History and Mission - The Paul Dresher Ensemble
After a decade of creating and touring music theater, the Paul Dresher Ensemble expanded its mission in 1993 with the creation of a seven member "electric chamber ensemble" that commissions and performs work by a diverse range of composers. The repertory offers a unique instrumentation that combines traditional acoustic and electronic instruments. In this regard, our goals are as follows:
1. To integrate, in a profound way, traditional instrumentation with the extraordinary advances in musical technology which have occurred in the past decade.
2. To create new repertory using the resources of this integration.
3. To expose new audiences to this repertory.
Mr. Dresher writes: "This ensemble has two defining ideas, one technical and one musical. I wish to integrate, in a profound way, traditional acoustic instruments with the rapidly evolving resources of contemporary music technology. My goal in this is not to explore the technology for its own sake but rather to approach the technology as the next step in the evolution of the resources from which composers may draw their sounds and compositional resources. Musically, my goal is to bring to as wide an audience as possible a repertory of contemporary chamber music which is largely unavailable from existing touring chamber ensembles and which I profoundly believe can cross traditional aesthetic boundaries and appeal to many diverse audiences."
The Ensemble premiered with two concerts in Tokyo in October of 1993 and subsequently toured to four cities in Japan. Since November, the Ensemble has performed six times in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Ensemble premiered four works during these programs. With support from Meet the Composer and a consortium of five national presenters, the Ensemble commissioned new works from Bun Ching Lam, Carl Stone and Paul Dresher. These works will be performed in at least eight cities during the Ensemble's 1994-95 fall and winter tours and are part of our program Looking West to the East, a concert that presents the work of composers who have, in some way taken inspiration from the music, art or philosophy of the cultures of Asia and the Pacific Rim. Other composers whose works are included in this program are Robert Erickson, John Adams, Koji Ueno, John Luther Adams and Lou Harrison.
Continuing this concept of a thematically focused repertory, for the 1995-96 season the Ensemble is offering "New American Landscapes," a program examining on the ways composers have reflected the American environment, both rural and urban, physical or imaginary, in their composition. We are fundraising and arranging co-commissioners for works by Anthony Davis, Alvin Curran, Jay Cloidt and Lois Vierk. We are also in discussions with Steve Mackey, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe which we believe will eventually lead to commissions for future seasons.
Launching an entirely new group is a difficult, risky and expensive process and we are very encouraged by the success of our first season and the bookings and commissions we have obtained for our second season. We feel that this success is due to a variety of factors. These include our past success and credibility with touring music theater and opera to venues and presenters not typically connected with the contemporary music community, the emphasis on the new resources provided by electronic music technology, and the repertory which is generally not available from other touring contemporary music ensembles.