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Performance  |  "The Girl K”: Percussion and Dance Duo, featuring Nicholas Nelson

Saturday, April 4, 2020, 7:30–9 pm

Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium  

Ross Aftel and Kanami Kusajima, along with sound projectionist and composer Nicholas Nelson present the premiere of a multi-disciplinary project featuring percussion, dance, and electronics. Began in October of 2019, Aftel and Kusajima collaborated with composer Xu Yi on the US premiere of her multi-movement work Saveur for percussion and dance. Collaborating with Nicholas Nelson, the duo will present a performance featuring works from Malika Kishino, Anthony Braxton, Alex Smith, Nicholas Nelson, and a reprise of Xu Yi’s Saveur. 

The program is as follows:

Xu Yi: Saveur (2018)

Nicholas Nelson: "Every time a passing train made the earth shake, the surface of the water used to ripple delicately, concentrically, and in utter silence. But it was not only the earth that shook for us: the air around and above us was alive and signaling too.” (2019)

Alex Smith: Cotton Gindustrial (2016 

Malika Kishino: Lebensfunke (2007/rev.10) 

Anthony Braxton: Composition 40N (from “17 Compositions” (1974/76)

Ross Aftel: After pursuing a masters degree in performance at the University at Buffalo (14’), he spent a year of teaching with an el sistema organization at an elementary school in Virginia, and toured Serbia with Projekat RAMEM premiering several pieces for string quartet and percussion. He then continued his studies with a second masters degree in music history/music theory, and a doctorate in musical arts at Stony Brook University. Since relocating to Long Island, Ross has been involved in the US and world premieres of pieces by Xu Yi, Nicholas Nelson, Ray Anderson, Agata Zubel, Akiko Yamane, Heiner Goebbels, Chikako Morishita, Akiko Ushijima, and Zhou Long. He has also been involved in other projects including the premiere of Dylan Ibrahimian’s opera Oath in Beijing, given guest lectures at several universities, acting archivist for the Emerson String Quartet, and composed and performed music in the premiere of Kiyou Kamisawa’s Noh inspired drama Yuya in NYC in 2019. His most recent large-scale project was a week long collaboration and curation with composer Xu Yi in October of 2019, in which the US premieres of 3 concert pieces were presented. This also included the conducting of her film-score la Divine (神女) for 10 solo players and electronics.

Kanami Kusajima, a native of Japan, trained at Yuhara Sonoko Modern Ballet Studio starting from when she was six years old. During her tenure at this studio, she participated in The National Dance Competition of Japan, the Saitama National Dance Competition, and the Yokohama Competition annually with solo dance. She won awards, such as theTV Saitama Prize and the Encouragement Prize. In 2013, she entered Kanagawa Sohgoh High School. Here she trained in physical expression, foundations of acting, dance studies, singing, and stage production. She concentrated on choreography and improvisation. Kusajima is currently a student of the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY. She trains in ballet, modern dance techniques (Graham technique/Cunningham technique Limon technique), improvisation, and choreography, among others. She is exploring how to connect with people; through dance Kusajima hopes to articulate truths that cannot be captured in words.

Nicholas R. Nelson holds degrees from the University of Rochester and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York where his teachers have included Morton Subotnik, Jason Eckardt, Douglas Geers and George Brunner. He has been performed by numerous ensembles, including Cygnus, the Vigil ensemble, Ensemble Mise-En, the ECCE Ensemble, AuditivVokal Dresden and Ensemble Moto Perpetuo. His pieces have been premiered across the United States and in Europe on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the International Electro-Acoustic Music Festival, the Etchings Festival, the Outlook Festival of Shwatz, Austria and recently the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music (SEAMUS) national conference in 2015. In addition to his work as a composer, Nick works frequently as an Audio Engineer, providing recording and producing services for numerous commercial recordings, and audio post-production for short films, features, advertisements and emerging media productions.