Chamber music trailblazers Hub New Music to play two NM shows

Chamber music trailblazers Hub New Music to play two NM shows

Hub New Music will perform at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos on Jan. 28-29. (Courtesy of the Taos Chamber Music Group)

Contemporary chamber music trailblazers Hub New Music will bring their “New Pathways” to Taos.

Known for pioneering new chamber composers, the quartet will perform at the Harwood Museum of Art on Saturday, Jan. 28, and Sunday, Jan. 29.

The Grammy-nominated wind and string ensemble is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a program that features the world premiere of a joint Taos Chamber Music Group commission called “shatter me” by 17-year-old composer Sage Shurman. In addition, Hub will be performing James Diaz’s “Lines of acid dreams,” Dai Wei’s “how the stars vanish …,” Michael Ippolito’s “Capriccio,” Julius Eastman’s “Joy Boy” and, with TCMG flutist Nancy Laupheimer, Efrain Amaya’s “Pathways.”

“Hub is a diverse group of virtuosi who are commissioning some of today’s most powerful voices in the contemporary music world and giving platforms to emerging artists across genres, genders and ethnicities,” said Laupheimer, Taos Chamber Music Group director.

Hub’s debut album, “Soul House,” released on New Amsterdam Records, was called “ingenious and unequivocally gorgeous” by the Boston Globe.

Shurman is a high school senior living in Pasadena who has been enrolled in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellowship program since 2020 and won an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award in 2022. Her work has been performed by ensembles such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Sandbox Percussion and Triple Helix.

“My music strives to take listeners on a journey and make them feel or understand something in a way they hadn’t before,” she said. “The new piece, ‘shatter me’ for flute, clarinet, violin and cello, is about an insatiable desire to be broken. It is a mixture of minimalism and maximalism, where ideas both breathe life and run out of breath … ‘shatter me’ searches for resurrection and reflects on what it even means to put the pieces back together.”

The Colombia-born Diaz wrote “Lines of acid dreams” for Hub New Music in 2022 and says of the piece, “The four instruments playing almost entirely from beginning to end is a metaphor for twirling infinity lines, lines that intercut, contradict and feedback mutually.”

Wei is originally from China. She describes her musical journey as navigating “in the spaces between east and west, classical and pop, electronic and acoustic, innovation and tradition.”

Described as “impassioned” by The New York Times, “with a striking humanity” by The WaPo, and “incredibly creative and dynamic” by the Utah Symphony Orchestra, Wei was featured in The WaPo’s “22 for 22: Composers and Performers to watch this year.”

Ippolito’s music has been performed by leading musicians in venues around the world. Drawing on a rich musical background of classical and folk music, he takes inspiration from visual art, literature and other art forms. Says Ippolito of his 2019 Hub commission, ” ‘Capriccio’ began as a response to the work of Hans Hofmann, the influential German-American artist and teacher. Hofmann’s best-known work is abstract … and the finest of these paintings are charged with intense emotion that is difficult to describe. Hofmann was clearly aware of the expressivity in his abstract art, giving his paintings evocative titles that demonstrate a poetic sensibility I found as irresistible as the images themselves.”

To begin the Taos program, Hub is performing Eastman’s “Joy Boy,” originally written in 1972 for unspecified combinations and numbers of instruments. Eastman, who died in 1990 at age 49, was a queer avant-garde composer whose work is only now being fully appreciated. He was an important part of the downtown New York music scene, moving between the worlds of disco, experimental and classical music. “Joy Boy” refers to the racist use of the word “boy” for Black people and looks to reclaim a joyful sense of self, in spite of the dread of the backlash that Black delight in oneself might inspire.

Laupheimer will join Hub flutist Michael Avitabile for a piece called “Pathways” by Venezulan-born, American composer Efraín Amaya. The flute duet is written as “musical passes,” inspired by Carlos Castañeda’s “magical passes.”

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