CalArtians to Perform at Boston Court and MOCA

Milen Kirov performs at Boston Court as part of a Piano Spheres series. (Image: Hannah Arista via Facebook)

Two CalArtians have separate solo shows in the Los Angeles area on Thursday night (Oct. 26). Piano Spheres welcomes Milen Kirov (Music DMA 12, BFA 02) for its Emerging Artist Series at Boston Court in Pasadena, and Stephanie Cheng Smith (Music MFA 11) performs at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

Kirov, an award-winning Bulgarian-American composer, pianist and educator, performs a program that includes US premieres of genre-blending piano works that he wrote for an upcoming 2018 release, Tonus Peregrinus (“wandering tone” in Latin). Tonus Peregrinus was a reciting psalm-tone in the Gregorian medieval chant that has influenced polyphonic music from the Middle Ages to today. In Kirov’s concert program, Piano Spheres notes that Tonus Peregrinus represents “the sounds and ideas found floating in the space between contemporary classical music, jazz, and traditional Bulgarian music; between strict form, free improvisation, and ancient tradition.” Also on Kirov’s program are brand new compositions and improvisations on traditional Bulgarian songs.

The Piano Spheres concert begins at 8 pm at The Theatre @ Boston Court with a 7 pm pre-concert talk with CalArts faculty Vicki Ray, co-founder of Piano Spheres.

Stephanie Cheng Smith performance with bell controller. | Photo by Eron Rauch

At MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary, composer, performer and programmer Smith creates interactive installations and compositions using electronics and violin in combination with light. Smith’s “motor array” instrument is a network of small motors, LEDs and resonant objects that she controls through a custom-built control board. Smith notes that her motor array performances are meant to “evoke night-calling insects and awakened memories.”

Her latest explorations with motor arrays have been featured in the 2016 issue of Experimental Music Yearbook. Her performances and residencies include Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music (STEIM, Amsterdam), PACT Zollverein (Essen), liebig12 (Berlin), Re-New Digital Arts Festival (Copenhagen), EcoSono (Caribbean), Centre for the Living Arts (Mobile), Megapolis Arts Festival (Baltimore), and—in Los Angeles—Machine Project, LA Film Forum, REDCAT, and the Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS). Smith is Director of Web Development at CalArts and currently teaches Computation Reconsidered, an Art and Technology and Integrated Media class.

Joining Smith on the bill at MOCA is LA-based instrumentalist Bana Haffar, who performs a set on modular synth. The concert at the Geffen Contemporary begins at 7 p.m.

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