Ben Vida with Yarn/Wire & Nina Dante

Poetry Foundation

61 West Superior Street
Chicago, Illinois 60654

Ben Vida premieres his new text-based composition for electronics, voice and ensemble. Always Already is a hypnotic examination of the materiality of language that emphasizes the rhythm of speech through repetition and variation.

Composed and performed by Vida with Yarn/Wire and Nina Dante, this new work expands on his other compositions for small vocal ensembles, which he has presented at Lampo, The Kitchen and BAM.

Always Already is the first of these pieces to include live instrumentalists. Keyboards, marimba, electronics and voices are braided together to produce a ramble of language and notes. The work’s abstract narrative was developed out of a dense cyclical text, which was inspired by the rhythmical essays of Gertrude Stein, the Gysin/Burroughs cut-up method, and the parsing systems of the Conceptual Writers.

Ben Vida (b.1975, Dubuque, Iowa) is a composer and artist. In the mid-1990s he co-founded the group Town and Country and has since worked as a solo artist with releases on such labels as PAN, Alku, Shelter Press, Future Audio Graphics and Kranky. His work has been presented at the Guggenheim, New York; GRM/INA, France; Centro Pecci in Prato, Italy; STUK in Leuven, Belgium; the MCA, Chicago; the ICA, London; The Kitchen, New York; Performa Biennial, New York; EMPAC, Troy, New York; Leap Gallery, Berlin; Lampo, Chicago; Cricoteka Museum, Kraków, Poland; the Sydney Opera House; Museo dArte Moderna di Bologna; Borderline Festival, Athens, Greece; the Royal Festival Hall, London and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York. Vida teaches in the M.F.A. program in Sonic Arts at Brooklyn College.

This performance is Vida’s third project with Lampo. In June 2016, he premiered his long-form composition Reducing the Tempo to Zero for four vocalists, including Nina Dante. In October 2013, Vida presented Damaged Particulates and the video work Tztztztzt Î Í Í…

Yarn/Wire is a New York-based percussion and piano quartet, comprised of Ian Antonio (b.1981), Laura Barger (b.1980), Russell Greenberg (b.1980) and Ning Yu (b.1980). Founded in 2005, the ensemble is dedicated to expanding the repertoire written for its instrumentation, through commissions and collaborative initiatives that aim to build a new and lasting body of work. Yarn/Wire champions a varied and probing repertoire, influenced by its members’ experiences with classical music, avant-garde theatre, and rock music. They have commissioned many American and international composers, including Raphaël Cendo, Zosha Di Castri, Peter Evans, Michael Gordon, George Lewis, Alex Mincek, Thomas Meadowcroft, Misato Mochizuki, Tristan Murail, Sam Pluta, Kate Soper and Øyvind Torvund. The group has given the U.S. premieres of works by Enno Poppe, Stefano Gervasoni and Georg Friedrich Haas. The ensemble also enjoys collaborations with genre-bending artists such as Tristan Perich, David Bithell, Sufjan Stevens and Pete Swanson.

Soprano/vocalist Nina Dante (b.1989, San Diego, Calif.) is a soloist, chamber musician, improviser and composer based in New York City. Musical experimentation and the continual discovery of the voice’s technical ability and emotive power are the inspiring forces behind her work. Dante has performed at Resonant Bodies Festival, BAM, Lampo, Issue Project Room, Roulette, The Kitchen, National Sawdust, the University of Chicago’s Contempo, Performa, Indexical, Visiones Sonoras, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo, the Experimental Sound Studio, New Music Miami, the Latino Music Festival, the Frequency Festival, Festival Interfaz, the Poetry Foundation, and the Renaissance Society, among others. Dante is also co-founder of the avant-garde chamber ensemble Fonema Consort.

Presented in partnership with the Poetry Foundation; support provided by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University

Artist Talk: Ben Vida discusses the use of language in his music and art practice, tracing the development of his text pieces through the phonetic scores of the multidisciplinary works Slipping Control (2015) and Reducing the Tempo to Zero (2016), into the linguistic abstract narratives of And So Now (2018) and Always Already (2020). Lampo Annex, Monadnock Building, 53 W. Jackson Blvd. #1656. Friday, March 6, 6 p.m. 

Supported by the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund