Three New Works by Patrick Higgins with Visual Installations by Tauba Auerbach and Alexander Arroyo

On November 3 and 4, 2016, Pioneer Works will present two evening length concerts of the music of Patrick Higgins, performed by some of New York’s most acclaimed ensembles. Featuring Vicky Chow, Mivos Quartet, and Wet Ink Ensemble, this program of three compositions for string quartet, piano trio, and chamber orchestra will be paired with an immersive installation and visual content inspired by the musical scores and in collaboration with visual artists Tauba Auerbach and Alexander Arroyo.

Collaged extracts, previewing of the compositions:

SQ3, Higgins’ third piece for string quartet, is a dark and dramatic evocation of ancient rite and modern mourning. Since its debut, this work has been performed in concerts from Japan to Canada, but will have its full New York premiere at this event. SQ3 will be performed by the renowned Mivos Quartet.

TOCSIN, written for virtuoso pianist Vicky Chow and cellists Mariel Roberts and Brian Snow, will receive its world premiere. A highly demanding and idiosyncratic work, TOCSIN uses subtle mechanical preparations for piano and a unique instrumentation to create a music where the line between piano, cello, and otherworldly source is constantly traversed, undermined, and transformed. The title comes from Old French, and refers to a warning bell.

EMPTYSET [0,0] engages the emergent physical and topographic aspects of barren-ness, emptyness, desolateness — of ruined landscape, lifeless terrain. Using a complex overlaying of simple music materials, EMPTYSET [0,0] is constructed in a mechanistic, almost geologic style: accretions emerge, then form, solidify, decay, then reconfigure. This work is written for the Wet Ink Ensemble, it will also receive its world premiere.

Image: Alexander Arroyo

About the Artists

Patrick Higgins
Described by The New Yorker magazine as one of the “prime movers of the local avant-garde”, and a “formidable concert music composer” by the Boston Globe, Patrick Higgins is a New York based composer/performer of experimental music. Higgins has composed works for some of the nation’s leading ensembles, ranging from chamber orchestra works, percussion cycles, and string quartets to smaller ensembles and soloists. He has scored works for television, museum exhibitions, and films both short-form and feature-length. Higgins plays guitar and composes in ZS, hailed by the New York Times as “one of the strongest avant-garde bands in New York.”

Tauba Auberbach
San Francisco-born, New York-based artist Tauba Auerbach has described her work as an attempt to reveal “new spectral and dimensional richness…both within and beyond the limits of perception.” Engaging a variety of media, ranging from painting and photography to book design and musical performance, Auerbach explores the limits of our structures and systems of logic (linguistic, mathematical, spatial) and the points at which they break down and open up onto new visual and poetic possibilities.

Vicky Chow
Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as “brilliant” (New York Times), “a monster pianist” (Time Out New York) and “new star of new music” (Los Angeles Times). She is the pianist for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Grand Band, New Music Detroit, and has collaborated with other ensembles such as the International Contemporary Ensemble.

The Mivos Quartet
The Mivos Quartet, “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles” (The Chicago Reader), is devoted to performing the works of contemporary composers, presenting new music to diverse audiences. Since the quartet’s beginnings in 2008 they have performed and closely collaborated with an ever-expanding group of international composers who represent multiple aesthetics of contemporary classical composition.

Wet Ink Ensemble
The Wet Ink Ensemble is a unique collection of composers, improvisers and interpreters committed to making adventurous music. With a 16-year history of outstanding achievement in the programming and presentation of contemporary music, Wet Ink has earned an international reputation as one of the most innovative and virtuosic ensembles working today.