False Harmonics #12: TILT Brass & Zeena Parkins (Performing the music of Julius Eastman, Phill Niblock, John Bischoff, and Zeena Parkins) feat. James Fei and Josh Henderson

TILT Brass plays Zeena Parkins, Julius Eastman, and Phill Niblock, featuring compositions & solo set by Zeena Parkins (harp), with special guests James Fei (analog electronics) and Josh Henderson (violin).

Brooklyn’s own TILT Brass presents a program of works by legendary New York composers including the premiere of a new transcription of Julius Eastman’s brutalist If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich? (1977) for a 13 piece orchestra of brass, strings, and chimes (featuring violinist Josh Henderson), the premiere of TILT’s massed brass version of Phill Niblock’s Exploratory (2019), and Zeena Parkins’ Whistling in the Dark Wind (2019) for TILT Brass sextet and two improvisers (Parkins on harp & polymath musician James Fei on analog electronics.) Ms. Parkins will also present a solo harp set of two new works, one of her own creation, the other by her Mills College composer colleague John Bischoff.


Julius Eastman - If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich? (1977)

Premiere of McIntyre transcription, performed by TILT Brass Orchestra

Zeena Parkins - solo harp performance

New works by Parkins and John Bischoff

Phill Niblock Exploratory (Rhine version, “Looking for Daniel”) (2019)

Premiere of brass version by TILT Brass Orchestra

Zeena Parkins - Whistling in the Dark Wind (rev. 2022)

TILT Brass Sextet with Zeena Parkins and James Fei

About the Artists:

Led by trombonist and composer Chris McIntyre, TILT Brass is a Brooklyn-based organization dedicated to creating new content and contexts for contemporary brass music by producing inventive concert programs, recording projects, and commissioning initiatives. TILT boldly positions itself as the vanguard presenter and advocate for new brass music in New York City. Founded in 2003 by McIntyre and Gregory Evans, TILT Brass’ various projects present the work of living composers with nearly 60 premiere performances thus far. Its personnel includes many of the brightest stars from the local brass community in ensemble configurations ranging from solo and chamber groups to experimental brass orchestra. TILT can be heard on releases by the Tzadik, New World, Non-Site, and POTTR labels. tiltbrass.org

Electro-acoustic composer/performer, multi-instrumentalist, improviser, and pioneer of contemporary harp performance, Zeena Parkins re-imagines both the acoustic harp and an evolution of her original electric ones, through the use of expanded playing techniques, preparations, and custom designed processing. Within a shifting constellation of improvised/composed/gesture/touch/ space/sound/noise/music, Parkins is engaged in translations of sonicity within environments: architectural/emotional/topographical/social.

Parkins has received commissions from Whitney Museum, Tate Modern, Sharjah Art Foundation, Ne(x)tworks, Either/Or Ensemble/Ensemble Son, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Sudwestrundfunk, Bang on a Can Spit Orchestra, and Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Awards include: Guggenheim Fellowship, Doris Duke Artist Award, Berliner Kunstlerprogramm/DAAD Fellowship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund grants NYFA Fellowship, Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist-in-Residence, Shifting Foundation Fellowship, Prix Ars Eletroncia/Honorary Mention, Herb Alpert/Ucross Prize, and three Bessies-NY Dance and Performance Award, for her groundbreaking work with dance. Zeena recently received an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Bard College.

Parkins has performed and/or recorded with: Brandon Lopez, Bjork, Ikue Mori, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Christian Marclay, James Fei, Alvin Curran, Butch Morris, Elliott Sharp, William Winant, Brian Chase, Nate Wooley, Nels Cline, Yuka C. Honda, Tony Buck, Craig Taborn, Magda Mayas, Mette Rassmussen, Steve Beresford, Barry Guy, Cyro Baptista, Okkyung Lee, Matmos, Yoko Ono, Yasunao Tone, Pauline Oliveros, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Renaldo, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Myra Melford, Miya Masaoka, George Lewis, Joan La Barbara, David Behrman, John Bishoff, Jeff Kolar, Ryan Sawyer and Ryan Ross Smith. Parkins is currently the Darius Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, California. zeenaparkins.com

James Fei (b. Taipei, Taiwan) moved to the US in 1992 to study electrical engineering but lost his way in music, becoming a composer, saxophonist and electronic musician. Works by Fei have been performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, MATA Micro Orchestra and Noord-Hollands Philharmonisch Orkest. Recordings can be found on Leo Records, Improvised Music from Japan, CRI, Krabbesholm and Organized Sound. Compositions for Fei's own ensemble of four alto saxophones focus on physical processes of saliva, fatigue, reeds crippled by cuts and the threshold of audible sound production, while his sound installations and performance on live electronics often focus on electronic and acoustic feedback. Fei received the Grants for Artists Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2014 and he is President of Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation. Fei has taught at Mills College in Oakland since 2006, where he is Professor of Electronic Arts, Director of the Center for Contemporary Music and heads the Art and Technology Program. jamesfei.com

NYC based Violinist, Violist, Electric Bassist and Composer Josh Henderson leads a multi-faceted career that ranges from solo performances with orchestras to playing electric violin in Rock Bands. A player in the groups Contemporaneous and Warp Trio among others. Recent collaborations include performing in Henry Threadgill’s Zooid Plus, Darius Jones’ Colored School No.3 project, and the Gateway Music Festival. He regularly performs internationally and in an incredibly broad range of styles. joshhendersonmusic.com