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WHY? For what? Which reason, cause or purpose? What unnamed goal?
In abstract, WHY? is the process of adapting to the somehow simple business of existing. WHY? is the searching for something clearly unreachable, with hopes of finding small significance along the way. The attempt to understand what’s really going on by observing, neither by telescope nor microscope, but by naked eye, the intimate details in the most mundane of life’s happenings. The attempt to describe the gist of the feeling of the tiniest modicum of The Great Universal Unutterable Joke we are all always not laughing at—except when we are. WHY? is living out the set-up of that old gag over and over, until we finally reach a punch-line. Or we die and we don't.
WHY? is, most often, a trio of handsome Midwestern men with a shared past, present and future. Today, they fiddle around with skins, strings and bells through microphones attached to tape, presenting their “findings” to the waiting world. In an earlier decade they were all born in Cincinnati. And in the time in between, much did happen. Yoni Wolf, for instance, grew up the second son to an art book editor and a rabbi. He got his start recording bad poems and sloppy beats on the family synagogue’s forgotten 4-track. In junior high he discovered hip-hop; in art school he learned how to drop out. His brother Josiah played drums at worship service as a tot, dominated Concert Band as a teen, and fell in love with the compositions of Thelonious Monk on his way to University of Cincinnati’s music conservatory. Doug McDiarmid would eventually get expelled from UoC for carrying a stun gun, but was first conceived by two French teachers and taught piano while in kindergarten. He went to high school with the Wolfs, where he played in Steve Miller cover bands. In various permutations together and with other now-notables (Dose One, Odd Nosdam, Mr. Dibbs, Slug), these three created and/or contributed to a number of freewheeling rap and lo-fi bedroom-rock related projects, some still unexcavated: Miss Ohio’s Nameless, Apogee, Greenthink, Reaching Quiet, and the now seminal cLOUDDEAD. Their wildest dreams were achieved when they relocated to the West to make pop-inflected psychedelic folk-hop.
Growing up playing in Rock Bands, Owen Weaver began his formal percussion training at the University of Minnesota in 2001 studying with Fernando Meza and Earl Yowell. As a soloist committed to bringing classical music to non-academic settings, he has performed in the Marimba Underground concert series in Minneapolis as well the New York based Wordless Music Series. An active chamber musician, he performs with Austin new music group PicNacht as well as flute/percussion duo Undertow. Mr. Weaver collaborated with Grammy-nominated Conspirare: A Company of Voices for a television special aired nationally on PBS, the recording of which was released on the Harmonia Mundi label. As an orchestral musician he is serves as principal timpanist of the Round Rock Symphony and has made appearances with the Austin Symphony, the Austin City Brass Ensemble, the Austin Singers, and the Texas Choral Consort. In 2009 he received a master’s degree from the University of Texas Butler School of Music under the tutelage of Tom Burritt and Tony Edwards.
With an instrumentation that blurs the line between jazz, rock and classical music, Flexible Music was inspired by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen's Hout for saxophone, guitar, piano and percussion. Since 2003, the group has commissioned over 30 pieces including new works by Nico Muhly, Orianna Webb, Vineet Shende, John Link, Ryan Streber, Mikel Kuehn, Andrew Waggoner, Steve Ricks, Nizan Leibovich, Ethan Wickman, Ross Bauer, Carl Schimmel, Seung-Ah Oh, and Adam B. Silverman.
Flexible Music looks forward to engagements in fall of 2010 on the Macau International Music Festival in China and at the University of Montreal. This season's concerts have included performances at Syracuse University, Bowling Green State University's Mid-American Festival of New Music, Evolution Music Series (Baltimore), and Chamber Music Now (Philadelphia), and masterclasses at the Peabody Institute of Music and American University. Some of the ensemble's past concerts and residencies include Brigham Young University, University of Utah, Manhattan School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, William Paterson University, and The Stone (NYC). Flexible Music's debut cd, FM, was released by New Focus Recordings in March 2009. "This was my first encounter with Flexible Music, but it certainly won't be my last. Each player was estimable in his or her own right; together, they provided a broad canvas upon which tonight's composers could unfurl their imaginations.” Steve Smith, Night after Night Blog (Music Reviewer for NY Times and Time Out NY)
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