Composed by Ned Rothenberg, «Beyond C» is a concerto for improvising woodwind soloist—Ned Rothenberg —and an ensemble of variable instruments—Contemporaneous. Inspired by seminal minimalist composer Terry Riley’s landmark composition «In C» (1964)—which first introduced the musical style now known as Minimalism to a mainstream audience—Rothenberg’s «Beyond C» expands the harmonic, timbral, and rhythmic world of that work. It retains the modular structure of Riley’s original piece, but the progression through the work is formed by the conductor who, in partnership with the soloist, may shape each performance in a unique way.
Composer/performer Ned Rothenberg has been internationally acclaimed for both his solo and ensemble music, presented for the past 33 years on five continents. He performs primarily on alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, and the shakuhachi—an endblown Japanese bamboo flute. His solo work utilizes an expanded palette of sonic language, creating a kind of personal idiom all its own. In an ensemble setting, he leads the trio Sync, with Jerome Harris, guitars and Samir Chatterjee, tabla; he works with the Mivos Quartet playing his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and collaborates around the world with fellow improvisors. Recent recordings include this Quintet, The World of Odd Harmonics, Ryu Nashi (new music for shakuhachi), and Inner Diaspora, all on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, as well as Live at Roulette with Evan Parker, and The Fell Clutch, on Rothenberg’s Animul label.
Contemporaneous is an ensemble of 22 musicians whose mission is to bring to life the music of now. Recognized for a “ferocious, focused performance” (The New York Times) and for its “captivating and whole-hearted commitment” (I Care If You Listen), Contemporaneous performs and promotes the most exciting work of living composers through innovative concerts, commissions, recordings, and educational programs. Based in New York City and active throughout the United States, Contemporaneous has been presented by such institutions as Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory, PROTOTYPE Festival, Merkin Concert Hall, MATA Festival, St. Ann’s Warehouse, and Bang on a Can and has worked with such artists as David Byrne, Donnacha Dennehy, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Dawn Upshaw, and Julia Wolfe. Contemporaneous has premiered more than 150 works, and with its newly-launched program Contemporaneous IMAGINATION, the ensemble champions large-scale works, curated from an open call for artists to submit ideas for projects that take risks and defy constraints. The ensemble has recently released the first season of its new podcast Imagination Radio, which explores the significance of creativity and music in our lives through dialogues with composers, scientists, a cartographer, and a BASE jumper. Contemporaneous has recorded for the New Amsterdam, Cantaloupe, Innova, Roven, and Navona labels.