Ken Zuckermans' thorough training in both western and
eastern music performance, composition and improvisation, has also enabled
him to participate in a wide range of both classical and experimental
ensembles. He has been featured in Hesperion XXI's Grammy Award nominated
CD "Diaspora Sephardic", and has taken part on various cultural crossover
projects, including India Meets Persia, with Hossein Alizadeh, Madjid
Khaladj and Swapan Chaudhuri, Modal Tapestry I, a Zuckerman composition
for an ensemble of 14 musicians from western and eastern traditions, and
Meeting Two Worlds of Modal Music, with the well known medieval singer
MODAL TAPESTRY I, composed
especially for Germany's SWR (southwest radio station), had it's premiere
performance at the cultural event "von vier bis vier" (from 4 to 4 - 24
hours of cultural events), which took place in Karlsruhe on May 27, 2000.
The inspiration for the project came from Benno
Trautmann, a member of the SWR Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and
Freiburg. With a strong interest in both classical western music and
experimental and improvised styles, Mr. Trautmann asked Ken Zuckerman if
it would be possible to create a composition for a mixed ensemble of
musicians from diverse backgrounds, which would feature a blend of both
western/eastern, and composed/improvised sections. Mr. Zuckerman, a
composer and performer with extensive training in eastern and western
classical music, readily agreed to the project.
Tapestry - a form of textile art, woven together and
decorated with different kinds of threads. Modal Tapestry I is a
composition that weaves together musical threads from diverse cultures
into an artistic whole. The common thread, which exists in almost all
music traditions - east and west - is mode. The concept of mode is at the
core of many eastern music traditions - guiding a musician through the
process of making melodies, both while composing and improvising. Mode was
also a very important aspect of western art music during the Middle Ages
and Renaissance. Although in later times (including our modern day
period), the active use of modal ideas is less prevalent, the echo of this
earlier practice can still be heard in many styles of music that we listen
to every day.
The performance of Modal Tapestry I gives listeners a
chance to hear modally conceived music in different contexts and
configurations, from fully composed and arranged sections for ensemble to
sections giving the musicians more space for solos and improvisation. The
musicians taking part in the performance, coming from diverse countries
like India, Japan, Iran, Australia, Hungary, Rumania, Italy, Germany and
the USA, also add to the rich weave of the tapestry.
MODAL TAPESTRY II
The Composition and performance was such a success that Ken Zuckerman was
given an additional commission to compose “Modal Tapestry II”, which
had its premier performance at the same festival in Karlsruhe in 2002.
Modal Tapestry II both develops musical concepts initiated in the first
Modal Tapestry and breaks new ground.
Once again, the central theme of Modal Tapestry II is that musical
modes, existing all over the world in both musics of the past and present,
can form a continuous thread which brings musicians, composers and
audiences together in a special way. The juxtopositions of “composition
vs. improvisation”, “ancient vs. modern”, “classical vs. popular”,
“east vs. west” and “solo vs. ensemble”, all interact to make
Modal Tapestry a unique listening experience!
Composer Ken Zuckerman draws on his extensive experience spanning
popular, classical and early western music styles, not to mention his
35-year apprenticeship with India’s legendary master, Ustad Ali Akbar
Ken’s compositions and arrangements for Modal Tapestry II are
complimented by Christoph
Grund, who has contributed arrangements and compositions for the
“classical” string section of the ensemble.
In addition, guest appearances by medieval singer Dominique Vellard and
Dhrupad singer Amelia Cuni add an extra vocal element to the perormance.
Modal Tapestry II has its Swiss premier at the Rheinfall festival in
* Mitglieder des SWR Sinfonieorchester
Baden-Baden und Freiburg.