The Gurs Zyklus

A lot of composers today—practically every one under 40, and plenty over—spend a lot of self-conscious time and energy on the question of genre-crossing. This means "breaking down barriers" (or however they choose to describe it), writing effortfully funky ostinatos into string quartets, and impressing themselves deeply. Dilettantes, all of them, compared to Seattle's own Trimpin, who's forged an unlikely, eccentric career by exploring the musical possibilities of sculpture. His newest piece even adds a third artistic discipline, theater. The Gurs Zyklus, Trimpin's collaboration with narrator Rinde Eckert, premiered at Stanford a year ago. It's based on letters from inmates at the Gurs concentration camp, to which Jews from his hometown of Efringen-Kirchen, Germany were sent during the Holocaust. Adding four vocalists to a stageful of his inventions, Trimpin pays homage to the doomed using water-filled jars, player pianos, automated castanets, speaker-enhanced teeter-totters, a "fire organ," and more. GAVIN BORCHERT

May 17-20, 8 p.m., 2012

 
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