David Soldier @ Rutgers University, NJ

There will be the first performance of The Most Unwanted Music by Dave Soldier and Komar Melamid in twenty-five years. In the People’s Choice Music project in 1996, the trio polled over 500 Americans on what they most like and dislike in music, including the instruments, styles, duration, vocal qualities, subjects and other parameters. The accompanying piece, The Most Wanted Music, a 5 minute power pop love ballad feature rock / R&B singers with saxophone imitating Clarence Clemons and Kenny G, and Eddie Van-Halen-like rock guitar (on the record, played by Vernon Reid) was never actually performed live and so in a sense will be premiered here. The Most Unwanted Music, a 25 minute piece with operatic soprano rapping cowboy lyrics, a children’s chorus singing commercials, political sloganeering and featuring harp, banjo, bagpipe, tuba, accordion, harmonica and flute/piccolo, was last performed live in 1997: this performance will include the original bagpipe player, David Watson, the original accordionist, Yuri Lemeshev from Gogol Bordello, and Soldier on banjo and Casiotone.

These pieces have been the subject of countless essays in the major newspapers and magazines of the time, subjects of PhD dissertations and listened to millions of times and are large undertakings to perform: this is a unique opportunity.

In 2000, Dave Soldier and the conservationist Richard Lair founded The Thai Elephant Orchestra at the original elephant conservation center near Lampang, Thailand, where Komar and Melamid had taught the elephants to paint. Up to 16 elephants would participate on instruments specially designed to be ergonomic, large, and operated mostly by the trunk to play music in the local Thai scale, and the orchestra released four CDs. Perhaps their most ambitious piece was “The Ganesha Symphony” in four movements with key and hamonic modulations. Soldier recently transcribed exactly what the elephants improvised and the members of Taljuon Percussion will premiere the Ganesha Symphony in its first performance by humans.

Also to be performed are an aria for soprano, Sing of Nature, written about the Fibonacci series, from Dave Soldier and Komar and Melamid’s 1997 opera, Naked Revolution, written about statues being torn down following revolutions, including the American Revolution, the Soviet Revolution, and the end of the Soviet empire, and two new dance numbers for the orchestra specially written for the occasion by Dave Soldier and conductor Gene Pritsker.

Location: Rutgers University
Zimmerli Museum Rutgers University 71 Hamilton Street at George Street, New Brunswick, NJ
(848) 932-7237

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