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Friday, May 1, 2020, 7:30 PM

Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, VA 24061
Street and Davis Performance Hall, Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre

Category A $45 | Category B $35 | Category C $20
$10 students with ID and youth 18 and under, 20%-30% subscription discounts available


"Wonderful... a dense weave of electric and acoustic sonorities… gritty tenderness and emotional power."  —The San Francisco Chronicle

Inspired by a little-known text by photographer Diane Arbus, the Paul Dresher Ensemble and composer and vocalist Amy X Neuburg collaborate on an electroacoustic song cycle featuring 10 newly commissioned works from a host of today's most compelling composers presented alongside the images that inspired them.

Writes Dresher, "In exploring ideas, I shared with Amy a prose text that I was considering setting in a composition—Diane Arbus’ 1962 application for a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. In this single, typewritten page she eloquently and poetically defines her then-revolutionary aesthetic, that the commonplace habits, rituals, and social spaces of everyday life hold a meaning and importance that will only be understood in the future, because ‘they will have been so beautiful’."

They Will Have Been So Beautiful features new works by composers Lisa Bielawa, Jay Cloidt, Conrad Cummings, Fred Frith, Guillermo Galindo, Carla Kihlstedt, Ken Ueno, Pamela Z, Dresher, and Neuberg. Each composer was asked to select or create one or more photographic images, to find or create a text connected in some way to the image, and to use these as the basis for their composition. The texts range from the earnest and passionate (an essay by a San Quentin lifer, an ode to a small child, infatuation and desire among the disadvantaged of Mexico City) to the humorous and absurd (anglophilic bath fixtures and an infomercial angrily critiquing late-stage Capitalism).

For over 30 years, the Paul Dresher Ensemble has been a creative force in the San Francisco Bay area and across the nation. Its overarching goal is to produce innovative and engaging performances that reach for the highest artistic standards. The ensemble creates, produces, and tours works of new opera/music theatre; commissions and performs new chamber music; collaborates creatively with other artists and arts organizations; and through its Artists Residency Program provides multi-week studio residencies to Northern California artists working in the time-based arts.

Dresher, composer, electric guitar, and bass, is an internationally active composer noted for his ability to integrate diverse musical influences into his own coherent and unique personal style. He pursues many forms of musical expression, including experimental opera/music theatre, chamber and orchestral composition, live instrumental electro-acoustic music, musical instrument invention, and scores for theatre and dance.

Amy X Neuburg, composer and vocalist, has been developing her own brand of irreverently genre-crossing works for voice, electronics, and chamber ensembles for over 25 years. She’s known for her innovative use of live performance technology, her four-octave vocal range, and her colorful—often humorous—lyrics. One of the earliest performers to work with live digital looping, Neuburg has presented her electronic “avant-cabaret” songs at such diverse venues as the Other Minds and Bang on a Can new music festivals, the Berlin International Poetry Festival, the Wellington and Christchurch Jazz festivals (New Zealand), and the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall.

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