Emergence of a ‘2-Headed Beast’ at CalArts

2-headed beast

2-Headed Beast concerts on April 20, 24 | Poster design by Zoe Chevat (Film/Video MFA 12)

While the Wild Beast–CalArts’ new music pavilion–doesn’t make its official public debut until next month’s dedication, 22 of the Institute’s graduate composers are warming up the venue with an ambitious concert next week aptly named the 2-Headed Beast.

The two concerts (April 20 and 24) will not only feature 25 music songs/pieces and four installations, but they will also allow the CalArts musicians and composers to play with the physical characteristics–and limitations–of the performance venue itself.

“Tuesday’s concert–the Inner Beast–will feature more music for enclosed spaces, emphasizing the inner acoustics of the Beast,” says Paul Fraser (Music MFA 11), who is organizing the concerts with fellow composers Colin Wambsgans (Music MFA 11) and Ellen Reid (Music MFA 11).

The doors of the concert hall will be open for the Outer Beast concert on Saturday afternoon, turning the space into an amphitheater with a festival-like atmosphere. For this show, the audience will be seated outside on chairs and on the lawn. “This concert will have the composers and musicians playing with and against environmental acoustics,” adds Fraser. “For example, Archie Carey’s (Music MFA 11) ‘Fanfare for the Raging Man’ features three cars horns parked above the venue.”

Here’s just a sampling of what else is in store for next week’s concerts:

  • Odeya Nini (Music MFA 11) has a piece for the Inner Beast called “Going Hone” for cello, bass and computer that’s similar to her “Open Dialogue” (below). Open Dialogue
  • Joshua Foy’s (Music MFA 10) piece, “All MaD men r aLike” for piano (four-hands) is slated for the Inner Beast program. (Listen to Foy’s “Modules!” below for piano, soprano sax, b-flat clarinet and violin.) Modules!
  • For the Outer Beast program, Joshua Gerowitz’s (Music MFA 10) “DDS” for tuba, flute, percussion and tape is a “programmatic exploration of dentistry gone bad.” It sounds a little like his “Old Glove” (below).  Old Glove
  • Milen Kirov (Music DMA 12) will play five  songs with his 14-piece Bulgarian funk band in a set titled, “Bulgarian Moonshine Co. presents Orkestar MÉZÉ” for the Outer Beast. Watch this stripped-down version of Kirov’s Bulgarian funk from an earlier performance at REDCAT.


From Lucille Kagaya's 'Tree001' installation.

  • Naomi Lucille Kagaya (Music MFA 10) presents a video piece that closes the Outer Beast. In her program notes, she says, “‘Tree001’ begins and ends with its roots, exploring growth and texture through sound and image. The piece was inspired by the artist’s family tradition of afforestation work in Northern Japan.”
  • And to keep things moving between large changeovers during Saturday’s outdoor concert, Alex Sramek (Music MFA 11) has created “Rafelmusik“–a musical game composition that’s better watched than explained.

For more information on the 2-Headed Beast, including a list of all composers participating in the concerts, visit the webpage or find them on Facebook.

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