Known for bridging the worlds of indie rock, jazz and classical, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series has grown in breadth and ambition over six years. With its 2018-19 season, announced Tuesday, Liquid Music offers more cross-genre pollinating with added star power, a lot more dance and a personal best of six world premieres.
The season’s biggest booking involves composer Philip Glass, celebrated for his minimalist operas, symphonies and film scores. Liquid Music partnered with a handful of arts groups and individuals to commission a new Glass piece for Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion. “It’s Philip’s first work for percussion ensemble,” noted Liquid Music curator Kate Nordstrum. Third Coast also will play fresh music by Devonté Hynes, aka Blood Orange, a pop producer and songwriter with a wildly diverse sound palette. (Dec. 9, Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul)
Another head-turning event features Kim Gordon, best known as co-founder of the arty indie-rock band Sonic Youth. Gordon will create a “very intimate” evening of improvised performance with classically trained choreographer/curator Dimitri Chamblas. “We’re only able to have 100 or so guests at a time,” Nordstrum said. In other words, the concert costs extra for Liquid Music subscribers. (March 4-5, 2019, American Swedish Institute, Mpls.)
Then comes a doubleheader with more musician-dancer pairings. Known for scoring the TV show “Transparent” and films such as Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette,” composer/pianist Dustin O’Halloran joins London choreographer Fukiko Takase for a new work grappling with technology’s human toll. Minneapolis saxophonist/composer Michael Lewis performed with indie superstar Bon Iver during Liquid Music’s 2017-18 season. Lewis returns for a collaboration with Eva Mohn, a dancer with Sweden’s Cullberg Ballet who used to play with the Minneapolis band Coach Said Not To. (April 18-19, 2019, Lab Theater, Mpls.)
Yet another premiere is set for Northrop auditorium, composed for the venue’s Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ. British organist James McVinnie (formerly of Westminster Abbey) will work with U.K. electronic duo Darkstar on a contemporary piece for the 1930s instrument, now sounding better than ever after a $2.8 million restoration. (May 4, 2019)
Other concerts include an evening of original solos, duos and trios by violinist Jennifer Koh, jazz pianist Vijay Iyer and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey; a mashup of new vocal compositions and chants by 12th-century mystic Hildegard von Bingen; a world premiere song cycle by Atlanta-based vocalist/composer Hanna Benn, created with drummer and fellow Atlantan Deantoni Parks; an interactive concert with violinist and SPCO artistic partner Pekka Kuusisto in the Walker Art Center galleries; and a work-in-progress by Minnesota choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy, due for a full premiere during the 2019-20 season.
Tickets are on sale for the full season as well as individual concerts. See liquid musicseries.org for details.