MADI ENSEMBLE: Guillermo Gregorio, clarinet, alto saxophone, conductor; Kyle Bruckmann, oboe, accordion; Jen Clare Paulson, viola; Fred Lonberg-Holm, cello; Michael Cameron, contrabass; John Corbett, guitar; Jim Baker, piano, ARP synthesizer.
GUESTS: Marc Unternährer, tuba; Steffen Schleiermacher, piano; Warren Po, cracklebox; Jennifer Walshe, voice; Aram Shelton, E-flat clarinet; Ken Vandermark, saxophone, bass clarinet
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1941, Guillermo Gregorio has lived variously in Europe and the United States since 1986. He was an active participant on the Argentine music scene throughout the 1960s, '70s, and early '80s.
"What affects me more than any other thing," Gregorio says, "is my involvement in visual arts, and my architectural and design experience." In his compositions, a reinterpretation of the fundamental and structural concepts of Constructivism converges with the historical experiences of Argentinean Conceptualism, Fluxus, intermedia synthesis, certain aspects of serialism, and graphic music. In addition to the acceptance of sound as material, constructive and geometrically generated ideas are used in scores ranging from conventionally notated statements to graphs, including planimetric projections of spatial structures. In January 2001, he founded the Madi Ensemble of Chicago, which performs original and historical scores that draw from the conceptual foundation of diverse Argentinian avant-garde currents.
"I prefer to put this music in the field of New Music," he explains, "because New Music is not defined. There is more new space to move. In that context, the music many times is not improvised, even when it partially includes improvisation, but it is basically all written in order to give a consistency to the work. Listen two or three times to the work and you will recognize that there is structure. This structure configures itself in different shapes at moments when the music is played because the connections are not the same as the syntactic connections of conventional music, even modern (i.e., New) music." These shapes, especially on Coplanar, are inspired by the visual art of the East European Constructivists and their Argentinean heirs, the Madi and Concrete Art movements.
Coplanar 1 + 2 (for guitar, synthesizer, and ensemble), Coplanar 4 (for oboe, clarinet, tuba, and cello), Coplanar 3 (for piano and strings), White Coplanar (for clarinet, viola, and cracklebox), Construction with Coplanar (for oboe/accordion, clarinet/alto saxophone, tuba, and cello), Madi Piece (for guitar and strings), Swiss Coplanar (for voice, tuba, and piano), Coplanar 5 (for bass clarinet, clarinets, strings, and piano)