Tribeca New Music presents Into Light, a concert and CD release party with Innova Records, celebrating the music of composer Rick Baitz.
When violinist Mary Rowell asked Rick Baitz to write a her a piece, what emerged was Chthonic Dances, a mash-up of rhythms, patterns and harmonies gleaned from his early years living in Brazil and South Africa. The New York Times described it as “a bright-hued, vigorously melodic score,” and it opens his new innova album, Into Light.
Hall of Mirrors is also permeated with the spirits of light and groove, merging the tribal with the technological, employing mbiras, windwands, tabla, and electronics, which refract the instruments into processed and transformed versions of themselves. Kind of like when you go into a funhouse and see a bizarro reflection of yourself. Commissioned by The Juilliard School, Hall of Mirrors is both earthbound and celestial, dance-like and trance-like, with an underlying sense of rhythmic slight-of-hand and a prevalent but at times ambiguous drone.
The final piece on the CD, Into Light, dates back to 1984, but philosophically it’s in the same ballpark as Chthonic Dances and Hall of Mirrors. Rick thinks of it as both a dance and a kind of meditation; a voyage through light and darkness (with some harmonic and rhythmic trickery along the way).
Rick Baitz composes for the concert hall, media, dance and theater. His concert works have been performed around the world, with his electro-acoustic quintet River of January described as “a glowing jewel of a new score” by the New York Times. His film credits range from HBO’s The Vagina Monologues to a series of recent installations at the acclaimed Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Raised in Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro and Durban, South Africa, Rick has worked as a deckhand on a dredger in Durban and a cabbie in New York City. He received his DMA in Composition from Columbia, and bachelor’s and master’s from Manhattan School of Music. He is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he served as Chair from 2012 to 2016. In May, 2018 Rick was honored with BMI’s esteemed Classic Contribution Award in recognition of his 10 years as Founding Director of their film scoring workshop, "Composing for the Screen." Rick composes and teaches out of his studio in New York City.
Performing artists on the program will be Mary Rowell & Joyce Hammann, violin; Beth Meyers & Jessica Meyer, viola; Andrew Yee, cello; Ben Fingland, clarinet; and Stephen Gosling, piano.