Anthony Braxton 69th Birthday Season to Feature New Works, Performances

New opera, box set, a festival and more

Anthony Braxton, jazz educator, saxophonist, conductor, composer, and arranger image 0
Stephen Higginbotham Braunginn

Anthony Braxton, jazz educator, saxophonist, conductor, composer, and arranger

Composer and musician Anthony Braxton will celebrate his 69th birthday with a series of premieres, performances and events encompassing improvisational pieces with small ensembles to full-scale orchestral works and operatic compositions.

According to a press release, “Taking a cue from Braxton’s ‘Tri-Axium’ philosophical writings exploring the ‘partials’ of his life’s work-music (sound logic) systems, thought (philosophical) systems, and ritual and ceremonial (belief) systems-the decision to celebrate his 69th birthday publicly (a number divisible by three) is a natural one.” The season will pair rare performances of past compositions with premieres and recordings of new work by Braxton.

The Braxton celebration will begin with the Tri-Centric Music Festival in New York April 10-19, with two full weekends of performances at Roulette in Brooklyn and an ongoing performance installation at Eyebeam in Manhattan. Weekend one is set to feature Braxton’s “Composition No. 46” (for chamber ensemble), “Composition No. 146” (for 12 flutes, two tubas and percussion) and his Diamond Curtain Wall Nonet, presented alongside new projects by James Fei, Nate Wooley, Fay Victor and Andre Vida.

Weekend two consists of the semi-staged, multimedia concert premiere of Braxton’s latest four-act opera, Trillium J (The Non-Unconfessionables), featuring a cast of 12 vocalists, 12 instrumental soloists and a 36-piece orchestra led by a team including Braxton (composer, librettist, conductor), Acushla Bastible (director), Louisa Proske (associate director), Chris Jonas (lead video artist), Dylan McLaughlin (associate video artist), Rachel Bernsen (choreographer), and Taylor Ho Bynum (producer). According to the press release, “Audiences will have the option of experiencing two acts at a time on two separate evenings or attending a full day with the first two acts presented as a matinee and the second two acts presented that same evening.” Following the premiere the project will move into the studio to be recorded and released as a CD/DVD box set the following spring. The set will incorporate both live video and animation in order to fully document this massive work.

Braxton’s birthday season continues through the fall of 2014 with the release of a series of CD box sets of new material, two on Tri-Centric’s own New Braxton House label, and the third on Firehouse 12 Records. Trio (New Haven) 2013 is a four-CD set of Braxton performing with drummers Tom Rainey and Tomas Fujiwara. 12 Duets (DCWM) 2012 is a 12-CD set presenting Braxton in dialogue with three duet partners: violinist Erica Dicker, vocalist Kyoko Kitamura and bassoonist Katherine Young. The performances also feature Braxton’s Diamond Curtain Wall Music, which combines intuitive improvisation with interactive electronics. And finally, 3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011 (to be released on Firehouse 12 Records) is a three-CD set documenting Braxton’s newest composition system, Echo Echo Mirror House Music, featuring Braxton’s long-running septet with Taylor Ho Bynum (brass), Jessica Pavone (viola), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Jay Rozen (tuba), Carl Testa (bass) and Aaron Siegel (percussion). All the musicians wield iPods in addition to their instruments while navigating scores that, says the release, “combine cartography and symbology, creating an immersive sound environment that combines live performance and sampled sound from Braxton’s extensive recorded discography.”

For more information, visit TriCentric Foundation.