ACF Partners with Look + Listen for 20th Anniversary Season

Look + Listen’s free annual spring festival marks its 20th anniversary with a trio of boldly imaginative programs in venues around NYC, May 3, 5 + 6. In the past two decades, Look + Listen has become established as a preeminent presenter of new music, known for high-quality performances, breadth and variety of repertoire, and unique concert settings. Since 2010, L+L has commissioned new works annually; starting with the 2016 festival, all performances have been free of charge.

This season’s concerts celebrate Look + Listen’s founding mission – to integrate visual and musical experiences – while expanding that idea in new and exciting ways. Look + Listen 2022 is produced by Executive Director Grace Parisi and Festival Producer Julia Bumke, who have also curated the first two concerts. The third concert is curated by the staff of American Composers Forum (ACF), who is partnering with Look + Listen for this anniversary year.

Each evening will open with the world premiere of an ambient work or installation commissioned by Look + Listen from past Artistic Directors John Glover, Paul Pinto, and Phyllis Chen. Though all events are free, audiences are urged to reserve seats through Eventbrite, links below.

Tuesday, May 3 (7pm): Looking Back
Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen St., Brooklyn, NY


The opening night program celebrates Look + Listen’s first 20 years with a lineup of time-honored collaborators, hosted by composer and former Artistic Director John Glover.

The visual component is a gallery installation of works by Lucas Goossens, whose faux-naïf, neon-bright paintings are inspired by the jungle, psychedelics, and fellow artists past and present.

The evening opens with an ambient electronic piece by past L+L Artistic Director Phyllis Chen, known for her use of toy and miniature instruments. JACK Quartet, who have lately been exploring Elliott Carter’s groundbreaking string quartets, will perform the composer’s virtuosic String Quartet No. 2, in which each player’s part has a highly distinct musical profile and emotive character.

Jason Treuting and Eric Cha-Beach of Sō Percussion interpret a pair of text instruction scores by the late Pauline Oliveros: Tuning Meditation, a participatory work for voices; and Rolling Meditation, which is built on the rumbling swells of percussion “rolls.”

Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu plays excerpts from her suite Zero Grasses, which explores the fractured relationship between humankind and nature. Pianist Mikael Darmanie, a student of longtime Look + Listen collaborator Gil Kalish, plays George Crumb’s haunting Processional (written for Kalish) in memory of the recently-departed composer.

Flutist Patricia Spencer performs Noel Da Costa’s Blue-Tune Verses, the first piece commissioned by L+L for its inaugural festival in 2002, along with Chen Yi’s Three Bagatelles from China West and Joan Tower’s For Marianne, nodding to the concert of Tower’s music that inspired the creation of Look + Listen.

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Thursday, May 5 (7 pm): Looking Forward
Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen St., Brooklyn, NY


The second night program looks to the future, bringing in artists new to Look + Listen whose work resonates with the festival’s expansive aesthetic. Hosted by pianist/multimedia artist Tristan McKay, a Contributing Writer for ACF’s I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.

For this concert, former L+L Artistic Director Paul Pinto has created a series of sound and sculpture installations to be displayed around the gallery at Invisible Dog. Titled Help!, these works grow out of Pinto’s continuing obsession with boxing and masculinity.

Eclectic vocalist/percussionist Anaïs Maviel performs her own compositions with Rashaan Carter (bass) and Rema Hasumi (synth and voice). Her work “focuses on the function of music as essential to settling common grounds, addressing Relation, and creating utopian future.”

Avant-garde composer/bassoonist Joy Guidry teams up with intrepid percussionist Jessie Cox in selections from Guidry’s new album, Radical Acceptance, which Bandcamp Daily’s Peter Margasak cited for its “ominous grace.”

Chromic Duo, consisting of keyboardists Lucy Yao and Dorothy Chen, performs Phong Tran’s electroacoustic work Have fun instead of worrying, and their own jointly composed piece Homecoming: love you all ways, a celebration of the resilience of Asian American communities in the face of uncertainty and adversity.

The folk-inflected viola/cello duo Ayane & Paul (Ayane Kozasa of Aizuri Quartet and Paul Wiancko of Owls), plays Wiancko’s American Haiku, a reflection on the composer’s Japanese American identity as well as an ode to the evocative concision of haiku, and Judd Greenstein’s K’Zohar Harakia, inspired by the birth of the composer’s second daughter, Zohara.

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Friday, May 6 (7 pm): Dreaming Big
BRIC, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY


The final program, consisting of large-scale, theatrically-oriented pieces, is curated by American Composers Forum (ACF) and features recent ACF awardees. Hosted by composer Gemma Peacocke, a Contributing Writer for I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.

Visual elements include the world premiere of a hand-drawn, stop-motion animation created by Dana Lyn for her piece Mountain Climbing; an original film by Jih-E Peng, May We Know Our Strength, with a score by Sugar Vendil; and costumes by couture fashion designer Jasmine Chong for Vendil’s set.

An ambient electronic work by John Glover opens the evening. Violinist/pianist/composer Dana Lyn plays excerpts from her nine-movement tone poem A Point on a Slow Curve, backed by clarinet, bassoon, vibraphone, bass, and drums. The first movement, Mountain Climbing, will be accompanied by her original frame-by-frame hand-drawn animation for the piece. Though this method of animation is “terribly time-consuming and repetitious,” Lyn finds the process “oddly meditative and grounding.”

Soprano/vocalist/songwriter/bandleader Alicia Waller and her richly-textured jazz fusion ensemble The Excursion perform selections from her albums Some Hidden Treasure and Louder, Then. Waller has been praised by All About Jazz for a “rich synthesis between her splendid, luminous voice and the expressiveness of soul.”

Pianist/composer Sugar Vendil performs solo works for piano and electronics from her forthcoming album Late Bloomer, paired with her piece ooh wo aa oo wa o for The Nouveau Classical Project with costume designs by Jasmine Chong. Vendil’s work calls for the ensemble to vocalize while playing, to arrestingly dramatic effect.

NOTE: Look + Listen 2022 COVID-19 Policy: All attendees must show proof of full vaccination and photo ID for entry to each performance. Masks are required for all Look + Listen performances. If you have questions regarding this protocol, please email Festival Producer Julia Bumke at [email protected].

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About Look + Listen

Called “a winning formula” by The New York Times, the Look + Listen Festival features music and art created and performed by the finest established and emerging artists. Look + Listen was founded in 2002 by David Gordon, who was inspired by a concert of music by Joan Tower at the DIA Center. Since then, the Festival has presented such extraordinary musicians as the Bang on a Can All Stars, eighth blackbird, JACK Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Phyllis Chen, Claire Chase, Sō Percussion, Meredith Monk, the Tyshawn Sorey Trio, and Angélica Negrón. Look + Listen takes place at partner venues throughout the city, which in recent years have included BRIC House, Chelsea Art Museum, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, Robert Miller Gallery, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Invisible Dog Art Center.

Each Festival features an Ambient Experience, a signature Look + Listen element that creates an atmosphere conducive to dialogue and helps draw audience members into connection with the artists and works presented. The Look + Listen Composers Collective provides programming guidance, creates ambient music for Festival concerts, and adjudicates the annual Call for Collaboration.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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