Bike bells will be ringing as part of Monday Evening Concerts series
Wagner's "Ring" cycle may be vying with Dudamania as the headline maker of the musical season on Grand Avenue, but please take note that downtown's main drag of the arts will also be playing host to a horde of cyclists, ringing.
The musical piece in question is "Eine Brise: Transient Action for 111 Cyclists," by the late Argentinian composer Mauricio Kagel, which will have its L.A. premiere Feb. 22 outdoors on Grand Avenue's pavement. Kagel's quickie composition, no more than two minutes long, calls for 111 bicycle riders to ring their bells, whistle and emit vocalized effects in unison, on command.
The performance is part of the just-announced 2009-10 season from the experimental and contemporary music series Monday Evening Concerts. Along with the biker ensemble, its "Celebrating Kagel" concert will offer two pieces played indoors in the series' regular quarters, Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School.
The four other programs are "Sciarrino's Perfection" (Dec. 7), including the L.A. debut of flutist Mario Caroli; a "Mostly Californian" concert (Jan. 11) of recent pieces by current Golden Staters, plus Milton Babbitt and Anton Webern; "Shattered Shadows" (March 8) with works by Frank Denyer, Alvin Lucier and James Tenney; and "In the Dark" (April 19-20), which, true to its name, will feature the JACK Quartet in its L.A. debut, playing Georg Friedrich Haas' Third String Quartet in total darkness -- not at Zipper Hall, where safety codes won't allow music-making sans lighting, but at the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena.
A complementary film series, Sunday Morning Films, will run at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles the day before each concert, with features and documentaries related to each musical program.
Monday Evening Concerts traces its origins to 1939. It had enough support to secure alternative funding that allowed it to land on its feet downtown three years ago after getting the heave-ho from its cost-cutting host of 40 years, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Justin Urcis, the series' director, said the poor economy has led to some economizing this season, which is budgeted at a bit more than $100,000, but hasn't had a drastic effect on programming or support. "We don't have too much overhead, and people who support this music are very passionate about it."
-- Mike Boehm
Photo: A bicycle race in Long Beach. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times