Ben Neill will present FANTINI FUTURO in New York this week
On Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 7 p.m., composer and instrumentalist Ben Neill will present his immersive electronic opera Fantini Futuro at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, located at 261 Mott Street in New York City. This one-night performance is also the premiere of the full opera presentation, as well as a benefit for the restoration of the historic church organs. Tickets range from $20-30 before processing fees and are available on Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/fantini22
Created by Ben Neill for the Mutantrumpet (his self-designed electroacoustic instrument), countertenor, baroque keyboards and interactive video projections, this fantastical piece is based on the music and life of early baroque trumpeter/composer Girolamo Fantini. Fantini himself was responsible for bringing the trumpet inside the hunt and from the battlefield to the realm of art music. Here, using an array of interactive technologies, Fantini is portrayed as a traveler through space and time through a synthesis of early music, minimalism and digital media performance. Its translocation of the trumpet from outside to inside is mirrored and reimagined by the futuristic Mutantrumpet V4, which extends the acoustic instrument into the virtual realm.
Including Neill, this interactive performance features GRAMMY-nominated countertenor Ryland Angel and Gwendolyn Toth, director of early music ensemble ARTEK, and recognized as one of America’s leading performers on early keyboard instruments. Bob McGrath of the Ridge Theater directs. Technical support for the performance was provided by Eastern Connecticut State University and Ramapo College in New Jersey.
Co-produced with ARTEK, Fantini Futuro received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts in Film and New Media in 2022. A 2020 demonstration video of the Mutantrumpet V4, which debuted in Fantini Futuro, received over 800,000 social media views. media and has been shared thousands of times.
Composer/performer BEN NEILL (benneill.com) is the inventor of the Mutantrumpet, a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument, and is widely recognized as a musical innovator through his recordings, performances and installations. Neill’s music blends influences from electronic, jazz and minimalist music, blurring the lines between digital media and acoustic instrument performance.
Neill has recorded twelve albums of his music on labels such as Universal/Verve, Thirsty Ear, Astralwerks and Six Degrees. Performances include BAM Next Wave Festival, Big Ears Festival, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, Getty Museum, Cité de la Musique Paris, Moogfest, Spoleto Festival, Umbria Jazz, Bang On A Can Festival, ICA London, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Vienna Jazz Festival and Edinburgh Festival, among many others. Neill has worked closely with many musical innovators including La Monte Young, John Cage, John Cale, Pauline Oliveros, Rhys Chatham, DJ Spooky, David Berhman, Mimi Goese, King Britt and Nicolas Collins. A longtime associate of minimalist pioneer La Monte Young, Neill conducts La Monte Young’s The Second Dream of the High Tension Stepdown Line Transformer concerts with an international brass ensemble and performs with Young in the Theater of Eternal Music Ensemble.
Neill began developing the Mutantrumpet in the early 1980s. Initially an acoustic instrument (a combination of 3 trumpets and a trombone rolled into one), he collaborated with synthesizer Robert Moog to incorporate electronics. In 1992, while in residence at the STEIM Research and Development Laboratory for New Instruments in Amsterdam, Neill made the Mutantrumpet fully computer interactive. In 2008, he created a new version of his instrument at STEIM, and returned there in 2016-17 to design Version 4.0 which made its debut in 2019 with Fantini Futuro. “Ben Neill uses a schizophrenic trumpet to create art music for the people.” – Wired Magazine
Countertenor RYLAND ANGEL (rylandangel.com) is a GRAMMY nominated artist with over 70 recordings of works by composers ranging from Bach, Händel, Monteverdi and Purcell to contemporary composers such as Gregory Spears and Tarik O’Regan to its active. Angel is also in high demand by opera companies and orchestras around the world. From English National Opera, Opéra National de Paris and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu to New York Opera and Opéra de Saint-Louis, he has won acclaim for his “sparkling countertenor ‘ and his ‘painful sensibility’. Angel has also created roles in many world premieres, including Spears’ Wolf in Skins (Philadelphia), the title role in Tesla in New York written by Phil Kline and director Jim Jarmusch at the Hopkins Center, Dartmouth. Angel composed the score and sang the title song for the Warner Bros. documentary film The Mystery of Dante. He also appears on the soundtracks of the films Le Petit Prince, La Peau, Henry 4th, Machete and the PBS TV special Heavenly Voices.
GWENDOLYN TOTH (artekearlymusic.org/about/artists) is one of the few American conductors of historic ensembles and orchestras. Currently, she is the director and founder of New York’s virtuoso period instrument ensemble, ARTEK. Ms. Toth has also conducted at Sadler’s Wells Theater in London with the Mark Morris Dance Group; the Skylight Theater in Milwaukee; Kaye Playhouse, Merkin Hall and BAM in New York, and for the German Broadcasting System. She is recognized as an outstanding performer on early keyboard instruments, performing at early music festivals in Boston, Utrecht, Holland; and the Czech Republic and on radio networks in the Netherlands, Germany, France and on US National Public Radio. His discography includes a CD of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on the lautenwerk and a CD of organ works by Heinrich Scheidemann on the medium-toned organ of Zeerijp, Holland. In contemporary music, Ms. Toth has worked and recorded with eminent composers/performers such as John Cage, Rhys Chatham, Petr Kotik, Dave Soldier, Louis Andriessen and Elliott Sharp at BAM Next Wave Festival, The Kitchen, Bang we have Can Festival. , Cage Nachttage in Cologne, and others.
Director BOB McGRATH (ridgetheater.org) is co-founder and director of The Ridge Theatre. Mr. McGrath has conducted theatre, opera and ballet at venues including BAM, LA Opera, Lincoln Center, American Repertory Theatre, Carnegie Hall, BRIC, Kimmel Center-Verizon Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Krannert Center, Vineyard Theatre, Arts at St. Ann’s, La MaMa ETC and The Kitchen. His productions abroad include Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Cité de la Musique (Paris), Muziekebow (Amsterdam), Oi Casa Grande Theater (Rio de Janeiro) and De Singel (Antwerp). Bob has collaborated with composers, writers and conductors including John Adams, Gavin Bryars, Joseph Budenholzer, Mark Dion, Ben Katchor, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Neil LaBute, David Lang, Warren Leight, Mark Mulcahy, Ben Neill, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Susan Sontag, Robert Spano, DJ Spooky, Mac Wellman and Julia Wolfe. McGrath received three OBIE Awards for Directing, Best Production, and Sustained Direction.