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OSCILLATIONS: Dante/Schulmeister, Nathan Cook

With the invocation “A roaring flame has dissolved this heart of mine…”, performers and audience will be propelled into an exploration of lust and loss, poetry and improvisation sparked by three of contemporary music’s greatest works for soprano and double bass, performed by Nina Dante and Kathryn Schulmeister. James Dillon’s A Roaring Flame was described by the composer as a weather system (embodied by the double bass) into which a lone vocalist flings her song. Embodying the introductory quote of the work (which serves as the title of this program), the double bass slowly catches fire, dissolving the singer into a state of unsatiated desire. Beat Furrer’s Lotófagos journeys deep into the desert where the sun erases time and memory, the title translating to “lotus-eaters”, inspired by the amnesia-inducing lotuses of The Odyssey. Giacinto Scelsi’s Canti del Capricorno No. 4 treats the voice and double bass as a unified instrument, and leaving behind text-based narrative, explores pure sound’s ability to express human impulses. This results in a meditative experience ultimately sounding as a sacred chant. Lightly staged and presented as a continuous narrative, the program blurs the lines between composed works and instrumental improvisation with spoken/sung recitations of the works’ texts. These pieces and the resulting improvisations are defined by an equally protagonistic relationship between voice and instrument; the double bass functioning as the dramatic landscape within which the vocalist acts as narrator.


A Roaring Flame (1980-2), James Dillon (1950-)
Lotófagos (2006), Beat Furrer (1954-)
Canti del Capricorno, No. 4, Giacinto Scelsi (1905-88)

*program will feature improvised music and poetry recitation as preludes and postludes to each work


As a member of the Close/Far Family artist collective, multi-disciplinary sound artist and improviser Nathan Cook runs the cassette side of Close/Far Recordings. He performs solo and actively seeks out collaborations as N.N.N. Cook. Regularly performing in St. Louis he has shared rosters with national and international artists such as: Jozef Van Wissem, Jason Kahn, Coppice, and Keith Fullerton Whitman. As well as with local artists Regicide Bureau, Darin Gray, Jeremy Kannapell, Kevin Harris, and Raglani. Although he has performed in Chicago, Kansas City, and Tulsa among other Midwestern cities most of his performances have been in St. Louis at: The Saint Louis Contemporary Art Museum, The William A. Kerr Foundation, The Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, Apop Records, and Floating Laboratories. Recent public projects of fixed media have been commissions with The Laumeier Sculpture Park for Site/Sound, where sound works were created and presented with specific sculptures. At the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis where he installed a 4-part sound suite, which ran for four months this spring, in their elevator—transforming the space into a laboratory for sonic investigation. More recently he has completed a performing arts residency at High Concept Laboratories (Chicago) as a sponsored artist for their 2013-2014 winter program. In the summer Cook performed at the New Music Circle (St. Louis) end-of-season 2014 showcase. This fall Alarm Will Sound will premiere a new work titled Rising/Falling written specifically for them by Cook to be performed at the inauguration of The Nine Network’s new Public Media Commons space in downtown St. Louis. The Wire magazine said this of his latest release, (Bl)end User: “Regarding the latter (analogue electronics), Nathan Cook is a distinctive voice in this crowded field.”