Saturday, March 22, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Claire Chase and ICE

This week, let's check out some videos of flute player Claire Chase and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), who are coming to St. Louis to perform in a concert presented by New Music Circle at 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 4, at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

Chase, who's 36 and based in Chicago, has premiered more than 100 new works for flute, many of which were composed specifically for her. A California native who attended Oberlin College, she founded the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in 2001 after graduating from Oberlin, and has been its executive and artistic director ever since.

As much a presenting organization as a group with fixed membership and instrumentation, ICE has premiered more than 500 compositions in venues ranging from alternative spaces to concert halls around the world. Chase has released eight albums under her own name, and in 2012, she became a MacArthur Fellow - popularly known as "the genius grant" - and is using the $500,000 prize to continue and expand her work commissioning and performing new compositions.

At the Pulitzer, she and ICE will be performing works selected in response to the venue's current exhibition "Art of Its Own Making." While we can't tell you much more today about the specifics of the program, here are a few clips that at least suggest the range of capabilities of Chase and her colleagues.

The first clip is an excerpt of a performance by Chase and ICE in January 2012 at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC, and in the second, she performs Edgard Varèse's "Density 21.5" on a platinum flute.

The third video features Chase and two other members of ICE, cellist Katinka Kleijn and pianist Jacob Greenberg, performing George Crumb's 1971 work "Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale)" in October 2013 for the Chicago Humanities Festival.

The fourth video is another full performance featuring Chase as a soloist, playing Kaija Saariaho's Flute Concerto (2003) with the New Millennium Orchestra in February 2012 at the Harris Theater in Chicago.

In the fifth clip, Chase and fellow ICE member Eric Lamb perform Phillippe Hurel's "Loops III" and Mario Diza de Leon's "Altar of Two Serpents" during an appearance on "Real Flutists," an online video series hosted by Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull (aka Flutronix) at The Flute Center of New York. (You can see the interview in two parts here and here.)

The final clip is a short interview with Chase recorded in 2012, in which she talks about her work in the context of just having received the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. For more about her and ICE, check out this 2011 feature about her from NPR's "The Record" and these 2013 interviews with Bloomberg News and The Street.

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