Fulcrum Point New Music Project Presents A Multimedia Live Score
at the CIMMFest “Spring Fling Thing”
“Hong Kong Pop Meets Avant-Pop”: A Multimedia Mashup with a 7 Piece Funk Band
On April 21, 2017, as part of the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival (CIMMFest) “Spring Fling Thing”, Fulcrum Point New Music Project will offer a true feast for the senses featuring outrageous videos and a 7-piece funk band playing wild mashups of documentary films and provocative interviews. The program will include works by Jacob TV, Teddy Robin Kwan, and Valerie Coleman.
Created in 1998 by conductor, composer and trumpet virtuoso Stephen Burns, the mission of Fulcrum Point New Music Project is to be a Chicago leader of diverse new music by presenting multi-media performances, collaborating with innovative tech to support educational programs within Chicago Public Schools, as well as commissioning and recording innovative works. Its programs are inspired and influenced by popular culture, including literature, film, dance, folk, rock, jazz, blues, Latin and world music. Through multi-disciplinary concert performances and educational programs, Fulcrum Point seeks to encourage audiences to make cross-cultural connections between new music, art, technology and literature, gaining greater insight into today’s diverse world.
CIMMFest, to take place in the Fall of 2017, will be a four-day showcase of outstanding films, energetic concerts, visually stunning VJ/DJ sets, lively Q&A’s, daring live score performances, industry panels and presentations designed to show just what movies and music mean to each other. “Spring Fling Thing”, April 21-23, will be a one-ring circus of music, movies and mayhem.
Dutch avant-pop artist Jacob TV’s punchy, social-political music videos, riffing on rap, machismo, and violence are the perfect foil to the suave, award-winning scores of Hong Kong filmmaker/pop-star Teddy Robin Kwan. Kwan’s theme songs will be sung by winners of the “Chicago’s Got Cantonese Talent” singing competition. The music of Kwan and Jacob TV are complemented by Valerie Coleman’s work for video, flute, and percussion, “Hair, Cloth, and Thread,” a six-movement piece based on artwork by Sonya Clark exploring cultural themes of African-American hair, the textile industry, history, and memory.
Teddy Robin Kwan (Kwan Wai-pang) is a Hong Kong English pop singer-songwriter, actor, director and producer. In the 1960’s, when Hong Kong English pop music was at it’s peak, Teddy was on top of the charts and led a band he named “Teddy Robin and the Playboys”. He later became an actor, film director, producer and composer
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Valerie Coleman began her music studies at the age of 11, and by the age of 14, she had written three symphonies and won several local and state performance competitions. Today, she is the founder, composer and flutist of the Grammy® nominated “Imani Winds”, one of the world’s premier wind quintet ensembles. As a creative force behind her ensemble, she has created a powerful legacy within chamber music, much of which is considered to be standard repertoire within the woodwind genre. She is perhaps best known for “UMOJA”, a composition that has become is widely recognized and was listed by Chamber Music America as one of the “Top 101 Great American Ensemble Works”
AN INTERVIEW WITH JACOB TV
Dutch “avant pop” composer Jacob Ter Veldhuis studied composition and electronic music at the Groningen Conservatoire, and was awarded the Composition Prize of the Netherlands in 1980. Referred to by some as “a musical terrorist”, acknowledged radical innovator Jacob TV has been in the vanguard of musical inventiveness, creating works that meld together film, tape and sound. This reviewer had the opportunity to speak with the prolific pioneer about the merging of forms and metacommunication in the arts.
It was obvious at once that this soft-spoken, highly cultured individual had the stamp of genius- he is enormously imaginative, deeply intuitive and very funny. I had already seen several of the pieces that are to be performed by Fulcrum Point musicians/guest artists at “Hong Kong Pop” as part of “SpringFling”, at a Fulcrum Point concert in the Library Bar at The Public Hotel. “I Was Like Wow” and “Close Fight”, dedicated to Fulcrum Point Director Stephen Burns, were both instantly enthralling; I was taken right away by the engrossing multi-media experiences.
The sole question I put to “TV” was “How do you see the increasingly important relationship between music and other forms of art such as painting, video and cinema, and how far does music relate to all of the senses?” In response, he proffered a kaleidoscope of impressions, some of which are paraphrased below:
“I’m interested in the combination of music with other art forms, and it was inevitable that I began to put them together”, he said. He recalled how his neighbors had one of the earliest televisions. “My oldest memory is seeing old slapstick movies”. He also spoke of the enormous color-filled influence of American television culture, particularly Walt Disney, and the wealth of music that flooded in from the States in the 1950’s.
“As a very young child, I was already a storyteller”, he said, relating how delighted he was when his teacher would tell the class, “Listen to what Jacob has written”, and read his compositions aloud.
“I have always been interested in visuals. I could’ve become a painter, a novelist, but I became a composer by chance”, he mused, explaining how extreme stagefright prevented him from continuing to perform onstage. “Looking back many years”, he remembered, “When I was about 20 or 25 I began composing from episodes and impressions in my dreams.” TV described how he used a computer synthesizer and began to combine “Man, machine and animal”.
From his dreams carried into his daytime creative experiments, he came up with the idea of “Parkietenkwartet”, a videotaped piece in which his parakeet, Lotje, would conduct an ensemble based on where the bird happened to hop on an outside electrical wire. "For the first time in musical history, in Parkietenkwartet, man, machine and animal perform together!" After a brief success, he informed me, “The next morning, Lotje escaped, the police could not catch the animal and we had to cancel the rest of the tour”.
When I could control my laughter long enough to continue the conversation, TV and I discussed a fascinating construct. “Music is a very abstract art form”, he stated, “Philosophically, it does not exist! It is not contained in the notes, in the score, which is simply a script. Music only exists in the NOW. When you play it, it comes alive. It expresses the unspeakable. We’ve only scratched the surface of what music can achieve, how it can impact persons and society”.
HONG KONG POP MEETS AVANT-POP: CIMMFEST “SPRING FLING"
Friday, April 21st, 2017, 7-8:30pm
1st Ward Events/ The Chop Shop,
2033 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
$10 General Admission/ $5 Student/ $15 Door
Purchase Tickets at Eventbrite
Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of Fulcrum Point New Music Project