TUPLE PERFORMS AT FLOOD GALLERY
Friday, May 22 at 8 PM
$10 / under 12 free
Tuple performs chamber music for two bassoons on Friday, May 22nd on the Sonic Experience series at Flood Gallery Fine Art Center. The duo is comprised of North Carolina bassoonist Rachael Elliott and West Virginia bassoonist Lynn Hileman. The two have been performing contemporary bassoon music in clubs, concert and art venues since forming Tuple three years ago, and return to Asheville following a concert this past February at St. Matthias Episcopal Church and workshops at AC Reynolds and Asheville High Schools.
Ever since Arnold Schoenberg cast the mold for the contemporary music ensemble with his groundbreaking Pierrot Lunaire
of 1912, the bassoon has often been overlooked by modern composers in favor of the clarinet or bass clarinet when it comes to writing for woodwinds. The duo acknowledges that most of their audience members have never heard two bassoons together outside of an orchestra, and it’s no wonder, given its reputation as the ‘clown of the orchestra,’ that it is rare for the bassoon to occupy the limelight usually reserved for instruments like the flute, guitar or violin.
Tuple is working to reform that image of the bassoon. Their music ranges from edgy to humorous to transcendent, and makes extraordinary demands on the players in terms of virtuosity, stamina and breath control.
“ We may perform contemporary music, but that doesn’t mean that a classical music lover, or an indie rock fan, or a die-hard metal-head won’t each find something to connect with in our music,” said Hileman, who is Professor of Bassoon at West Virginia University in Morgantown and Principal Bassoonist of the Binghamton Philharmonic. “Two bassoons together have such a wide degree of flexibility and sonorities available. It’s a unique and unexpected sound.”
Bassoonist Elliott, who has toured widely throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia with her group, Clogs, has also appeared in rock/pop and improvised settings over the past decade as a guest with The National, My Brightest Diamond and Sufjan Stevens, among others.
“ We’ve nearly exhausted the catalog of new music for two bassoons,” said Elliott. “Now we are looking to attract composers to write for Tuple. A few people have started writing for us, and we are hoping to premiere some new pieces in the coming season.”
That’s not to say that they have tired of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Duo Sonata
from 1977, the oldest piece on their program. In fact, the Gubaidulina Duo
has a special place in Tuple’s repertoire: it is the first piece that Hileman and Elliott performed together as a duo back in 2006, and one with deep spirituality behind the music. Gubaidulina, one of the “Great Three” of contemporary Russian composers and a devout Orthodox Christian, has described her approach to composition as one that juxtaposes the earthly realm (expressed by guttural trills, micro-chromatic pitches and grinding dissonance) with the heavenly realm (represented by pure intervals, simple melodies and meditative stillness). By setting up such audible oppositions, she gives the audience and performers a clear window into the piece and its emotional content.
The Sonic Experience concert is part of Tuple’s spring tour, which also includes a show at Catamount Arts in Vermont and Eyedrum in Atlanta. The program includes music for two bassoons by Dutch composers Louis Andriessen and Chiel Meijering, Russian Sofia Gubaidulina and American Michael Daugherty, along with two short solo pieces by American composers Bobby McFerrin and Dennis DeSantis.
Past Sonic Experience