Ben Vida & Lea Bertucci

The Graham Foundation

Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610

For their performance at Lampo, Lea and Ben premiere My Words Came Out Slow and Odd, a text-based composition for voices and electronics, trumpet and reeds.

The duo’s work pushes the boundaries of language and intelligibility and extends the human voice through the aid of creative electronic processing. What new modes of communication emerge when language is in a constant state of morphology? How quickly can we recalibrate to allow for complex meaning to be projected onto abstraction?

My Words Came Out Slow and Odd is a clattering, psychedelic whirl of heteroglossia, smears, and stutters.

Ben Vida and Lea Bertucci began collaborating during the summer of 2021, while living on opposite sides of the same mountain outside of Woodstock, New York. What started as a conversation between friends slowly developed into a unique form of nonhierarchical improvisation, one that examines the very nature of creative dialogue.

Ben Vida (b.1975, Dubuque, Iowa) is a composer, improviser and artist. His work explores aural phenomena, language, durations and systems. In the mid-1990s he co-founded the minimalist quartet Town & Country in Chicago. Later, after a move to Brooklyn, he shifted his focus to electronics and systems-based compositions that used psychoacoustics, aural phenomena and advanced synthesis techniques. Since 2015 he has composed pieces that combine his interest in experimental writing with his love of singing with people.

Slipping Control (2015), Vida’s multimedia composition for voices, video and electronics, premiered at Audio Visual Arts in New York and then traveled to Los Angeles and Athens. His six-hour performance piece for vocal ensemble and electronics, Reducing the Tempo to Zero premiered for Lampo in June 2016 and was staged at The Kitchen, New York; STUK in Leuven, Belgium; and Centro Pecci, Prato. And So Now (2018) was commissioned for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and performed at the BAM Fisher Space. Always Already, which was created in collaboration with the Yarn/Wire ensemble and vocalist Nina Dante, premiered for Lampo in March 2020 and was also performed in New York.

In addition to these works, he has developed projects with Marina Rosenfeld, Lucio Capece, and Lea Bertucci. He has released his music with many labels including Shelter Press, Kranky, PAN, iDEAL and 901Editions, among others. Vida teaches in the M.F.A. program at Brooklyn College.

Lea Bertucci (b.1984) is an artist who works with sound. Her projects describe relationships between acoustic phenomena and biological resonance. In addition to her longstanding practice with woodwind instruments, her work incorporates multichannel speaker arrays, radical methods of free improvisation, and creative misuses of audio technology. Recent projects have tapped into a space’s unique acoustic properties, as in 2018’s Acoustic Shadows, a suite of compositions for the enclosed hollow body of the Deutz Suspension Bridge in Cologne.

She has released several solo albums and a number of collaborative projects, including Metal Aether and Resonant Field (NNA Tapes), and Phase Eclipse with Amirtha Kidambi (Astral Spirits). In 2021 she founded Cibachrome Editions and released A Visible Length of Light. Earlier this year the label issued Murmurations, her debut recording with Ben Vida.

She has performed her work throughout the U.S. and Europe, including at the Museum of Modern Art, Blank Forms, Gagosian Gallery, Issue Project Room, Pioneer Works, and The Kitchen, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tempo Reale, Florence; Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam; Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; and at international festivals, including Brückenmusik, Cologne; Sound of Stockholm, Stockholm; ReWire, The Hague; and Unsound, Kraków, among others.

She has been an artist in residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha; MacDowell, Peterborough, N.H.; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, Calif.; and Issue Project Room, New York. Bertucci’s work has been commissioned by the INA GRM in Paris, Quartetto Maurice in Turin, and ARS Nova Workshop in Philadelphia.

Presented in partnership with the Graham Foundation