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Michael Kowalski, The Rise and Fall of the First World



Composer Michael Kowalski, and his co-librettist Helena Soares Hungria by phone from São Paulo, discuss the creation of their bi-lingual opera A Ascensão e a Queda do Pimero Mundo following a workshop performance at the Greenwich House Music School in late 2011. Scored for a large ensemble and four singers (excerpts heard here are for a two-piano and percussion reduction) the story jumps back and forth between English and Portuguese. Kowalski discusses his process and strategies for producing such an ambitious work, his passion for the music of Brazil, and looks back at earlier projects that fed and lead him here. This hour-plus long program features lots of musical illustrations from both the opera and Kowalski's earlier works that also display a bold and virtuosic blending and merging of styles.

Composer and pianist Michael Kowalski was a pioneer in the field of computer music in the 1970s. He wrote extensively for percussion and mixed chamber ensembles before turning fulltime to operatic composition in 1995, when he founded his ensemble, The Postindustrial Players.
 

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Experimental Composers

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The object of this series is to invite emerging and established innovators to share their work. These programs are usually a combination of an interview with a far-reaching perspective on the artist's career, some recordings illustrating this history, and something new. Open territory. The unfortunate and unintended messages that come attached to a title like Experimental Composers are many. Still it is one of the few labels to come out of the world of music that has not been co-opted by promoters, corporations, journalists, or lawyers. This one just seems to have anti-market goo on it. Hooray. It's also just bad English (as if to imply that these poor souls are themselves, in their flesh and blood, some kind of experiment and, perhaps, even expendable). And then there is the spectre of defying the wisdom of the great Edgar Varèse who said something like, "I do not write experimental music. My experimenting is done before I make the music. Afterwards it is the listener who must experiment."
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