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 © Luisa Muhr 2019.

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New York Music Daily and Lucid Culture: 
Elegantly Riveting Intensity in Brooklyn with Luisa Muhr and C. Lavender Review

"[...] Luisa Muhr and sound sculptor C. Lavender improvised a literally mesmerizing, often haunting multimedia sonata of sorts, complete with variations on a series of recurrent tropes and gestures." 

 

"Her timing was striking to witness. For much of the performance, Muhr swayed, turned, rose and fell at halfspeed, as if underwater. Much of her time onstage was spent contending with an invisible tether:, which seemed to encircle her, encumber her feet, hung in front of her face where she could analyze it, then became a sudden threat. But just when it seemed that it had finally sent her into a fetal position, and then a crumpled form at the very edge of the stage, she rose from the depths, slowly but ineluctably, in an understatedly steely display of athletic command."

"Muhr’s green eyes are profoundly expressive: like a young Liv Ullmann, she excels at channeling very subtle or conflicted emotions. At times, Muhr’s features were undeterred yet shadowed with unease, especially toward the end of the show where she dealt with what could have been an unseen mirror, a hostile presence lurking beyond the stage, or both. Likewise, during the tether sequence, she fixed her gaze with an unwavering composure but also a profound sadness. This may have been a job she had to finish, but it was ripping her up inside. What exactly was responsible for that, we never found out, although any woman in the current political climate faces an uphill struggle with no comfortable conclusion in sight."


Click here for the full article on 'New York Music Daily' and 'Lucid Culture', 8/18/19

Art News: 
Pioneer Works Names Artists for 2019 Residencies in Visual Art and Music

"Pioneer Works, the big and ambitious interdisciplinary art center in post-industrial Red Hook, Brooklyn, has named the artists to participate in its 2019 residency program, divided into two programs for visual art and music [...] The list of visual art and music residents follows below [...]

Music Residents: Lea Bertucci, MV Carbon, Naeem Juwan, Ziemba & G. Lucas Crane with Decoder 2017 Yumi Kurosawa, Quenton Stuckey, Luisa Muhr/Women Between Arts

Click here for the full article on 'Art News' by Annie Armstrong, 1/10/19

Art & Education: 
Pioneer Works Announces 2019 Residents and Technology Residency Open Call

"Selected by invitation, the confirmed 2019 Music Residents include Lea Bertucci, MV 

Carbon, Naeem Juwan, Ziemba, Julia Santoli, Aki Onda, G. Lucas Crane w/ Decoder 2017, Luisa Muhr/Women Between Arts, RVNG Intl., and more to be announced."


Click here for the full article on 'Art & Education' , 1/10/19

The Red Hook Star Revue: 
Say Hello to Pioneer Works’ 2019 Residents

"Luisa Muhr (April 2019) is an accomplished interdisciplinary artist with a background in theater arts, vocal, and movement work. She's Austrian by birth and comes to New York by way of a productive artistic tenure in Montreal. She’s a Brooklyn resident and is no stranger to Red Hook, having performed at Jalopy Theater. “Many of my friends perform there all the time. A very homey and dear place. I'd love to go there more often, especially during my Pioneer Works residency when I'll be so much closer!” 

She has no shortage of ideas for the recording studio, with plans to explore it as a rehearsal space and a movement space as well. “My brain thinks in a combination of disciplines,” she says. “I have a bit of synesthesia. I see music visually and sometimes I hear visual experiences.” 

She mostly describes her work as a sonic and physical exploration of space and her list of accomplishments is awfully diverse and lengthy for a 29-year old. She’s collaborated with artists like Ashley Fure, Kenneth Goldsmith, Frank London, Arturo O’Farrill, and John Zorn. Her experimental full-length solo “performance collage” Anna ran at the Austrian Cultural Forum in June of 2018 and just three months later she performed in the world premiere of Ashley Fure’s “Filament” with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, as part of the vocal-movement ensemble Constellation Chor (lead by Marisa Michelson). She’s currently developing an opera with six-time Grammy winner Arturo O’Farrill, and she’s performed at venues such as The Jewish Museum, The Stone, Park Avenue Armory, Judson Memorial Church, The New School Glass Box Theater, and the Albright Knox Art Gallery. And she shows no sign of slowing down now. 

