New Music Co-op Presents:
New Works for UNDECTET

Saturday April 29th 8:00pm
Ballet Austin Academy
3002 Guadalupe, Austin


Sunday April 30th
1117 East Freeway, Houston

A topnotch ensemble of strings, winds, brass, percussion and piano from Austin's accomplished composer/performer collective New Music Co-op will perform adventurous new works for eleven piece chamber orchestra by Brent Fariss and Travis Weller. The pieces, years in the making, are similar in their focus on beauty of pure sound, yet they emerge from very different conceptual realms. Both Weller and Fariss are members of Gates ensemble whose music was described recently by UK publication 'The Wire' as "Fluent and imaginative... drones and whines weaving among dramatic instrumental clusters."


About the Music

Garden (Brent Fariss, 2006)
Garden is scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, piano and two percussionists. The piece seeks to strip everything away except the essential elements, heavily influenced by an ongoing obsession with the idea of intent. The musical material focuses on delicate harmonies, intervallic relationships and non-synchronized tempi occurring simultaneously (based on the players own idea of movement/phrasing).  Sounds are allowed / encouraged to exist separately of the events occurring in the external environment. This is not to include or exclude these extraneous happenings, but rather for the players to remain in their own insular world... much like a garden, quietly growing at its own pace on a busy city block. The piece is dedicated to my wife and son; inspired by our first year as a family and the way that affected each of us personally and in relation to each other vs. the external world.

Mantle (Travis Weller, 2006)
Composed around ideas of stillness, movement, stability, and instability Travis Weller's 'Mantle' emerges from a tension between the expressive energy of improvisation and compositional form and structure. Wholly committed to sound as an art form, the piece ranges from delicate fabrics and dense harmonic textures sparkling, almost crystalline formations. From bowing the piano to exciting the strings of the violin in new ways, four strings, four winds, piano, and two percussionists employ extended playing techniques to draw new timbres from traditional instruments. The piece was created in parallel with a short poem by Dorothy Meiburg which delves into some of the hidden processes which formed the continents.


About the Composers

Brent Fariss is a composer / performer living in Austin, Texas. He has collaborated in several modern music ensembles including the New Music Co-op, Gates, the Araxia Trio, and the Imbroglio String Quartet. He has also contributed to music for plays (Lust Supper) and silent films (Jean Cocteauıs "Blood of a Poet", Harry Smithıs "Early Abstractions"), and has released several CDs on the label, Spectral House, that he runs along with Bill Thompson.

In 2004-2005, Fariss was curator of the Performance Series for the Austin Museum of Digital Art, bringing to town artists such as Phill Niblock, Richard Chartier, Olivia Block, and more. In the past year, he has performed alongside Phill Niblock, collaborated with Jacob Green in the absurdist doom / post-no wave project, Frontal Spanking, and presented a sound installation, black on red / red on white, in response to a Hermann Nitsch's "THE ORGIES MYSTERIES THEATER".

2006 brings two new releases on the Spectral House label (Folk Song for 27 oboes and a collaborative effort with Bill Thompson), as well as an electronic release on the Con-V label out of Spain. Spectral House will also be expanding its roster to include internationally renowned composers Lionel Marchetti, Olivier Capparos, and Radu Malfatti.

Fariss holds a Master's degree in Composition from Texas State University, where he also studied the contrabass. His goal in music is exploring the nature of sound (timbre), elevating it to the same level as melody, harmony, rhythm, and form.

For more information:

Travis Weller is a composer and violinist based in Austin. He studied classical violin since an early age and has explored extra-classical territories such as free improvisation. Travis currently performs in a number of contemporary music projects including the Gates Ensemble, the Golden Hornet Orchestra, the Imbroglio String Quartet, and the Austin New Music Co-op. He composes for these ensembles as well.

As a composer, Travis is largely an autodidact. His first compositions were solo works incorporating acoustic instruments, subtractive synthesis, sampling and multitrack techniques. These projects eventually led him to create soundtracks for film and written pieces for performance. Today, his interests lie in productive tensions between noise and tone oriented material; open and fixed constructions; stable and unstable sounds.

An avid performer of new music, Travis has worked with many internationally known artists including Phill Niblock, Olivia Block, Pauline Oliveros, and Arnold Dreyblatt. This year, Travis will be working with STEIM in Amsterdam to produce a new electroacoustic piece. A recording of his string quartet with electronics will also be released this year alongside a project with London sax player John Butcher.

In addition to composing and performing in the aforementioned settings, Travis organizes concerts and events through the New Music Co-op, is Director of Education for Barbwire Music Project, and is Performance Director of the Austin Museum of Digital Art.

For more information:


About Austin New Music Co-op

The New Music Co-op is a community of composers and performers from the Austin area dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of new music. Since 2001, the NMC has presented a wide range of innovative and compelling new works and created a unique environment for collaboration and the free exchange of musical ideas. Notable New Music Co-op concerts have included John Cage's Songbooks, Music for the extinct instruments of Luigi Russolo, Pauline Oliveros' Four Meditations for Orchestra (with the composer in attendance), a three-day series of the works of the New York School, and Terry Riley's In C. New Music Co-op members come from highly diverse backgrounds, from classical performance to electronic music to formal composition to rock bands. The group runs by consensus, and gains its strength from its members' varied experiences and interests. The New Music Co-op is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations to the group are tax-deductible. This project is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.