October 16, 2015
The Stone, at the corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street

Renegade William Burroughs is known for his challenging and hallucinatory prose as well as his deeply experimental streak.  He helped to pioneer the art form of Cut-Ups, repurposing of previously published materials into new art forms. In celebration of the publication of The Travel Agency is on Fire edited by Alex Wermer Colan, EiO commissioned 11 new compositions for ensemble and voice based on Burroughs’ Cut-Ups of modern writers including Arthur Rimbaud, Jean Genet and F Scott Fitzgerald among others.  These 11 new works were  premiered by James Ilgenfritz’s Anagram Ensemble featuring vocalists Megan Schubert, Amirtha Kidambi, Nathaniel Adams and Michael Douglas Jones.  Burroughs’ texts challenged the commissioned composers to reorganize their musical work around non-linear narratives and ideas and embrace a logic of sound and experience.

Commissioned Composers: Jason Cady, Natacha Diels, Anne GuthrieJames Ilgenfritz, Travis Just, Lukas Ligeti, Charlie Looker, Elliott Sharp, Aaron Siegel, JG Thirlwell, and Katie Young.

The Travel Agency is on Fire event was produced with the support of the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center.  Visit their site to purchase the book of these cut-ups.

Anagram Ensemble

James Ilgenfritz – director, basses
Brian Chase – drumset, percussion
Jonathan Singer – vibraphone, percussion
James Moore – guitar
Pauline Kim Harris – violin
Sarah Bernstein – violin
Megan Schubert – soprano
Amirtha Kidambi – soprano
Nathaniel Adams – tenor
Michael Douglas Jones – baritone
Nathan Koci – conductor

Anagram Ensemble integrates the performance practice of improvisers with that of a new music ensemble. Self-sufficient enterprise drove the radical experimentalism of last quarter of the 20th century, from the radical performance practices of the 70s to the post-No Wave energy of the 1980s. It is this tradition that influences the direction of the Anagram Ensemble. Rather than to simply incorporate improvisation into a concert setting, or to incorporate musical forms of concert music into an improvisational setting, Anagram designs each new project to incorporate musical and conceptual elements of multiple musical traditions, all while incorporating esoteric texts and concepts from the literary and philosophical worlds, as well as unorthodox traditions in the visual and performance art world.