“I will be working a lot and very hard. I always do, honestly. The only thing is that I often don't really sleep enough and sometimes have to miss out on a lot of amazing things that are happening. But then again, constantly working --making art-- is my life, my main center, really.” 

Luisa’s own performing arts company is called FENGARI Works, through which she runs her series Women Between Arts, the latter fosters interdisciplinary performances by women and non-binary artists. “I run Women Between Arts through FENGARI Works,” she says. “But as of right now both are just basically one-woman-run projects serving as platforms to create art and provide opportunities for artists.” 

Click here for the full article on 'The Red Hook Star Revue' by Christien Shangraw, 1/29/19 

The New York Times: 

Review: The Jaap van Zweden Era Begins at the Philharmonic

Review of the world-premiere of Ashley Fure's 'Filament' performed by The New York Philharmonic,  Rebekah Heller, Brandon Lopez, Nate Wooley, and Constellation Chor at Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall

"In 'Filament,' [...] yet, for all its calm, shimmering stretches, the music is kinetic and disruptive, even needling, by turns dreamy and dangerous [...] In addition, 15 members of Constellation Chor, an improvising vocal ensemble, sing and whisper through acoustic megaphones. At the beginning of the performance they stood in various places throughout the hall; near the end, they walked slowly down the aisles to the lip of the stage. The vocal harmonies were sometimes so astringently captivating, I was convinced they must have been carefully composed [...] The sounds were often ravishing and eerie [...]"

The article written by Anthony Tommasini originally appeared in The New York Times on September 21, 2018. Click here for the full article.

Constellation Chor members performing in 'Filament' are:  Marisa Michelson (Founder), Nikko Benson, Tamrin Goldberg, Chad Goodridge, Luisa Muhr, Sarah Beth Pfeiffer, Shawn Shafner, Kalliopi Siamidou, Kinga Cserjesi, Sepideh Moafi, Heathcliff Saunders, Sara Serpa, Raphael Sacks, Danyel Fulton, and Pyeng Threadgill.

The New York Times:

Megaphones Up, the Philharmonic Opens with Two Young Voices
Portrait excerpt of Ashley Fure and preview of her piece 'Filament' performed by The New York Philharmonic,  Rebekah Heller, Brandon Lopez, Nate Wooley, and Constellation Chor at Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall

"In Ashley Fure’s “Filament,” which has its premiere on Thursday in the Philharmonic’s season-opening gala — the first under its new music director, Jaap van Zweden — singers are spread throughout David Geffen Hall, armed with bespoke megaphones that create body-shaking sounds [...] Then there are so-called “moving voices,” members of the Constellation Chor holding megaphones, scattered throughout the concert hall. [...] The sensory effects, particularly those created by the megaphones, are profound, not unlike the tingling feelings people get while watching online A.S.M.R. videos, which depict a phenomenon called autonomous sensory meridian response."

The article written by Joshua Barone originally appeared in The New York Times on September 18, 2018. Click here for the full article.

The New York Times:

5 Classical Music Faces to Watch This Season

Preview excerpt of Ashley Fure and her piece 'Filament' performed by The New York Philharmonic,  Rebekah Heller, Brandon Lopez, Nate Wooley, and Constellation Chor at Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall

"The New York Philharmonic clearly has confidence in Ms. Fure, too: It’s giving her its biggest stage, the opening slot on its season-beginning gala program, Jaap van Zweden’s first as the orchestra’s music director, on Sept. 20. Immersive and hall-filling, the piece, “Filament,” features adventurous musicians — Rebekah Heller, Brandon Lopez, Nate Wooley, Constellation Chor — who are not, to say the least, Philharmonic regulars. It’s clearly meant to be a loud signal that a new era is beginning at Geffen Hall."

