It’s a big week at new music hotspot, Studio Z: Zeitgeist and internationally acclaimed Cambodian-American composer Chinary Ung will present the world premiere of his new chamber work, “Spiral XIV – Nimitta.”
Ung was recognized in 1989 with a prestigious Grawemeyer Award for his choral piece, “Inner Voices,” and has since made a name for himself the world over for creating richly layered, inventive works for orchestra, symphonic band and chamber ensembles, which fuse the compositional structures of rigorous Western classical music training with the distinct flavor and aural flourish of Ung’s Southeast Asian roots. Known for cross-cultural instrumentation, vocal techniques and melodic play, his compositions’ distinctive, impressionistic sounds combine a variety of cultural elements to create something altogether new and surprising to the ear.
“Spiral XIV- Nimitta,” commissioned from Ung by the St. Paul-based ensemble, makes use of chant and vocalization, Cambodian percussion elements, as well as Zeitgeist’s distinct instrumentation featuring two percussionists, clarinet and piano.
The evening’s line-up continues an East-meets-West theme with John Cage’s atmospheric “Ryoanji,” whose understated, asymmetrical soundscapes were inspired by Cage’s visit to a Zen monastery rock garden in Japan by the same name. Zeitgeist will also perform “Double Ikat” by Paul Dresher, a tightly interwoven ensemble piece for violin, piano and percussion with distinctly Southeast Asian accents throughout.
For their spring concert, “Spiral,” Zeitgeist will present the world premiere of Chinary Ung’s new chamber work, “Spiral XIV – Nimitta,” followed by performances of “Ryoanji” by John Cage and “Double Ikat” by Paul Dresher. Performances are May 17, 18, 19 at 7:30 p.m.; May 20 at 2 p.m. in Studio Z, 275 East Fourth St, Suite 200, St. Paul. Tickets are $10. For more information: http://studiozstpaul.com/index.html