled that this generous grant from Knight Foundation will enable us to reach and thoroughly engage a broader and more diverse audience.”

Open to individual artists, organizations and businesses, the Knight Arts Challenge is a three-year, $4.5 million opportunity that funds ideas that engage and enrich Saint Paul through the arts.

“The chamber orchestra is creating a unique opportunity for local, amateur musicians to learn from professionals, while fully immersing and engaging the audience in the music-making experience,” said Victoria Rogers, Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts.

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. Knight Foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

Claire Chase is a soloist, collaborative artist, curator and advocate for new and experimental music. Over the past decade she has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works for the flute in performances throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, and she has championed new music throughout the world by building organizations, forming alliances, pioneering commissioning initiatives and supporting educational programs that reach new audiences.

Chase has released three celebrated solo albums, Aliento (2010), Terrestre (2012) and Density (2013), and in 2014 launched Density 2036, a 22-year commissioning project to create an entirely new body of repertory for solo flute between 2014 and 2036, the centenary of Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking 1936 flute solo, Density 21.5. She was the 2009 Grand Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, and made her critically-acclaimed Carnegie Hall recital debut in 2010. Chase founded the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in 2001, described as the United States’ “foremost new-music ensemble”  (The New Yorker), where she currently serves as the co-artistic director in addition to playing more than 50 concerts a year as an ensemble member. ICE has premiered more than 650 works since its inception and has spearheaded an artist-driven organizational model that earned the ensemble the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center in 2010 and the Ensemble of the Year Award in 2014 from Musical America Worldwide. In 2015, Chase was honored with the American Composers Forum Champion of New Music Award for her leadership of ICE. The ensemble can be heard in dozens of recordings on the Tzadik, Mode, Naxos, Bridge, New Amsterdam, New Focus, Samadhi Sound and Nonesuch labels, as well as on its own online, streaming video library of live performances, DigitiCE.

In 2014, Chase was named an inaugural Fellow at Project&: Cultural Production with Social Impact. With Project&, she will develop several large-scale new works exploring the ancient relationship between language and flute music over the next three years.

Upcoming projects include the world premiere of a new flute concerto by Dai Fujikura with the Nagoya Philharmonic in Japan (December 2015), a year-long project with Pascal Gallois in Paris surrounding Boulez’s 90th birthday, a collaboration with Peter Sellars and Kaija Saariaho at the 2016 Ojai Music Festival, performances of Morton Feldman’s five-hour masterpiece For Philip Guston and solo tours in Australia and Japan. At home in New York, she will perform at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Lincoln Center, as well as with ICE in community venues, public spaces and elementary schools as part of the OpenICE initiative.

Chase, a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, grew up in Leucadia, CA with the childhood dream of becoming a professional baseball player before she discovered the flute. She received her Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in the studio of Michel Debost. Her other principal teachers were John Fonville and Damian Bursill-Hall. She currently lives in Brooklyn.