The article written by Zachary Woolfe and Joshua Barone originally appeared in The New York Times on September 14, 2018. Click here for the full article.

Musical America:

Of Borders And Separations: Young People’s Chorus Takes On Heady Themes Review

Focusing here on the Young People's Chorus Performance of Wold premiere of Arturo O'Farrill's 'Borderless' (with texts By Eric Gamalinda and Luisa Muhr) at Merkin Hall, Kaufman Music Center.

" ... Also timely was Arthur O’Farrill’s Borderless, heard in its world premiere, which was “inspired by the idea that citizenship is not a national reality,” says O’Farrill, that “our home is the earth and we are one people.” O’Farrill, during an amusing, self-deprecating introduction, emphasized common humanity: “We all have spleens.”

With texts by Eric Gamalinda and Luisa Muhr, the piece uses a short, ascending motif, like a question, coupled with syllables from languages around the world—ancient Greek, Japanese, Hebrew. A white-hot chord at the end underlines the closing lines, “I will keep the light on and wait for you to enter the dream.” Accompanying the YPC was the excellent Haven String Quartet; YPC director Francisco J. Núñez conducted.

Those in the packed hall who didn’t respond to the high quality music making in these two fascinating premieres (not many, judging from the ovations) might have been moved by the ebullient high spirits of a West Side Story medley put together for YPC by Matt Podd, or by David Lang’s thoughtful the national anthems from the Yale Choral Artists."

The  article written by Bruce Hodges originally appeared in Musical America on June 22th 2018. Click here for the full article

Photo by Stephanie Berger

I Care If You Listen:  

Young Voices Shine in Young People’s Chorus of NYC New Commissioning Project Review

"... Arturo O’Farrill’s Borderless similarly asked the singers to confront a mature topic, this time issues of immigration and citizenship. The sustained declaration of text (also by Gamalinda) juxtaposed with quick syllabic ruminations (a phonetic exercise by artist Luisa Muhr showing the interconnectedness of language), became multiple lines that ultimately converged. In this way, the music itself offered a possibility for how we may consider our differences."

 

The article written by Alyssa Kayser-Hirsh originally appeared on I Care If You Listen on November 15, 2018. Click here for the full article

New York Music Daily and Lucid Culture: 

A Potentially Paradigm-Shifting Series of Women Performers at the New School Review

In conversation with the audience and performers at her potentially paradigm-shifting new series Women Between Arts at the New School yesterday, singer/actress/impresario Luisa Muhr contemplated the complexities of branding interdisciplinary works. How do you market something that resists easy categorization? Maybe by calling it what it is: outside the box. Considering the turnout, there definitely is an audience for what might be the only interdisciplinary series focusing on women performers whose work encompasses so many different idioms in New York right now. 

When Muhr springboarded the project, she’d assumed that Women Between Arts would be one of at least five or six ongoing programs here. But this seems to be the only one at the moment – If there’s another, would they please identify themselves, because they could be doing very important work!  [...] Muhr illustrated her own, similarly eclectic background with wistful projections, a subtly humorous dance piece and poetry, following her own Greek immigrant great-grandmother’s journey as a refugee from Istanbul to Vienna. In pushing the boundaries of diverse idioms, a program like Muhr’s has the potential to spur the growth of new synapses for both audiences and performers.

The  article written by Alan Young originally appeared on the blogs New York Music Daily and Lucid Culture on November 13th 2017. Click here for the full article

New York Music Daily and Lucid Culture

Rapturous Musical Cross-Pollination at Women Between Arts at the New School Review

Yesterday was the fourth installment of Luisa Muhr’s new interdisciplinary series Women Between Arts at the New School. One would think that there would be several series in this city devoted to women whose work crosses the line between different artistic disciplines, but this appears to be the only one at present. What’s new with Muhr’s series is that it isn’t just a place for women artists who defy categorization: it’s also a space where adventurous established artists can branch out beyond their usual practice.

