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Sebastian Currier’s new chamber work Cognitive Dissonance debuts with loadbang in June.

On June 13, Sebastian Currier’s Cognitive Dissonance for voice, chamber ensemble, and electronics receives its world premiere with loadbang at the Miller Theatre at Columbia University. Described as a “formidable new-music force” (TimeOut), loadbang is a New York City–based chamber music group consisting of bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and baritone voice.

> June 13: Sebastian Currier, Cognitive Dissonance (World Premiere)

The piece’s title refers to the psychological term, describing a mental state where one holds two conflicting ideas. Currier states: “This term comes to mind when I think about the environment. We all love to be out in nature. We find beauty, peace, serenity. It is generally calming and regenerative. But at the same time, most of us live in a way that is gradually destroying that very world that we value so much … Cognitive Dissonance attempts to embody this conflict in musical and aesthetic terms.”

Currier combines two opposing texts from writers (and husband and wife) Percy and Mary Shelley. Percy Shelley’s text is taken from a poem that describes the serenity of two friends walking in nature, while Mary Shelley’s text is excerpted from her 1826 dystopian science-fiction novel The Last Man. Set in 2073, The Last Man follows the last surviving human on Earth after a series of environmental catastrophes.

When setting these texts to music, Currier explains: “The piece alternates between sung portions of Percy Shelley’s text and a prerecorded spoken voice channeling the words of Mary Shelley. The sound worlds of the music accompanying the two texts contrast harshly and irreconcilably, creating a musical analogue to the idea of cognitive dissonance.”

In addition to the June 13 premiere, Currier’s Ghost Trio receives its European premiere in Poland with violinist and dedicatee Anne-Sophie Mutter, cellist Maximilian Hornung, and pianist Lambert Orkis, who also tour the piece to Spain, Luxembourg, Austria, the UK, and Germany throughout May and June. On August 4, Currier’s Beethoven-inspired orchestral work Track 8 will be performed at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, led by Cristian Macelaru.

Concert Info
Tuesday, June 13 at 6pm ET
Miller Theatre at Columbia University | New York
More info


RAVEN CHACON new work (World Premiere)
SEBASTIAN CURRIER Cognitive Dissonance (World Premiere)

>  Further information on Work: Cognitive Dissonance

Photo: Jennifer Taylor

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