Fascinating encounter between organ and electronics

Twitchy Organs

Nico Muhly, Oneohtrix Point Never

The subtle repetitive organ music of Nico Muhly is mixed with the electronic sounds of Daniel Lopatin aka Oneothrix Point Never (OPN), whose melancholic synths move between ambient, drone and fragmented dance. Muhly is regarded as one of the hottest young composers of the contemporary New York music scene, while Brooklynite OPN is well on his way to reaching stardom in the realm of electronic music, certainly since the release last year of his album R Plus Seven on the renowned Warp label. OPN, who makes extensive use of organ samples in his music, will perform his own tracks live. Muhly’s organ music is performed by James McVinnie. Together the three of them will conclude the concert with a rendition of Muhly’s Twitchy Organs.
Programme Icoon

‘It’s the three of us and we’re going to make a big fun mess.’
Nico Muhly

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Background information

Versed in classical organ music as well as the contemporary repertoire, organist James McVinnie will play works by Nico Muhly on a number of occassions at this year's Holland Festival. Along with other contemporary composers, including Robert Walker and Shara Worden, Muhly has composed various pieces for McVinnie. Recently McVinnnie recorded an album with works by Muhly, entitled Cycles. One of the reviews read: 'McVinnie's feel for the many moods [...] is as impressive as his technical command of the organ.’ and '[...] if anything, it’s a great introduction to the sounds and capabilities of an instrument that a lot of us know absolutely nothing about.’ For this festival's programme, Muhly's compositions O Antiphons, Fast Cycles and Twitchy Organs have been selected.

On the initiative of the Holland Festival, James McVinnie and Oneothrix Point Never (OPN), one of the most exciting upcoming names in electronic music, will join forces for this special concert. After a number of solo performances – McVinnie playing Muhly, OPN playing his own work – the two of them will be joined by Muhly for a performance of Twitchy Organs. The venue for the concert is the Amsterdam Orgelpark (Organ Park). It's a fitting location for OPN, considering his frequent use of organ samples on his most recent album R Plus Seven, which is his first recording for Warp (incidentally, also the label of Aphex Twin). One of the reviews declares: 'Church organs shock and soar, synth patterns roll and roll staying one step to the right side of a seventies prog homage. This is a grand opening in every sense of the word and a delightfully confident opener to an album that brims with class, confusion and bravado.’

Oneohtrix Point Never is the stage name of Brooklyn resident and experimental musician Daniel Lopatin, descendant of a Jewish family which emigrated from Russia to the United States. The basement in the family home in Boston was stacked full of synthesizers, which belonged to his father, who had played in a band in the Soviet-Union. Lopatin was inspired by the synthesizer sounds of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Stevie Wonder, albums by whom he'd found in his father's record collection, and by the soundtracks of video games such as Metroid. Film and soundtracks have been a huge influence on Lopatin's work, who employs a mix of styles and sounds.

Lopatin does not consider himself a musician. 'I approach music psychologically a lot of the time as a fan. My way was always to look more conceptually and in an abstract way and see if I could take these plastic or static ideas about genre and see how I could make new work with them.’

Biographies

Nico Muhly (1981) is an American componer. Born in Vermont and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, Muhly graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English Literature. In 2004, he received a Masters in Music from the Juilliard School, where he studied under Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano. From his sophomore year of college, he worked for Philip Glass as a MIDI programmer and editor for six years. Nico Muhly has composed a wide scope of work for ensembles, soloists and organisations including the American Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, violinist Hilary Hahn, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic and the soprano Jessica Rivera. Muhly has also lent his skills as performer, arranger and conductor to Antony and the Johnsons, Doveman, Grizzly Bear and Usher. He has written film music for Joshua (2007), Margaret (2009) and The Reader (2008). In 2012, Muhly’s first full-scale opera, Two Boys —with a libretto by Craig Lucas and direction by Bartlett Sher— premiered in London, followed later that year by a chamber opera, which premiered in New York. Among Muhly’s most frequent collaborators are his colleagues at the CD imprint Bedroom Community, which was inaugurated in 2007 with the release of Muhly’s first album, Speaks Volumes. Nico Muhly has released many albums, including recordings of his complete choral works, his CD Seeing is believing and the evening-length I drink the air before me. Muhly's film music has been published as well.

Oneohtrix Point Never is the stage name of Brooklyn resident and experimental musician Daniel Lopatin, descendant of a Jewish family which emigrated from Russia to the United States. The basement in the family home in Boston was stacked full of synthesizers, which belonged to his father, who had played in a band in the Soviet-Union. Lopatin was inspired by the synthesizer sounds of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Stevie Wonder in his father's record collection, and by the soundtracks of video games such as Metroid. Film and soundtracks have been a huge influence on Lopatin's work, who employs a mix of styles and sounds.
Lopatin has always deftly balanced the experimental with the accessible: He has released several albums under his Oneohtrix Point Never moniker on various independent labels – including Rifts, which is a compilation of his early work, and more recently Replica, which is built around samples of television commercials. His first album for the Warp label, R Plus Seven, was released in 2013. Lopatin has built live soundscapes at the Museum of Modern Art and has collaborated with Montreal-based ambient electronic music composer Tim Hecker. Advertising powerhouse Saatchi & Saatchi tapped Lopatin for an installation event at the 2012 Cannes film fest and Sofia Coppola’s longtime cohort Brian Reitzell invited him to create original music for Coppola’s The Bling Ring. Said the Saatchi execs, characterising his music: 'There’s this grandeur to his music, but it’s always counterbalanced by moments of irony and lightness.'

James McVinnie pursues a diverse career as an organist and keyboardist. From 2008 until 2011 he was assistant organist of Westminster Abbey, where he played at many great state occasions and special services of national importance which were broadcast live on television. McVinnie studied music at Clare College, Cambridge, where, as organ scholar, he performed throughout the UK, Europe, the USA, and the Far East in addition to appearing as their accompanist on numerous acclaimed recordings. In October 2006 he recorded his first solo disc of SS Wesley’s organ music on the 1873 Willis organ of St Michael’s, Tenbury. He also appears on recordings by the King’s Consort, the Cardinall’s Musick, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and St Alban's Abbey Girls Choir. He is also a regular accompanist to the BBC singers for live performances on BBC Radio 3.
In summer 2009 McVinnie made his solo debut at the Salzburg Festival with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. As a soloist he has recently performed in Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Denmark and at the MusicNOW festival in Cincinnati. As a continuo player with leading ensembles and musicians he has appeared at the major early music festivals in Europe. McVinnie's fame as a performer of contemporary music is on the rise. It's a repertoire which plays a central part in his music; Nico Muhly, Graham Ross, Robert Walker, Richard Reed Parry, Shara Worden and David Lang all have written works for him. James McVinnie teaches organ at Cambridge University and Tonbridge School. He is director of music at St Andrew's in Holborn, London.

This performance was made possible with support by

Credits

music
Nico Muhly, Oneohtrix Point Never
performed by
James McVinnie, organ
Nico Muhly, organ
Oneohtrix Point Never, electronics
coproduction
Holland Festival, Orgelpark