The  article written by Alan Young originally appeared on the blogs New York Music Daily and Lucid Culture on January 8th 2018. Click here for the full article

The New School Free Press: 

Women Between Arts: CoPA Interdisciplinary Show By and For Womxn-Identifying Creators Review

The lights dimmed inside the CoPA Glassbox Performance Space on West 13th Street for an afternoon of multifaceted art forms. Three silhouettes emerged from the shadows as audience members entered and took their seats. The small room, with deep red curtains, frequently featured performances by avant-garde musicians and artists every Tuesday and Saturday. 

Saturday, April 13 was no exception.

Women Between Arts is a series curated by artist, musician, theater director, and writer Luisa Muhr. Each event takes place at the Mannes School of Music and is designed to showcase the works of interdisciplinary, non-binary, and womxn-identifying creators, according to the series’ mission statement. At the conclusion of the event, each artist and/or group is allotted a talk-back session, after their 15 minute sets, to discuss their work.  

That afternoon, the first performance was a combination of dance and song. Three dancers wearing monochromatic costumes walked in circles as everyone in the room was transported into the “embodied healing ritual” of multidisciplinary artist Lilleth Glimcher and her collaborators: singer Stefa Marie Alarcon and musician Dominique Brillon. Glimcher played ukulele and harmonized vocally with Alarcon singing, and Brillon played synthesizer. The dancers changed into cardboard triangles with red mesh outfits underneath and swayed to the turbulent beats and soft melodies of the music. 

Combining interpretive dance with haunting vocals, Glimcher performed along with You Are Here, a nonprofit organization that creates safe spaces for queer, LGBT, nonbinary, and black and indigenous artists and musicians of color.  

Composer, director, and violinist Leyna Marika Papach was next to seize the spotlight. 

Kneeling in the center of the ground-level stage, Papach played the violin over sampled piano sounds emanating from a small amplifier. The vibrato of her violin transcended through the small room as she experimented with lingering pauses, echoing notes, and variation in rhythm — dipping and gliding her bow through the conclusion of the set. 

 

Improvisational artist and avant-jazz singer Amirtha Kidambi performed fifteen minutes of experimental vocals. With improvised vocals, high pitched notes, whistling, and hushed whispers, Kidambi used her hand as a tunnel to transmit various sounds into her microphone. While climbing up and down soprano scales, humming, gasping, and blowing air into the microphone, Kidambi experimented with noise and her ability to improvise. 

After Kidambi concluded her performance, Muhr introduced herself to the audience, and discussed the origin of Women Between Arts. 

“I started this for women and non-binary people who work as interdisciplinary artists. I believe that there needs to be more platforms in the city. This has been happening since October 2017, and we’ve featured some of the most pure artists in New York and also international, interdisciplinary artists,” Muhr said.

Muhr then led a discussion about the concept of space, highlighting that one thing all of the artists had in common was how they utilized the small space in order to perform. “The thing about sound is that it makes visible the space between us,” Glimcher said. 

Her collaborator Brillon added, “Sound is both so private and public in shared experiences. For women and non-binary folks, it’s sacred to have the protection of a private space and a public space, since you can’t always trust your public spaces.” Having equal access and areas for all womxn-identifying artists to safely perform, experiment, and practice avant-garde music were common themes throughout the discussion. 

Musicians spoke to the Free Press after the event and offered advice for young female-identifying innovators and creatives. 

“Make your own projects,” said Glimcher. “Don’t wait for anyone else to give them to you. If you feel strongly and your work is fulfilling, create it, but as women we often feel like we have to say yes to everything. Be careful what you say ‘yes’ to.” 

Muhr stressed the importance of self-assurance and finding fellow artists who support one’s best intentions: “Spend time alone, figure out what you really want. It’s important as womxn to choose your collaborators wisely.” 

The next Women Between Arts event will be held at Mannes on Saturday, May 11. It will feature unconventional music and eccentric genre exploration. “I’ve learned in my career that music is truly beyond the body,” Papach told the Free Press, “and that every artist should value what they have to give.”

The  article written by Marissa Matozzo originally appeared on The New School Free Press on April 29th 2019. Click here for the full article.