There will be the first performance of The Most Unwanted Music by Dave Soldier and Komar Melamid in twenty-five years. In the People’s Choice Music project in 1996, the trio polled over 500 Americans on what they most like and dislike in music, including the instruments, styles, duration, vocal qualities, subjects and other parameters. The accompanying piece, The Most Wanted Music, a 5 minute power pop love ballad feature rock / R&B singers with saxophone imitating Clarence Clemons and Kenny G, and Eddie Van-Halen-like rock guitar (on the record, played by Vernon Reid) was never actually performed live and so in a sense will be premiered here. The Most Unwanted Music, a 25 minute piece with operatic soprano rapping cowboy lyrics, a children’s chorus singing commercials, political sloagneering and featuring harp, banjo, bagpipe, tuba, accordion, harmonica and piccolo, was last performed live in 1997: this performance will include the original bagpipe player, David Watson, the original accordionist, Yuri Lemeshev from Gogol Bordello, and Soldier on banjo and Casiotone.
These pieces have been the subject of countless essays in the major newspapers and magazines of the time, subjects of PhD dissertations and listened to millions of times and are large undertakings to perform: this is a unique opportunity.
In 2000, Dave Soldier and the conservationist Richard Lair founded The Thai Elephant Orchestra at the original elephant conservation center near Lampang, Thailand, where Komar and Melamid had taught the elephants to paint. Up to 16 elephants would participate on instruments specially designed to be ergonomic, large, and operated mostly by the trunk to play music in the local Thai scale, and the orchestra released four CDs. Perhaps their most ambitious piece was “The Ganesha Symphony” in four movements with key and hamonic modulations. Soldier recently transcribed exactly what the elephants improvised and the members of Taljuon Percussion will premiere the Ganesha Symphony in its first performance by humans.
Also to be performed are an aria for soprano, Sing of Nature, written about the Fibonacci series, from Dave Soldier and Komar and Melamid’s 1997 opera, Naked Revolution, written about statues being torn down following revolutions, including the American Revolution, the Soviet Revolution, and the end of the Soviet empire, and two new dance numbers for the orchestra specially written for the occasion by Dave Soldier and conductor Gene Pritsker.
Proof of vax is NOT required for this event
Dave Soldier Orchestra
Composer Dave Soldier’s projects include the Thai Elephant Orchestra consisting of 14 elephants in northern Thailand, the cult Delta punk band the Kropotkins, The People’s Choice (The World’s Most Unwanted Music), the Soldier String Quartet, the Brainwave Music Project, and coaching children to compose their own music in Harlem, Brooklyn, and Guatemala. He has performed as violinist, guitarist, and composer/ arranger with Bo Diddley, John Cale, Kurt Vonnegut and many others, appearing on over 100 CDs, including 20 featuring his compositions for classical and jazz musicians. His day job under the name David Sulzer is a professor of neuroscience at Columbia University, and his new book, Music Math and Mind: the Physics and Neuroscience of music, is published by Columbia Press.
Komar and Melamid
Vitaly Komar (b.1943) and Alex Melamid (1945) born in Moscow, USSR. Both graduated from Stroganoff Art Academy in 1967. In 1972 Komar and Melamid founded Sots Art – conceptual eclectic art based on cliches of the Soviet propaganda and the world’s art history. In 1974 their works, made in collaboration, were destroyed by the Soviet authorities during the disbanded “Bulldozer Exhibition” – the unofficial artists’ group show. In 1976 their works were smuggled out to New York and had a successful show at Ronald Feldman Gallery. Since 1978 Komar & Melamid have settled in New York, and they participated in numerous international exhibitions, including Documenta, Kassel, and Venus Biennale. In 2003 Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid ended their collaboration and they had been working individually.
Composer Gene Pritsker has written over eight hundred compositions, including chamber operas, orchestral and chamber works, electro-acoustic music and songs for hip-hop and rock ensembles. His compositions employ an eclectic spectrum of styles, that are influenced by his studies of various musical cultures.
He is the founder and leader of Sound Liberation, an eclectic hip hop-chamber-jazz-rock-etc. ensemble. He also Co-Directs Composers Concordance and is a founder and composer-in-residence of the Grammy nominated Absolute Ensemble. Gene’s music is performed all over the world at internationally recognized festivals and by highly respected ensembles and performers.
Gene worked closely with jazz fusion legend Joe Zawinul and has orchestrated major Hollywood movies, including ‘Cloud Atlas’, for which he wrote his ”Cloud Atlas Symphony’ and the 2021 film The Matrix Resurrections.
Gene is also a guitarist/rapper/Di.J./ and producer and incorporates each of these musical attributes to create music that is “not designed for easy listening or to melt into the background. It is insistent. It demands attention and curiosity.”
– New York Newsday.
“My music is extremely eclectic, for me music has no bounds – I view the world of music as one big genre. My motto for my art is ‘ending the segregation of sound vibration.'”
Described by the New York Times as an ensemble possessing an “edgy, unflagging energy”, Talujon has been mesmerizing audiences since 1990. For well over two decades, Talujon has committed itself to the growth of contemporary percussion music through diverse performance, commissioning, educational, and outreach activities.
Highlights of Talujon’s recent engagements include appearances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Bang on a Can Marathon, Carnegie Hall, ISSUE Project Room, Miller Theatre, and New York Historical Society. International performances include Taipei’s Lantern Festival, Italy’s Sound Res Festival, and a tour with Steve Reich and Musicians. In addition to its diverse performance schedule, Talujon has conducted residencies, clinics, and master classes at institutions across the US, including Harvard, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Stanford, and the universities of Virginia, Oregon, and Buffalo. Notable commissions and premiers include collaborations with composers Dewa Alit, Nick Brooke, Chien Yin Chen, Louis Karchin, Alvin Lucier, Eric Moe, Steve Ricks, Ralph Shapey, Henry Threadgill, Ushio Torikai, and Julia Wolfe.
Locally, Talujon engages in a series of residencies in the New York City Public Schools though the Department of Cultural Affairs After School Adventures program, as well as through a collaboration with the Midori and Friends organization. The ensemble’s playing can be heard on the Cantaloupe, Tzadik, New World, Bridge, Albany, and Capstone record labels. Talujon proudly uses Mike Balter sticks and mallets and Black Swamp Percussion instruments.