As envisioned by Neill, the composition will begin with players widely dispersed in Manitoga's woodland garden, beyond view of the audience. The music will materialize from the sonic landscape as the players gradually move closer to the Quarry pool and waterfall. The musicians will be playing sculptor Carol Szymanski's elegant brass "phonemophones," bugles in the form of letters. Through his electronic mutantrumpet, Neill will engage in musical dialogues with them, both acoustically and digitally shaping the acoustic and electronic textures in real time.
Manitoga, the composition, will draw upon influences as varied as the Native American spiritual connection to nature, the region's Revolutionary War history of battle cries and bugle calls, and Mahler's use of the horn call as a pastorale. A Hudson Valley resident, Neill also draws upon the experience of hearing Taps played from across the river at West Point and his fascination with the rhythmic and melodic processes of insects and birds in the Hudson Highlands.
The piece will end with all musicians playing in a concert arrangement. Following the last sound, the horns will be gathered to spell the word MANITOGA; the instruments have arrived at their destination following their journey out of the wilderness. Manitoga, the composition, will be inspired by the setting and history of Manitoga, the place - integrating Wright's sensibility and celebration of nature through design - as well as Wright's early work with metal objects
that relate to both Neill and Szymankski's practice.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ben Neill has been called a "creative composer and genius performer" by Time Out NY and a "musical powerhouse, a serious and individual talent" by Time Out London. Neill's music blends influences from electronica, jazz and minimalism. He has studied with La Monte Young and has collaborated with musicians such as David Behrman and John Cage. Neill has recorded nine CD's of his music and has performed extensively in a wide variety of international settings. In
2010 his music theater work Persephone was presented at the BAM Next Wave Festival. The recording Songs for Persephone with Mimi Goese was released in 2011 on Ramseur Records to critical acclaim.
This commission is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
MANITOGA / The Russel Wright Design Center
The public entrance to Manitoga is located in the heart of New York's Hudson Highlands, 50 miles north of Manhattan in Garrison, NY. Manitoga is on Route 9D, 2.5 miles north of the Bear Mountain Bridge and 2 miles south of Route 403.
Accessible from Taconic Parkway, Palisades Parkway, NY State Thruway/I-87 and I-84.
Map of Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center
Manitoga is on Route 9D in Garrison, NY, 4 miles south of Cold Spring and 2.5 miles north of the Bear Mountain Bridge.
ARRIVING BY TRAIN
Take Metro-North railroad Hudson Line to Garrison Station (visit the MTA for schedules).
Taxi service from RR station to Manitoga by prior reservation, call 845-265-8294.