January 13, 2020

MUSIC'S OVER: Listening with Peter Ablinger

University of Chicago Arts

Photo: Siegrid Ablinger, 2009.

Austrian experimental composer premieres new works in Chicago.

The Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry is pleased to kick off the inaugural week of Gray Sound with Peter Ablinger’s first visit to Chicago. Founded in 2019 by Gray Center Director and UChicago Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities, Seth Brodsky, Gray Sound is a new performance series focusing on experimental music and sound.

For decades, Peter Ablinger’s work has been forcing open fault lines in the topography of the audible. His vast output of scores, electronic pieces, installations, and conceptual works consistently finds ways—funny, pointed, disturbing—to put the ear’s organization of reality in doubt. Is that a voice, and what is a voice? When is something newly or no longer music? Noise? Information? In Ablinger’s cunning scramble of sonic categories, listening loses its lay of the land. Concepts come unmoored from sounds, and the land changes shape.

The Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry is thrilled to host Ablinger’s first visit to Chicago. The week-long residency will thread a series of talks, composition seminars, and experimental discussions in between multiple performance events featuring world premieres and internationally renowned performers and ensembles, who will render Ablinger’s work alone and alongside other artists who enjoy his influence.

Running throughout the week at the Gray Center Lab will be the world premiere of MUSIC’S OVER, one of the most ambitious of Ablinger’s Quadraturen (“Squarings”) series: a computer-controlled piano, designed and realized in collaboration with Winfried Ritsch, performs a clangorous, spectrally derived “phonorealist” transcription of a raucous live Doors performance from 1970. Come by and press the red button on the piano, and prepare to lose and refind your way. Experience performances by Fonema Consort, Wet Ink Ensemble, and a•pe•ri•od•ic, featuring three world premieres by Ablinger as well as works by Chiyoko Szlavnics, Fernanda Aoki Navarro, Sam Pluta, and others in a variety of locations.

The series is co-sponsored by Goethe-Institut Chicago, Experimental Sound Studio, Constellation Chicago and UChicago’s Logan Center for the Arts.

Brief schedule below—please see event listings for complete details:

Installation: Tuesday, January 21–Saturday, January 25
World premiere of MUSIC’S OVER for computer-controlled piano, running all week, daily schedule 10am–5pm.
Location: Gray Center for Art and Inquiry, University of Chicago, 929 E. 60th St. Free admission

Sunday, January 19, 8:30pm
Wet Ink Ensemble performs Peter Ablinger and Sam Pluta
Location: Constellation, 3111 N Western Ave. 15 USD general / 10 USD for students

Wednesday, January 22, 6pm
Sidebar: Music/Language/Thought/Noise
Peter Ablinger in conversation with UChicago Professors in the Department of Linguistics, Alan C.L. Yu & Itamar Francez, UChicago Professor in the Department of Music, Jennifer Iverson.
Moderated by Seth Brodsky, Gray Center Director and Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities.
Location: Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, 929 E. 60th St. Free admission

Thursday, January 23, 8pm
Eric Wubbels (piano) performs Peter Ablinger’s Voices and Piano (includes world premiere)
Location: Experimental Sound Studio, 5925 N Ravenswood Ave. 10 USD general admission, 8 USD students/ members

Friday, January 24, 8pm
Fonema Consort performs Peter Ablinger (includes world premiere), Chiyoko Slavnics, and Fernanda Aoki Navarro
Location: Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, 915 E 60th St. Free admission

Saturday, January 25, 7:30pm
a•pe•ri•od•ic performs Peter Ablinger’s 3 Orta/ 3 Places in Chicago
Location: Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, 929 E. 60th Street (the concert will begin here and then move to two other locations within the Logan Center); Free admission

Monday, January 27, 4pm
Artist talk with Peter Ablinger: “Complementary Art”
Location: Columbia College, 623 S Wabash Ave, Room 109 (Hokin Lecture Hall)

For more information and updates please visit or write Mike Schuh, Gray Center Assistant Director of Fellowships and Operations at mikes1 [​at​]

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