Concerts highlights

Translucent Harmonies with andPlay

Photo courtesy andPlay

TUE—October 23—8 PM
Pre-concert discussion—7:30 PM
$15 ($10 ASF Members)

The NYC-based music duo andPlay, featuring Maya Bennardo on violin and Hannah Levinson on viola, joins us to perform “Translucent Harmonies,” a program of two pieces written by  composers Catherine Lamb and Kristofer Svensson.  Since being founded in 2012, andPlay has been committed to expanding the existing violin/viola repertoire through performances of rarely heard works as well as commissioned pieces from emerging composers.


This program, commissioned from the composers, consists of two new pieces composed in just intonation, which uses a form of tuning outside of the standard system to create otherworldly moods. The first work is Prisma Interius VIII by composer Catherine Lamb; the second piece,  Sinnets Tomma Rörelser by Kristofer Svensson, consists of two movements, one with brief melodic fragments against a backdrop of silence and noise, and one that dissects a singular short melodic phrase.

About the Performers

Described by I Care If You Listen as “enthusiastic champions for new music and collaboration” and performing “with a welcoming and dynamic spirit,” andPlay is committed to expanding the existing violin/viola duo repertoire through performing rarely heard works and commissioning emerging composers.

The New York City-based duo of Maya Bennardo, violin, and Hannah Levinson, viola, first played to an eager crowd on Fire Island in the summer of 2012, and has since premiered nearly fifty new works, close to thirty of which have been commissioned, many of which include electronics. andPlay has collaborated closely with numerous composers, including Robert Honstein, Scott Wollschleger, Clara Iannotta, David Bird, Bethany Younge and Ravi Kittappa, and consider those relationships to be an integral part of their artistic process. Honstein praises the duo for their “consummate professionalism, fierce musicality and an unflappable good spirit.”

andPlay was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Concert Artists Guild Victor Emaleh Competition and was the recipient of a 2016 CMA Classical Commissioning grant with composer Ravi Kittappa, made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.


Recent highlights include a West Coast tour with performances and workshops at the Center for New Music in San Francisco and Monkspace in LA, a Midwestern tour (including performances in Columbus, Ohio through CNX: The Columbus // NYC New Music Exchange, at the Toledo Museum of Art, Short North Stage in Columbus, OH), and a performance as guest artists at the 2017 Omaha Under the Radar Festival (Omaha, NE). The duo has also performed at the NUNC!2 Conference at Northwestern University, the New Music Gathering at Peabody Conservatory, and the String Theories festival in New York City, as well as performances at venues including Roulette, The Stone, The DiMenna Center in NYC and The Record Company in Boston, MA.

Beyond the concert stage, Maya and Hannah are passionate educators offering workshops in contemporary string techniques, chamber music coaching and composition notation for strings. They’ve offered performances and masterclasses at UC Santa Cruz, Western Connecticut State University, and Bowling Green State and are artists-in-residence at the Snow Pond Composers Workshop (Sidney, ME).

About the Composers

Catherine Lamb (b. 1982, Olympia, Wa, U.S.), is a composer exploring the interaction of elemental tonal material and the variations in presence between shades and beings in a room. She has been studying and composing music since a young age. In 2003 she turned away from the conservatory in an attempt to understand the structures and intonations within Hindustani Classical Music, later finding Mani Kaul in 2006 who was directly connected to Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and whose philosophical approach to sound became important to her. She studied (experimental) composition at the California Institute of the Arts (2004-2006) under James Tenney and Michael Pisaro, who were both integral influences. It was there also that she began her work into the area of Just Intonation, which became a clear way to investigate the interaction of tones and ever-fluctuating shades, where these interactions in and of them-selves became structural elements in her work. Since then she has written various ensemble pieces (at times with liminal electronic portions) and continues to go further into elemental territories, through various kinds of research, collaboration, and practice (herself as a violist). She received her MFA from the Milton Avery School of Fine Arts at Bard College in 2012 and is currently residing in Berlin, Germany.


Ellen’s artistic practice has been supported by grants from STIM (Swedish Composers

International Music Bureau), FST (Society of Swedish Composers) and the Swedish Art’s Grant Committee. She has been commissioned by EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Art’s Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY), Scenkonst Sörmland, the microtonal tuba trio Microtub, and the Swedish pianists Mats Persson & Kristine Scholz. She has collaborated with swedish drummer Konrad Agnas and was one of four members in the audio visual quartet Hästköttskandalen – the group released an LP on Fylkingen Records in 2015. Most recently she collaborated with the Canadian musician Sarah Davachi and composed a new work for the organ in Adolf Fredriks Kyrka in Stockholm, heavily inspired by the music of William Lawes (1602-1645).

She studied composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and with Marc Sabat at the Universität Der Künste in Berlin. She has also studied privately with La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and Jung Hee Choi in New York.

Kristofer Svensson is a composer from Stockholm, Sweden. His music is written exclusively in the alternative tuning system Just Intonation. Since becoming the first Swedish composer to retune a grand piano to Just Intonation for his graduation concert from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm in 2012, he has spearheaded the powerful movement of Swedish artists exploring microtonality in the 21st century.

His use of Just Intonation is connected to an interest in the antique, an interest which also is reflected in a number of compositions for pre-1850 European instruments (chamber organs, clavichords, fortepianos etc.). The ‘antique’ is, however, not only limited to European traditions, and Svensson has spent extensive time studying Asian traditional musics such in Stockholm, Hong Kong, West Java, and Fukoka, Japan.. These studies were supported by grants from the Indonesian Ministry for Arts and Culture Darmasiswa-scholarship (2013), a JASSO Scholarship from the Japanese government (2015) as well as grants from the Swedish foundations Gålös and (2015) and Anna Withlock Memorial Foundation (2014).


In Indonesia, he worked together with Sundanese gamelan-maker Asep ‘Dede’ Ahum on

designing a new set of justly tuned gamelan instruments later used in the piece ‘Ir Himinn, Groenn’ written for and premiered by Hong Kong New Music Ensemble (HK) and later released by the Swedish avant-garde label XKatedral on the compilation album “XKatedral Volume II” (2016). He has also written pieces for Asian instruments such as gǔqín, shō, kōto and kecapi. In the fall of 2018, a new bass koto piece in Just Intonation will be premiered by Miyama McQueen-Tokita in Tōkyō. His music has been premiered by groups such as Contemporaneous (US), Quatuor Bozzini (CA), ensemble mise-en (US), Swedish Wind Ensemble (SE), Musica Vitae (SE), Brouwer Trio (SP), Fukuoka Earth Rhythm Ensemble (JP) at festivals such as Sound of Stockholm (SE, 2016), o/modernt (SE, 2013), Bang on a Can summer music festival (US, 2015), Kalv (SE, 2015), and Impuls (AT, 2017). Additionally, Scandinavia House (New York City) presented a portrait concert of his music in October 2017. His activities as a composer have been supported by numerous from Swedish foundations and institutions such as Helge Ax:son Johnson Foundation 2014 and 2015, Anders Sandrews Foundation 2013, three artist working grants from the Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM, 2013, 2015 and 2017), a working grant from the Society of Swedish Composers (2016) and a recent commission through the Swedish Arts Council to write two new pieces for Mats Persson and Kristine Scholz to be premiered in 2019. He obtained a Master’s degree in Music Composition from the University of Hong Kong with the thesis “The Use of Just Intonation in my Recent Compositions”.

Lana Suran