Music by Berio, Carter, Francesconi and Sciarrino
The Spring 2008 concert series at Columbia University’s Italian Academy will present three concerts by the Argento Chamber Ensemble performing contemporary music by American and European composers. The concerts will feature World Premieres by Helmut Lachenman and the Ensemble’s conductor Michel Galante.
The Argento Chamber Ensemble is the performance arm of the Argento New Music Project. Consisting of nine dedicated members, the ensemble regularly expands to perform and record chamber orchestra works of up to thirty musicians, and has established a reputation for delivering unforgettable performances. The Ensemble has toured widely in the US and abroad in festivals including the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the International Festival of Spectral Music in Istanbul, Turkey, the American Festival of Microtonal Music in New York, Sounds French Festival in New York, The Kilkenny Arts Festival, Ireland, the International Festival of Electro-acoustic music, Shanghai. Tours to Asia and the Middle East included collaborations with non-Western musicians such as singer Kani Karaça.
The group has worked closely with leading composers such as Pierre Boulez, Tania Leon, Tristan Murail, Elliott Carter, Philippe Hurel, Gerard Pesson, Joshua Fineberg and Philippe Leroux, and has collaborated with younger emerging composers internationally and at leading universities such as Columbia, Princeton, and Stony Brook. The Ensemble’s first recording, featuring the music of Tristan Murail, was released in January of 2007 on the AEON label with distribution through Harmonia Mundi. The recording immediately received critical acclaim worldwide. Recordings of Philippe Hurel and Alexandre Lunsqui are all slated for release in the 2008–2009 season. The Ensemble has also recorded surround sound installation works, and has produced a complete video and audio recording of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire for online education.
Argento’s reputation has been the result of its long history as a chamber ensemble since 2000, demanding technical preparation, and a probing interpretive commitment to the music. Independent of commercial endeavors, the Ensemble relies on the hard work of its musicians and board members. Michel Galante has performed as principal, guest, and assistant conductor with orchestras and ensembles in the US, Canada, and Europe. He is a doctoral candidate in composition at Columbia University. His composition awards include Hertz, Fulbright, and Mellon fellowships, and prizes from ASCAP and the Composer’s Guild.
The programs for the spring season concerts will be as follows: