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  • Mike Block, cello, and Sandeep Das, tabla

Southern Exposure New Music Series Announces 2019-2020 Season

Mike Block, cello, and Sandeep Das, tabla, open on Sept. 27

Southern Exposure’s wide-ranging 2019-20 season, united as always by musicians and musical programming of the highest caliber, features members of the Silk Road Ensemble, an acclaimed flutist, a performance competition, and a legendary string quartet plus chorus. All Southern Exposure concerts are free.

Mike Block, cello, and Sandeep Das, tabla
Friday, September 27, 8:00 p.m.
School of Music Recital Hall (813 Assembly St.)
Pioneering cellist Mike Block and tabla virtuoso Sandeep Das are members of Yo-Yo Ma’s esteemed Silk Road Ensemble. Like the Silk Road, their duo is a melding of East and West, celebrating cross-cultural musical connections and featuring two of the world’s most creative and masterful musicians. The duo will perform compositions from Western Classical and North Indian Hindustani traditions, adaptations of music from around the world, and several of their own original works.

Passionate about connecting communities through music, Block is at home in a wide range of musical styles, and has been hailed by Ma as the “ideal musician of the 21st Century.” He is among the first cellists to stand and move while playing, and was the first standing cellist to perform at Carnegie Hall, in a performance characterized by the New York Times as “Breathless … Half dance, half dare.”  

Das, a 2019 Guggenhem Fellow, is one of the world’s leading tabla (north Indian drums) players. Like Block, he often creates his own music, and has been featured in concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Royal Albert Hall, and the Concertgebouw. Das is one of the few Indian classical musicians who has collaborated, performed with, and composed for major symphony orchestras, string quartets, and jazz musicians.

Claire Chase, flute
Friday, November 15, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
School of Music Recital Hall
Claire Chase, pathbreaking flutist and founder of ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) is well on her way to becoming a New Music icon. The New York Times has called her “the most important flutist of our time.” “Technically brilliant, audacious in her approach to programming and presentation, cyclonic in her energy, she proves that difficult music can give delight” (The New Yorker). Chase has commissioned and given the world premieres of hundreds of new works for flute in performances throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012, and awarded the Avery Fisher Career Prize in 2017.

Chase’s Southern Exposure performance will include Marcos Balter’s 45-minute work Pan, in a new version for solo flute and electronics. Pan is an homage to the Greek goat god of the wild, depicting his dualist capacities for creation and destruction. In it, Chase plays, sings, speaks and acts; the work “feels like an extension of her torrential spirit” (The New Yorker).

Savvy Chamber Competition – 3 Ensemble Finalists
Saturday, February 22, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
School of Music Recital Hall
The nation’s first chamber music competition to evaluate both artistic excellence and creative event design returns, now in a new single-concert format on Southern Exposure. Competing for a grand prize residency at UofSC valued at $10,000, three finalist ensembles, selected in the fall from a pool of applicants, will each perform 20-minute sets. The featured ensembles will be announced in November of 2019.

The Savvy Competition was created in the summer of 2013 to reward groups going above and beyond the traditional concert format. Winning ensembles include groups that have gone on to great success in the field and returned to UofSC on numerous occasions for concerts and classes: C Street Brass (2013), The Fourth Wall (2014), Earsight Duo (2015), invoke (2016), and The Living Earth Show (2017).  Southern Exposure, Spark, and the SAVVY Musician in Action are delighted to bring a re-envisioned competition and concert back to Columbia.  

At War With Ourselves Preview Performance
Michael Abels, composer
Nikky Finney, librettist
Performed by Kronos Quartet, members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and singers from the University of South Carolina
Friday, April 3, 2020, 7:30 p.m., Koger Center for the Arts
The Kronos Quartet, perhaps the most legendary group in contemporary music, makes their Southern Exposure debut. Along with a choir led by conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe, featuring members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and singers from the University of South Carolina, the acclaimed string quartet will perform At War With Ourselves, a major new evening-length work about race relations, social justice, and civil rights by composer Michael Abels and librettist Nikky Finney. This preview performance culminates of week of workshopping the piece at UofSC in preparation for its premiere in San Francisco. The concert also concludes a week of University-wide events about the intersection of music and race relations.

Based in Los Angeles, Abels is best known for his critically lauded score for the 2017 horror film Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele. A National Book Award-winning South Carolina native, Finney is currently the John H. Bennett, Jr. Endowed Professor of Creative Writing and Southern Letters at UofSC. The starting point for the development of At War With Ourselves will be Finney’s 2013 poem “The Battle of and for the Black Face Boy,” which she described as being “made of Civil War history, Black history, and modern American headlines.”  

At War With Ourselves is being created with funding from a Hewlett Foundation 50 Arts Commission and the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional co-commissioning support is provided by ASU Gammage at Arizona State University, Hancher Auditorium – The University of Iowa, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, SFJAZZ, and University of South Carolina.

More details about the season here.

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