Sunday, December 8, 2013

REVIEW: Now Hear Ensemble @ REDCAT, 11/02

On November 2, I got to hear the Now Hear Ensemble perform at REDCAT. Not to be confused with the Hear Now Festival or the NOW Festival, the Santa Barbara-based Now Hear Ensemble consists of students and recent alumni of UCSB. I first heard this group at REDCAT's Spring Studio, playing Federico Llach's 11 Points, in which a game of ping-pong acted as conductor while the ensemble went through a series of post-minimal loops and phrases.

The forward-thinking group has been on tour to promote their debut album, Made in California. The album features student and recent alumni compositions from various colleges around California, and the tour visited all of those schools. REDCAT acted as the Calarts-related venue, and Now Hear's Calarts delegate was Todd Lerew, whose Variable Speed Machine stood out in a concert of disparate musical tropes with the unique timbre of e-bow'd custom-made string instruments. The concert also featured music by USC's David Werfelmann, Mills' Mateo Lugo, Stanford's Iv├ín Naranjo, UCSD's Carolyn Chen, Daniel Miller, and Wild Rumpus' Dan VanHassel.

The Now Hear Ensemble consists of clarinetist Amanda Kritzberg, saxophonist Isaac Lopez, percussionist Anthony Paul Garcia, violist Jonathan Morgan, and double bassist/artistic director Federico Llach. Their new album, Made in California, is available now on iTunes or CdBaby.

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